Simulation games are a ton of fun. It’s a great way to further enjoy your hobbies or to see what life would be like from a different profession. There’s a ton of great simulation video games out there today and in this list, we’re going to dive into some of the best available right now for the PC platform.
#25 Euro Truck Simulator 2
Platform: Linux, PC, macOS
Release Date: PC October 19, 2012
Linux April 16, 2013
macOS January 29, 2015
Genre: Vehicle simulation
If you ever wanted to be a trucker then there are quite a few video game titles you can pick up. One of the more popular struck simulation experiences available at the moment is Euro Truck Simulator 2. Within the game, you’re a trucker that’s suppose to deliver various cargo to their destination. From vehicles, oil tankers, to some oversize loads, there’s a pretty wide range of cargo to go through.
Just like with any cargo, several procedures need to be handled. Not only do you need to ensure that your rig is in order, but that the necessary equipment to transport the goods is available. From there, it’s life on the road, as you set your destination, follow the rules of the road and attempt to make your delivery on time. Of course, there are some customization options as well so you can make some upgrades or cosmetic changes to your gear.
#24 Football Manager 2021
Platform: PC, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One, XSX, Switch
Release Date: PC November 24, 2020
Touch, Xbox Edition
December 1, 2020
macOS, iOS, Android November 24, 2020
Touch December 1, 2020
Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S December 1, 2020
Nintendo Switch December 15, 2020
Genre: Sport simulations
Football, or soccer depending on where you’re located, is a pretty big sport. There are countless yearly video game installments released in which players can live out their dream of playing for a professional team. However, there’s also a game that puts players into a position of building up a team and developing their skills. Football Manager is quite the popular simulation series for the sport and most have found the latest installment, Football Manager 2021, to be worth the upgrade.
In this game, players are tossed in control of a club where you’re given total control of how your club is handled. You’ll be able to meet with your staff to assess your club and chart out the strategies to get your club as a team to reckon with. There’s quite a bit too swift through in this game as it’s not all about training and recruiting. There are extensive data to go over, setting up performances, interacting with the media, staff, and players.
#23 American Truck Simulator
Platform: PC, Linux, macOS
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: Vehicle simulation
Just like our number 25 pick, American Truck Simulator allows players to live out their trucking dreams. This is a bit newer of a video game as well in comparison to Euro Truck Simulator 2, but you’ll find that they don’t offer too many differences. Where American Truck Simulator may appeal to more players is the fact that it’s set within America so you’re going to get shipments that will take players across various states and terrains.
Outside of that, you’re still getting access to a wide assortment of cargo which will require different types of rigs or trailers. Then it’s all about charting your course to the destination. Much like how the tag line says for this game, it’s not driving, it’s trucking. Driving a truck is quite a bit different so knowing your trailer, how to properly deliver a load without ramming into anything takes time and practice to hone up your skills.
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: April 28, 2020
SnowRunner is another vehicle-based simulation game but instead of the open roads, this game focuses on the more difficult terrains. From snowy tundras to the thick muddy mountains, players will be tasked with plowing through these rough trails to complete a series of goals. Goals can be pretty unique too so if you’re not delivering goods, you could find yourself offering a hitch to a stuck vehicle and pulling them to more stable grounds.
On top of that, you’ll be able to make some necessary upgrades to your fleet such as adding chain tires to get a grip within the snow-covered roads or an exhaust snorkel if you’re dealing with some deep water. Not to mention, this game does include up to four-player cooperative support which can make the drive through these harsh environments even more fun.
#21 X-Plane 11
Release Date: March 30, 2017
Most would be familiar with the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise in which players can jump into the cockpit of an aircraft to fly around. However, another franchise offers the same kind of gameplay called X-Plane. This IP has been around since 1995 and it offers players a flight simulation video game experience. The latest installment came out in 2017 but it’s still being supported today with new updates and bug fixes.
Within X-Plane 11 players can take control of a wide assortment of aircraft but as the list suggests, this is a simulation experience. You’re not going to jump in to this game without learning a bunch of material that goes into flights. You’ll have different controls, planes, aircraft, and of course weather conditions. Just like with any flight, knowing where you’re traveling to, how the weather will be, along with the aircraft you’re flying. There’s a series of menus and charts to make some customization options to ensure you are flight-ready.
There’s even DLC for this game which features additional airports. However, as mentioned, the game is being supported with normal updates that can help bring out an even more realistic experience for players. Not to mention, the wide range of peripherals you can get to make the flight feel a bit more authentic.
#20 Planet Coaster
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, XSX, PS5, macOS
Release Date: PC November 17, 2016
PS4, Xbox One, XSX November 10, 2020
PS5 November 12, 2020
macOS November 17, 2020
If you’re familiar with the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise then you might have already been a fan of Planet Coaster. This is the spiritual successor of the classic tycoon franchise where players are in control of a theme park. Within the game, players are given total control of how to build a park up which means not only adding rides, but food services, restrooms, decor, and even adjusting the terrain to go with the theme of your build.
It doesn’t stop there, when you’re done customizing your theme park and open the doors for customers, you’re left with managing. You’ll get to adjust rides, prices, along with your staff to ensure that there’s someone around for security, cleaning your park, working at the various attractions, along with mascots to entertain guests. Of course, listening to guest’s feedback and changing rides out after so long is all apart of ensuring your park doesn’t become stale but instead a fresh entertaining experience for everyone.
#19 This War of Mine
Release Date: PC, OS X, Linux 14 November 2014
Android 14 July 2015
iOS 15 July 2015
The Little Ones
PS4, Xbox One 29 January 2016
Windows 1 June 2016
Nintendo Switch November 27, 2018
This War of Mine is a pretty different simulation game compared to the other games on this list. In this game, players are tossed in control of a group of survivors caught in a city held under a war siege. When we think of war games, we’re usually in the perspective of a soldier, going into battle against evil forces. Whereas in this game, players are not soldiers but everyday individuals that are attempting to survive the harsh realities of battle.
Players will find that it’s too dangerous to leave their building during the day. This means going out at night to find resources. Overall, you’re attempting to keep your group alive and well, but you’ll soon find out that there will be some extremely difficult decisions that players will have to make. Morals will be put in question as you seek out goods and keep those in your care safe.
#18 Thief Simulator
Platform: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Release Date: PC November 9, 2018
Switch May 16, 2019
PS4 August 12, 2020
Thief Simulator is exactly what it sounds like. In this game, players are a thief that’s tasked with going around a neighborhood and stealing valuables. It’s an indie title so there might be some clunky style visuals, but the gameplay is a blast. As a thief, you’ll need to stake out a home, figure out how to break in, and from there gather all the belongings to sell at a local pawn shop.
As you can imagine, some houses could be more secure than others. This will require a set of skills that range from picking a lock to deactivating an alarm system. Then there’s always the chance you could get caught and that means it’s a race to flee from the police in hopes of throwing them off the trail so you can once again go back to being a no-good crook.
#17 Space Engineers
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: PC February 28, 2019
Xbox One April 15, 2020
Who isn’t interested in space? The great unknown is full of adventure for scientists as they embark on missions to see just what they’ll find within the heavens above. Space Engineers allows players to strap on a spacesuit and start the exploration themselves with this game focusing on building, exploration, and surviving the elements of different planets.
Overall, this is a sandbox-style game where players are tasked with exploration. However, there’s more to it as you’ll need to build up useful equipment to set out on your exploration which means vehicles, space stations, and outposts just to name a few examples. Players are encouraged to construct to their heart’s content and if you’re ever low on resources or don’t find the use of a build any longer, you can deconstruct the area to recoup some of those precious parts for a future build.
If you’re less inclined to deal with resources to keep players alive then there’s a creative mode attached that is purely focused on building without worrying about limited resources at hand and the added benefit of not dying. We can’t forget to mention that there’s a multiplayer mode as well which allows up to sixteen players on a dedicated server.
#16 TheHunter: Call of the Wild
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: theHunter April 2009
theHunter: Call of the Wild
February 16, 2017
TheHunter: Call of the Wild is your standard kind of hunting game. It’s all about realism where players gather their necessary gear and venture into the woods in hopes of spotting the prized wild deer, or whatever it is you might be after, within your scopes. Just like with actual hunting, this game focuses on the equipment and the hunter’s ability to track their prey. There’s even multiplayer support so you could join with some friends as you hunt together or even compete in various in-game challenges.
#15 House Flipper
Release Date: May 17, 2018
House Flipper was a pretty big game when it first launched so you might have spotted some of your favorite YouTubers or streamers playing through this game. Again, the name is pretty self-explanatory if you’ve never seen this game played. Here in this title players are given a pretty beat-up home to renovate and fix up. This could mean making some simple repairs or completely gutting the home to rearrange the rooms.
With an array of tools, players can break down walls, clean messes, add new fixtures, place up additional walls, to even dressing the home up with decor in hopes of selling the house for a profit. After all, the goal of this game is not just to flip a house to look new or better than ever, it’s about getting a house to sell for a profit. Determining how much to invest in a project is a bit of a risk but if you’re a risk-taker then the reward might pay off.
#14 DCS World
Release Date: April 2, 2009
Genre: Combat flight simulator
DCS World stands for Digital Combat Simulator World. This is a free to play battlefield type of game. Players can jump into a wide assortment of vehicles to complete missions which can be a ground attack aircraft to heavy-duty tanks. You’ll also get to go through missions across multiple environment types so this could be a big city, a lush field, or in the middle of the ocean.
This is unfortunately just a single-player video game so you can’t go into battle against friends here. However, there is VR support to bring a bit more immersion for players that have something like an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset. Furthermore, being a free to play game, you can expect this game to also feature DLC to support the game. There’s a ton of DLC options to pick through which can add more vehicles to the title but you might be surprised by just how much some of these DLC options can go for. It’s not unusual to see DLC in the $80 price range so this could become a very expensive game if you’re not careful.
#13 Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Platform: PC, macOS, Xbox One
Release Date: April 1, 2019
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator or known simply as TABS is a game that allows players to see how certain battles could play out. It’s a wacky type of game with the wobbly physics featured from quite a few indie games. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the type of physics I’m talking about, but here you’re setting up battles against armies that would have never fought before. In the mix you could have mammoths, Spartans to Vikings all in a grand battle as you watch to see who would come out on top. It’s a lighthearted silly game that can be entertaining for a wide audience, but don’t expect any real historically accurate battles to take place here.
#12 The Sims 4
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, macOS
Release Date: PC September 2, 2014
macOS February 17, 2015
PS4, Xbox One November 14, 2017
The Sims has been around since 2000 and so far The Sims 4 is the latest base installment available. This is a life simulation video game franchise where players are given control of creating a group of Sims and then place them into the world. From there, you can tweak their homes, provide care for the created characters, and help them stay in a positive mood. Over the years, we’ve seen the development studio Maxis bring out quite a few enhancements for these games.
Released as expansions, players can add quite a bit into their Sims world. This includes additional decor, adding careers, seasons, to even changing up where the Sims might live such as a city or a university. As mentioned, The Sims 4 is the latest installment that came out in 2014, however, there’s still a ton of packs released into the market. For instance this past year alone we saw two expansions, one game pack, and two stuff packs. The developers are cramming new things for players to do with their Sims regularly so it might be a good while before we get the next major installment to The Sims.
Release Date: May 29, 2015
Genre: Vehicle simulation
BeamNG.drive is a driving game but it’s more of a sell on the physics engine that the development studio has been working on. At least, that’s the focus so far that the developers hammer in on with the video game. There’s a wide range of driving games out there and each offers some kind of a crash mechanic. They can be satisfying but few nail the realism of how a vehicle would behave during a crash or driving through rough terrains.
In 2015, the development team BeamNG brought out the BeamNG.drive to show off a driving game that offers a realistic physic system for every vehicle. In real-time, you can see how the metal would react to being smashed by another vehicle or by a solid piece of terrain. However, there’s also the way a vehicle would handle on various roads. You can see how the body of the car would shift or wobble just as it would in real life. As mentioned, this is a game that launched in 2015 but it’s been stuck in early access and there’s no way of knowing just when it will come out.
#10 Game Dev Tycoon
Nintendo Switch October 8, 2020
Genre: Business simulation
Game Dev Tycoon blew up when it launched in 2013 and it’s still a game being supported today. If you ever had any interest in working within the video game industry then this title could be appealing. Players are in control of their own video game development company which starts in the 1980s. Here players are stuck working in their home as they attempt to craft their first indie game.
After shipping your first few games, your studio can grow which means getting into a new building, hiring staff, and adding more funds to the projects you’re building. Not only are you deciding what type of game is being built but you’re able to hire staff to work on certain areas of the game. Depending on how skilled your staff is or who you hire for certain areas of the job will determine how good your game ends up being. But then you have to ship the game out and hope that there’s enough marketing and positive reception to move units before you can proceed on to the next chapter of your business.
#9 Car Mechanic Simulator 2018
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One,
Release Date: July 28, 2017
PC July 28, 2017
iOS, Android June 22, 2018
Nintendo Switch February 15, 2019
PS4, Xbox One June 25, 2019
Genre: Simulation, Automotive
Get your hands dirty with Car Mechanic 2018. This game is all about repairing cars and getting them out of the garage. You don’t need to be handy with cars in real life, but this game would really kill some hours of the day as you partake in missions or simply find old cars to flip. Players can find those old beat-up vehicles in junkyards or old barnyards to fix up. Likewise, there’s an auction system where you can seek out some new interesting vehicles to fix up.
Not only are you diagnosing a car to see just what is wrong with it, but you’re having to purchase parts to put into the build. I think with a lot of simulation games out there, the more you know may hurt some of the gameplay experience. You might find that the game could be limiting in that you can’t customize every little object within the game, but those that are just looking for a casual simulation game that might even help you learn about car repairs in real life could easily sink some hours into this game.
#8 Tropico 6
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: PC, macOS, Linux March 29, 2019
PS4, Xbox One September 27, 2019
Nintendo Switch November 6, 2020
Genre: Construction and management simulation, government simulation
Tropico has been around for a good while and we received an installment to the franchise back in 2019 with Tropico 6. This is a series where players take on the role of a leader, known as El Presidente, who is in control of a Caribbean island. Being the leader you’ll have control over a variety of aspects that range from political situations, laws, and overall management to the island itself.
Gamers will be taking control of the island throughout four eras, but depending on how you handle various situations will determine if your island flourishes or if you’ll end up dealing with a revolt. Similar to other city management style video games, it’s a mix between keeping your location looking nice while appealing towards the citizen’s needs.
#7 PC Building Simulator
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: January 29, 2019
I enjoy building PCs as they can be quite soothing. Deciding on the necessary parts for the build, making the purchases, and finally assembling everything can be rewarding as well. However, I don’t enjoy how much building PCs cost. This is an expensive hobby and certainly one that I can’t just afford to partake in often. That’s where PC Building Simulator comes into play. This game puts players in control of a PC repair service where you’ll get customers sending in their PCs for either an upgrade or a repair.
With a designated delivery date for the repair, players have to work against the clock to find the problem or make the necessary upgrade. This also means investing in the new parts before swamping everything out and sending the PC back to the owner for a profit. This is a great way to learn how to build a PC as well. Everything from the socket types of CPUs, graphics cards, RAM, case chassis, and fans, are featured. You’ll even have to correctly plug all the necessary cables into their designated slots.
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox one, macOS, Linux
Release Date: PC, PS4, OS X, Linux, May 9, 2016
PS4, Xbox One, February 26, 2019
Genre: RTS, 4X, Grand Strategy
Paradox Development Studio is known for delivering some strategic video game titles into the market. These are the folks behind Crusader Kings III, Hearts of Iron IV, but in the case for our list, Stellaris. This is a mix between a simulation and strategy game. Overall, Stellaris is a 4X game set in space where players take to the final frontier in this real-time. Within the title players will begin a civilization of their creation in a randomly generated universe, exploring new worlds, encountering aliens, and facing the challenges of running an intergalactic civilization through war and diplomacy. While the game may have come out back in 2016, it’s still seeing quite a few updates to ensure that the game is optimized and performing well.
#5 Farming Simulator 19
Platform: iOS, Android, Kindle, PC, Mac OS, Ps3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Commodore 64, Stadia
October 25, 2012
November 18, 2013
15 PC, MAC
October 30, 2014
15 X360, PS3, XONE, PS4
May 19, 2015
May 8, 2015
17 All platforms
October 25, 2016
18 PlayStation Vita, Android, iOS, Nintendo 3DS
June 6, 2017
19 All platforms
November 20, 2018
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. In Farming Simulator 19 players will work on hundreds of acres with useful farming vehicles and equipment. Learn how to tame the ground 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. At the time of writing this description, Farming Simulator 19 is the latest installment available to purchase for the PC platform and it’s been quite the big hit for fans of the franchise.
#4 F1 2020
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia
Release Date: July 10, 2020
If you’re familiar with the F1 video game franchise then you can expect F1 2020 to keep up with the game mechanics and playstyle that you would be familiar with if you had played previous installments. With that said, there is a brand new game mode that will be added to the game. This mode is called My Team and it allows players to create their racing team rather than using an already established team. From there you can compete against the 2020 lineup in this intense simulation racing experience.
Just as before, players can also expect a two-player split-screen available if you wish to join in a race with a friend. Otherwise, standard multiplayer game mode options will be available. While the coronavirus has prevented the standard racing season to take place, players can still enjoy this simulator in its place.
#3 Surviving Mars
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux
Release Date: March 15, 2018
Genre: Simulation, city building
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. 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. Being in space there are plenty of challenges that will pop up which you’ll need to prepare for and execute a strategy that’s not only going to keep the colonists safe but happy.
#2 Microsoft Flight Simulator
Platform: DOS, Classic Mac OS, PC-98, PC, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: First release, November 1982
Latest release, August 18, 2020
Genre: Amateur flight simulation
Microsoft has delivered its Flight Simulator franchise since 1982. That’s decades wroth of video game titles released and while the series has been a bit dormant, Microsoft opted to unveil a new installment for 2020 during their E3 2019 press conference which you can now finally enjoy today. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, this is a simulation video game where players take control of an aircraft.
It’s a highly detailed simulator where players will fly to select destinations all while going about the variety of controls for each aircraft. In this game, players can fly anywhere in the world as data will be used from Bing Maps to generate the various pathways along with environmental aspects like trees and wildlife. There is a ton of players actively seeking not only this game out but hardware accessories such as flight stick to other control modules.
#1 Cities: Skylines
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, MacOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: PC, MacOS
Linux, March 10, 2015
Xbox One, April 21, 2017
PS4, August 15, 2017
Nintendo Switch September 13, 2018
Genre: City-building, construction and management simulation
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.
This game has been around since 2015 and that means there’s plenty of expansions available to give players even more content to play with. 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.