The best simulation games available in 2021

Heidi Nicholas - March 18th 2019

What are the best simulation games available on the Xbox One? If you like the idea of being the boss, simulation games are the perfect way to pass the hours. Whether it's controlling every tiny detail of a rapidly expanding metropolis, colonizing new worlds, escaping from prison or simply tending to a farm, there's an increasing number of simulation games now available on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

To assist you in deciding which game you should be looking to play next, we've narrowed down the choice by using a combination of site review scores and your community ratings to put together our list of the best simulation games available in 2021.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has to be on this list. It's a unique game for consoles that you don't realize you want until you have it. Growing your farm from a small plot of land to a massive industry is a wonderful feeling. You'll constantly be thinking of new ventures that you can try to make gold; with proper work those ventures always pay off, which only makes you want to play even more. With plenty of extra activities in which to participate throughout your days, you won't grow bored quickly. While the game isn't perfect — side activities can be dull — Stardew Valley will no doubt remain a staple in many player's game rotations. It's a game that fully succeeds in its premise and for that, it is worthy of your time.

Stardew Valley

You’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in Stardew Valley. Armed with hand-me-down tools, you set out to begin your new life. Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home? Ever since Joja Corporation came to town, the old ways of life have all but disappeared. The community center, once the town’s most vibrant hub of activity, now lies in shambles. With a little dedication, you might just be the one to restore Stardew Valley to greatness!


My Time at Portia

My Time at Portia is a life sim combining management and role-playing elements. As with Stardew Valley, you're starting a new life and moving to Portia, where you'll inherit your Pa's old workshop. Aside from completing commissions for the local townspeople, you'll also be joining the Guild and competing against its other members to boost your reputation and make your workshop the best in the area. Along with resource gathering and crafting, there's also activities like mining, exploring, and farming to be done, as well as an extensive friendship system to follow with the local NPCs. As with Stardew Valley, this is one you'll sink hours into before you know it.

My Time At Portia

Start a new life in the enchanting town of Portia! Restore your Pa's neglected workshop to its former glory by fulfilling commissions, growing crops, raising animals, and befriending the quirky inhabitants of this charming post-apocalyptic land!

Jurassic World Evolution

For fans of the series and simulation games, Jurassic World Evolution is a must-buy. Being able to create and tweak the DNA of a big collection of dinosaurs across all Las Cinco Muertas islands, with each one offering unique challenges, makes for an exciting gaming experience. The detail in the dinosaurs is impressive and the fact you can take control of pretty much everything on your islands means your parks can truly be your vision. The game's initial lack of customisation options held it back a little, but a subsequent update, which added in features such as terrain tools, made it possible to micro manage your park even more. It's pretty much everything you could want in a simulation game. At some point, you've probably wished Jurassic Park really existed. For now, this is the closest you can get.

Jurassic World Evolution

Place yourself at the heart of the Jurassic franchise and build your own Jurassic World. Bioengineer dinosaurs that think, feel and react intelligently to the world around them and face threats posed by espionage, breakouts and devastating tropical storms in an uncertain world where life always finds a way.


Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital starts you out at the beginning of a management career, with the aim of building, designing, and running the best hospitals across Two Point County. Two Point Hospital doesn't take itself too seriously, and the illnesses you'll be treating range from Light-headedness — with a lightbulb where your head should be — to Mock Star, where patients are suddenly convinced they're famous rockstars. The player has to build increasingly bizarre treatment facilities, while making sure the hospital's equipped for each and every weird disease, as well as other routine issues, such as ghosts and visiting celebrities. It's addictive from the start, and the increase in difficulty, number of patients, and complexity of treatment make it consistently engaging. Plus, it's good practice before Two Point Campus launches.

Two Point Hospital™

The hit hospital building management sim comes to console for the first time!

BUILD, CURE and IMPROVE: Design stunning hospitals, decorate them as you like, cure very unusual illnesses and manage troublesome staff!


Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars offers most of the things you expect in a simulation game: a chaotic and overwhelming start is eventually calmed down once you understand what's going on and how to work efficiently. Mysteries add a unique bonus to the progression, and don't be surprised if you become quite invested in your colony the more you play. As is often the case, the controls pose a bit of a problem and feel like they'd be better suited on a computer. Nevertheless, for simulation game fanatics, Surviving Mars is an easy recommendation. For everyone else, if you are willing to sink in the time and the effort, you'll be happy in your new home on the red planet.

Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars is a sci-fi city builder about colonizing Mars and surviving the process. Choose a sponsor for resources and financial support before landing on the surface. Build domes and infrastructure, research new possibilities and utilize drones to maintain your colonies functions. Cultivate your own food, mine minerals or just relax by the bar after a day’s work. Most important of all, keep your colonists alive.

Are you ready? Mars is waiting for you.


Aven Colony

All in all, Aven Colony is a blast. Planning out the best places to put your facilities in order to keep most people happy is both fun and absorbing. Surprisingly simple to learn, the game makes it easy to quickly get in the groove of building while splashes of humour keep you smiling. There are times of frustration when overproduction keeps your storage facilities at capacity, but this is a very small dark cloud in the otherwise blue expanse of Aven Prime's skies. If you're into building games, you'll definitely want to give this one a try.

Aven Colony

Build a new home for humanity in Aven Colony.

Discover Aven Prime - an alien planet of deserts, tundras, and wetlands light years from earth. Build your colonies into massive, sprawling cities whilst dealing with the challenges faced when settling on a new world.


Planetbase

Planetbase is a nice change of pace from the usual building simulators, as the space environment brings up new challenges. Trying to make sure your colonists have enough of everything to keep them alive, and balancing this with fending off potential hazards and trying to earn yourself some money at the same time, is a genuinely fun challenge. The limited number of planets on which to build and a tutorial that leaves a bit to be desired means that the game may feel a little off-putting at first, although it is definitely worth sticking with — taking this adventure with your colonists is well worth the ride.

Planetbase

Guide a group of space settlers trying to establish a base on a remote planet. Grow food, collect energy, mine resources, survive disasters and build a self-sufficient colony in a harsh and unforgiving environment.

The Escapists

Prison life isn't easy — that much we have learned from our time playing The Escapists. This game can be frustrating, make you angry, and want to quit altogether. That is, until that one thing you've been missing finally hits you and you make your escape out of a prison. That feeling of accomplishment is lacking in many mainstream titles. Avoid using walkthroughs and you will find the game difficult to master but immensely rewarding when the plan comes together.

The Escapists

The Escapists is an award winning prison break simulation that provides players the opportunity of experiencing a light-hearted insight into everyday prison life. Master the routine, plan your strategy then execute your Escape.


Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is a unique game. It's given us a gigantic galaxy to explore of which it is nigh-on impossible to see the full extent. It's a classic space simulator through and through, to the point in which the controls and game mechanics can be hard to grasp. This in itself isn't a bad thing, but it won't appeal to everyone. Only with a huge time investment will players get the full experience of the title, but with that comes a greater feeling of reward. It's a good alternative to exploring the Milky Way galaxy in all its glory instead of training in real life to become a fully fledged astronaut, but you still need to be prepared for the long haul before you suit up.

Elite Dangerous Standard Edition

Take control of your own starship in a cutthroat galaxy. Elite Dangerous is the definitive massively multiplayer space epic, bringing gaming’s original open world adventure to the modern generation with a connected galaxy, evolving narrative and the entirety of the Milky Way re-created at its full galactic proportions.


Cities: Skylines

Lacking in both content and features in comparison to its PC counterpart, this version of Cities: Skylines is probably not for those who already own and enjoy the game there. However, thanks to a personal touch, it's a game that is very satisfying to progress through and a worthy city builder for genre fans on Xbox One. Just consider having a guide at hand, and perhaps something to keep you entertained in between projects.

Cities: Skylines - Xbox One Edition

Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition puts you in charge of a growing city – from the ground-breaking of its first streets to the ever-changing needs of thousands of citizens. Design, build, and manage the city of your dreams, from public services to civic policies, and challenge yourself to grow from a simple town to a bustling metropolitan hub.


Farm Together

While most of the other farming simulators currently available on the Xbox One opt for ultra-realism, at the opposite end of the scale, you'll find Farm Together. Offering a much cuter looking, simpler and hands-off approach to the genre, Farm Together allows you to sit back and relax as you and your friends tend to your farm. If you like the idea of running and tending to a farm but are fed up of busy menu systems and convoluted instructions, Farm Together is the perfect alternative.

Farm Together

Grow your own farm all by yourself, or cooperate with your friends in this unique, relaxing farming experience!


Slime Rancher

Slime Rancher is an excellent sim and a joy to play. Just as in Spiritfarer, where your Everlight transforms into every tool you need, there’s no fumbling about in tool bags in Slime Rancher — your vacpack can accomplish all of the most important tasks on your ranch. This is because, handily, Slime Rancher doesn’t take itself too seriously — there is a ranching system you need to follow, but everything you need to do is broken up into zooming things towards you or zooming things away from you with the vacpack. It makes Slime Rancher an uncomplicated, enjoyably relaxing experience, with still enough mystery left (how many types of slimes are there? What’s over that next ridge? Why are these slimes chasing me?!) to keep you forging ahead into the beautifully colourful Far, Far Range.

Slime Rancher

Slime Rancher is a chaotic adventure where you can explore a vast, alien frontier, build and customize a space ranch, and avoid the perilous avalanche of a thousand wiggling, jiggling slimes!

Visit http://slimerancher.com for more info about Slime Rancher!


Tropico 6

Tropico 6 is, fittingly, the sixth highest-rated simulation game on our site, with a rating of 4.2/5 from the TA community. Just as with Frostpunk, Tropico 6 promises to turn you into a dictator — although the settings couldn't be further apart. Tropico 6 introduces several new features to the series: the chance to play on archipelagos, new building and transport options, and a "revised" research system, and, from its lofty position on the list of highest-rated sim games on the site, we couldn't leave it out.

Tropico 6

In times of political turmoil and social unrest, the people are calling for visionary leaders, who will steer the fate of their country with foresight and ingenuity. Prove yourself once again as a feared dictator or peace-loving statesman on the island state of Tropico and shape the fate of your very own banana republic through four distinctive eras. Face new challenges on the international stage and always keep the needs of your people in mind.


Frostpunk

If you're looking for an in-depth sim set in a grim and gruelling world, look no further than Frostpunk. Set in an alternate version of the industrial revolution, Frostpunk charts humanity's last stand against the spreading cold of a frozen planet. You're in charge of this last bastion, and Frostpunk refuses to coddle you with any even remotely easy decisions, and in the march to keep you city alive, you might come to realise that Frostpunk's turned you from a benevolent ruler to a ruthless dictator. Either way, Frostpunk isn't easy — but it's more than worth a playthrough.

Frostpunk: Console Edition

Frostpunk is a society survival game where heat means life and every decision comes at a price. Adapted for consoles with revised controls and adjusted mechanics, Frostpunk: Console Edition allows you to fully test your tactical prowess on the frozen wastelands