The game is played by placing residential, commercial, and industrial zones, which consist of tiles that fall like in Tetris, onto flat map. If the player gets enough zones placed next to each other, he or she can build a special zone where civic buildings like schools and parks can be built. Zones must be connected by roads to develop. Natural disasters can also occur, which harm the city's treasury.
There are two main game modes; creative mode and story mode. In creative mode, the player can play however he or she wants, but in story mode there are a total of 25 goals in different cities that the player has to accomplish.