The Best Simulator Video Games Of The Last 5 Years

Note: This article was updated in March of 2019.

Do you like dabbling into other careers or hobbies through a video game format? There are all sorts of great simulator-based video game titles that release each and every year. We decided to take a look at the very best available on the latest generation console platforms.

These are some of the best simulator video games that have released within the last five years.

#14 Farming Simulator 17

  • Developer: Giants Software
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release: October 25, 2016

Farming Simulators always seem to do a solid job within the gaming market. From Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley to the Farming Simulator series, there’s certainly a market for these simulation games. Within Farming Simulator 17, players will experience more of a modern feel of being a farmer.

Within the game players will work on hundreds of acres with over 250 farming vehicles and equipment. Learn how to tame the ground in order to bring out a healthy harvest of crops while also taking care of the various livestock. Likewise, a big portion of the game will be selling your goods to help expand your land and equipment.

A neat little addition to Farming Simulator 17 is that the game will allow for community-created mods to help enhance your farm life experience.

#13 Tropico 5

  • Developer: Haemimont Games
  • Publisher: Kalypso Media
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, X360, XBO
  • Release: September 19, 2014

The Tropico series has always put players in control of a country with an emphasis on being a government simulator. Within the game, players will go through four different eras while the game tosses a number of objectives to complete.

As the leader of a country, gamers will have to handle various aspects from maintaining the order of the countries people to bringing bliss and prosperity. However, if you’re not looking to go through a campaign or facing against other players, the game does offer a sandbox mode.

Within this sandbox mode, a pre-generated island will be created for players to tweak and control.

#12 The Sims 4

  • Developer: Maxis
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: September 2, 2014

The Sims franchise has maintained a strong following over the decades and the fourth main installment of The Sims was released on the latest generation of consoles. As always, the gameplay still remains around controlling a group of individuals who live in the same house.

As always, players can tweak the household to replicate a design that they particularly enjoy whether that be décor to fully rearranging the house blueprints. Outside of the construction element, gamers within The Sims 4 will still be able to adjust the everyday activities of their characters. Likewise, The Sims 4 has received additional expansion packs to help bring in even more content to go through.

#11 Job Simulator

  • Developer: Owlchemy Labs
  • Publisher: Owlchemy Labs
  • Platforms: PC, PS4
  • Release: April 5, 2016

Job Simulator has become a hit online and one of the more recommended VR titles to pick up. With that said, you’re going to need a decent gaming PC with either the HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift to enjoy the game. Within the title, players take on the role of a human in a robot driven world.

The game offers a variety of everyday jobs to take on such as a standard office job to a car mechanic or even a convenient store clerk. Regardless of the job, players will have to do various tasks while interacting with the various objects and sets.

#10 Jurassic World Evolution

  • Developer: Frontier Developments
  • Publisher: Frontier Developments
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: June 12, 2018

If you enjoy building up parks and attractions while managing the business side of things then you’ll want to keep tabs on Jurassic World Evolution. The video game is developed by Frontier Developments who has brought out such classics as the RollerCoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon franchises.

With this release, players are put in control of building their own Jurassic Park where you’ll manage the design of the park and the business aspect of maintaining a successful business.

#9 Railway Empire

  • Developer: Gaming Minds Studios
  • Publisher: Kalypso Media
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: January 30, 2018

Railway Empire is all about transportation using the railway network. Players will have control of the 40 different trains with the ability to build a railway station and maintenance buildings. Likewise, the game will allow complete control of railway services, but the competition will be thick.

Gamers will need to go against rival railway services which may mean keeping up with the technologies that surround railroads to using various tactics to help attack your opponents business.

#8 Surviving Mars

  • Developer: Haemimont Games
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: March 15, 2018

Within Surviving Mars players will be on the cold red planet where their sole goal is to manage and oversee the colonization of the new world. Of course, there will be some challenges that will come up giving players some tough obstacles to pass through.

This is a city-builder type game as well where players will have to build up their colony and gather resources to maintain their colonization. As a result, the game will have a bit of a strategy element to the gameplay similar to another game we’re going to discuss below, Aven Colony.

#7 Aven Colony

  • Developer: Mothership Entertainment
  • Publisher: Team17
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: July 25, 2017

Overall, the narrative around Aven Colony is based on a human colonization of an alien planet. Because of this, there are various hazards you will have to deal with such as freezing night temperatures, alien plagues, and keeping your residents happy.

Essentially, Aven Colony is a futuristic take on something similar to the Sim City franchise. Players will be building a number of structures that will not only help with providing resources to keep the colony well fed and safe, but also a means of entertainment to keep civilians morale positive.

Outside of providing water, oxygen, crops, and electricity, gamers will have to maintain a means of commute, crime control, and employment. As mentioned, the city colony as a whole will have to fight against the various plagues and diseases that will spread across the planet which may have players act quickly at a moments notice.

#6 Prison Architect

  • Developer: Introversion Software
  • Publisher: Introversion Software
  • Platforms: PC PS4, X360, XBO, iOS, Android
  • Release: October 6, 2015

Prison Architect is a construction and management simulation video game. Players are in total control of designing a private prison used to host several inmates. This is a top-down 2D video game where not only players are tasked with designing and building a prison, but to also manage the facilities.

Some of the management processes will include hiring staff such as a warden, guards, along with other workers to keep the prison, neat, orderly and maintained. Furthermore, players can adjust their prison to include a reform program to help with a prisoner’s rate of success when leaving.

#5 Planet Coaster

  • Developer: Frontier Developments
  • Publisher: Frontier Developments
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release: November 17, 2016

If you enjoyed the past RollerCoaster Tycoon video game installments then you won’t want to pass up on Planet Coaster. This is a management simulator game in which players control a theme park.

Not only will players be able to completely customize the park with rides and decor but you will also manage the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a park.

#4 Cities: Skylines

  • Developer: Colossal Order
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Platforms: PC, XBO, PS4
  • Release: March 10, 2015

Cities: Skylines may not have been developed by EA Maxis, but it’s certainly what most of its players and fans of the simulation/tycoon genre would consider being the true successor to the Sim City series of games.

Similar to the Sim City series, Cities: Skylines is a simulation title in which players can build up and maintain a city, full of buildings and civilians. The game will put gamers in control of various zoning’s, road placements, taxation, transportation, and even public services.

Of course, the game will throw players a few problems as well. This could be as simple as focusing on civilian needs to natural disasters wrecking sections of your city. Much like The Sims 4, Cities: Skylines have also received a number of expansion packs.

For instance, the Mass Transit expansion pack introduced new transit systems into the game such as cable cars and blimps along with a mini-expansion called Concerts which allowed gamers to bring in new event venues for concerts and festivals.

#3 Frostpunk

  • Developer: 11 bit studios
  • Publisher: 11 bit studios
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release: April 24, 2018

From the developers who delivered This War of Mine to the masses in 2014 comes their latest release, Frostpunk. If you’re familiar with This War of Mine, you’ll find that Frostpunk shares some strong similarities, one of which is toying with the player’s moral compass.

Within the game, players are left having to control a city of civilians who is seeking refuge from the harsh cold temperatures within the world. Being one of the few cities built around a heat source, players will have to strategize on how to handle various issues that may come up.

The game will force players to seek out resources and build up the city. However, gameplay will soon become a balancing game when it comes to pulling resources together in order to fight off problems that may affect the health and safety of the city inhabitants.

#2 Stardew Valley

  • Developer: ConcernedApe
  • Publisher: Chucklefish
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, NS, PSV
  • Release: February 26, 2016

Stardew Valley has been a huge hit that acts very much like the Harvest Moon franchise. This is a farming style simulation title where players take on the role of a character who inherits their grandfather’s dilapidated farm.

Again, much like Harvest Moon, the game will have players tending to crops and their livestock while also introducing craft goods, mining, among other social activities. Since its release back in 2016 the video game became a massive hit and has sold over three million units by the end of 2017.

#1 Kerbal Space Program

  • Developer: Squad
  • Publisher: Squad
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
  • Release: April 27, 2015

Kerbal Space Program puts players in control of a space station facility where your sole purpose and duty is to create functional ships for a crew of Kerbals. With a wide collection of parts that will play an effect through the build of a spacecraft, players will learn how to successfully develop a spacecraft capable of going into space and landing back down to Earth through trial-and-error.

There are a few game modes within Kerbal Space Program that are worth trying out. Not only is there a sandbox mode that will give players the ability to be creative but also modes that will give players objectives and missions while traveling through space.

With a realistic physics engine, crafting a spacecraft can be a challenge. Each part will need to be carefully placed which may mean playing around with your crafts for quite some time until they are fully ready for action.