Are you a fan of games that give you a specific purpose? Then perhaps the best simulation games on PS4 might be of interest to you.
Simulation games are a special breed in that they let players take on a specific role. In the past, those roles were often fantastical or high-flying; things that you probably won’t easily be able to do in real life. But today, simulation games often gamify mundane and ordinary tasks, like cooking, mowing the lawn and decorating a room. Yes, we could do them in real life, but that’s messy and involves getting up from the couch. So we’ll stick to video games.
Below, you’ll find a list of our picks of the best simulation games on PS4. These are the games that task you to really get involved: we’ve left the management sims, like Two Point Hospital and Planet Coaster, to the side for another list. In these games, you’ll be the one doing the driving, cooking and building. And so, if you like to get busy without actually getting busy, read on.
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1. Car Mechanic Simulator
Car Mechanic Simulator tasks you with doing just about everything needed to run a successful garage. From completing fixing up broken-down wrecks to tinkering with an engine to diagnose a problem, you’ll do everything a real mechanic needs to do, with nary a drop of oil to be seen anywhere. This is one of the best simulation games on PS4 for those who enjoy getting deep into the mundane nitty-gritty of realistic workmanship.
Read our review of Car Mechanic Simulator
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2. Farming Simulator 22
Farming Simulator 22 is such a flex that you can even buy realistic tractor control panels to make the experience even more realistic. We’re not kidding! This is a game that lets you get behind the wheel of real tractors and combine harvesters – incredibly detailed models of machinery from real manufacturers – and slowly and steadily plough, dig and harvest fields. That’s the real draw, but there’s plenty of other stuff to do too: animals to tend to, markets to sell your produce to, production chains to manage, and more.
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3. Bus Simulator 21
We found it hard to take Bus Simulator 21 seriously when we played it, attempting to drive around our bus like we were actually playing GTA. But this isn’t that type of game. Here, you’re a real, trained bus driver, employed to travel set routes and pick up passengers along the way. You’ll have to drive the bus and learn what all the complicated buttons do on the dashboard. Get ready to have to count loose change for fares and watch out for people trying to skip on paying.
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4. Lawn Mowing Simulator
Without a doubt, one of the best simulation games on PS4 is Lawn Mowing Simulator. Here, you’re the manager of your own lawn mowing business. Starting out just with yourself and one mower, you’ll cut people’s grass until you earn enough money to grow your own empire. Over time you’ll hire a team of staff, invest in better machinery, and take on bigger and better jobs. Buy yourself the DLC and you’ll be able to cut the grass of a dinosaur safari park. Cool.
Read our review of Lawn Mowing Simulator
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5. Train Sim World 3
If trains are your thing, then simulation games on PS4 don’t come much better than Train Sim World 3. This huge game – with an unimaginable amount of additional content – covers just about all corners of the globe. Set off from London St. Pancras, or haul cargo through the American mountains. You’ll learn to drive a huge range of trains, from high-speed passenger trains to those designed to haul heavy loads across great expanses of country. And you’ll get to battle against the elements, too. Want to drive a train in an impressive thunderstorm? Train Sim World 3 has you covered.
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6. PC Building Simulator
Here’s a simulation game a little closer to home. PC Building Simulator is all about, well, building PCs. Or, at least, building up a PC building empire. Starting small, you’ll eventually grow your own computer repair business, doing everything from diagnosing and repairing customers’ issues to building brand new high-spec PCs from scratch. There are tonnes of real-world manufacturers on board, so you’ll be dealing with real components as you piece together new machines.
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7. Alchemist Simulator
Alchemist Simulator is the first game on this list that leaves reality at the door. Here, you’re training to be an alchemist in a fantastical world filled with magic, spells and potions. You’ll take on customer contracts and brew them the potions they need – but that first means getting to grips with your alchemical equipment, and learning what all the materials in the world around you can do. There’s a lot to learn, but brewing potions in your cauldron is a lot of fun.
8. Hunting Simulator 2
If you must hunt animals, virtually in a video game is the way to do it. And Hunting Simulator 2 provides you with a number of beautiful playgrounds in order to set out on a hunting expedition. Choose the Texan desert, the forests of Colorado or the varied landscape of Europe to set out tracking and hunting a wide range of animals. You’ll have to learn the right guns to use, the right way to track and more. But simply being out in the wilderness with your gundog at your side is one heck of an experience.
Read our review of Hunting Simulator 2
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9. Arcade Paradise
Arcade Paradise is rather different from the other games on this list. This isn’t exactly pure simulation. Well, it is and it isn’t. Starting out in Arcade Paradise, you’ll be managing a laundrette. You’ll need to put the washing in, move it to the dryer, and ensure the area is kept clean and tidy. There’s also a toilet that needs unblocking from time to time. But the main draw is the small arcade in the back of the laundrette that you’ll be steadily building up over time. Eventually, your efforts in the laundrette can be replaced by ensuring your arcade is running smoothly: fixing machines, picking up trash and whatnot. And, of course, playing all the games for yourself.
Read our review of Arcade Paradise
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10. Barn Finders
It’s a little rough around the edges, but Barn Finders is still one of our favourite simulation games on PS4. Here, you’re in charge of the family business, a pawn shop that sells used goods. You’ll need to head out to selected locations to source goods to sell in your store, engage in bidding wars (yes, Storage Wars style) for the opportunity to get good stock, and repair broken items. Over time you’ll be able to improve your store, earning more money as you find better items. Once you get started in Barn Finders, it’s hard to put it down.