What are the best real life simulation games?
Do you love getting lost in immersive and realistic environments? Do you seek games that provide you with the freedom and customization options you crave? Are you a lover of sandbox mode and open-world atmospheres?
Simulation games include realistic environments and narratives that provide players with the opportunity to play them out, oftentimes using a sandbox or creative-mode style of play.
They may require you to build and run a restaurant, operate a prison, or even build your own character to live out your dream life.
If you love the freedom to get creative while dreaming up scenarios that are uniquely your own, simulation games just might be the genre for you.
The Best Real Life Simulation Games
Our ranked lists are created by researching and rounding up information from the most reputable web sources.
Here’s our list of the 25 best real life simulation games:
25. My Time At Portia
On the surface, My Time At Portia might appear too similar to wildly popular titles such as Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley.
However, after playing My Time At Portia for nearly 60 + hours over the course of one long weekend, we beg to differ.
My Time At Portia is an immersive and beautifully designed semi-open world game, with plenty of tasks to complete and friends to make.
With My Time At Portia, the story is somewhat linear but provides time to focus on what is most important to you at any given moment.
From creating your character to discovering vehicle blueprints to building additions to your home, the options are virtually endless in the town of Portia.
My Time At Portia is available for PC (Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Origin), PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
24. Mega Mall Story
Do you love the old-school look of 8-bit characters from street-fighting games?
Do you long for a simulation game that merges street-fighting games with today’s simulation and tycoon genres?
If so, Mega Mall Story might be the perfect game for you.
Mega Mall Story offers a unique 2D experience that allows players the opportunity to build, promote, and manage their mall from the ground up, pun intended.
With Mega Mall Story, learn how to best maintain your mall’s stock and flow of traffic while battling disruptions and long lines.
If you enjoy retro games and are looking for a game that is not extremely demanding, give Mega Mall Story a try.
Currently, Mega Mall Story is available on Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch.
23. Epic Astro Story
Another old-school retro title that makes our list of the best real life simulation games includes Epic Astro Story.
Released in June of 2019, Epic Astro Story takes us on a simulated journey that includes both space exploration and city management.
Enjoy discovering new buildings and tools in a vibrant and colorful 8-bit world as you work your way through exploring various areas of space.
Learn to manage your space colony while battling unexpected surprises and challenges that are sure to not only keep you busy but also seriously entertained.
Epic Astro Story is currently available on both iOS and Android devices.
22. Two Point Hospital
Do you love the idea of running your own hospital, managing patients, and even creating a hospital that is enjoyable to look at? If so, Two Point Hospital delivers.
With Two Point Hospital, simulate what it is like to manage a hospital in real-time while simultaneously tending to patients and staff members in need.
Learn how to invest in new tools and diagnostic solutions while expanding and designing your hospital as you go.
Two Point Hospital offers an immersive 3D experience that differentiates itself from the alternative hospital tycoon and real life simulation games available today.
Two Point Hospital is available on PC, Xbox One, Series S & X, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4 % 5.
21. Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale
Do you love a good cooking simulator (Cooking Mama) or just cooking in general?
Are you excited about the prospect of gaming in VR (virtual reality)? If so, Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, is a title you can’t afford to miss.
If you’ve ever had a dream of working in fast food but you are not fond of the idea of well, actually applying for a position in the real world, Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, brings the experience directly to you.
Players in Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, are tasked with preparing and serving up delicious meals all while working in collaboration with other VR players who are also on the clock.
Be careful, prepare meals too slow and you’ll surely make your customers angry in a hurry!
Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale is currently available for PC on Quest, Rift, and Steam platforms.
20. The Sims 2: Nightlife
When you think of The Sims, you will likely recall either the original Sims 1 or maybe even the updated version of The Sims 4.
Only the true die-hard Sims fans understand the fandom surrounding The Sims 2: Nightlife.
The Sims 2: Nightlife, was originally released in September of 2005.
The gameplay of Nightlife is wildly different from alternative Sims-related titles, as Nightlife focused on opening up the Sims 2’s latest generation into downtown city life.
The Sims 2: Nightlife is similar to The Sims 1: Hot Date, as it provided unique opportunities to travel, explore downtown areas, and even explore the possibility of buying a car for your Sims.
Additionally, The Sims 2: Nightlife also introduced the first NPC vampire into the game, which became a must-have in future releases.
The Sims 2: Nightlife is available for both Microsoft Windows and macOS.
19. Game Dev Story
If you love the prospect of owning your own game development studio, check out Game Dev Story.
Game Dev Story is a unique development studio simulator that incorporates classic retro 8-bit graphics with exciting and entertaining gameplay.
From choosing the genre of games you will develop to focusing on various types of research and titles, Game Dev Story is truly a unique gem in the world of simulation games.
Currently, Game Dev Story is available on iOS, Android, and the Nintendo Switch.
18. The Sims 2: Open for Business
Do you have a passion for entrepreneurship or have dreams of opening and running your own business someday? If you love the idea of running a business and also playing the Sims, you’re in luck.
The Sims 2: Open for Business, was the very first expansion of The Sims franchise to introduce the opportunity to create and manage your Sims’ very own business.
Released in March of 2007, The Sims 2: Open for Business, offered players the ability to build their own restaurants, clothing stores, or even their very own beauty salons.
Hiring staff, running the cash register, and tending to customer service needs are all included with The Sims 2: Open for Business.
You can try your luck at launching your own Sim business with The Sims 2: Open for Business on macOS and Windows.
17. The Sims 3: World Adventures
The Sims 3: World Adventures, introduced a brand new way to play The Sims franchise.
Although the game is similar to previous releases, The Sims: Vacation and The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, it does provide brand new gameplay that was unavailable in any previous pack or expansion.
The Sims 3: World Adventures offers the ability to visit new and unique worlds while exploring ancient realms, tombs, and locations.
Three new locations included with The Sims 3: World Adventures are Egypt, France, and China.
Whether you are interested in traveling to new locations to meet new townies or if you enjoy traversing tombs and pumping up the danger, The Sims 3: World Adventures has plenty of new adventures.
The Sims 3: World Adventures is available on macOS and Windows PCs.
16. Animal Crossing: Wild World
Animal Crossing: Wild World is the sequel of the successful original Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing: Wild World was first released in November of 2005.
It introduced not only an expansive single-player mode, but also a multiplayer, or online mode.
Similar to the original Animal Crossing, players in Animal Crossing: Wild World start off with little property and plenty to do.
From helping locals to collecting fruits, fish, and furniture, there is a never-ending plethora of activities that are sure to keep you busy for hours.
In addition to the standard offerings of Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing: Wild World also introduces the opportunity to play with other players and allow friends into your own neighborhood with its own online mode.
Animal Crossing: Wild World, is available on both Wii U and Nintendo DS.
15. The Sims 2: Seasons
In the Sims series, The Sims 2: Seasons, might arguably be the biggest game-changer for the series as a whole.
The Sims 2: Seasons, released in March of 2007, introduced weather into the Sims franchise.
While the weather is a common feature in previous titles such as SimCity, it had not yet been introduced into the world of virtual Sim characters.
The Sims 2: Seasons, provides unique gameplay for Sims by introducing four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Sims are able to enjoy snowball fights, snow days from snowstorms, and even lighting storms that result in the loss of power.
If you love realism and still can’t get enough of The Sims 2, don’t skip this pack. The Sims 2: Seasons is available on PC and macOS.
14. Farm Together
Do you love virtual farming games but want to upgrade from in-browser games or traditional mobile apps?
If so, check out Farm Together, released in 2018. Farm Together merges the classic farming simulator game model with colorful and updated 3D graphics for an immersive and modern farming simulator experience.
Learn how to grow a variety of crops, plant trees, gather resources and create your very own farm while also joining friends and family along the way.
Farm Together’s multiplayer system makes farming and developing your land more fun than ever.
Farm Together is currently available on PC, Android, and Nintendo Switch.
13. Animal Crossing
Of course, we couldn’t make a mention of other Animal Crossing titles without introducing the original cult classic.
Animal Crossing, originally released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001, has since become a wildly popular and immortalized title, often considered one of the best GameCube games to date.
Its colorful characters, vibrant graphics, and peaceful pacing let players immerse themselves in a world that is truly their own.
Build your home, establish your reputation, and complete tasks for townies and visitors alike.
Animal Crossing is one of the best life simulation games for those who love open-world sandbox games with plenty of creative opportunities.
Animal Crossing is available on Nintendo EAD, Nintendo EPD, and Nintendo Gamecube (NDCube).
By now, we have all heard of the app, Tinder. But, we might not all be as familiar with games that take the same approach, such as Reigns.
Reigns is a kingdom simulator that allows players the unique experience of managing their very own kingdom with the use of a swiping system.
Swiping left or right, build or destroy a kingdom on a whim, or do so at random for an unpredictable ride.
If you’ve already tried some of the best post-apocalyptic games and want something new and refreshing, give Reigns a chance.
For a wildly unique experience, you can find Reigns on Apple Arcade, Steam, Android Google Play (for mobile devices), Amazon, and TapTap.
11. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Do you enjoy text-based simulators with rich in-depth dialogue and a variety of choices and multiple endings?
Dream Daddy is one of the best real life simulation games that breaks all dating standards and stereotypes.
In Dream Daddy, you play as a father who has recently moved to a new city with his daughter.
Your goal is to get to know and potentially date other single fathers who are also in the area.
Will you date the bad boy, or settle down with the hot teacher of the town?
Dive into the complex storyline that Dream Daddy has to offer in this classic life simulator.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, is currently available for PC, Mac, and Linux on Steam and Humble.
It is also available for Android, iOS, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
10. The Sims 2: University
The Sims 2: University, was originally released in March of 2005.
It was the very first Sims expansion in the series that introduced the ability to enroll your Sims in college and university.
From wooing the dean of a prestigious university to throwing keg parties and studying non-stop, The Sims 2: University, offers a unique gaming experience for those following the Sims series.
In addition to the option of enrolling in college, your Sims can also follow four new career paths in University which can only be unlocked after your Sim has completed their college journey.
From playing new instruments such as drums, bass, and guitar, to hanging out with groups and joining secret societies, this expansion is packed with tons of fun new interactions and activities!
The Sims 2: University is available on Microsoft Windows (PC), and macOS.
9. The Sims 2: Pets
If you’re a pet lover and can’t get enough of your furry friends at home, you will understand why The Sims 2: Pets has made our list.
The Sims 2: Pets introduced pets into the Sims franchise for the very first time.
From creating and customizing your furry pal to allowing your pets to breed and have kittens or puppies of their own, The Sims 2: Pets truly made our hearts melt.
Originally released in October of 2006, this expansion was a bit later to the game. But, it made up for it in playability and features.
With more than 72 premade breeds of dogs and 30 premade breeds of cats, The Sims 2: Pets opened up an entirely new world to pet lovers who play The Sims.
The Sims 2: Pets is available on GBA, Nintendo Gamecube, DS, Playstation 2, PSP, Windows, macOS X, N-Gage, and Nintendo Wii.
8. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a newer-gen release of Animal Crossing, released in 2012 exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players are immersed in a world that has been updated graphically and artistically.
Enjoy beautiful new flora, plenty of human-esque characters, and even improved motion graphics and animations.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players are introduced to an entirely new set of features, from town customization to enjoying new villagers and buildings.
There are additional collectibles as well as Wi-Fi compatibility for additional connectivity rewards and collectibles.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf, is available on the Nintendo 3DS.
7. Stardew Valley
If you love open-world games that provide the ultimate sandbox mode with 8-bit graphics, you cannot miss out on giving Stardew Valley a chance.
Released in February of 2016, Stardew Valley has quickly become one of the most popular and best real life simulation games of modern times.
In many ways, Stardew Valley resembles Minecraft, with a bit more guidance and direction.
With a cult following, Stardew Valley is home to millions of players from around the world.
Inheriting a farm from your grandfather, you are tasked with rebuilding and maintaining the farm all while getting to know the townspeople of Stardew Valley.
Learn to fish, grow vegetables, and become a master of selling goods for profit while immersing yourself for hours in this farm life simulator.
Stardew Valley is available on PC, macOS, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Playstation Vita, iOS, and Android.
6. Second Life
For those who enjoy immersing themselves in real-life simulators that truly reflect our everyday lives, Second Life cannot be understated or overlooked.
Originally developed and released in June of 2003, Second Life is now home to nearly 1,000,000 members in total.
With an open-world concept and the ability to create virtually any type of clothing item, retail shop, and digital item, the options are truly endless once you become a member of Second Life.
The mechanics of Second Life are not for the beginner and may take some time to become familiar with once you get started.
With a realistic feel, this one is worth playing.
While other virtual realms are popping up, Second Life has survived for nearly two decades on its own merit.
And, with the growing emergence of the Metaverse, Second Life might just make a major return sometime soon.
Currently, Second Life can only be played on Windows and macOS operating systems.
5. The Sims
Well, we couldn’t leave this one out, could we? The Sims. It just might be the game that truly kickstarted the love of simulation games for us.
While SimCity and Sim Ant were developed before The Sims, there is just something about this game that is revolutionary to us.
Originally released in 2000, The Sims, developed by Will Wright of Maxis, allowed players the opportunity to create characters and lives that simulated real life for the very first time.
From character customization to building a home and getting a job, The Sims truly took on the task of simulating the world around us.
While there have been a staggering number of expansions and future releases of the franchise, The Sims is still special to us, with its difficult challenges and gameplay to boot.
Although The Sims franchise does not make our most popular video games list, we simply could not leave this one out.
The Sims is available on Microsoft Windows (PC).
4. The Sims 4
The Sims 4, released in 2014, introduced a brand new artistic style to The Sims franchise.
Stepping away from the realistic style of The Sims 3, The Sims 4 focuses on a more colorful and vibrant environment that is optimized for all players, even those who are playing on laptop computers.
The Sims 4 introduces intelligent Sims with personalities, emotions, and even ongoing memory systems (with later updates).
Its build mode is extremely intuitive and powerful, providing even the most novice of players with the ability to craft beautiful and elegant home designs (pesky roofs included).
If you love a sleek and modern design that is fast-loading and mesmerizing in color, don’t miss The Sims 4.
For fans of new-gen simulation games including the most popular games now, give The Sims 4 ago.
The Sims 4 is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
3. The Sims 3
If you have loved The Sims since the dawn of its inception, you have likely heard of and played The Sims 3 by now.
The Sims 3 took the original concept of The Sims 1 combined with the artistic improvements of The Sims 2 to create a unique and open-world gameplay system that had never been done before throughout the entire franchise.
In The Sims 3, players are no longer restricted to staying in one location.
With a completely open world, players can direct their Sims to local events, town squares, and even to their neighbor’s home without constant loading screens disrupting gameplay.
The Sims 3 introduced a brand new trait and personality system along with lifetime wishes and moodlets, injecting life into the once pixilated virtual characters.
The CAS (Create-A-Sim) system provides complete creative control, introducing custom patterns and a color wheel that can also be used to decorate the items throughout your Sims’ homes.
The Sims 3, while notoriously buggy upon release, has since become playable with newer-gen computers.
The Sims 3 is currently only available on Windows PCs and macOS.
2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
One of the most hyped and highly anticipated new game titles of 2020 has to be Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The original release of Animal Crossing in April of 2001 has since become a cult classic until the revival and new release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the series focuses on providing players with the opportunity to connect with others using a multiplayer system while still maintaining its unique charm due to its cast of colorful animals and villagers throughout the game itself.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, introduces an entirely new crafting system while also providing more flexibility and creative options when decorating the island you and your friends choose to inhabit together on your deserted island.
Although the Animal Crossing franchise is far from landing on the list of games with the toughest video game bosses, it still has plenty of challenging and engaging gameplay to keep players coming back for more.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is currently exclusively available on Nintendo Switch.
1. The Sims 2
We’ve scoured the internet to find the very best real life simulation games and, in the end, no simulation game seems to compare to the beloved The Sims 2.
The Sims 2 is not the same as the original The Sims, nor does it share the same charm as the most recent release of The Sims 4.
So, what is it that makes this 2004 release stand out above the rest among gamers? Let’s dive into it.
The Sims 2 introduced brand new life cycles into the franchise: baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, adult, and elder.
In The Sims 2, it was now possible to provide your Sims not only with lifetime aspirations but also with wants and fears that were uniquely their own.
One of the biggest features that make The Sims 2 stand out above the rest is its memory and emotion system.
Fans of The Sims franchise will never let the emotion and memory system of The Sims 2 go… Hello, EA, are you listening? Bring back memories and extensive emotion systems, please! For the love…
The Sims 2 encapsulates everything a life simulation should be, in the eyes of life simulator aficionados.
From your own character creation and an advanced memory system to whims, fears, and wants that make each sim unique, The Sims 2 simply has it all.
The Sims 2 is still available on PC, Mac, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Playstation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, and Java ME.
We hope you enjoyed our complete breakdown of our top 25 best real life simulation games.
We tried our best to search high and low for titles that are not only extremely entertaining but also ones that provide the most versatile and unique experiences yet!
Here’s a quick recap of the 25 best real life simulation games:
- The Sims 2
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- The Sims 3
- The Sims 4
- The Sims
- Second Life
- Stardew Valley
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- The Sims 2: Pets
- The Sims 2: University
- Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
- Animal Crossing
- Farm Together
- The Sims 2: Seasons
- Animal Crossing: Wild World
- The Sims 3: World Adventures
- The Sims 2: Open for Business
- Game Dev Story
- The Sims 2: Nightlife
- Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale
- Two Point Hospital
- Epic Astro Story
- Mega Mall Story
- My Time At Portia
What’s the best real life simulation game, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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