Life Simulation Games You Need To Play
Life simulator games are perfect for when you want to escape to an alternate reality. Relaxing, intuitive gameplay and the ability to control your own narrative are just some of the factors that make life simulation games so popular. Stimulating, simplistic and fun, with so much variety, why not jump into a virtual universe with one of these excellent life simulation titles?
Animal Crossing Series
One of the most popular games to come out of 2020 was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, selling more digital copies in one month than any other game in history. Partially due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, everybody was looking for an escape from an unprecedented reality, and ACNH offered just that. Targeted towards casual and hardcore gamers alike, ACNH echos the simplistic, cosy gameplay of its predecessors, including New Leaf and Wild World. The quaint charm of the Animal Crossing series is matched by few other games, featuring a vast range of quirky NPCs and the ability to live your alternate life in real time, completing tasks, earning bells and building your dream home.
This indie title, developed over the course of four years by just one person, is truly a work of art. Stardew Valley, an open-ended farming RPG, offers the ability for players to craft their own reality whilst turning a dilapidated farm into a thriving smallholding. Craft items by combining items like wood, rocks and minerals, harvest crops, forage for mushrooms and catch fish. Like ACNH, Stardew Valley allows you to build relationships with the various NPCs - the citizens who live in and around Pelican Town. Although Stardew Valley may seem sweet and innocuous, dark secrets lurk in the form of hidden easter eggs and monsters found in the shadowy depths of the mines.
Another building and crafting-central game, the chilled gameplay and simplistic 16-bit style visuals of Littlewood are not dissimilar from the likes of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing. This low-stakes RPG has you re-constructing a town, growing crops and building relationships with the townsfolk. Perfect for new players, Littlewood offers a pleasant, calming experience quintessential of cosy life simulation titles. Once you start playing, it’s easy to sink hours into this adorable indie title.
A giant in the world of life simulation games, The Sims first exploded onto the PC gaming circuit in February 2000. Quickly established as an iconic game, The Sims appealed to a broad audience due to its sandbox-style gameplay and no necessary objectives other than to play god with your characters’ lives. Due to its roaring success, Maxis later developed The Sims 2, 3 and 4, with extensive DLC available to enrich the gaming experience. Considering The Sims 4 is targeted towards a mass audience of casual gamers, a high-spec gaming PC isn’t necessary for running its base game. However, players with added DLC may experience smoother, more visually appealing gameplay with the addition of a high-quality gaming graphics card and at least 8GB RAM.
My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia has you moving to an enchanting town to restore your grandfather’s neglected workshop. Craft items, mine for materials, complete quests, and befriend the locals as you work your way up to the title of best builder with the highest-ranking workshop in the land. One of the key elements of My Time at Portia is its unique setting, reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic landscape juxtaposed with a soft, cheerful colour palette. Many players of life simulation games enjoy a robust character creator, and My Time at Portia doesn’t disappoint - with multiple clothing choices, hairstyles, accessories and a fully functional colour wheel, you can thoroughly customise your character.
Two Point Series
The chaos and hilarity of Theme Hospital made it a titan of late 90s PC gaming. Two Point Hospital, considered a spiritual sequel, offers a similar level of addictive and engaging gameplay, as well as equally eccentric medical afflictions. Although these titles are more on the business simulation side of things, the organisation and micromanagement gameplay appeals to life simulation audiences. Complete career goals, manage troublesome staff members and create a profitable empire of hospitals.