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Best Simulation Games on Xbox

The best simulation games on Xbox

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Escapism is all well and good, but sometimes you don’t want to get lost in a fantasy world filled with orcs and fairies. Sometimes you want to be able to live out your wildest – and most realistic – dreams. And that’s where sim games come in. Here, we’ve rounded up the best simulation games available on Xbox.

Want to go fishing in a faraway, exotic lake and catch the biggest fish known to man? Or how about get under the hood of a fancy car you know you’ll never be able to afford in real life? Perhaps you simply want to tinker around inside a PC without the fear of breaking anything, or design the house of your dreams. There are plenty of sim games on Xbox, and there’s likely one to suit your needs.

1. House Flipper 2

House Flipper 2 screenshot
Image: Frozen District

We adore House Flipper 2. In our review, we called it a “must-play for any sim fan” and we stand by that — especially if you’ve got a penchant for decorating, building and interior design. Starting out with small jobs like cleaning up, unpacking moving boxes and maybe the odd spot of painting, you’ll eventually get to knocking down walls and doing full renovation jobs. Sometimes you’ll need to build to a customer’s requirements, but you can always put your own little stamp on things.

With multiple modes and different ways to play, you can build your own homes from scratch in House Flipper 2. You can buy and sell to flip, or simply continue working your way through the odd jobs available to you. Either way, there’s an endless amount of content here and if decoration and renovation is your thing, simulation games on Xbox don’t get much better than this.

2. PowerWash Simulator

Powerwash Simulator
Image: FuturLab

Powerwashing objects has no right to be as fun as it is, but here we are. FuturLab’s PowerWash Simulator is all about removing grime with a powerful beam of water — and once you start playing you’ll probably find it hard to stop. In our PowerWash Simulator review, we praised how stress-free and engrossing this game is. And if the idea of a relaxing and repetitive sim appeals to you, this is a must-play.

PowerWash Simulator has dozens of levels available, and you’ll be cleaning everything from a skate park to someone’s garden. There’s also lots of DLC on offer (some of which is free), which will see you cleaning things such as Lara Croft’s manor and vehicles from Final Fantasy VII.

3. Lawn Mowing Simulator

Lawn Mowing Simulator
Image: Skyhook Games

We’ve had house renovations and deep-cleaning, but what about the lawn? Never fear: Lawn Mowing Simulator is here to make sure your garden is kept pristine and neat. “Challenging yet relaxing” is how we described it in our review: you’ll be setting up your own lawn mowing business, and taking on more challenging jobs as you progress. You’ll get to buy better gear as your business grows, too.

You’ll need to consider things like the cutting length of your mower, and on each job you’ll also have to watch out for things like lawn ornaments or other objects you might damage. Your customers won’t take kindly to their precious gnomes being destroyed, that’s for sure. Needless to say, cutting grass virtually is much more enjoyable than it is in real life. And you don’t need to worry about all the grass cuttings, either.

4. The Sims 4

Image: EA

Whether you want to reimagine your own life in digital form, or live out a rich fantasy, The Sims 4 allows you to do just that. From a comprehensive designer tool that lets you build a home exactly how you see fit, to a rich world you can live in, The Sims 4 is the perfect god simulator. And with a huge range of expansion packs available, literally anything goes.

You can keep things grounded in reality if you like, and concentrate on sending your Sims to work, school and owning a pet. Or perhaps you want to be a bit more fantastical: your Sims can even join the world of Star Wars now if you wish. Thanks to the sheer breadth of activities on offer, The Sims 4 lets you play exactly how you want. And for that reason, it’s one of the best simulation games on Xbox.

5. Cities: Skylines

Image: Paradox Interactive

SimCity might be a thing of the past, but Cities: Skylines takes city building to the next generation. As far as city building simulation games go, this is by far the best on Xbox. And if you’ve ever dreamed of being in charge of your own metropolis, this is the game you need.

Cities: Skylines puts you in charge of a city: it’s small at first, but under your supervision it’ll (hopefully) flourish into a thriving centre. You’ll need to carefully plan out public services, basic resources, roads and streets, allow your citizens access to education and entertainment, and more. It’s all about balancing happy citizens with your own need to make money and be successful – and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

6. Train Sim World 4

Train Sim World 4
Image: Dovetail Games

If trains are more your thing, then you’ll want to have Train Sim World 4 on your radar. It puts you in control of multiple real-world trains in a wealth of real locations. Travel down the East Coast mainline on an LNER Azuma train, or head to any number of European cities. Whether you want to haul freight, or get hundreds of passengers from A to B, there’s a route for you.

Train Sim World 4 lets you do more than simply drive trains, too. You can create your own custom liveries, and set your own routes with the Scenario Planner. There’s a lot here to enjoy, and it makes for a fabulous way to see parts of the world without ever having to leave your living room.

7. SnowRunner

SnowRunner KeyArt
Image: Saber Interactive

Forget trains: driving huge trucks is way more fun. And that’s exactly what you can do in SnowRunner, Maximum Games’ follow-up to MudRunner. The clue’s in the name: this time you’ll be tackling snowy terrains. It’s tricky, but it’s also a lot of fun. This is no arcade racer; you can’t blaze around corners at lightning-fast speeds. You’ll need to take your time, carefully steer your truck and – probably more often than not – end up winching yourself out of a ditch. But it’s all part of being a truck driver.

There are a host of real-world vehicles for you to drive and a number of real-world locations. You’ll need to learn how to load up your cargo and get to grips with different vehicles; being behind the wheel of a pick-up trucks feels very different from an articulated lorry, for example. And you’ll need to adjust your routes accordingly, too: a huge 18-wheeler isn’t going to make it down a tiny dirt path no matter how hard you try. SnowRunner is challenging, but it’s fun, and that’s why it’s one of the best simulation games on Xbox.

8. Car Mechanic Simulator

Car Mechanic Simulator 2 (1)
Image: PlayWay SA

Want something a little more grounded but don’t want to get your hands dirty? Car Mechanic Simulator allows you to tinker under the hood of a range of cars in your very own garage. The game features over 40 cars, from iconic muscles to classic convertibles. Each one has its own unique parts to get used to, and it’s up to you to get them ship-shape in order to make some money.

You can also mess around in the paint shop, allowing you to finish off a car you’ve been working on to get it just perfect. And as you play, you’ll unlock upgrades to your workshop, allowing you access to new tools and car parts. It’s the true mechanic’s dream, all without the risk of getting oil all over your shirt.

9. Jurassic World Evolution 2

Image: Frontier Developments

From something realistic to something a little more far-fetched: Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a theme park simulator. But one with a difference: you’re in charge of a dinosaur theme park. That’s right: Jurassic Park is yours. And it’s up to you to fill the exhibits, make sure your dinos are well cared for, and the people visiting your park are safe from any accidental Indoraptor escapes.

Whether you’re a huge fan of the Jurassic Park franchise or simply enjoy getting lost in a theme park simulation game, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is one of the best. There’s so much to enjoy here, and a number of expansions bring even more to the game. Whether you want to build the best park you can, or focus on science and perfecting your search for dinosaur DNA, the options are endless. But just make sure that little Timmy doesn’t wander too close to the T-Rex enclosure. We’ve all seen how badly it can go.

10. Zoo Tycoon

Image: Microsoft

Like the idea of building your own animal park, but prefer your animals to be a little less… prehistoric? Then Microsoft’s Zoo Tycoon is probably the game for you. It’s one of the most enjoyable simulation games on Xbox, allowing you to design your own zoo, plan your animal attractions, care for them and even interact with them.

A hefty tutorial system will get you on the right track, and you can work through campaigns, aiming to improve a number of zoos, or hit the ground running in your very own park created from the ground up. However you decide to play Zoo Tycoon though, you’re sure to have a lot of fun – especially if you’re an animal lover.

11. PC Building Simulator

PC Building Simulator
Image: The Irregular Corp

Ever thought about building your own PC but aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you’re a pro, but simply want to experiment with new parts you haven’t bought yet. PC Building Simulator is the game for you. It’s a lot more low-key than the other simulation games on Xbox that we’ve featured on the list; after all, building a PC isn’t as wild as taming dinosaurs or driving a train through the mountains. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s an everyday task, but one that’s been perfectly captured in digital form.

There’s a huge marketplace filled with real world components – from graphics cards to RAM and processors and more. You can even add real world peripherals to your set up, such as Razer keyboards and mice. PC Building Simulator is a great way to tinker without the fear of ruining anything expensive, and its ultimate realism is what makes it one of the best simulation games out there.

12. Farming Simulator 22

Farming Simulator 22
Image: GIANTS Software

As far as farming simulators go, Farming Simulator 22 is perhaps the best available on Xbox. Every element of farming is covered here: from sowing seeds to harvesting your crops and even tending to your livestock. The goal is, of course, to make money and be a successful farmer – but there’s plenty of fun to be had in the process.

There’s a range of industrial vehicles to get behind the wheel of, for example. And while driving a tractor in a videogame is probably not quite as fun as in real life, there’s still plenty of joy to be found in it. You’ll need to learn how to use your tools, like a combine harvester, and you’ll also need to get familiar with a range of different buildings on your smallholding. But in no time you’ll be a farming whizz, selling and harvesting crops like a  pro.

13. Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital review

Remember the classic Theme Hospital from the 90s? Well, Two Point Hospital is its spiritual successor. It’s practically the same in every way other than its name – and that’s no bad thing. In Two Point Hospital, you’ll make your way through a variety of missions, bringing various hospitals up to scratch. You’ll need to build various treatment rooms, ensure patients are happy (and hopefully not dying too often), and make sure your staff are well-trained and readily available.

There’s a lot to juggle, but that’s what makes it so much fun. And of course, it’s packed with the same humour which made Theme Hospital so popular in the first place. Your receptionist constantly fires quips out over the tannoy, and you won’t be able to help but chuckle at the madcap conditions that patients arrive with. It may not be the most serious sim game on this list, but it’s still one of the best on Xbox.

14. Megaquarium

Ever dreamed of owning your own aquarium? Possibly not – it’s rather a niche dream to have. But that’s exactly what Megaquarium is about. And even if you haven’t considered it before, it’s worth considering now, because it’s surprisingly fun.

Like any theme park/attraction simulator, you’re in charge of placing exhibits, ensuring they’re well maintained, and also attractive for visitors. You’ll start off small, with tanks containing small fish. But over time, you’ll be able to build bigger and more impressive aquariums, with a huge range of sea creatures in them. There are over 100 species in the game, and each one has its own unique requirements to care for it. Some thrive in cold water, others in warm; some mix well with other species, and others do not. There’s a lot to learn, but having a successful aquarium is rather rewarding.

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