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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: 09/09/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
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: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
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: 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: 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.
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
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...
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: 09/07/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
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: 01/01/1997, updated in 2017
Out Now: PS3, PS4 and PSP
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and 3D Third-Person
Gran Turismo is a driving simulator that focuses on a photo-realistic driving experience. Players race real-world cars where bodywork and interiors are perfectly modelled. Whether hatchbacks or supercars, this game lets you step into the world of the...
Release Date: 02/03/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person
Maquette is a puzzle game played in a series of nested identical worlds. What you do in the larger world affects things in the smaller one, and so on. Every building, plant, and object is simultaneously tiny and staggeringly huge.
Release Date: 09/10/2018
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, Mac, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Williams Pinball is a series of simulation games that recreate the classic pinball experience in a virtual space. You shoot the balls up the table, use the flippers to keep it up, and can even nudge the table to stop it from sinking. It stands out for...
Release Date: 01/04/2019, updated in 2022
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (known as TABS) is a fighting game where you choose different armies and troops to battle each other in an automatic simulation that models their offensive and defensive abilities. Once set up, the fight is largely...
Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Persistant World
Ark: Survival Evolved is an adventure simulation game that offers hunting-and-harvesting gameplay in a primal setting. Although not as polished or streamlined as a game like Horizon Zero Dawn, this is a more ambitiously open world where you can choose...
Release Date: 14/10/2016
Slime Rancher is a farming simulation with a difference - rather than chickens, sheep or cows, you farm slimes. As you gather more slimes and species, you collect more types of plorts from them, which can be used to upgrade your farm and your gear. It...
Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 2019
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Persistant World
Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator. You develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new items...
Release Date: 07/12/2017, updated in 2017
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Human Fall Flat is a movement platform game with rag-doll characters. You run, jump and solve puzzles with your elastic character, either on your own or with another player. Get it wrong and you fall flat on your face, often with comedic timing.
Release Date: 10/03/2015, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night and Grid
Cities: Skylines is a city-building simulation. It rekindled the attention to detail and ambitious city planning of the Sim City games. You zone buildings, place roads, set taxation and provide public services and public...
Release Date: 12/12/2017, updated in 2021
Gang Beasts is an over-the-top brawling game where you play wobbly characters who kick, throw, push, pull and pummel up to seven other rivals to win. The game models real physics so you have to work with the grappling and jelly-like bodies to both get...
Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...
Release Date: 25/02/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Riders Republic is an extreme sports game where you can mountain bike, ski, snowboard, and fly in a wingsuit and rocket suit. This builds on other spot games with tens of online players competing at once in each event.
Release Date: 08/01/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Hand-Made, Open World and Persistant World
Castaway Paradise places you on your own tropical island. Make the place your own with decorations and furniture, dress up, collect bugs, fish, grow crops and help your new neighbours. It's an open-world game that offers an Animal Crossing style...
Release Date: 15/12/2020
Out Now: PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Freddy Spaghetti is a running and jumping game where you play a piece of spaghetti rather than a person. The game simulates the pasta’s physics as you use two trigger buttons and a joystick to steer the main character across a wide variety of levels,...
Release Date: 08/05/2019, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Descenders is a downhill mountain biking game with a focus on skill. In each downhill run, your goal is to score as many points as possible by completing skill-based challenges and executing as many tricks and flips as you can, all while you try to...
Release Date: 02/06/2021, updated in 2022
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Hokko Life is a community simulation game like Animal Crossing. You pick a town and set up your home, before spending time helping the place develop into a charming rural idyl everyone loves. Even though it's the creation of one person, it has most of...
Release Date: 25/02/2020
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Two Point Hospital is a light-hearted healthcare simulator. You take charge of a hospital, similar to Theme Hospital, where you must construct and maintain wards, machines and staff.
Release Date: 15/06/2020, updated in 2021
Summer in Mara is a farming game with a strong narrative about an adventurous girl called Koa. With a full day-night and season cycle, you can take the challenge on at your own pace as you build your farm and explore the world around you Take care of...
Release Date: 19/05/2021, updated in 2023
PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.
Release Date: 15/03/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead and Day and Night
Surviving Mars is a colony simulation game based on the real geography of Mars. You build and maintain a liveable habitat while balancing resources and researching new ways to adapt to the hostile environment. You receive occasional rockets from Earth...
Release Date: 28/04/2020, updated in 2021
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
SnowRunner is an off-road driving simulation game that is the follow-up to MudRunner. You drive all-terrain vehicles to traverse between locations and complete deliveries. You need to use the vehicle's gears, all-wheel-drive, fuel levels and other...
Release Date: 04/02/2000
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Persistant World
The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even a love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...
Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Mudrunner is an off-roading simulation where you drive ageing Soviet vehicles in extreme, muddy and unpaved environments. It's novel because of the simulated driving and that you just have a map and a compass to navigate.
Release Date: 17/11/2016
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
Planet Coaster Console Edition is a pleasure park construction and management game. It draws on games like Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon. You build different theme park rides and roller coasters in considerable detail, to score design points and...
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Bonkies is a co-operative building game where you construct buildings from different blocks. With a jetpack and a grab-arm you work with other players to manoeuvre the blocks into place. It starts quite simply but soon gets everyone shouting.
Release Date: 30/01/2014, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a traversal game where you try and control an octopus masquerading as a human as he goes about his day-to-day life. Using a combination of sticks and buttons, it creates an awkward, stomach-churning feeling of having too many...
Release Date: 23/06/2001, updated in 2021
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, PS Vita, PS4, PS5, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Super Monkey Ball is a rolling and balancing game where you tilt platforms to control the path of a hamster ball containing a monkey. The peculiar premise is matched with accurate challenging gameplay and some great multiplayer modes (like Monkey...
Release Date: 04/07/2018
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Day and Night and Open World
TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...
Release Date: 30/03/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Open World
Evil Genius 2 is a tongue-in-cheek strategy game where you play the evil villain. You must build a detailed, functional lair from where you can take control of the world. Similar to Sim City and 2 Point Hospital, you use your resources wisely as you...
Release Date: 05/10/2012
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 is part of a series of three games where you run a restaurant. You have full control over how you improve your restaurant and what food or drink you want to sell. Each game plays in a similar way, adding new locations,...
Release Date: 22/04/2021
Components: 2D Side-On, Hand-Made and Open World
Buildings Have Feelings Too is set in a city where buildings can walk and talk. Not only that, but each has aspirations, hopes and fears. Your job is to create a city that works for all the buildings, a task that will see your city planning pulled in...