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Simulation video games aim to create play around closely simulated real-world activities. This could be a battlefield, landscape, motor racing, farming, flying or just a kitchen. The novelty is that you are not only playing a game but interacting with complex systems modelling the real-world in some way. This opens the door for creative and inventive approaches to succeeding in the game. It also provides the player with an open-world in which to spend time simply experiencing the simulation. Almost any game can offer a simulation experience as this can combine with most genres to skew gameplay in a more realistic and open direction. This can mean that players enjoy a particular game not because of the shooting or racing but because it's a chance to spend time in a simulated world or system they enjoy.From an educational and experiential perspective, a simulation game offers an entirely new way to learn and understand the world. Rather than a cold or external understanding of how things work, this offers an embodied experience of a system as the player moves and interacts with the simulation from within.
Release Date: 25/04/2020
Out Now: Switch
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a role-play collecting game where you live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game...
Release Date: 09/09/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Webbed is a running and jumping game with a twist - you play a spider who can make webs, swing, climb and all the while creating music as she goes. It follows the story of our happy little spider on an adventure to save her boyfriend from a big dumb...
Release Date: 03/03/2017
Out Now: Switch and Wii U
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and...
Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person
Teardown is a strategic game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Your objective is to claim the key cards that are hidden around the map. However taking one triggers the alarm, giving you only sixty seconds before...
Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Web, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Hand-Made
Townscaper is a creative town-building game where you pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person
Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...
Release Date: 24/10/2016
Out Now: PC
My Summer Car is a strategy game about doing up a broken-down car over one long summer. It sounds simple, but the level of detail is the attraction here. You start the game with hundreds of loose parts and assemble both your car and engine. Not only do...
Release Date: 20/05/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Pixels
Apico is a simulation game where you play a beekeeper and conservationist. You explore environments, breed rare bees and release them into the wild while growing your business. There are no enemies, time constraints or set objectives so you can focus on...
Release Date: 22/09/2014
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...
Release Date: 16/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Road 96 is a narrative adventure where you play a teenager trying to escape an oppressive, authoritarian country by reaching the border. Through a series of vignettes, you experience the most important and poignant parts on an epic road trip through a...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Hand-Made, Open World and Weather
Wood and Weather is a simulation game where you play god in a wooden toy city. You interact with the world using your floating blue hand to change switches and control the weather. It's an intriguing game that offers all manner of ways to play but...
Release Date: 20/01/2021
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Hand-Made
Nuts is an adventure game where you play a rookie field researcher. You use your camera, caravan, GPS and map to investigate the depths of the enigmatic Melmoth Forest. As you study the local squirrel population you uncover a strange mystery.
Release Date: 28/03/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Open World
Terra Nil is a strategy game where you use clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city-building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays an...
Release Date: 06/10/2014, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Alien: Isolation is an adventure horror game set in space, remastered in 2019 from the 2014 game due to its popularity. You play Amanda who is trying to find out the truth behind her mother's disappearance. You explore Sevastopol, a decommissioned...
Coming Soon: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World
The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.
Release Date: 28/04/2016, updated in 2021
Out Now: PC and Switch
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Pico Park is a collaborative puzzle game for up to 10 players where you traverse levels using one another to solve puzzles. It's a game about communication and physics as players work to position themselves to bridge a gap, use ropes to hang off ledges...
Release Date: 31/10/2023
Jusant is a climbing traversal game where you take a challenging-yet-meditative climb to the top of a tall tower. You use the trigger buttons to hold on and the stick to jump and reach for the next position. In this way you methodically work your way up...
Coming Soon: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
To A T is a lighthearted narrative adventure game about a teenager with a unique posture that makes parts of their life in a small coastal town challenging. With your arms permanently stretched out, you explore the beautiful town with your dog and...
Release Date: 11/03/2022, updated in 2023
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Wobbledogs is a pet simulation where your dogs not only need care but are rapidly mutating different behaviour and appetites. You breed new dogs (from eggs), create and decorate a home for them, feed them and see how they evolve.
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Weather
Flock is a cooperative traversal and collecting game where you take on the role of a flying shepherd. To play you move around the world tending to your unique herd of flying creatures. It sounds complicated but really it's just a big wild place on the...
Release Date: 29/09/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Spelunky 2 is, like the classic Spelunky, a running and jumping game where you explore mysterious caves on the moon looking for your missing parents. On your journey, you will find unique environments, treasure, and people to join you as you delve...
Henry Halfhead is a traversal game where you move around by possessing and controlling any object within your reach. You move around the world freely, but to get where you need to go you need to become the objects around you to use their abilities. It...
Release Date: 21/12/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather
Sail Forth is a sailing simulation where you take charge of a ship in a vast ocean whose ancient depths have swallowed the key to the mysterious past. You play by working with the wind and sails to explore, take on tasks, fight pirates and slowly...
Release Date: 24/04/2023
Components: 3D First-Person, Blocks and Open World
Shadows of Doubt is an open-world detective game set in a fully simulated city of crime and corruption. You explore the city to discover criminality, find clues, solve crimes and earn money to fund bringing a serial killer to justice. It stands out for...
Release Date: 09/06/2021
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Open World and Pixels
Black Skylands is an adventure game where you pilot an airship through a sprawling open world of floating islands. You play Eva, who's ship has been destroyed and father killed. Your task is to rebuild your home from the deck up, arm and prepare for...
Release Date: 03/12/2015
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.
Release Date: 28/06/2023, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Pixels
Dave the Diver is a simulation game where you manage a sushi bar by night and hunt for the fish to sell by day. You explore the depths of a lagoon, using your harpoon to catch fish and solve puzzles to unlock new areas. Then in the evening, prepare...
Release Date: 10/12/2022
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
JellyCar Worlds is a puzzle game about a car made of jelly traversing a squishy world. You use the physics properties of the car and the objects in the world to get from A to B. It's an action puzzle game that stands out for the joyous novelty of a...
Release Date: 09/07/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: Cartoon and Open World
Wobbly Life is a lively open-world game where you explore an island with your friends to find quests, mini-games and earn money. Play involves finding jobs to do, earning money and buying lots of everyday things - but the real play is around the edges...
Release Date: 03/10/2023
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Pixels
Station to Station is a railway-building puzzle game about connecting commerce and community to create a beautiful rail network. Play is about making connections between buildings to move materials and people around the world efficiently. It stands out...
Release Date: 22/06/2023
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Mars First Logistics is a traversal game where you build robots to move awkwardly-shaped objects across the surface of Mars. It's a simple concept, but to contend with the cumbersome objects and rough terrain you need to use every tool at your disposal...
Release Date: 24/02/2023
Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Day and Night
The Pale Beyond is a narrative simulation game where you captain an exploration ship stranded in the frozen Antarctic waters. You carefully manage and gather resources and keep your crew in good health to hopefully survive until the summer. It stands...
Release Date: 16/11/2023
Out Now: Mac and PC
Loddlenaut is an ecological adventure where you are sent to clean up a polluted ocean planet. You explore the sea, cleaning up waste products and repurposing marine debris while taking care of friendly alien creatures. It stands out for its laid-back...
Release Date: 01/11/2022
Out Now: PC, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather
Lonesome Village is a simple dungeon adventure that also simulates life in a cosy mysterious village. You play by exploring, collecting and talking to the other villagers, before heading to solve the puzzles of the adventure. It's a combat-free...
Coming Soon: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Rootown is a traversal strategy game where you guide tree roots down through the soil. You play by planting a tree and then steering its roots to find good soil and avoid stones. The better you do the bigger the tree and the more resources you have to...
Release Date: 08/11/2012, updated in 2016
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulation game where you design your dream village in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals. Like other Animal Crossing games, you design and decorate your home, collect and sell items, chat and play with...
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Baby Steps is a tongue-in-cheek traversal game where you play Nate, an unemployed failing son who sets out on a journey of putting one foot in front of the other. The twist is that you must control and place each foot individually while ensuring you...
Release Date: 13/03/2023
Barotrauma is a cooperative space-submarine adventure set after humanity has fled to Jupiter's moon. You work with other players to steer your submarine, work the ageing machinery, fight monsters and fix the endless leaks. It's a game that revels in not...
Release Date: 17/10/2023
Mosa Lina is a platform brain game where you are granted three random abilities to complete each self-contained level. You can always walk and jump around the level, but this is aided (and sometimes hindered) by the selected abilities at your disposal...
Release Date: 28/03/2019
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Shipped is a multiplayer boat fighting game where you steer, bash and shoot your way through simple seas of islands. You play by steering your ship and turning to aim cannons. It stands out for the simple approachable fun and range of modes you can...