The best simulation games offer a gateway to new jobs, hobbies, and settings beyond your own, all from the comfort of your home.
It happens to be one of the most encompassing genres in gaming, causing many great simulation games to slip between the cracks.
We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite simulation games on PC!
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Not for Broadcast
If you’ve ever dreamed of running your own news station and deciding what’s fit for broadcast, then make sure to check out Not for Broadcast.
In it, you’re put in charge of picking camera angles, bleeping swear words, and determining which ads to run for the National Nightly News.
As things progress, the game ramps up its dark comedic themes with segments from annoying celebs, dishonest politicians, and weird sponsors.
Players are given the freedom to decide how far to push the envelope; will you run a tight ship or create televised chaos?
Managing the day to day operations of a prison is no joke, especially when you’re assigned the role of guarding inmates.
In Prison Simulator, you’re given the task of maintaining order in a penitenary and keeping the population in check however you see fit.
Daily duties include searching prisoners for contraband, performing gun maintenance, breaking up fights, and shooting the occassional hoop at the court.
The game also includes a prisoner creator tool that lets you make custom inmates to populate your virtual jail.
SuchArt: Genius Artist Simulator
If you fancy yourself something of an artist, then you may want to tap into your creative juices with a game like SuchArt.
Touted as a “Genius Art Simulator,” it casts you as a unique artist living in the year 2130 aboard a space studio all your own.
Each day, you’ll receive assignments from art clients with a particular vision in mind; its up to you to interpret that idea and filter it through your own imagination.
To achieve this, the game provides you with a wide selection of tools such as canvases, paintbrushes, spray paint cans, markers, and more.
Gas Station Simulator
Gas Station Simulator is an ambitious shopkeeping game that sees you running your own servicing location in the middle of the desert.
The game goes beyond just pumping gas, with players assigned other titles such as cashier, vehicle repairman, janitor, and more.
Over time, you’ll be able to upgrade and expand your gas station to offer new services and even hire your own employees to help out.
It’s a great game for anyone who likes customizing shops, helping customers and becoming fully immersed in running a business.
Jurassic World Evolution 2
Building off of the success of its predecessor, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a management sim game that puts you in charge of your very own dino theme park.
This time around, players are treated to a brand new narrative campaign voiced by actors from the films along with expanded features, game modes, and dinosaurs.
Working alongside characters from the films, you’ll learn to control, conserve, and contain wild dinosaurs now rampaging across the USA.
This is done by exploring new management tools and creative options such as customizing buildings, hiring staff, and bioengineering new dinosaur breeds.
Ranch Simulator sees you taking over your family’s ranch, which has fallen on hard times and needs to be updated to have any hope of turning a profit.
Your best chances lay in raising livestock, particularly chickens to start with, though the developer has plans to add cows, pigs, and horses as well.
Money you earn can be used to buy tools, vehicles to help with your rebuilding projects, and better structures to house your livestock and protect them from predators.
Beyond the borders of your cozy homestead lies a vibrant open-world complete with free-roaming deer and bears you can hunt with your trusty rifle.
For all the escape room fans, Escape Simulator a first-person puzzle game that can be played either solo or cooperatively with friends.
Drawing inspiration from real-life escape rooms, it gives players the freedom to hold onto objects from room to room, inspect items, and even break them to reveal a hidden object inside.
The base game includes 20 remixed room filled with puzzles designed by real-life escape room operators.
Players can go beyond these maps using Escape Simulator’s custom level maker to create their own or explore a wide selection of community-made ones.
Shredders is an extreme sports simulator that sees your character looking to break into the snowboarding scene at the biggest competitive event of the year.
To earn a spot among the best of the best, you’ll have to hone your skills by carving up mountains and performing tricks off rails and ramps.
The game was designed to be played with a standard gamepad and features extremely detailed controls reminiscent of games like Skate.
Along with a full story mode, Shredders supports online multiplayer where you and your friends compete for the top score.
PowerWash Simulator provides you with the simple satisfaction of turning dirty messes into sparkling wonders.
In it, you’re tasked with building up your own power washing business by taking on contracts across the dusty town of Muckingham.
There are no time restraints or final scores to worry about, just you and an abundance of washers, nozzles, and extensions designed for different tasks.
The game also gives you the ability to customize your gear and replay completed assignments in Free Play.
Cooking Simulator takes a more realistic approach to cooking without having to worry about making a mess in your actual kitchen.
It includes over 80 recipes you can unlock and master by combining dozens of ingredients using an assortment of kitchen appliances and utensils.
Since actions are performed in real-time and rely on the game’s physics system, there’s a bit of a learning curve to completing certain tasks.
There are also opportunities to improve your performance by unlocking new perks and a sandbox mode where you can set the whole kitchen on fire with no repercussions.
Faming Simulator 22
If you’re looking for a farming simulation with realistic graphics, you could do much worse than the Farming Simulator series, which focuses more on the business aspect.
The latest installment is Farming Simulator 22, which offers superb graphical fidelity and a wide selection of tools, crops, and equipment to explore.
Time in the game is spent managing your farm’s finances and deciding what equipment, livestock, and seeds you’ll need for the upcoming season.
Aside from that, you’re given the option to drive vehicles yourself, hire NPCs to come work on your farm, and even invite other players to help out.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator has existed for nearly four decades and continues to improve with each new installment.
The latest iteration released in 2020 borrows textures and other data from Microsoft-owned Bing Maps to simulate Earth’s entirety, including terrain and bodies of water.
On the structural side of things, Flight Sim uses Microsoft’s Azure Cloud technology to generate 3D representations of mountains, forests, and airports.
The end results are quite astonishing, with accurate recreations of notable landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, and even our own backyards.
Tabletop Simulator lets you play a large number of tabletop games virtually with up to ten friends across the globe.
The base game includes classics like Chess, Poker, and Jigsaw Puzzles, and you can download literal thousands more via Steam Workshop.
During games, you can walk and look around a fully-3D space, pick up, rotate, shake, and even throw objects.
Considering how many officially licensed games you can find in here, Tabletop Simulator is a great way to play a wide range of board games while saving money.
Kerbal Space Program
Space flight sim Kerbal Space Program sees you building and piloting an array of aircraft, rockets, rovers, and more with help from little green aliens known as Kerbals.
Anything you build can be test-driven in the game’s open sandbox, which extends past Earth and into outer space.
Since the goal is to get the Kerbals into space successfully, you’ll find yourself taking to the skies again and again only to run out of fuel or make a wrong turn and end up plummeting to Earth.
Since the KSP engine can replicate real-life orbital maneuvers, you can even use it to train yourself to be a NASA pilot…or just chain together as many rockets as you can.
Anyone who enjoys Kerbal Space Program might also have fun building rockets in Spaceflight Simulator.
True to its name, the game sees you constructing a wide selection of customizable spacecraft before launching them into space.
The goal is to successfully build, launch, and land your creations on various planets without having the entire thing blow up in your face.
Much like Kerbal, the game has a steep learning curve surrounding its controls, mechanics, and techniques but once it all clicks together you’ll feel like a genius.
House Flipper serves both as a parody of popular home-renovation TV shows and a legit house flipping simulation game.
In it, you purchase and sell virtual properties in hopes of making a profit by applying a bit of elbow grease to increase their value.
This includes rewiring sockets, changing fuses, demolishing walls, picking up trash, repainting rooms, and buying new furniture.
Each client will have their own preferences, so knowing how to cater to their needs is an essential ingredient for success.
Next up, Planet Coaster is a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon where you’re free to create unique theme parks and share them with players around the world.
It features a Career mode that has you completing various scenarios with certain conditions in addition to Sandbox and Challenge modes that drop you on an empty plot of land with all items unlocked.
Planet Coaster boasts an impressive 40+ rides and attractions to help draw customers along with numerous themed decorations to give your park a distinct look and feel.
There are also many DLC packs that expand the number of themes available, ranging from fantasy to science fiction, Hollywood sets, pirates, and everything in between.
Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital keeps things light by removing all of the boring parts of running a hospital with a streamlined approach to managing staff, researching new technologies, and attracting patients.
Instead, you’re free to wander around your hospital and watch as patients get treated for a variety of ridiculous ailments.
For example, ‘Lightheadedness,’ is an affliction in which a person’s head turns into a lightbulb, requiring a trained physician to change it back using a special machine.
The game 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 gives players the tools to tap into their imagination and design complex factories that prioritize automation and efficiency.
At first, you’ll have to manually chop trees, mine ores, and craft parts until you’ve conducted enough research to unlock automation.
Continue expanding and you’ll encounter new obstacles you had never even considered, such as local wildlife that isn’t too keen on you stripping away their homes.
Factorio’s progression system offers an assortment of upgrades to boost efficiency, harness alternative power sources, and program AI for your machines.
If you prefer to tame the open road, SnowRunner is a sandbox driving sim that will put your skills through the wringer.
In it, you play as a truck driver tasked with traversing extreme environments with harsh road conditions ranging from thick pockets of mud to torrential waters and slippery snow.
You’ll take on dozens of challenging assignments spanning multiple interconnected sandboxes around the world while unlocking over 40 unique vehicles from brands like Ford, Chevrolet, and Freightliner.
SnowRunner also offers mod support, up to 4-player online co-op, and compatibility with most steering wheel controllers.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Another great driving sim for roleplaying as a truck driver is Euro Truck Simulator 2, which sees you starting your own cargo delivery business.
You start off by purchasing your own truck and driving it across a sprawling sandbox spanning 71 cities across 12 different European countries.
As your business flourishes and expands, you’re able to buy a garage to store multiple trucks and even hire employees to complete jobs you don’t have the time for.
The best way to play this game is in first-person with a steering wheel and pedal setup, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the open road and its many wonders.
Slime Rancher is a cute farming game where you have to run a ranch on another planet that is full of adorable slime animals.
Your job is to catch these slimes, bring them back to your ranch, and feed them various foods in order to produce ‘Plorts,’ which serve as the game’s main currency and method for upgrading your tools and farm.
Additionally, you can breed different slimes to create new species with different characteristics that yield multiple Plorts.
Each type of slime has unique behaviors and will interact with other species in different ways, so feel free to experiment and see what each one does.
Stardew Valley is a critically-acclaimed farming sim and one-man passion project created by Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe.
Inspired by the beloved Harvest Moon games, the game features farming, role-playing, and social simulation gameplay.
In it, you create your own character and set out to bring your grandfather’s old farm back to life by gathering seeds, planting crops, and selling them for a profit.
Eventually, the game opens up and lets you explore other areas such as ranching, wine-making, baking, etc., all while getting to know your fellow neighbors.
Papers, Please is an indie puzzle game that tasks you with checking citizens’ passport documents as they cross the border into the communist state of Arstotzka.
The goal is to sleuth out anyone, particularly rebels, using forged documents to sneak into the country and disrupt the regime.
However, you’re given the option to let it slide or even accept a bribe for entry into the country, in turn putting you and your nation at risk.
The game includes over 20 different scripted endings and does an excellent job at presenting players with tough choices with morally-gray consequences.
Cities: Skylines builds upon great city builders like SimCity with easy-to-digest concepts, controls, and tools that cater to both veteran town planners and newcomers alike.
Instead of forcing you to scroll through lengthy build menus, the game splits up structures into different categories, including residential, commercial, and industrial.
This makes it easy to assemble rough drafts of your soon-to-be metropolises without getting distracted by the finer details, allowing you to prioritize balance and functionality.
There is also a host of transit options to explore and implement throughout your city to keep things running smoothly and maintain a positive rating as mayor.