The simulation game genre allows players to take on roles they may have never had the chance to otherwise, offering you a glimpse into another world where you might have become something else like a truck driver, or a surgeon, or maybe a space-station janitor?
With so many options at your 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 as more great games are released.
Have you ever spent hours binge-watching home renovation TV shows and thought: I could do that! Well House Flipper helps you find out without having to hire a construction crew or get your hands dirty IRL. Instead, you’ll be purchasing virtual properties which can be redesigned and furnished before flipping them on the market and making a profit.
In order to attract potential buyers, you’ll need to clean up messes left behind by the previous occupants, 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.
Thief Simulator gives you a chance to live out your criminal fantasies without any of the pesky jail time. Take on the role of a burglar who, after being sprung from prison, has to repay his debt to a crime family by committing a slew of breaking and entering. Jobs range from simple vandalism like smashing the window of a person’s home, breaking in and stealing expensive electronics, jewelry, and artwork.
Your character learns new abilities as the game progresses, such as lock picking and computer hacking, and stolen goods can be sold at a pawn shop or on an online black market. Neighbors will call the police if they see you acting suspicious so make sure to locate the nearest dumpster, as you’ll probably need to hide in it at some point in the future.
From the same company that brought you Roller Coaster Tycoon comes Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor that provides you with all the tools you could ever dream of to build your very own amusement park. The game features 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.
Planet Coaster allows you to create one of a kind roller coasters and theme parks and share them with the world. There’s plenty of variety here when it comes to properly theming your park, with fantasy, pirate, sci-fi, and even more styles represented in park objects.
Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital is a management sim that has you taking on the role of a medical administrator, building up your own hospitals from scratch. While managing a hospital doesn’t seem inherently fun, thanks to the game’s lighthearted tone and cartoonish art style, Two Point is a fun and addicting experience.
You’ll spend most of the game recruiting and training staff, as well as curing patients that come in with a myriad of comical illnesses, such as “lightheadedness”, in which the person’s head has become a light bulb that you’ll have to remove and replace with a brand new human-head. Two Point features 15 different hospitals with unique objectives to complete in order to achieve a high rating, and possibly even win some awards for one of your locations.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
If you’ve ever wanted to drive a big ol’ truck without having to get a license or even proper training, then Euro Truck Simulator 2 might be for you. The game has you driving a variety of trucks, picking up cargo from one city to delivering it to another. As things progress, you’ll be able to purchase your own truck, a garage, and even hire NPC drivers to complete jobs for you.
With the base game offering 71 cities in 12 different countries, as well as several DLC packs, there’s a lot to explore in ETS2. The driving is great, and being able to listen to real radio stations while you’re on the road adds to the game’s immersion.
Visceral Cleanup Detail
In Viscera Cleanup Detail you’ll be taking 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, buckets, and…incinerators? In order to get rooms filled with dismembered bodies and alien guts back into pristine condition. At the end of each level your performance is reviewed so make sure to be thorough when cleaning, otherwise you’ll find yourself tossed out along with the trash.
While becoming a surgeon in real life takes decades of learning and hard work, Surgeon Simulator ditches all the formalities and allows you to open up a man’s ribcage after a brief tutorial. The game has you conducting a wide-range of medical procedures, from heart transplants to teeth and eye transplants, all while at the mercy of its deceitful physics. Grasping and maneuvering objects with any sense of accuracy becomes practically impossible, with environmental obstacles only adding to the chaos.
Slime Rancher is a playful farming sim that has you managing a ranch far from Earth, on a planet populated by cute slime creatures. You’ll have to catch these slimes, bring them back to your ranch, and feed them food in order for them to produce “plorts”. Plorts are the main currency in the game and allow you to make upgrades to your tools and ranch in order to acquire more slimes.
The game allows you to combine traits from different species of slimes in order to produce new ones with unique abilities that yield multiple plorts. The farming aspects of the game are highly addictive and if it hooks you, prepare to start casually using the word “plorts” in every day conversations with your friends.
Papers, Please has you working as an immigrant inspector on the border of Arstotzka, a fictional country experiencing high levels of political tension with its neighboring countries. It’s your job to review applicants’ documents, taking note of any discrepancies in order to prevent or allow terrorists and other undesirables entry.
Applicant requirements increase as the game progresses as well as opportunities to betray the government and aid a rebellion. With 20 different possible endings for its scripted story, the game does an excellent job at making you grapple with tough moral decisions and think carefully about who to let in and what impact your actions will have.
In Subnautica, you’ll be attempting to survive in the ocean after your spaceship crashes on an alien planet. The game tasks you with juggling hunger, thirst, and oxygen levels in order to keep yourself alive and advance the story. Gathering resources allows you to construct bases, tools, and submersibles to extend how far you can explore and defend yourself from the dangers of this hostile world.
Do you love playing board games, but hate having to set up the pieces and put them away after you’re done? So do we! Tabletop Simulator gets rid of all of that prep time and instead gets you straight into action, playing classic tabletop games like chess and checkers as well as a bunch of original games made by its community. Players are also able to customize and mix their pieces, leading to imaginative recreations of beloved real-world board games.
Mother Simulator does an excellent job at portraying how difficult and chaotic life can be for a new mom. Expect to be changing diapers, preparing bottles, burping and feeding your baby, as you try to complete each challenge before time runs out.
The game has a humorous tone, with some fun mechanics like making disposing of dirty diapers into garbage bins feel like a game of basketball, or the floor randomly turning to slippery ice for a period of time. Whatever you do, don’t drop that baby!
Farm Together manages to form its own identity while drawing inspiration from exceptional farming sims like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon. Where it shines is in the refinements it makes to this niche genre, offering a number of upgrades that make managing a farm more approachable, like the addition of a tractor for speeding up certain tasks.
In Farm Together, time advances whether you’re online or not, so you can always pop back in later in the day to find your crops ready for harvesting, offering more flexibility. The game has great multiplayer integration, allowing you to control who can come into your world and how much they can interact with your farm, reducing any risk of vandalism.
Another sim game that features managing a farm, Garden Paws has a lot of diversity under its belt. You’ll be playing as a small, customizable animal in a world filled with other adorable creatures, exploring caves, fishing, raising animals, collecting items to sell in your shop, and making upgrades to your village in order to draw in new visitors.
It’s a very relaxing game that offers a colorful world free from any danger, waiting to be explored at your leisure. Also, did we mention you can play as a cute cat?