Concrete Jungle is a good game that risks being disliked solely because it doesn’t do what it claims. City building is a pretty established game genre, so calling your game a city planner when it’s really more of a card game and a puzzle game is somewhat disingenuous. However, I went into Concrete Jungle with a pretty decent idea of what to expect after reading reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the game actually is.
Concrete Jungle gives you a blank grid to build on, and it’s only columns (from the upper left to the lower right) that matter. You have a target score for each column, and once you hit that score in the left-most column, those tiles are removed from the board, and new blank tiles appear on the right hand side. It sounds simple enough, but the challenge comes in the randomness of the cards you are dealt. You are limited not just in the cards you are dealt, but by the fact that you can only place one of the highlighted cards at the top of your hand.
It’s pretty simple in its base mechanics, but there is some real depth to a lot of the cards, and it does require some strategy on the part of the player. Yes, you can on occasion get a really terrible hand, but for the most part, solo scenarios should be winnable with careful planning.
Concrete Jungle features a campaign mode, as well as custom games. There are three custom game modes: solo, where you are in full control of the board and can add cards to your deck as you progress through the level, classic, which is like solo, but without the ability to manage your deck, and vs. mode, where local multiplayer is supported, but you can also compete against AI opponents. The tutorial levels are built into campaign mode, so since the game isn’t particularly intuitive, I would recommend starting there.
If you’re looking for a game that reminds you of SimCity, Cities: Skylines, or even something more old school like Zeus: Master of Olympus, then Concrete Jungle is unlikely to satisfy. If you’re intrigued by the deck building component, you’ll probably be disappointed. However, if you want a challenging puzzle game that really makes you think several moves ahead, well, then this might be the game you’re looking for.