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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: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
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: 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: 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: 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: 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...
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: 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: 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: 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: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
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
Components: 2D Side-On
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: 30/11/2018
Out Now: Mac and PC
X4: Foundations is a space adventure where every element, from planets to ships to finance, is simulated to create a living universe where actions breed deep consequences. Play is varied; you can fly every ship, explore anywhere, trade, build a space...
Release Date: 14/08/2020, updated in 2022
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).
Release Date: 19/05/2020
Out Now: PC, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Umurangi Generation is an adventure you play by exploring a city and taking photographs. Unlike other games where the photography is secondary, this is the main way you progress. As you do, you discover a story about ecology, friendship and the...
Release Date: 05/03/2020
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Persistant World and Pixels
The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...
Release Date: 26/05/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Open World
Sniper Elite 5 is the latest game in the shooting simulation series that focuses on tactical third-person combat, advanced gun physics, traversal and an enhanced slow motion kill camera. With realistic environments and real-world locations, customise...
Release Date: 01/04/2019, updated in 2022
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
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: 17/12/2021
Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds
Ready or Not is a tactical shooting game, where you need restraint and discipline as much as a quick trigger finger. Like Rainbow Six Siege, you take on tactical missions with other people and must work together to apprehend suspects with minimal...
Release Date: 12/12/2017, updated in 2021
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
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: 27/02/2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made, Open World and Persistant World
One Hour One Life is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you...
Release Date: 30/05/2014
Out Now: PC and PS4
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World
The Forest is a survival horror game where you are the only passenger to live after a plane crash. You explore a mysterious forest to find food, shelter and safety but soon have to battle strange cannibalistic people.
Release Date: 25/02/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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: 20/05/2021
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Just Die Already is a sandbox game where you play a retiree in a near future where people aren’t having any children and pension funds are drying up. It's an intentionally absurd set-up of old people fending for themselves in a world that wants them...
Release Date: 14/06/2020
Among Trees is a game you play in a forested wilderness full of creatures and fauna. It's handcrafted by a small team and creates a vibrant world to explore. Play involves hunting for resources and animals to hunt but this isn't a game about combat or...
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
Components: 2D Overhead
Paralives is a simulation game where you build houses for people and then control how they live. It's inspired by games like the Sims, however, you have complete control over every aspect of the design of the house and its residents. Its balance of...
Release Date: 15/06/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
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: 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: 14/09/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Grid and Hand-Made
The Wandering Village is a strategy game where you build a city on the back of a giant, wandering creature called Onbu. It's unusual because as well as building a thriving settlement, you have to also take care of the creature on whom you are building...
Release Date: 27/07/2017
Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds
Escape from Tarkov is an online shooting game set in the fictional Norvinsk region in Northwest Russia. You play during a war between two private military companies and join matches to fight others for loot, survival and ultimately escape.
Release Date: 08/08/2006, updated in 2022
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...
Release Date: 10/02/2012, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person and Open World
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is an adventure where you set out from the vibrant city of Rathir to rescue a world torn apart by a vicious war. Along with its huge scale, the game offers nuanced character development and a political system where you...
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: 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...