Spent a little too long in the world of crying clowns and plumbobs? Worry no more. Here are the 10 best games to play if you love The Sims. Comme en sna an? If you understood that and are mostly fluent in Simlish, it might be time to gently step away from your painstakingly created fictional humans and all of their DLC. Just them though, not your PC as there are plenty of other games that have all the great qualities of the sims, just not in exactly the same form. And you can always go back to the Goths when you get withdrawal symptoms. They’ll always be there! Unless you’ve got aging turned on and then went and played with another family…. But anyway… From undead frightmares to underground builders, here are the 10 best games to play if you love The Sims.
Two Point Hospital
Maybe what you love about the Sims is just looking after people. Caring for a group of digital humans who, if it wasn’t for you, probably wouldn’t go to the toilet in time. Definitely NOT because you didn’t build one fast enough… Anyway… Two Point Hospital is ALL about maximizing your nurturing side. Exercising your nursing muscles and basking in the joys of ludicrous pun illnesses like Lightheadedness and Mockstar so you too can
put the ward in award-winning. I’m not even sorry for that. Plus, equally as satisfying as watching people pass through X-ray machines and saucepans being yanked from skulls is designing your hospital. Sure you could build a bare-bones functional room but why do that when you can design prestige wards packed with antibacterial handwash and even posters of pugs. Add in the Tetris skills necessary to pack as many treatment rooms into each hospital building as possible and Two Point Hospital scratches all your management itches nicely.
We know. There’s never a bit in The Sims when crumbling undead hordes smash through your windows and tear you and your designer French Bulldog limb from snackable limb. And you never pop around to see the Goths and find Mortimer in a shallow grave and a reanimated Bella banging her rotting head on the toilet door. But despite this, the excellent Project Zombiod has loads in common with The Sims. You have to cook food when your avatar gets hungry, which is a skill that improves with research and practice. And you can plonk yourself in front of a book to improve skills that will help you last more than a few hours in this savage zompocalypse simulator. Yes, it’s a little more in-depth – your Sim never starved to death because they couldn’t find a can opener, for instance – but that central loop of learning and surviving is pleasantly similar. Just don’t expect to live quite as long in Project Zomboid. Because you won’t.
Time is important in the Sims. Watching your Sims grow as people and gaining new experiences. Well, time is equally important in Farm Together and, err, so is growing. Is that enough of a connection? I’m going to say yes. Farm Together is a ludicrously adorable agriculture sim that will make your hours and days disappear. Welcome to a world where there is no sleep, only farming, and production. Where there are endlessly adorable animals, limitless trees of fruit, and a blank slate of land to turn into your own mini-masterpiece. Sure, you’ll start off with a mere acre or so of land and not even have a tractor to call your own but level up enough and you’ll quickly be planting and watering nine squares at a time as you quest to become the ultimate crop mogul. Plus, as the title suggests, this encourages playing with friends as you visit other farms to increase your own productivity. If the design and clockwork regularity of the Sims is what hooks you, this is on track for an ideal change of scenery.
Don’t worry, your precious humans are still here in Cities Skylines. They’re just really far away while you have bigger problems to deal with. Like the water supply for an entire city making everyone ludicrously unwell and all having to go the hospital that you haven’t had enough money to construct yet. While you’re not on the ground in this behemoth of a city sim, it doesn’t mean that you’re not constantly dealing with Sims-like problems. Health. Education. The desire for the simple life and PARKS yet still adequate transport links. It turns out that humans do just ask for the earth and Cities Skylines is supplying the solutions one DLC pack at a time. It’s the sheer scope that’s so staggering here. From tiny towns to staggering metropolises, your creations can grow as big and intimidating as you want them to be. And hey, if you don’t have the patience to wait for a city to grow, there’s always the wonders of the Steam Workshop.
And once again Stardew Valley arrives on one of my lists. What a complete coincidence. In this case, though, the addition of this perfect little farm and life ‘em up makes a lot of sense for fans of micromanaging the lives of sometimes irrational Sims. The regularity of farming day to day will soothe your desire for banal routine AND if you don’t want to be a lone wolf, living life on the land, you can play the dating game. All number of eligible bachelor and bachelorettes are waiting for you in Stardew Valley. You’ll start off just by saying hello and waving coyly but find the right gift for your intended and you’ll start a relationship. Just like real life, if you reach a ten heart status AND find the mermaid’s pendant on the beach, you can even get married and have your significant other move onto your farm. And hey, if you don’t like it, there’s a disturbing rune that will make you a singleton again.
Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up
One of the many pleasures of simulation games, not just The Sims, is making everything just work. Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up is the perfect clearest indicator of just that. When it’s all running smoothly, your train station is full of happy commuters sipping their flat whites and ignoring other humans, when it’s not? Well you’ll know about it quickly as bottlenecks appear in front of ticket barriers and the whole world seems to be waiting on a train that’s only got two carriages. This Early Access sim feels equally like a puzzle game as you level the ground around tracks, make sure everyone is getting off the right side of the trains, and exiting in an orderly fashion. Oh, and don’t let those cutesy looks deceive you. Overcrowd might look innocent and sweet but there’s an enjoyably brutal granularity beneath the surface that reveals a much deeper simulation element. Just mind the gap.
Game Dev Tycoon
It’s a bit of a curveball but it’s important to be able to put your love of the Sims to good practical use sometimes. Well, good practical use in a video game environment. Game Dev Tycoon takes your knowledge of the industry and makes it into a, well, game. Literally. As an indie developer, you’re tasked with crafting new and exciting gaming experiences for the hungry button pressing public and your knowledge of genres that work well together is a serious plus. And yes, your pun skills help too. Choosing console platforms, taking risks and combining odd genres makes Game Dev Tycoon constantly compelling. Even fixing bugs is satisfying. Starting out in a garage in the 80s, if you succeed you’ll eventually end up designing for modern consoles in much more plush surroundings with millions of dollars in the bank. Now, where’s that code for Fortnite 2 gone. Fancy a coconut water while you wait? Human simulation?
Jurassic World Evolution
Who needs humans when there are DINOSAURS to play with. Jurassic World Evolution is all about sparing no expense and playing with Dino DNA as you take control of a selection of murder zoos. While you can of course just manage every park from the skies, it’s getting truly involved in the sometimes gory day to day where the fun lies. Taking pictures of your dinosaurs. Getting hands-on with the feeding schedule. Not being able to stop yourself watching the velociraptors hunt your guests when you should be tranquilizing them. There are two clear ways to play Jurassic World Evolution. One, the path of chaos with the body parts of tourists smudged across your Trip Advisor reviews, or two, the path of true organization and power as you do what John Hammond never managed to do and actually keep a park under control and the merchandise money flowing in. Just don’t be tempted to create a mega dinosaur that can go invisible AND unlock doors. And by don’t, I totally mean totally do.
House & Garden Flipper
It might not have the effortless simplicity of rosebud or motherlode, but the design options within House Flipper and its green-fingered DLC are vast, AND you get to clean the whole place up first. Taking requests from customers, you can polish up the mess, fit radiators, paint walls, and organize furniture. It’s like being all of the Avengers in one, if the MCU was full of people with really specific DIY knowledge. It might even inspire you to actually tackle a real-life problem or two in your own house. Or, you know, at least maybe consider it before you turn back to your screen. Unlike cheating in the Sims and just buying the most expensive of everything, by the time you decorate in House Flipper, you genuinely feel like you’ve earned everything on your own and you’ll be comparing before and after pictures like a proud room parent in no time.
War for the Overworld
Sometimes, you wait years and years for a sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time, only to be crushed by disappointment when it finally arrives. And sometimes, an entirely different developer turns up and makes the game you always dreamed of anyway. War for the Overworld is that type of game; a bold, unapologetic spiritual successor to the legendary Dungeon Keeper – a game that gave many of us our first taste of cackling evil. Nearly all the same beats are here, updated for a modern audience. And The Sims connection comes from the fact you have attend to and care for your nefarious minions, in much the same way you do your cheerful digital humans; albeit it with more murder, torture, and imprisonment. Simply put, this is Dungeon Keeper 3 made by people who adored the original games, and it’s deliciously evil.
So that’s the ten games to play if you love the Sims but need to break away from all those glowing green needs bars for a little while. Let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed your favorite Sims-alike.