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.

Browse Simulation Games and Apps

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Game Poster Image
Sweet cooking sim great for younger gamers.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2017)
(2017)
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Railway Empire Game Poster Image
All aboard solid simulation of the rise of the rails.
Platforms: Linux, Windows
(2018)
(2018)
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Surviving Mars Game Poster Image
Optimistic but realistic, challenging sci-fi city builder.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
(2018)
(2018)
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Sustainaville - An Ethical Game App Poster Image
Sustainable-community sim teaches kids to help and conserve.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone
(2016)
(2015)
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Tomodachi Life Game Poster Image
Quirky sim engages kids in a virtual doll soap opera.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2014)
(2014)
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Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar Game Poster Image
In-depth farm sim is great entry in popular series.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
(2010)
(2010)
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Rollercoaster Tycoon Game Poster Image
Revived version of classic amusement park sim is still fun.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2012)
(2012)
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Birthdays the Beginning Game Poster Image
Entertaining, simplified sim looks at the evolution of life.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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Fantasy Life Game Poster Image
Fun life simulator lets kids experiment with careers.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2014)
(2014)
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No Man's Sky Game Poster Image
Sci-fi tale spans vast galaxy with virtually endless play.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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ScreamRide Game Poster Image
Roller coaster sim has thrills; controls full of bumps.
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One
(2015)
(2015)
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SimCity App Poster Image
City building at its complicated best; worth the effort.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2010)
(2009)
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Stardew Valley Game Poster Image
Absorbing farm simulation is fun; some confusing segments.
Platforms: Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns Game Poster Image
With patience, this farm reaps an entertaining harvest.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2017)
(2017)
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Style Studio: Fashion Designer App Poster Image
Better than similar fashion games found on consoles.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2010)
(2011)
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Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection Game Poster Image
Revamped animal/business sim great for new audiences.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Game Poster Image
Great strategy game builds alien worlds; some safety issues.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2014)
(2014)
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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Game Poster Image
Amazing world simulation can teach players about history.
Platforms: Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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Aven Colony Game Poster Image
Off-world city-builder rewards patience with deep gameplay.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Flight Control App Poster Image
Landing planes is fun but harder than it looks.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2010)
(2009)
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MotorSport Manager Game Poster Image
Complex yet rewarding race-team sim takes checkered flag.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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The Settlers HD App Poster Image
In-depth colonization sim offers deep, engrossing play.
Devices: iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2010)
(2010)
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Surviving High School App Poster Image
Tweens experience high school in an age-appropriate way.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
(2010)
(2009)
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The Sims 4 Game Poster Image
Complex, realistic life simulator includes sexuality, death.
Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2014)
(2014)
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Kitty Powers' Matchmaker Game Poster Image
Funny, clever, socially inclusive dating simulation.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2015)
(2015)
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The Long Dark Game Poster Image
Very challenging survival simulation has moderate violence.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2014)
(2014)
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Into the Stars Game Poster Image
Lead humanity through space in stat-heavy simulation.
Platforms: Windows
(2016)
(2016)
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Nicki Minaj: The Empire App Poster Image
Sim with substance worthy of rap diva; pressure to spend.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
(2016)
(2016)
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Tropico 5 Game Poster Image
Dictator simulation imposes violence; lots of strategy.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, iPhone
(2014)
(2014)
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