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City Island 5 Beginner’s Guide (2022 Update): 10 Tips, Cheats & Strategies to Progress Faster and Unlock All Islands

Sparkling Society’s City Island 5 continues to be unique and popular brand of city building simulation game that just doesn’t stop growing. As the fifth and latest instalment in the franchise that has been played and loved by millions of people around the globe, City Island 5 dares to take the title further by presenting every feature available in previous instalments as well as providing new ones to make the game even more fun and exciting.

Like its predecessors, what sets City Island 5 apart from all other games in the genre is the fact that you can unlock other islands and build up to 10 more cities in them, each with its own unique topography that adds both excitement and challenge for every builder. You can play the game for free and on your own offline or you can go online to see how you fare compared to everyone else’s progress on the leaderboards.

city island 5 tips

There’s not much pressure to stay on for long hours as the building countdowns continue on when you are off the game. If you are a fan of city creation and management sim games, then you will definitely revel in the hundreds of structures you can build in City Island 5 as well the hundreds of hours you can enjoy as you watch your cities grow bigger as you play.

As the mayor of the town, your job in City Island 5 is to grow your city. It sounds simple enough but the challenges ahead of you will grow along with your city. As you build residential and commercial structures to populate your city and gain income to develop it further, community buildings and decorations must be installed as well to ensure that the people will stay happy. There are literally rooms for expansions as you can purchase additional land to further advance your city’s progress.

city island 5 islands

After making enough progress and earning tons of cash, you can begin exploring other islands that present various terrains that in itself offers unique challenges. With everything you build and upgrade, you earn experience points and as you reach new levels, additional units of the same buildings as well as entirely new ones become available for purchase.

There are a ton of things you can do while waiting for your commercial buildings to earn profits. Beyond that, you can always just enjoy watching what you have built and mentally craft plans on how to make your city even more picturesque.

There’s a quick and easy guide to follow on the first construction and collection activities you will go through when you first start the game. There really isn’t really much more to cover as the complexity level between balancing and earning will come naturally later on and you will most likely get the hang of the game soon enough.

city island 5 buildings

If you never played any of the City Island games before, you may want to check our guides for both City Island 2 and City Island 4: Sim Town Tycoon as some of the tips and strategies in those articles can still be applied to this game. You may still discover something new as well if you are still playing those games.

In any case, if you want to progress faster in City Island 5, our tips, cheats, and strategies below will surely boost your gameplay by several folds and potentially even put your name on the top performers in the leaderboards.

1. Maintain Balance Across Structures

One of the most important things you need to understand in City Island 5 is that you need to keep a positive, if not perfect, balance across the population number, the available jobs for the people, and the level of happiness the city in general has. Building residential structures increase the population; commercial establishments provide jobs to people and generate profits for the city as well; and community structures, as well as decorations, provide happiness to the citizens.

As the population grows you need to ensure that there are enough available jobs for everyone and as both grow in numbers, the more difficult it becomes to keep them happy which is why you will need to construct more establishments to remedy that. Be sure as well to always keep an eye out on the numbers illustrated at the upper right hand of your screen to determine if you are keeping a good balance of each item.

city island 5 terrain

In your seemingly never-ending quest towards continuous and sustainable progress you will always have to expand your land and while the allure of profit will always be attractive to move towards progress faster, you should spend some of those earnings in prioritizing the city residents’ level of happiness.

Aim towards keeping it at a hundred percent or more but if you are having a hard time maintaining that, at least keep it above 70 percent. If the level of happiness goes below 70 percent, people will start to leave town, and you will end up with a lot of establishments that don’t have enough workers to generate profit fast.

city island 5 city advisor

City Island 5 will not leave you entirely on your own to closely monitor and remedy the issues that your city faces. With every new building you put up, you will notice that new vehicles will start roaming around your city. These residents will randomly generate cash, EXP, or keys for you to claim but, more importantly, exclamation marks (!) that you should consider clicking on. These exclamation marks come with messages from your city advisor, and will be your extra source of guidance on which type of structures to build or upgrade.

2. Check The Benefits Before You Upgrade Or Build

Most especially when your city has flourished enough to contain varieties of structures, deciding how to progress further becomes an important decision as far as impact of upgrades or constructions are concerned. As you can upgrade each structure up to level 10, there will be a lot of instances when doing so will be more cost-effective than actually building more structures. As such, you should always check to see the benefits of both before choosing whether you should consider upgrading an existing structure or constructing a new one.

city island 5 supermarket

For one though, choosing to build new structures gain you experience points to level up and unlock more structures, as far as effects go, though, you may opt for upgrades when immediate increase in population, jobs, or levels of happiness become more important than experience points. Otherwise, earning more EXP and unlocking new structures as well as extra copies of existing ones lead to more expansion opportunities.

Keep in mind as well that there are limits to the number of similar structures you can build within your level and you may need to gain more experience and level up a few times to acquire additional copies of some structures that you have already used. There is always an option to spend gold for extra structures but we recommend holding on to your premium currency for emergencies and other important needs.

leveling up in city island 5

You can use keys to purchase some structures though but keys are a bit more challenging to earn than cash, and there are only 4 random structures you can acquire from keys per day and some or all of them may not exactly be what you need. You can refresh the selection by spending gold, but we prefer considering saving gold for more important purchases.

city island 5 key deals

There is also the matter of having limited space to build your structures on although you can always expand your working area several times at the cost of cash. Be sure to check the cost of espansion and the actual size or working space you get before making the purchase. Note that the more areas you unlock; the more expensive expansion costs will be. Treasure chests with keys inside can be obtained as well from these expansions.

city island 5 treasure chests

Both building and upgrading take time to complete by default. There is always an option to instantly finish construction work through spending gold but, again, exercising prudence in terms of managing your gold reserves is important in City Island 5. There are limits to how many constructions can take place consecutively. Although 5 seems more than enough, you will often find yourself unable to construct more because all builders are busy.

city island 5 crane

Like all other resources, builders need to be managed as well so keeping them as busy as possible forms part of the many reasons why you should plan ahead on your expansion schemes. We recommend polishing up your planning and resource management skills at Crescent Bay before you decide to unlock other islands. If managing one continuously growing metropolis seems too challenging for you, then it means you may not be ready yet to take on 2 or more island cities simultaneously.

city island 5 metropolis

3. Aim To Accomplish Quests And Achievements

City Island 5 most certainly provides you sufficient ways to fund the growth and development of your cities. Keeping an active role in tending to your island’s needs, as well as of its inhabitants, always ensure that you will earn something to help you keep moving forward in your adventure. On top of the profits you get from your commercial structures level ups, you can earn cash, gold, keys and other rewards by finishing quests and reaching achievements.

There are certainly a lot more rewards to earn on top of usual you get and, for the most part, the Daily Quests as well as achievements that you can accomplish in City Island 5 do not necessarily entail additional effort. In some cases, you can easily earn them enough just by playing regularly and it is also likely to happen that you will accomplish some feats without even knowing the specific targets. You can access the daily missions and achievements feature via the Medal icon at the left side of the screen.

city island 5 daily quests

There are only a trio of daily quests to accomplish. Each target you clear earns you shovels and completing all 3 earns you even more. Shovels can then be exchanged for rare decorations that are difficult or impossible to earn elsewhere. You will not just be trying to earn shovels for one rare decoration for your city, though, as obtaining the first one opens up a path towards another rare décor and there is a long list of rare decors to unlock and collect.

While daily quest objectives are designed to be relatively easier to accomplish in a day’s time, some achievement targets may require a lot more time and patience. Almost every bit of activity you engage in, however, contributes to the fulfillment of achievement targets such as attracting a certain number of citizens, having a certain number of employees, building structures, and purchasing expansions. Some can be a little more challenging or expensive than others and accomplishing target often unlocks a higher target within the same field.

city island 5 achievements

Achievements can earn you huge lumps of cash instantly and can also net you large amounts of EXP and gold. In any case, be sure to check the list of achievement targets and strive to focus on ones you are close to accomplishing. Likewise, claim earned rewards as soon as you can so you can readily invest on other growth and expansion plans as well as unlock the next set of targets.

4. Currency Exchange Unlocks At Level 10

Every construction you successfully complete earns you experience points indicated by the blue area in the circle surrounding your level and once it becomes full, you will level up. As there may be instances when you will have to decide between constructing new structures and upgrading existing ones, consider the experience points you get as a huge incentive to go for construction as much as you can afford to.

Once you reach level 10, each commercial structure will be able to convert your currencies from cash to silver keys, to gold keys, to diamond keys, and finally, to gold coins. As you may have a few coins already even as a beginner, then you should already have an idea how difficult it is to acquire more for free.

city island 5 hotel

Not only are there a lot of structures that can only be obtained through spending these gold coins, but speeding up constructions and upgrades as well as a lot of convenient alternatives to waiting and grinding can only be purchases through using gold coins.

Keep in mind that each commercial structure’s currency exchange rate may vary from each other so you may want to look at the more expensive ones you have as they may present the best rates for you. Performing upgrades on structures will not impact the exchange rate numbers they have so if you want better results, you may want to look into more expensive commercial structures that you can build.

city island 5 chests

While silver keys stand as the most basic resource to use in Currency Exchange and is the easiest to obtain for free, it also has its own set of usage. Silver Chests at the shop can only be exclusively unlocked using silver keys. However, exchanging your silver keys for gold keys and diamond keys, take you a step closer to being able to afford better chests.

5. Click On Vehicles While Idle

There will be a lot of times that you will be in the game waiting for constructions and upgrades to finish, or waiting for some commercial structures to generate profit, or perhaps even simply enjoying the view of your creation as well as watching vehicles (your residents) drive around your city. During these times, you can click on icons that pop up on top of the roving cars for cash, experience points, or even silver keys. The amounts are not that much but it still helps you earn something while practically staying idle.

city island 5 vehicles

As you claim idle profits from your commercial establishments as well as currencies they have successfully converted, it can happen that you will also be able to click on vehicles with relative ease. Crescent Bay is just one of the many islands that can host huge cities and as you reach mid to end game in City Island 5, the never-ending task of collecting cash and resources can become exponentially more challenging.

city island 5 cash

In this sense, we can say that the bulk of your tasks will slowly shift from construction, upgrade, and expansion to collecting idle income and resources from commercial buildings and citizens later on. Likewise, the simple task of grabbing some EXP, cash, and even silver keys from vehicles is easy for starters, but once you have enough cash and resources to unlock other islands and start developing them simultaneously, you will actually hardly have some time off clicking on each map one after another.

6. See The Layout And Levels Better

Every structure you build in City Island 5, save for decorations, start at level 0 and you will have to spend some cash and some time to upgrade them to the next level all the way to level 10. You will hardly remember the upgrade level of each structure in your city and it can be very tedious and time-consuming to click on each one just to check their current upgrade level. The space for new structures to be built on and the path for roads that you need to pave to connect all your structures together can become difficult to see as well when your city becomes crowded enough.

Fortunately, there are tools in City Island 5 that helps make it easy for you to have a better view of your city for these instances and all you need to do is tick on the corresponding magnifying glass and upgrade level icon on the right side of your screen. You can make use of the magnifying glass as well on new cities in other islands if you want to lay out roads first as you plan on mapping the initial areas of the city out before proceeding with constructions.

city island 5 roads

Note that you can tick these tools on and off and in combination with one another. The benefits of being accustomed to using these tools is not only limited to when you first plan out your city as expansions and continuous development will sooner or later require layout changes. The whole concept of connecting every structure in your growing city together through the use of roads is simple early on.

However, you will eventually realize that even this simple concept can be a challenge to implement later on as your city grows tremendously following reaching higher levels and unlocking more buildings.

city island 5 layout

In this sense, you should not hesitate to make small edits or completely redo your city’s layouts. It may not be as necessary if you planned out the entire layout of the island before purchasing and putting up your first building but in case you have not, then know that editing your city’s layout is conveniently possible in City Island 5.

7. Unlock Other Islands When You Can

While playing and gaining levels at Crescent Bay, which is the first island, you will unlock some structures that you won’t be able to use just yet because they require a different terrain to be built on and that can never be available on your current island. Once you have enough profits to unlock a new one, invest your cash and venture into it to try and start your expansion quest anew.

Starting a new island city is a huge step towards progressing in City Island 5 and, as such, you should expect there to be huger responsibilities and preparations necessary to ensure a smooth growth rate for your thriving island cities.

unlocking islands in city island 5

For starters, reaching a new level and having an available house to be built on a different terrain should not immediately prompt you to start developing a new island city. What we recommend is to at least ensure that different building types are available for the new island’s terrain before you even consider purchasing it.

Your resources, people, jobs, and even the happiness level cuts across all five islands so it will become even more challenging to maintain the perfect balance across people, jobs, and happiness when you are managing two or more cities.

city island 5 commercial

While all these factors are shared, it should be expected that people residing in one island will only be able to seek employment in commercial establishments within the same island. The same works for happiness levels, which means that decorations need to be allocated across the different island cities you have as equally as possible.

The blimp icon at the lower left side of your screen is your fast access to the map and will be your key towards visiting all other islands. A lot of the map will be hidden underneath thick clouds early on but as you uncover and inhabit a new island, more and more of the world map will be unveiled. You can tap on any locked island to check the costs of opening them as well as seeing topography details. You will discover that no island will be fully made up of a single type of terrain and can be a mix of 2 to 3 different ones.

city island 5 rocky waterfalls

Just to ensure that you won’t have trouble with regard to not having enough money for emergency “happiness maintenances” after buying a new island, be sure to have more than enough cash before doing so. Keep in mind as well that on the newer islands, structures cost a lot more compared to the first one. While the idea of fully developing one island city first before taking on a new one is a simpler and seemingly easier approach, that will not be the optimal way of developing multiple cities in City Island 5.

As you reach new levels, the new structures that become available for you, as well as extra copies of old ones you can unlock, will be a mix of different ones in terms of terrain or topography requirement. The higher level you reach, the more diverse the types of structures you unlock with only a couple of it usable in grassy fields like that on Crescent Bay.

With only a limited number of structures you can build per island based on the types of terrain in each one, it will become more and more challenging to reach higher levels the less you are able to use the different structures at your disposal.

city island 5 rain

Before going for the third and succeeding islands, you should first be able to manage the first 2 ones well enough that you can consistently grab earnings while keeping the population happy. While residential structures on other islands may be easily affordable to you, business and commercial establishments are a lot more expensive so you may resort to balancing everything out by constructing or upgrading your existing commercial structures on your first city.

In this consideration, saying you can afford to open and develop a new island city goes well beyond simply spending cash to unlock it, as it would also mean that you have more than enough extra funds to finance the primary stages of its growth and expansion.

8. Participate In Special Events

Every so often, City Island 5 hosts unique special events that add more sizzle to your city-building experience. Despite the plethora of unique residential, commercial, and community structures you can unlock and build in your city, there is always room for excitement to have unique ones to add to your collection. Daily quests and achievements can give you direction and guidance on how to grow and develop your cities and special events work about the same way.

Likewise, special event objectives are very much comparable to the usual daily quest and achievement objectives you have in the sense that they directly relate to the usual activities you engage in as you go about building and managing your city islands.

city island 5 challenges event

Special event icons will always appear on the upper left side of the screen. For the most part, these events provide you a set of objectives that you need to accomplish within a limited period of time and will likewise earn you keys, chips, EXP, and other resources with each objective you clear.

Accomplishing an objective will earn you points and you can also spend coins to instantly clear any of them. Although we do not readily recommend spending gold on anything, you can spend a few here if you are very close to accomplishing enough targets to earn points needed to claim the unique reward.

city island 5 reward

If it is your first time to earn a building as a reward for completing special event quests; you can find these structures inside your storage, which you can access via the box icon at the lower right side of your screen. There does not seem to be a limit as to how many rewarded structures will be retained in storage. However, on its other tab, structures you want to keep and move to a different area within the island or a different island, can be temporarily stored.

gained buildings in city island 5

Storage space can be costly as well as you will only have one storage space for non-reward structures to begin with. While the first extra slot only costs 5,000 cash, the rate of price increase is exponential so do well and manage with just 2 open slots if you can.

stored buildings in city island 5

9. Take Advantage Of Ad Boosts

The investment and reward ratio in City Island 5, in our opinion, is a very generous one in that players who choose not to spend real cash can still make good progress with a bit of time and effort invested into their virtual island city. In addition to the idle cash generated by commercial structures, coupled with each one’s inherent ability to convert silver keys into gold, nothing is beyond reach for the most active city builders.

City Island 5 may have its own share of online content, like leaderboards and teams that require internet connectivity. However, City Island 5 is likewise designed to be played and enjoyed by individuals who do not necessarily need an internet connection to revel in its enormous virtual world.

city island 5 shopping mall

Playing online certainly has its share of advantages and perks but just like most other free-to-play mobile games, City Island 5 has video ads that occasionally pop up while you play. It’s not much to worry about as these ads can either be readily closed instantly or after just 5 seconds.

City Island 5 further ads advantages for players who opt to play online through its generous ad boosts that are rather difficult to ignore especially for enthusiasts in the game. Ad boosts will only require you to play a 15 to 30-second video ad to make development more convenient and cut down waiting times, or to increase rewards you earn.

city island 5 wheel

Once you reach level 10 and begin taking advantage of your commercial structures’ currency exchange capabilities, converting cash to keys and gold will take a lot of time. However, at any time during the process, you can play a short ad and instantly receive the converted currency. This is a recommended course of action especially if you have tons of extra resources to convert and would want to grind for keys or gold in the shortest possible time.

One of the nice features we want to touch a bit on is the Wheel of Fortune that you can access via the wheel icon on the lower right side of the screen. Chips you randomly earn as well as gold can be used to spin the wheel and earn random prizes. At 25 chips or 2 gold, most of the rewards are very much worth it although we only recommend using your chips as gold has more fundamental uses.

collecting rewards in city island 5

Regardless of which prize awaits you, you will be offered to double the rewards you earn by playing a short video ad. This same ad boost is also available when you accomplish a daily mission objective. You can also opt to play a short video ad and double the number of shovels to earn for the objective completed. As there are plenty of rare decorations to unlock, we recommend also taking the time to take advantage of this offer.

10. The Time Lapse Cheat Still Works

If you haven’t read any of our previous guides on the other City Island games or you haven’t read or heard of ways to exploit similar offline games with waiting times linked to the date and time settings of your device then now is the perfect time to try it out. During the initial phases of your game wherein you may still be constructing or upgrading basic structures, the time it takes to complete may only take a minute or two.

A few more than that wouldn’t be all that bad either but there will come a point when the construction time will take more than an hour, which is too long especially if you already want to reap the benefits of the upcoming structure or simply want to progress further sooner.

city island 5 balloons

If you don’t want to wait and would rather instantly finish construction but don’t want to spend gold coins as well, then you should instead head on to your device’s setting, then the date and time, an simply make the necessary adjustments to advance the time enough for your pending constructions to be finished when you get back to your game. If your notifications in the game are on, you will instantly know that what you did worked and as you come back to playing you will see that all pending constructions are done.

Fortunately enough as well, constructions are not the only important things that can be sped up by this cheat as all profits generated by each commercial structure are bound by the same rules as well. So if you want to earn cash fast in just a matter of minutes, grab whatever each of your structure has generated and check the longest time it would take for all structures to generate full incomes and then fast forward to that time. Doing this trick will guarantee that cash will never ever be a problem for you and you can progress so much faster in the game.

city island 5 muddy meadows

You can also speed up unlocking new islands after buying them and you can practically open all up within a few minutes using the same time lapse procedure. Depending on how much time you can actually put into doing it over and over, the rate of cash flow you can earn may be sufficient to access all islands in just a short while.

Keep in mind as well that on days are affected as well, which means that beyond speeding time up to gain income faster, you can speed days up too and obtain daily rewards within seconds. As there are daily quests in City Island tough, you will also skip the opportunity of completing some that you haven’t accomplished yet when you move forward to the next day.

city island 5 car

Just a few words of caution, though. In case you are relying on your date and time settings for important matters like schedules and alarms, be sure to remember rolling them back once the time jump has been triggered. Also, you don’t need to actually close the game before adjusting your device’s time settings as it will restart on its own right after you switch back to it after making adjustments.

Well, this last cheat we mentioned definitely takes the cake on this City Island 5 guide as far as progression speeding up is concerned but hopefully, you will still find the rest of the guide helpful, especially if you’re a huge fan of playing legit.

city island 5 age of discovery

In any case, the City Island 5 tips, cheats and strategies we mentioned in our guide covers everything you need to know to get ahead in this game, progress folds faster, and be on the leaderboards in no time. If there are some things worth mentioning that we haven’t included in this strategy guide, you can tell us all about it in the comment section below and we’d be very happy to hear it!


Sunday 18th of December 2022

When do you see more islands after the first five?


Saturday 3rd of December 2022

How do you put things in storage? None of my buildings or objects offer the option.


Saturday 29th of October 2022

I was building on 10 of the 11 available properties. I get a message to collect all commercial profits and out of nowhere, 3 new islands appeared. (Now 14)

My game took a long while for me to collect shovels for the daily challenge.


Friday 21st of October 2022

How do you connect the roads in polar peaks from the snowy part of the island down into the rock part of the island?

Don Garner

Monday 12th of September 2022

What happened? I no longer accumulate cash or stars from autos and pedestrians. Also the daily rewards only accumulate intermittently. for example the reward a couple days ago was 95 gold coins, they were not added to my total accumulated total. If this is part of the game it would be nice to have been made aware of it beforehand. Also how do you get hearts on the leaderboard?