Simulation Games and Apps

Games don't have to be constantly packed with adrenaline-pumping action, fast-paced scares, or bloody combat. Simulation games can provide hours of deep, complex play, ranging from space-based civilizations to virtual farms to amusement parks. Some sim games are more educational than others, but each requires thinking, planning, and organizing skills. But while these games may be a bit tamer than some others, you may find that the action can keep you playing for hours and hours. Make sure kids know what kinds of time limits they have when playing these kinds of games, and give them plenty of warning before asking them to sign off.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Poster Image
GAME

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop

age 7+

Sweet cooking sim great for younger gamers.

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS (2017)
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Moving Out Poster Image
GAME

Moving Out

age 8+

Fun co-op sim is appropriate for all ages, skill levels.

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Railway Empire Poster Image
GAME

Railway Empire

age 8+

All aboard solid simulation of the rise of the rails.

Platforms: Linux, Nintendo Switch, Windows (2020)
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SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off Poster Image
APP

SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off

age 8+

Kids fill fun food orders, but get frequent in-app buy ads.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2020)
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Tomodachi Life Poster Image
GAME

Tomodachi Life

age 8+

Quirky sim engages kids in a virtual doll soap opera.

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS (2014)
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Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up Poster Image
APP

Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up

age 8+

Wacky duo heads up complex, multi-day, immersive AR story.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android (2021)
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Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar Poster Image
GAME

Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar

age 9+

In-depth farm sim is great entry in popular series.

Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi (2010)
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Rollercoaster Tycoon Poster Image
GAME

Rollercoaster Tycoon

age 9+

Revived version of classic amusement park sim is still fun.

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS (2012)
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Birthdays the Beginning Poster Image
GAME

Birthdays the Beginning

age 10+

Entertaining, simplified sim looks at the evolution of life.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows (2017)
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Fantasy Life Poster Image
GAME

Fantasy Life

age 10+

Fun life simulator lets kids experiment with careers.

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS (2014)
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No Man's Sky Poster Image
GAME

No Man's Sky

age 10+

Evolving sci-fi tale spans vast galaxy with endless play.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One (2018)
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ScreamRide Poster Image
GAME

ScreamRide

age 10+

Roller coaster sim has thrills; controls full of bumps.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One (2015)
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SimCity Poster Image
APP

SimCity

age 10+

City building at its complicated best; worth the effort.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2009)
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Stardew Valley Poster Image
GAME

Stardew Valley

age 10+

Absorbing farm simulation is fun; some confusing segments.

Platforms: Windows (2016)
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Surviving Mars Poster Image
GAME

Surviving Mars

age 10+

Optimistic but realistic, challenging sci-fi city builder.

Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows (2018)
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Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection Poster Image
GAME

Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection

age 10+

Revamped animal/business sim great for new audiences.

Platforms: Windows, Xbox One (2017)
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Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Poster Image
GAME

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

age 11+

Great strategy game builds alien worlds; some safety issues.

Platforms: Mac, Windows (2014)
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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Poster Image
GAME

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

age 11+

Amazing world simulation can teach players about history.

Platforms: Windows (2016)
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Aven Colony Poster Image
GAME

Aven Colony

age 12+

Off-world city-builder rewards patience with deep gameplay.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One (2017)
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Flight Control Poster Image
APP

Flight Control

age 12+

Landing planes is fun but harder than it looks.

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire (2009)
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