Besides being fun, simulation games are a great way to learn and experiment in a controlled virtual environment.
For example, playing a driving simulator can be a great way to understand the basics of driving. Similarly, there are other ones, such as flight simulation or construction simulation.
Simulation gaming is a genre that aims to replicate or simulate real-world activities, systems, or scenarios. These games often provide players with a virtual environment to interact with various elements and experience simulated versions of real-life situations.
If that leaves you wondering, think “The Sims.” In this game, you’re basically playing the role of an everyday person living a particular lifestyle. These games don’t usually make you chase a score. Instead, they’re open-ended, and their intricate structures will have you indulged for hours.
So, coming to the real question – what are the best simulation games out there? The options are plenty, but in this post, I will keep the list narrow. It includes only the best ones you need to play on your PC.
Let’s jump into it right away.
Football Manager 2023
Jump into the Football frenzy, not as a player but as an elite manager. Football Manager 2023 is a highly popular football simulation game developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega.
The game has fully licensed the inclusion of some of the biggest European leagues, including
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- UEFA Europa Conference League
It lets you experience what a real football manager does by allowing you to manage only the best football teams out there.
You get to choose the club you want to manage, recruit players, create superstars out of underrated candidates, strategize gameplay, and so much more.
The sense of scouting and recruiting has a super-realistic feel in this game. You must utilize all the skills and resources you have and win trophies to earn the love of fans.
You can only reach the top by building a world-class team and toppling the giants by using a combination of intelligent tactics.
Even though this game is single-player, you’ll thoroughly feel the adrenaline rush, thanks to the constant challenges you face on and off the field.
Developer: Sports Interactive
Release Date: November 8, 2022
Check it out on Steam.
F1 Manager 23
F1 Manager 2023 is the official Formula One racing simulation game developed and published by Frontier Developments. If you’re a fan of F1, you’re going to be hooked to this game instantly!
The game’s backdrop is the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship, and it lets you start your career as a Team Principal for any of the 10 prestigious F1 teams.
You will be responsible for multiple factors, like performance, reliability, and cost while developing the parts of your car.
If you’re a Ferrari supporter, you’ll get first-hand experience in managing the drivers and possibly a better shot at winning the title. 😉
A very cool feature in F1 Manager 23 is the Race Replay mode. It allows you to relive the key moments from the season and get a good grasp of what could be improved in your style of managing.
Moreover, you’ll find newer circuits, newer obstacles, and greater fun in this game. Basically, there’s everything that makes the game more dynamic and dramatic for a racing fan.
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Release Date: August 31, 2023
Check it out on Steam.
American Truck Simulator
Drive accurate and officially licensed truck models on American Truck Simulator. This is a popular truck simulation game that comes with various expansion and upgrade options as you progress in levels.
It has successfully recreated iconic American locations and replicated a real truck driving experience, doing absolute justice to the simulation genre.
You can level up with time and manage your own truck business while exploring different areas on the map of the United States.
|American Truck Simulator Gold (New Mexico DLC/Wheel Turning/Steering Creations) (PC DVD)||$25.00||Buy on Amazon|
To further elevate the gaming experience, it supports a steering wheel, gamepad, and other exciting input devices.
Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: SCS Software
Release Date: February 2, 2016
theHunter: Call of the Wild
This game’s detailed landscapes, flora and fauna, wildlife, and weather conditions bring the simulation extremely close to a real-life hunting experience. Not to forget, the soundscape and robust ammunition add to its brilliant experience.
You get to track and hunt various wild animals while hiding behind the bushes and trees. The realistic animal behavior adds another level of immersion to the gameplay. You must be wise enough to strategize, pay attention, and use your hunting skills to hunt down the big names in the forest.
This game has both a single-player and a multiplayer mode. In the single-player mode, you get to live through the lens of a hunter that has a rich storyline. On the other hand, the multiplayer mode allows you to challenge up to 8 players and decide who performs the best.
Developer: Expansive Worlds
Publisher: Avalanche Studios
Release Date: February 16, 2017
The Sims 4
One of my favorites in this list, The Sims 4, is a constant in my games library. It’s a realistic simulation game that’s interactive, addictive, and highly customizable.
You can enjoy the flexibility of creating and controlling your Sims. You can customize the looks, personalities, and even the design of the house.
As you prepare your Sims to take the journey of life, the remote control of their success is in your hands. Are they going to become a scientist, doctor, or a detective? That entirely depends upon the decisions you make in the game.
|The Sims 4 – Get to Work – Origin PC [Online Game Code]||Buy on Amazon|
You can start a business, learn new skills, and even discover aliens. Socializing, making new friends, building habits, forming relationships, and going through the daily hustle and bustle are just some of the important parts of this simulator.
This game has expansion packs for newer locations and upgraded gaming elements. One of the best things about The Sims is that it acknowledges diversity and provides an inclusive experience to all.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Take on the role of El Presidente and manage multiple islands simultaneously as a ruler. Tropico 6 is the ultimate “banana republic” simulator that’s addictive and super fun for anybody who likes to set rules and manage areas.
You’ll face all the usual challenges that come with being a leader, such as politics, development, and the happiness of the citizens.
However, it’s not like the game is always serious and intense. It has fun elements where you can enjoy the leisure of ruling the island.
Moreover, you can:
➡️ Deliver speeches to address the crowd.
➡️ Customize the appearance of your palace.
➡️ Develop the area from scratch and introduce new technologies and infrastructure.
➡️ Send your agents to raid other lands and win exciting monuments.
Tropico 6 features a multiplayer mode of up to 4 players to join forces and help build your dreamland.
Developer: Limbic Entertainment
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Farming Simulator 22
Experience the ultimate farming adventure by playing Farming Simulator 22, a realistic game set in the suburbs of America and Europe.
It replicates the life of a modern farmer with best-in-class technology, hundreds of machines and tools, newer crops, and 100+ authentic agricultural brands like John Deere, Claas, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, and Valtra.
You start with a small plot of land and some basic equipment as a farmer in this simulator. As you harvest more crops, buy more cattle, and progress in the game, your goals get bigger with time.
It’s your journey from nothing to building your farm into a thriving agricultural empire. If you’re an animal lover in real life, you’ll love playing this game, as it has a lot of cute and cuddly farm animals, such as cows and chickens.
Besides the single-player campaign, there’s a fun multiplayer mode that’ll make you appreciate the diverse landscapes, dynamic weather conditions, and day-night cycles more than ever. The natural elements in this game add to the immersion and realism.
Developer: GIANTS Software
Publisher: GIANTS Software
Release Date: November 22, 2021
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Microsoft Flight Simulator X is the perfect game to feed your love for aviation. It gives you the freeform to have your own cockpit and explore the vast skies. You get a very close experience of what it’s like flying a plane without leaving the comfort of your gaming chair.
Players who’re well versed in this game have referred to Microsoft Flight Simulator X as “software” because it’s so comprehensive. It feels like an actual pilot training.
Given the kind of attention to detail and steady level upgrades, it’s hard to argue with the statement that it’s one of the best flight simulation games.
You’ll enjoy realistic graphics and landscapes that make you forget you’re playing a game. It also features massive airports to fly your favorite planes and stick an impressive landing.
|Microsoft Flight Simulator X Standard DVD – Windows||$15.46||Buy on Amazon|
You can fly over famous landmarks, navigate through different weather conditions, and brush past challenges to experience what it’s like being a pilot, minus the hours of training.
One of the best things about this game is there are plenty of plane types to choose from, including jumbo jets.
Developer: Aces Game Studio and Dovetail Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios and Dovetail Games
Release Date: October 17, 2006
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Live out your wildest trucker dreams with Euro Truck Simulator 2, a chill game that flawlessly presents the world of a truck driver. It starts with you driving an entry-level truck and then making your way to the top by growing your own transportation company.
It gives you the roadmap to take you from a chunky old truck to driving various big vehicles around Europe. You’ll come across beautiful landscapes plus challenging obstacles, but the beauty of the journey remains intact.
It’s a virtual road trip across Europe, minus the expensive gas bills and frustrating traffic jams.
|Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Platinum Collection PC DVD||$44.99||Buy on Amazon|
This game offers some really exciting in-game customizations to upgrade the experience. You can configure chassis, change colors, add better driving mechanics, and more.
It also has a fantastic community that releases new mods to try out. So if at any point you’re bored of playing the game, you can try out the modifications and bring back the passion.
Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: SCS Software
Release Date: October 18, 2012
Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific
It’s the 4th edition of the Silent Hunter series and is bigger, badder, and better than the previous installments.
The backdrop of this game is set in the Pacific theatre during World War II, where you’re in charge of a U.S navy submarine. You must steer the water vehicle while defeating enemies, disrupting supply lines, and wreaking havoc on the high seas.
|Silent Hunter: Wolves Of The Pacific – Gold Edition | PC Code – Ubisoft Connect||$19.99||Buy on Amazon|
The graphics of this game totally add to the immersive experience, as you get to drive the submarine across challenging environments that look and feel as realistic as they can get. It gives you the feeling of actually lurking beneath the waves.
The in-game radio messages, rescue operations, and strategies make this game one that cannot be missed. It’s a perfect mixture of intensity and chaos.
Developer: Ubisoft Bucharest
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Sure, Insurgency: Sandstorm doesn’t look like your typical PC simulation game. However, it’s one of the best FPS games out there today, and it beautifully (also hauntingly) creates the rigors and perils of modern-day war.
Don’t be mistaken — this isn’t a game you can play like Counter-Strike 2 or Valorant. In fact, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the gunplay mechanics and understand how your opponents move. Moreover, whether it’s you or your opponent, it won’t take many bullets to eliminate either one. Basically, bullet-sponging doesn’t exist in this game.
Regardless of whether you’re teaming up with randoms or battling with your friends by your side, communication is key. One small mistake could cost the entire team. Of course, there’s no being a hero through solo play either.
|Insurgency: Sandstorm Standard – PC [Online Game Code]||Buy on Amazon|
When it comes to the different guns available in the game, they all mimic real weapons that are used in modern war. The developers have ensured that each gun feels different and distinguishable, so you’ll have to master your preferred gun if you plan to win matches.
Developers: New World Interactive
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Simulation games are the gateway to escaping reality and diving headfirst into an alternate universe that’s as realistic as the objective reality you’re living in.
With stunning graphics, fantastic gameplay, and a whole bunch of options to choose from, the above simulation titles for PC hold power to immerse you into a virtual world in an instant.
Whether you’re a fan of realistic driving or love exploring alternate realities based on fantasy, there’s a simulation game out there for you.
Next, you might want to check out these story-driven games for PS4 that’ll keep you glued to your seat.
Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior games writer at Sparkian. He’s a gaming enthusiast with plenty of knowledge of the gaming world, including the latest games, strategies, and epic adventures. Besides gaming, he loves to write about tech… read more
Anirban is an English Literature post-graduate with over 7 years of writing experience, and 2 years of editing chops. As a gaming enthusiast who’s been playing games since he was 5 years old, he’s a strong proponent of video games as a literary… read more