The simulation game genre allows players to take on roles they may have never had the chance to otherwise, offering you a glimpse into a distinct world where you might have become something else like a truck driver or a surgeon, or maybe even a space-station janitor?
With so many options at our fingertips, we thought we’d highlight some of the best simulation games on PC. As always, make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles.
Looking for more PC game recommendations? Check out our list for the Best PC Games in 2020.
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Have you ever spent hours binge-watching home renovation TV shows and thought, “I could do that!” Well, House Flipper can help you tap into your inner home designer without having to get your hands dirty in real life. Instead, you’ll be purchasing virtual properties to be expertly redesigned and furnished before flipping them on the market for a profit.
In order to attract potential buyers, you’ll need to clean up messes left behind by the previous tenants, install new appliances, paint, build and tear down walls, and replace furniture. Each job you take on has different requirements and maximizing your profit will require meeting certain conditions as well as a great eye for design.
Planet Coaster is a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon that provides you with all the tools you could ever dream of to build your very own amusement park. The game allows you to create one-of-a-kind roller coasters and theme parks and share them with players around the world. There’s plenty of options here when it comes to properly theming your park, with fantasy, pirate, sci-fi, and even more options to choose from.
Additionally, there are tons of objects and theme parks created by other players for you to check out in the Steam Workshop. The game includes three different modes: Career, Sandbox, and Challenge mode. Career mode has you completing scenarios with certain conditions while both Sandbox and Challenge mode offer you an empty plot of land and all features unlocked from the start.
Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital is a hospital management sim that has you taking on the role of a medical administrator, building up your own clinics from scratch. Although managing a hospital may not seem inherently fun at first, the game’s streamlined systems and cartoonish art style help keep things light.
Most of the game is spent recruiting and training staff, updating and decorating different rooms, and treating patients suffering from a myriad of ridiculous ailments; For example, there’s “Lightheadedness”, a physical disease in which a person’s head turns into a lightbulb, requiring a trained physician to change it back with a special machine. Two Point features 15 different hospitals with unique objectives to complete in order to achieve a high rating and hopefully win some awards for your locations along the way.
Factorio is a sim game that focuses on base building and resource management. At the start, you’ll find yourself chopping trees, mining ores, and crafting mechanical parts by hand, however, this quickly changes once you gain access to new technology that makes automation possible.
As you expand your factories, you’ll discover the native wildlife isn’t too fond of your technological advancements and will frequently attack you and your machines, requiring you to build defenses and weapons. The game offers a seemingly infinite number of upgrades to unlock, with you eventually venturing into new fields like solar power, oil refining, and artificial intelligence.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
If you’ve ever wanted to drive a big ol’ truck but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a license, then Euro Truck Simulator 2 might be the perfect match for you. The game has you starting your very own cargo delivery business where you can purchase and drive a variety of vehicles and complete jobs across multiple cities. As your business continues to grow, you’ll gain access to new features like a garage for storing your trucks and the ability to hire employees to complete jobs for you.
While the thought of driving a huge 16-wheeler can seem daunting at first, the game’s customizable and responsive controls make things a lot easier. The base game includes 71 cities in 12 different countries, as well as several DLC packs to expand ETS2‘s offerings.
Viscera Cleanup Detail
In Viscera Cleanup Detail you take on the role of a space-station janitor tasked with cleaning up some hilariously-awful messes. The game has you using basic cleaning tools like mops, brooms, and buckets in addition to more interesting devices like a laser gun that’s useful for repairing bullet holes.
Be prepared to roll up your sleeves as most rooms are filled with dismembered bodies and alien guts that can stick to your shoes and create even bigger messes. Your performance is reviewed at the end of each level so make sure to be thorough when cleaning, otherwise you’ll find yourself tossed out into deep space with the trash.
Slime Rancher is an adorable farming sim that tasks you with managing a ranch far from Earth on a planet populated by cute slime creatures. Your job is to catch these slimes, bring them back to your ranch, and feed them in order to produce different kinds of “Plorts,” the game’s main currency. make upgrades to your tools and ranch in order to acquire more slimes.
Accumulating Plorts allows you to upgrade your tools and expand your ranch, adding new housing for your slimes. Additionally, slimes can be combined in multiple ways to create new species that produce more exotic and valuable Plorts.
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
Becoming a cyberpunk bartender has never been easier thanks to VA-11 Hall-A, a sim game set in a futuristic dystopia where corporations reign supreme. You play as a bartender working at a small downtown bar called VA-11 HALL-A, or “Valhalla”.
Your job is to accurately prepare sci-fi inspired drinks for patrons by following specific recipes. Perform well enough and you’ll get the chance to learn more about your customers and the world outside through dynamic conversations.
Inspired by games like Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is a farming sim that offers players a relaxing, enjoyable experience managing their own plot of land. Days are spent growing crops, gathering resources, crafting items, exploring mines and completing tasks for a cast of diverse and interesting NPCs.
The game offers a lot of flexibility, allowing you to focus on doing the activities you enjoy most each day. Over the in-game years, you’ll get to know the community of Stardew Valley well, forming relationships that can leave a lasting impression.
Opus Magnum is a puzzle-based programming game that has you taking on the role of alchemist to create potions, poisons, and more by manipulating the atoms of elements using a transmutation engine. Each challenge provides you with a number of components like programmable arms, customizable tracks, etc. that can be combined and structured to complete certain tasks.
The game starts off fairly simple, assigning you to make basic creations that require less complex solutions; however, things begin to ramp up as items like precious gemstones and deadly weapons are introduced, requiring you to make more intricate designs using multiple chains of mechanisms.
Mordhau is a hack n’ slash medieval multiplayer game that pits you against other players in battles ranging from small scale scuffles to massive 64-player wars. The game’s central and most satisfying aspect is its realistic free-form melee and ranged combat, which grants you total control over your character’s attack motions and allows for unique fighting styles.
Included are a variety of modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, one-life Skirmishes, and more large-scale battles in Battle Royale and Frontline. Mordhau also features customization options for equipping your character with different types of armor and weapons like two-handed broadswords, bow and arrows, axes, and more.
Papers, Please has you working as an immigrant inspector on the border of Arstotzka, a fictional nation experiencing high levels of political tension with its neighboring countries. You’re tasked with assessing the legitimacy of applicants’ documents and reporting any discrepancies in an effort to prevent (or allow) terrorists and other undesirables entry.
As the game progresses, things get a lot more challenging with the requirements to enter Arstotzka becoming increasingly demanding for applicants and your personal life bleeding over into your work. With over 20 different possible endings for its scripted story, Papers, Please does an excellent job at making you grapple with tough moral decisions.
Cities: Skylines is a sim game focused on city-building and a callback to games like SimCity. The game assigns you the role of Mayor and tasks you with constructing your very own metropolis from the ground up with tools and features that are easy to learn but hard to master.
During your journey you’ll control constantly balancing aspects of modern civilization, such as education, water and electricity, police presence, healthcare, and more. Adding mods from the Steam Workshop allows you to tailor the game to fit your needs, increasing or decreasing the level of challenge.
Subnautica has you attempting to survive underwater after your spaceship crash-lands on an alien planet covered almost entirely by oceans. To stay alive you’ll have to constantly juggle your hunger, thirst, and oxygen levels while searching for resources that can be used to upgrade tools, expand your base, and craft submersibles.
My Summer Car
Exploring your old ship’s crash-site reveals more about how you ended up on this strange planet and how to start planning your escape; but beware, as danger lurks around every corner and comes in all shapes and sizes.
My Summer Car provides you with an opportunity to escape your regular everyday life and be transported to the summer of 1995 in Finland, where you find yourself building a car from the ground-up. Some parts can be found scattered throughout your garage, however, others will need to be purchased at a local shop.
While the game may seem straightforward at first, things can get a little crazy with survival mechanics like hunger, thirst, and permadeath layered on top. However, if you can get past those hurdles and some meticulous car part assembly, you’ll be rewarded with a realistic driving experience and plenty of ridiculous extracurricular activities like sauna bathing.
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (TABS), as its name implies, is a game where you simulate battles that use over-the-top physics for comedic effect. The game allows you to recreate wars from throughout history, ranging from medieval battles to modern warfare, with control over unit strategy and placement.
While the game can get a bit ridiculous at times, you’ll find the AI and physics perform surprisingly well even during larger battles with a lot happening at once. There are currently 6 different factions, 14 maps, and 2 modes (Sandbox and Campaign) included.