Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor 2

Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor review — Adding charm and class

(Fun)ction in the sun

Cities: Skylines is back in the public consciousness thanks to the release of a new expansion pack—(the slightly oddly named)—Sunset Harbor. While it sounds like it could be a beautiful seaside settlement, it’s really an extensive pack of new features that will help add even more life to your virtual people farms. There are so many new tools to use that it took me 8 hours to try and see everything. I’m happy to report that it’s been an engaging experience, to say the least.

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There’s a fish in my front lawn?

The one new piece of content that actually matches the name “Sunset Harbor” would be the introduction of the fishing industry. You can now build dedicated fishing harbors to send out small vessels to reel in hauls of four different fish species: anchovy, salmon, shellfish, and tuna. In order to achieve this, routes must be designed throughout waterways like rivers and the ocean. Fishing routes can cover large or small distances; a heat map will show you where the different species are most concentrated. From my testing, it seems that two routes can be handled per fishing harbor. Not all species may necessarily be living in your map, so you could end up only being able to access one or two species on a large scale.

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Fishing 1

If that is the case, you can instead build a fish farm near a body of water, which produces all four of the aforementioned species. Additionally, farms for algae or seaweed production can also be built, as well as farms that are dedicated to each of the individual fish species. The individualized farms produce higher yields than either a harbor or multi-species farms.

Fish from either a harbor or farm can be transported to a fish market and/or fish factory. The market allows citizens to buy fresh fish, whereas the factory will can the fish and distribute it to commercial zones.

In order to properly handle the new fishing industry, you must construct either your harbor or farm in an area that is free from water pollution. So, it’s best to use a map where a variety of water sources are accessible.

Bustling new buses

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Trolleybus 2

Buses have always been available in Cities: Skylines, but the Sunset Harbor expansion adds even more options. Now, your settlement can be even more connected using “Trolleybuses” and “Intercity Buses.”

Trolleybuses make use of overhead electrical lines. Special roads with these lines need to be constructed in order for the trolleybuses to drive on them. (Other vehicles can also use them as a regular road.) Thus, you’ll need to either modify your existing road network to facilitate trolleybuses, unless you decide to build new roads.

Intercity Buses are for taking passengers to different settlements. Thus, the stations must be built near a highway. You do not need to create new routes for intercity buses, and they can make use of existing regular bus stops.

Chasing choppers

Passenger Helicopter Services are another addition to public transportation included in Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor. These aircraft can carry 20 passengers at a time and quickly shuttle them from one end of a city to another using a sky road network. Routes must be built for the helicopters to follow between dedicated stops.

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Helicopter Stop

Building the routes is very similar to that of constructing a road. But since these are for air travel, the helicopter routes do not collide with objects and buildings the same way a road would. Of course, they do add to the noise pollution of a city. Even so, it’s cool to see them effortlessly buzz around the sky.

It’s a sky train!

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Overground Metro 2

Another new public transportation option, the Overground Metro/Elevated Train, functions similarly to the existing subway, except this time it can be placed either on the ground or elevated off of the ground rather than running beneath it.

When elevated, the tracks lay on pillars, thus allowing them to cross over roads rather than having to cut through. The overground metro does function independently from existing underground metro networks, so your lines and tracks will not be intertwined.

Light aircraft love

The final piece of sky-related new content is the General Aviation Club (GAC), a new “Unique Building.” The GAC is a regional airport dedicated to smaller aircraft that belong to your own’s city citizens. The aircraft will take off and fly around the general vicinity of your city, and can be also be heard. The General Aviation Club functions completely separately from the major airport asset that can be built and it also requires slightly less space.

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor General Aviation Club

The General Aviation Club doesn’t handle any sort of transportation functionality. Rather, it serves to increase a city’s attractiveness and entertainment. One of the new features of Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor is the introduction of new Policies. One of them offers Airplane Tours, which ties into the GAC.

A major transportation situation

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Intercity Bus

With all of the new public transportation options included in Sunset Harbor on top of the base game’s content, managing all of the hustle and bustle can be taxing. That’s why another new feature of this expansion pack is Transport Hubs.

These hubs house two different types of public transportation and serve as a mega station to allow passengers to easily transfer from one part of the system to another. For example, the one hub I made use of was a Bus-Intercity Bus Hub, which allows passengers to switch from the regular city bus to an intercity bus that will take them to another settlement. There are five other hubs: Bus-Metro, Metro-Intercity, Train-Metro, and the Metropolitan Airport (combines metro with passenger airport).

Making proper use of these hubs does require some clever planning of the different transportation networks. I honestly didn’t try too hard to make use of every single one, but I’m excited to see how players (who are much smarter than I am) will create bustling super networks using these tools.

Making dirty work less dirty

Water and waste management already exist in the base game, but Sunset Harbor adds even more options to help keep your city clean. There is now an Inland Water Treatment Plant and also an “Eco” version. Both include advanced options that are larger and can process more. As the name suggests, the plants are designed to process water in cities that are far away from a large body of water such as a lake or river. Wastewater from the plant is then drained back into the ground, which does have an effect on pollution.

Cities Skylines Sunset Harbor Waste Transfer

That said, it would be best to keep the new Large Water Tower away from the treatment plant. It functions just like the regular water tower but has a larger capacity.

For the even dirtier work, there’s the new Waste Transfer System that includes the Waste Processing Complexes and Facilities. The complexes are purposed for being built outside of a city, while the facilities are smaller and can be placed closer. Both of these buildings serve to upgrade the existing tools for city garbage collection.

Health benefits

What good is a city if its citizens aren’t healthy? Thus, Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor also includes new Child Care and Eldercare Centers.

Child Care Center

The Child Health Care facility is dedicated to children and teen citizens and increases the birth rate within the building’s radius.

On the flip side, the Eldercare is dedicated to senior citizens. Having them in a community extends the lifespan of the senior citizens within the building’s radius. Both buildings will benefit the health of your city’s citizens.

New canvases await


While all of this new content can be added to an existing city, you can also start from scratch on one of the five new maps: Azure Gulf, Crater Falls, Desert Oasis, Fisher Enclave, and Swamplands.

Each of the maps introduces a new environment, all with their own challenges and benefits. For instance, you’re not going to get very far trying to build a fishing empire in Desert Oasis. However, it could be a great place to construct the Metropolitan Airport Hub due to its flat land. Alternatively, Crater Falls will be hard for a growing super transport tycoon as it has a lot of water. But, it’s surely a good place for an elevated metro or, of course, a fisherman’s budding dream. While you can always find a map that offers a little bit of everything that can facilitate all of the new content at once, having dedicated canvases like these offer the chance to build something that could be more focused on a specific theme or objective. That said, there aren’t any scenarios included in this expansion pack, so you’re left up to your own imagination as to how you want to tackle things.

A calming sunset

The Sunset Harbor expansion for Cities: Skylines is an all-around good pack. The features that it adds really do help diversify even an existing save game. There’s so much to make use of and so many ways it can be made use of that creators can really let their imaginations run wild with this. You can build a pilot’s paradise with the new General Aviation Club or a mega-metropolis using the new overground metro, trolleybuses, intercity buses, and passenger helicopters with their dedicated hubs. Or perhaps a sleepy little fishing village on an island-themed map might be your speed. Whatever the case, Sunset Harbor facilitates a lot of room for creativity and has been a lot of fun to explore.

Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor
Sunset Harbor adds a healthy amount of new life to any Cities session thanks to a wealth of new public transportation options, a new industry, and more. There's a lot for creators to work with.

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A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.