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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: 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: 25/09/2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.
Release Date: 20/07/2020
Out Now: Web
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
Blaseball is an online baseball simulation. Unusually though, it blends in an absurd horror story where players are incinerated and the rules can change -- a little like the board game Blood Bowl. Players compete not so much to get their team to win,...
Release Date: 11/12/2009, updated in 2021
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Web, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Angry Birds is a series of puzzle games where you catapult cartoon birds to destroy the pigs who have stolen their eggs. The latest game, Angry Birds Reloaded, is a remake with new levels, graphics, locations, birds, and story elements. The series'...
Release Date: 09/10/2017
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Universal Paperclips is an adventure game about making paperclips. It sounds simple, but behind the incremental process of clicking a button to create these paperclips is a story about how the desire to make paperclips (or anything) if fully realised...
Release Date: 10/02/2020
Out Now: PC and Web
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
Offroad Mania is a physics-focused driving game that has you trying to navigate difficult off-road terrain. It's unusual because of the focus on traversal, vehicle administration and driving skills.
Release Date: 10/10/2022
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather
Slow Roads is a relaxing endless driving game that focuses on the simple experience of travel. You play by steering the car through the different locations and times-of-day, or switch to autopilot and let the countryside fly past automatically. It...
Release Date: 13/11/2002
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
NationStates is a government simulation game where you manage a virtual country's administration. You do this by responding to issues which affect your nation's political freedom, civil rights, and economy. It is up to you to decide how your country is...
Release Date: 25/03/2016
Components: 2D Overhead
Slither.io is a traversal action game where you control a snake that needs to eat coloured pellets to grow in size. You play by directing your snake to both collect the pellets but also to get opponents to run into you - as they then die and you can...
Release Date: 25/02/2016, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Web and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Superhot is a shooting game with a twist. Time only moves forward (bullets, enemies, damage) when you move your character. This is still a violent game, in fact, in slow motion, it feels more violent.
Release Date: 21/12/2010
Out Now: Mac, PC and Web
QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly coordinating movement to gain forward motion. It's really...
Release Date: 20/10/2023
Out Now: Switch and Web
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Suika Game, also called Watermelon Game, is a spatial puzzle challenge about matching fruits. You select where to drop each new fruit into the cup, aiming to get matching varieties touching so they merge, create bigger fruit and score points. It stands...
Release Date: 21/04/2020
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Blackbird is a strategy game where you are a blackbird collecting food for your young. You need to scour the forest to find enough insects to keep them alive and them fly the nest (or die trying).
Release Date: 03/01/2022
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Tres Undos is a hard puzzle game where you move blocks around a maze to fill holes and progress. The twist is that you can rewind time. On top of this the game layers the rewind ability to affect different elements differently. Then there are locations...
Release Date: 01/02/2023
Floripondis is a party battle where you use just left/right thrusters to move your flower around a level and collect sweets to win. Play is a simple fight to get to sweets first. However, other players and the dynamics of each level get in your way and...
Release Date: 08/12/2021
Out Now: Web and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Open World and Weather
Wayfinder is a meditative adventure where you explore the wild to reconnect with nature and create poems. As you travel through the world, the seasons change to reveal words to collect that form unique miniature poems. It's a short game that stands out...
Release Date: 28/04/2014
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
You're Pulleying My Leg is a running around puzzle game where you move mirrors to reflect a beam of light down into a mine, destroying blocks and letting you reach the secret within. While it sounds simple, it requires a great deal of persistence,...
Release Date: 11/12/2021
Below the Ocean is a diving adventure where you search for legendary treasures using your oxygen lifeline to swing passed obstacles. Play is a combination of running, jumping, swinging and even sling-shotting to traverse the ocean. It stands out for its...
Release Date: 26/06/2021
Headlong Hunt is a puzzle game about a field biologist trying to catch and survey the population of a fearful but very fast animal across 37 icy islands. You have to manoeuvre the animals around by scaring them in straight lines. This sounds simple but...
Release Date: 17/05/2023
Out Now: Mac, Web and iOS
Otto's Tennis Game is a sports game where up to two players play short tennis matches. You must time your player's jumps to hit the ball with their racket. The twist is that you control your character's movement with only one button.
Release Date: 02/03/2015
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Train Braining is a puzzle game where you lay train track to then deliver passengers to their required platforms. While sounds simple, but due to the minimal passenger room on your train and the layout of each miniature level, the solution is rarely as...