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5 Best Life Simulation Games Like The Sims

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It’s been a long wait for The Sims 5. A few more months (fingers crossed) shouldn't hurt. Our guess is you’ve played all the main titles and have, for the most part, gone through the expansions and spin-offs available. 

You could be looking to try out something new that offers the same escape into an ordinary, virtual world. Whether it’s for the love of building homes and careers or simply relaxing after a long day with some virtual drama, we’ve got you covered in these similar games like The Sims that you could try.

So worry no longer, as these five best life simulation games like The Sims will pick up your virtual life experiences right from where you left off. Read on.


5. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Trailer

Picture this. You’ve moved to the countryside. Virtually, of course. Once there, you need to start building a new farming life. Most players feel like they’re returning home when they go back to saved versions of their cultivated lives. And doesn’t a virtual countryside town, with mellow music to fit each season, and farming, crafting, mining, or fighting monsters sound so oddly satisfying? 

Stardew Valley is a content-packed role-playing life simulation game that takes you on overwhelmingly fun adventures. Whichever life you’d like to build is entirely up to you. And you could always restart a new game to switch things up a bit.  Aside from exploring mysterious caves and fighting monsters, you can choose to be everyone's friendly neighbor and decorate your rural home however you’d like. 

Thanks to new updates, the role-playing features, map settings, and relationships you can build are getting better and more complex, enough to stick around cultivating your new home. The game includes a multiplayer mode and a storyline that is pretty simple yet compelling: your grandfather has left you his farm to take care of where you meet residents of Pelican town and get to crafting, or whichever activity or secrets you’d like to uncover.


4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo Switch Trailer - Nintendo E3 2019

Animal Crossing has been around since 2001. It’s a social simulation game where you build a home and socialize with charming animal villagers. While the series has seen great titles over the years, the game you’d want to try is 2020’s New Horizons. Rather than decorating just your home, you can go out decorating the whole island. Alternatively, you can travel to other islands via Dodo Airlines. 

There’s plenty of content to fill in your spare time, from creating rivers and cliffs to going fishing and making new friends. You’ll experience a friendly charm that lets you relax but still have fun. 

The gameplay is also pretty easy to pick up with the freedom to do anything you’d like to. The cool aspect of the game is there is no strict plot to follow. Once you land on the island with nothing but a tent to sleep in, the island is yours to mold and develop however you please. It also helps that the look and the feel of the game are polished and well detailed. Some graphics may even look ‘unrealistic’ but in a good, enticing way.


3. My Time at Portia

My Time At Portia - Launch Trailer | PS4

If a farm life or island lifestyle with cute animal friends isn’t your cup of tea, you could try starting a new life in the town of Portia. With some enchanting graphics and a focus on building, My Time at Portia is a pretty worthwhile alternative to The Sims

Though the loading times are slower, you’d find an impressive amount of features to explore that keeps you engaged. At the start, you can mine for resources to build items in Portia. With time, you’ll gain experience, make new friends, and find creative ways to earn a living. 

The process steps are not written in stone, though, as you’re free to navigate Portia however you’d want to. Just like in real life, relationships can take a few minigames to build meaningful dialogues, and like the Sims, you could choose to marry and raise a family. 


2. Second Life


While controlling other sims can be fun, imagine controlling a virtual representation of yourself. 

It’s what Second Life offers: a virtual world where real-life people can interact as avatars. So you’re free to explore the virtual world as you meet people, attend events, go shopping, and create a home however you’d like. Who knows? You may find it thrilling to meet and build relationships with virtual simulations of real-life people worldwide. 

Keep in mind that with freedom comes the possibility of extremes. So adults should play it. With various character customisation and support for VR headsets, this game takes a bold step in creating a virtual world closest to the real world. Unfortunately, the issues faced in the real world are also transmitted to the virtual one. Hence, the outcome of a free-form environment hasn’t had the best outcome. Still, the game's closeness to life simulation makes it a worthwhile mention and a game worth checking out.


1. Virtual Families 2

Virtual Families 2 Trailer

Virtual Families is pretty similar to the Sims except for ‘adopting’ an adult to take care of. Your goal is to manage their lives, including decorating their house, going shopping, adopting a virtual pet for them, advancing their careers and babysitting so you help them when they fall ill or run out of home supplies. You’re also free to ‘adopt’ and build as many families as you’d like, though you’d have to make sure you can handle all of them.

While Virtual Families was great, Virtual Families 2 builds upon its features to host a range of events, trophies, and collectables. A significant factor is you don’t need to constantly play the game to provide the best care. Instead, the game has check-ins where you drop by and take care of random events and thus making sure you’re at the top of things. Also, since the game runs in real-time, you’ll often drop by to find your virtual family has moved on and their lives have changed, making the game more realistic.

So what’s your take on these top five best life simulation games like The Sims? Do you agree with our listing? Do let us know in our socials here or in the comments below.

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Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.