10 Best Simulation Video Games for Relaxation

If you’ve ever found yourself getting a little tired of the real world, it may be time to relax with a simulation game. These games can help you take your mind off things by allowing you to solve in-game issues and complete tasks that most of us would never face in real life. These games steer clear of extremely competitive and violent challenges, so you can just chill out while playing with friends or on your own.

What are simulation games?

Simulation video games are designed to recreate and simulate various real world activities and big projects, like building a city, running a farm, creating a community or setting up a colony in space. You get a taste of being the boss for things that just might have nothing to do with your job description. With games like “The Sims,” you’re closely recreating real life, and with survival simulation games like “Valheim,” you’re creating a fantastical existence. There are usually no real ways to “win” a simulation game, as there are few clearly defined goals. You can play how you want, when you want, and the game lets you make various choices that will have a variety of outcomes. You’ll discover something new about your interests and your aptitude for skills you may never have pursued.

These games aren’t hard to learn how to play, but many require a reliable internet connection to download and patch the games. Gigabit-speed internet will make downloading the larger games with more complex graphics a lot easier. The bandwidth requirements will vary from game to game.

Check out this list of 10 of the best simulation games. Many of these titles are available on multiple platforms, so you can choose either a console or a PC to play.

Life simulation games

“The Sims 4” – In this game, you create people, known as Sims, as well as select the career path, dating preferences and general life goals of your characters. You can build a home for your Sims, travel to various locations and enjoy a host of experiences. The game has a lot of expansions and game packs available for purchase to enhance your gaming experience.

“Fallout Shelter” – You don’t have to be familiar with the popular “Fallout” games to enjoy this free-to-play life simulator. The premise of “Fallout Shelter” is simple: Build an underground vault, keep the people in it happy and protect them from danger both inside and outside the shelter. You have to get to know the people in the shelter and manage their happiness by providing them with clothes, weapons and training.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” – As one of the best-selling simulation games of 2020, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” allows you to create your own island paradise. Get away from it all on a deserted island filled with natural resources for you to use as you build your new home, fish for rare sea creatures, dig for fossils and craft tools. The days and nights line up with real life, so you’ll know when it’s time to take a break. You can create a community of fun and cute creatures on your island, visit friends on their islands and play together with up to eight players online or via a local wireless connection.

Farming simulation games

“Stardew Valley” – One day you decide to give up your career and life in the city to live in the country on a farm you’ve inherited from your grandfather. What happens next is up to you. Do you spend time making friends with the locals? Do you keep your head down and work on the farm? Whatever option you choose, you’re sure to lose yourself in “Stardew Valley” for a while. You learn about seasonal plants and how to care for them, and you work to make a name and a life for yourself among the townspeople. You can enjoy solo play or maintain a farm with friends in co-op mode.

“Farming Simulator 19” – If you’ve ever wanted to know what life is really like on a farm, this is the game for you. “Farming Simulator 19” features American and European farming environments and brand name agricultural machinery to use when planting and harvesting your crops. You can take care of livestock, ride horses and explore vast tracts of farmland from the comfort of your own home. The graphics are the star here, featuring impressive sights and effects to create an immersive and relaxing farming experience.

Survival simulation games

“Oxygen Not Included” – You’ll appreciate the abundance of oxygen, food and shelter in your life as you play “Oxygen Not Included,” a space colony survival game. You’re tasked with guiding colonists as they live below the surface of an asteroid, and if you succeed, the population will thrive. Webcomic-like graphics and upbeat music feature in this game from the makers of the critically acclaimed “Don’t Starve.”

“Valheim” – This game features a huge world, incredible base-building systems and the usual survival skills like fishing, cooking and crafting. You can play on your own, but the game gets really fun with other people in co-op play. You and your friends can explore the wider world, journey across the seas and build larger bases together.

Automation simulation games

“Factorio” – Build a factory, then build another, and keep building them until you’ve created a full infrastructure in a vast 2D world. You spend time automating tasks to produce items of increasing complexity. You’ll start by taking down trees, mining for ore and crafting your factory parts by hand. From there you’ll progress to creating and maintaining oil refineries and creating and deploying robots. Let out your inner engineer and relax with “Factorio.” You can play alone or with friends.

“Satisfactory” – Another factory-building game, “Satisfactory” is a first-person game combining automation elements with exploration and combat. Your goal is to use as many natural resources as possible to build factories, so you’ll want to go on frequent exploration missions. You can customize your factory, building a skyscraper or one that reaches across the wide plains of the alien planet where you’re living and working. You can play alone or with friends and explore a new planet and automate your creation, so you can create even more things.

“Automation Empire” – Learn to make something from nothing with “Automation Empire.” You can build a massive network of factories with this game using minecarts, trucks, drones and rockets. It’s a single-player game, so it’s up to you to decide how to use all your resources in the most efficient way possible. You’ll research new technology, work around the planet’s geological obstructions and create in different biomes.

Game availability may have changed and is subject to change.

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