• Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Simulation Games in 2021 (The Sims, Animal Crossing, and More)

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at something new, like, say, farming, but without actually having to go through the effort of buying and setting up your farm? Not to mention you don’t know anything about farming! Well, that’s why we have simulation games. While they don't 100% replicate real-life experiences, it's a pretty fun taste of something new.


In Cities: Skylines, for example, you can build and manage your very own city with just a few clicks of your finger. And you’ll have lots of fun in the process. Check out the rest of our recommendations in our top 10 list of simulation games, and read our buying guide to learn how you can find the best simulation game to suit your needs!

  • Last updated: 01-11-2021
  • 397 views
Table of Contents

What is a Simulation Game?

What is a Simulation Game?

A simulation game is a type of game that imitates aspects of the real world. This is a broad definition, which means there are many different types out there; from operating a vehicle to pretending to be a goose!


Typically, simulation games tend to adhere strictly to their own rules and mechanics, and will most often try to represent with reasonable accuracy an element of real life.

What is a Simulation Game?

There are varying levels of detail in simulation games, though. On one side you can find accurate flight or car simulators, wherein physics is a large part of the gameplay, and on the other, simplified cooking games more suitable for children.


Racing, building, and living are just some of the popular simulations you’ll find in these types of games. The selection of simulation games is truly vast, and you’ll be sure to find something you enjoy within it.

Top 10 Best Simulation Games

Whether you want your game to imitate life on this world or in outer space, we've found games with such a variety of themes, you're sure to find one here!

1
Sub-genreConstruction and management simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
MultiplayerNo
Age ratingE
2

NintendoAnimal Crossing: New Horizons

$59.99

Sub-genreSocial simulation
PlatformNintendo Switch
Multiplayer1-8
Age ratingE
3
Sub-genreLife simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
MultiplayerNo
Age ratingT
4
Sub-genreFarm simulation, role-playing
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android
Multiplayer1-4 players
Age ratingE10+
5

SquadKerbal Space Program

$39.99

Sub-genreSpace flight simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
MultiplayerNo
Age ratingE
6

Introversion SoftwarePrison Architect

$23.57

Sub-genreConstruction and management simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Multiplayer1-4 players
Age ratingM
7
Sub-genreConstruction and management simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux
MultiplayerNo
Age ratingT
8
Sub-genreTycoon simulation, strategy
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
MultiplayerNo
Age ratingE
9

SCS SoftwareEuro Truck Simulator 2 - Platinum Collection

$29.99

Sub-genreVehicle simulation
PlatformLinux, Microsoft Windows, macOS
MultiplayerNo
Age RatingPEGI 3
10

Big Cheese StudioCooking Simulator

$19.99

Sub-genreCooking simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
MultiplayerNo
Age RatingE

Compare the Best Simulation Games

Image
1
Deep Silver Cities: Skylines 1

Deep Silver

2
Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons 1

Nintendo

3
Electronic Arts The Sims 4 1

Electronic Arts

4
ConcernedApe Stardew Valley 1

ConcernedApe

5
Squad Kerbal Space Program 1

Squad

6
Introversion Software Prison Architect 1

Introversion Software

7
Ludeon Studios RimWorld 1

Ludeon Studios

8
Kalypso Media Railway Empire 1

Kalypso Media

9
SCS Software Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Platinum Collection 1

SCS Software

10
 Big Cheese Studio Cooking Simulator 1

Big Cheese Studio

Name

Cities: Skylines

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The Sims 4

Stardew Valley

Kerbal Space Program

Prison Architect

RimWorld

Railway Empire

Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Platinum Collection

Cooking Simulator

Features

Learn to Run Your Own City Flawlessly

The Simple Premise That Provides You With Endless Fun

Dive into This Life Simulation Where You Can Build and Play

Build Your Farm from Rags to Riches

Explore Space in This Wacky, Physics-Based Simulation

Manage Your Own Prison and Its Inhabitants

Create Your Own Dystopian Narrative

Become a Railway Tycoon and Rule Over Transportation in North America

Lose Yourself in a Nice, Long Drive

Let Your Inner Foodie Geek Out

Price$49.99$59.99$26.90$19.99$39.99$23.57$34.99$24.32$29.99$19.99
Sub-genreConstruction and management simulationSocial simulationLife simulationFarm simulation, role-playingSpace flight simulationConstruction and management simulationConstruction and management simulationTycoon simulation, strategyVehicle simulationCooking simulation
PlatformMicrosoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo SwitchNintendo SwitchMicrosoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox OneMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, AndroidMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox OneMicrosoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Nintendo SwitchMicrosoft Windows, macOS, LinuxMicrosoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo SwitchLinux, Microsoft Windows, macOSMicrosoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
MultiplayerNo1-8No1-4 playersNo1-4 playersNoNoNoNo
Age ratingEETE10+EMTEPEGI 3E
Link

How to Choose a Simulation Game - Buying Guide

There are a few things you should consider to get on the right path to choosing the best simulation game for you. Central questions revolve around choosing a platform to play on, a sub-genre you like, and pinpointing the type of content you want. Here is some advice to help you with your search.

Choose a Console to Play On

Choose a Console to Play On

Do you intend to play the simulation game on a home console or a PC? Or perhaps you want something you can play on the go using a smartphone? The platform you intend to play on is going to dictate your options. There are plenty of choices for all consoles, but remember that some game titles are only available on specific ones.


You’ll find lots of fun and family-friendly simulation games on the Nintendo Switch. For more adult-oriented games, you may want to look to a more powerful console like the PS4 or Xbox.

Choose a Console to Play On

And if you’re going to play heavily detailed games like, say, a flight simulator that may even need extra equipment or controllers, a PC might be your best shot. Of course, you can also find simple simulators that will run on an Android or iOS phone.


Consider what gaming platforms you have at home and on which of them your desired game is available before you make your purchase. This will help narrow down your search!

Look at the Types of Simulation Games

Look at the Types of Simulation Games

With so many simulation games to choose from, option paralysis can get really bad. Therefore, it helps to know what type of simulation you’re interested in.


Perhaps construction and management is up your alley. Look for games with building elements or some kind of overview mechanics. Another popular type of simulation game is life simulation. The Sims comes to mind, although there are many more variations available. 

Look at the Types of Simulation Games

Sports simulations are also in high demand; not a year passes without another FIFA version coming out.


These are just a small handful of simulation game types out there. There are racing simulators. There are dating simulators. There are farming simulators. If you can imagine it, it probably exists. At the very least, it’s worth a search on Google!

Consider the Actual Game Content

Other than the game being a simulation, what kind of content should you expect? A lot of simulation games are combinations of other genres, so thinking about what other elements you like in games can help you find the best choice for you.

Some Simulation Games Have No Story

Some Simulation Games Have No Story

Story is not at the forefront when it comes to simulation games. Typically, there’s little to no narrative, although there are plenty of exceptions to this rule. One of the key characteristics of a simulation game is that you create your own story, which is why scripted plot isn’t as abundant in this genre as some others.


However, some simulation games, like dating sims or visual novels, are predominately story-based. Other games, like racing or flight simulations, generally don’t have any story. Either way, it can be helpful to consider how much or little story you actually like in a game. There are options on both sides of the spectrum.

Decide Between Actual Progression and a Sandbox Style

Decide Between Actual Progression and a Sandbox Style

Most games offer some kind of gameplay and rewards progression system. This is also true for simulation games. Well, sometimes! Games where you start out with few resources and have to build yourself up to riches can be satisfying because it feels good to achieve things through hard work. And of course, there are simulation games that play out like this.


But there are also simulation games that drop you right into its world with no story, character, or world progression. Here, you can just do the simulation right off the bat. This can be great fun too, especially if you’re the creative type, but it can be boring for those of us who desire more of a pathway to keep our attention.

Multiplayer Features Let You Play With Your Friends

Multiplayer Features Let You Play With Your Friends

Lastly, you’ll want to consider whether or not you're planning to play with other people. Multiplayer gameplay is a great way to have fun with your friends or make new ones, so it’s definitely something to keep in mind when choosing a new simulation game to play.


And because we live in such a modern world, how you do multiplayer is also worth considering. Online multiplayer games are great for playing with people who live far away. It’s also a good way to meet new people with similar interests!


On the other hand, local play lets you play together at home. This might be better suited for families or dinner parties. Having a local multiplayer game available when your friends come over won’t hurt anyone either!

Need More Games to Keep You Entertained?

Need More Games to Keep You Entertained?

Simulation games not your thing? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Check out these recommended games articles for plenty of other great games to play!

Summary

Hopefully you’re left with plenty of great games to try out. The biggest challenge when it comes to the world of simulation games is simply how vast it is. That’s why it helps to narrow down your choices by choosing a platform and a sub-genre as a starting point!


Author: Eren Gudny


Related Articles

Popular Articles

  • Top 10 Best Business Simulation Games in 2021 (Cities: Skylines, Planet Zoo, and More)
    Top 10 Best Business Simulation Games in 2021 (Cities: Skylines, Planet Zoo, and More)
    You would think that work and fun don't often go together, but business simulation games can prove otherwise! Business simulation games may also have tags like economic, tycoon, or management. They are games that focus on managing economic processes, often in the form of a business that wants to profit.We've searched the Internet and found 10 business simulation games that reviewers love. Our favorite is Cities: Skylines by Colossal Order since it's a realistic city simulation with an almost endless amount of mods and content beyond the base game. For more of our favorites, please read on. Also, check out our buying guide for suggestions on how to select the right business simulation game for you.
    Games
    24 views
  • Top 10 Best Farming Games in 2021 (Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, and More)
    Top 10 Best Farming Games in 2021 (Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, and More)
    Farming games can be a very relaxing way to spend a few hours. It doesn't matter if the game is an accurate simulator of life on a farm or sees you harvesting slime on another planet, they all have a peaceful quality that makes them a joy to play. You can plant crops, raise animals, or even get married in games that cover a wide variety of genres. We chose Stardew Valley by Concerned Ape as our favorite farming game. It has great depth but it is also relaxing to play. We’ve also put together a top 10 list for you to consider and created a handy buying guide to help you make your choice!
    Games
    90 views
  • Top 10 Best Racing Games for PS4 in 2021
    Top 10 Best Racing Games for PS4 in 2021
    With the ever-advancing world of video games, you never really know if a particular racing game is for you unless you play it yourself or read a lot of reviews. Both consume valuable resources, especially with how many racing titles are on the market. That's why we've made it our goal to make your life easier by doing the hard part! We've picked out the best-selling racing games for the PS4 among Amazon's vast offerings. We've got all the details, including both praise and critiques, so you don't have to open dozens of tabs comparing game reviews of racing games. We've also added a guide to help you select the right racing game for PS4 to suit your preferences. We have a suspicion that you'll end up with more than one of these thrilling games!
    Games
    794 views
  • Top 10 Best Cooking Games in 2021 (Overcooked! 2, Cooking Mama, and More)
    Top 10 Best Cooking Games in 2021 (Overcooked! 2, Cooking Mama, and More)
    Ready to serve up some virtual tacos? Or perhaps you want to become the head of a restaurant empire? Try your hand at whipping up delicious dishes with cooking games! These games can be true-to-life experiences, where you prepare ingredients according to recipes, or they can be action-packed restaurant management games. Cooking games allow you to become a master chef without having to clean your kitchen!To help you find a game you'll enjoy, we researched the best cooking games available on a variety of platforms. We chose Overcooked 2 as our favorite; it's a frantic and fun action game that can be played with friends and family. Be sure to check out the rest of our top 10 list, and we've also created a handy buying guide to help you make your choice!
    Games
    8 views
  • Top 10 Best First Person Shooter Games in 2021 (Doom Eternal, Call of Duty, and More)
    Top 10 Best First Person Shooter Games in 2021 (Doom Eternal, Call of Duty, and More)
    Are you an avid first-person shooter (FPS) gamer looking for a new game to try? Or, maybe you're new to the world of gaming and want to see if you have a knack for taking out enemies? There's much more than just having an impeccable aim in enjoying a first-person shooter game. Liking the playstyle, graphics, and platform are just some of the things to think about when choosing a new game to play. We went ahead and handpicked FPS games across all platforms that will pique the interest of newbie and hardcore gamers alike. Coming in first place for its compelling storyline and thought-proving shooting experience is Doom Eternal, viewed by many critics as the pinnacle of first-person shooter games. Read on to see the other shooter games that made it to our list! There's also a buying guide to help you pick the perfect game. 
    Games
    82 views
  • Top 10 Best Family Board Games in 2021 (Catan, Clue, and More)
    Top 10 Best Family Board Games in 2021 (Catan, Clue, and More)
    If you're looking for a family activity that doesn't involve screens or leaving the house, then a family board game is a perfect choice. They can be fun and educational while promoting strategy and cooperation. Above all, they can be the ideal way for your family to spend quality time together.We chose Catan the Board Game by Catan Studio Store as our favorite family board game. It's easy to learn, has a structured learning curve, and can be played repeatedly. We've also put together a top 10 list for you to consider and created a handy buying guide to help you make your choice!
    Games
    132 views
  • Popular Item Lists

    Search by Category