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10 Best Simulation Games on Steam (April 2024)

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Two point campus poster charactes in 5 Best Simulation Games on Steam

Simulation games continue to grow more creative. They've branched out from the usual city-building experiences to more far-fetched ideas that keep you returning for more. After all, simulation games aren't defined by any rules except one: to mimic some type of activity from real life. From simulation games that allow you to control a physician, alchemist, or contractor—you name it—to those that allow you to manipulate an environment, institution, or business, here are the best simulation games on Steam worth your time.

10. Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines - Release Trailer

It’s always impressive how cities run smoothly, from transportation to public services. In Cities: Skylines, you have the opportunity to bring to life a town after your own heart. You'll design skyscrapers and public spaces catering to everyday urban needs. Moreover, you'll get to the nitty-gritty, including planning aspects like taxation and road placement. You can build towns as massive as you want, bustling with crowds and traffic. The only task is to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

9. Satisfactory

Satisfactory Early Access Launch Trailer

Alternatively, you can consider the factory simulation game Satisfactory. If not for the change in objectives, then for the freedom to explore and even fight hostile enemies. Satisfactory is perfect for gamers looking to stretch their imagination. Seeing as the game is set on an alien planet, you'll build out-of-this-world factories that may very well be the first of its kind. While combat falls a little shy of the mark, building works pretty well, and the results are all the more jaw-dropping.

8. People Playground

People Playground - Gameplay trailer

People Playground doesn’t exactly feature humans, but ragdolls that look like real humans instead. So, if you ever wanted to do all manner of experiments on ragdolls—shoot, stab, burn, tear, crush, poison, vaporise them, you name it, People Playground is the place to be. Yes, you get extreme cartoon gore to go with it, including bones, organs, and blood. The freedom to do whatever you want, throwing ragdolls around as you please, is impressive. Plus, you can choose to be creative with your exploits or just wreak havoc for the fun of it. You can also build helpful equipment, including weapons, test them, and export them to share with friends.

7. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley - Multiplayer Trailer

Shipped off to farm life, you jump into all manner of activities on your grandfather’s old farm plot, having no clue just how intense the next couple of hours are about to become. Stardew Valley is an impressive and extremely in-depth farming simulator that doesn’t just focus on planting and harvesting crops but also on building lasting bonds with your neighbors and the townspeople. You can even romanticize some characters, making it a fully-fledged simulator out in the countryside.

6. Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2: New 2022 Video Trailer

Well, it’s in the name. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a truck simulator featuring licensed trucks and limitless options for customization. You’re free to drive said trucks, embarking on long-distance drives across Europe. The best part about Euro Truck Simulator 2 is its excellent driving physics, mimicking real-life driving as closely as possible. Can you deliver valuable cargo across mega distances and by dozens of cities in one piece?

5. Poly Bridge 3

Poly Bridge 3 - Official Release Trailer

Building bridges, no, practically, is Poly Bridge 3’s main M.O. Your goal is to get cars from point A to point B across wild scenarios. Missions keep changing, so not every skill you learn will apply throughout the rest of your playthrough. Thanks to vibrant visuals and seamlessly manipulated tools, you'll build bridges that straight up blow you away. You’ll explore creative worlds and navigate challenging levels, learning a thing or two about engineering and problem-solving.

4. Escape Simulator

Escape Simulator - Release Date Announcement Trailer

With a team that has experience building real-life escape rooms, you’ll dive into Escape Simulator from the comfort of your home and enjoy equally challenging scenarios. You’ll navigate over 20 escape rooms, solving wide-ranging puzzles in each one that grows increasingly complex with time. Exploration will come in handy, even as you pick up objects to examine them more closely for clues. You can also bring along friends for the ride, with up to eight online co-op multiplayer options available.

3. Two Point Campus

Two Point Campus | Launch Trailer

Transitioning from Two Point Hospital, developer Two Point Studios brings another fully-fledged institution simulator to tinker around with. You’ll build a student university campus, complete with libraries, classrooms, a cafeteria, and any other building necessary for a smooth-running student life. Speaking of student life, your goal is to ensure maximum student satisfaction. It can include gardens and frat parties. It’s all up to you.

2. Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator - Official Version 1.0 and Console Launch Trailer

If you’re looking for a more focused simulation game, you can check out Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator. It features the tools and ingredients an alchemist needs. You’ll run the alchemist's shop, tending to your customer’s orders and aiming for a five-star rating. When you run out of ingredients, you’ll need to trade for better ones or innovate. Often, you won't always have one way of brewing potions. You can combine different effects as long as your efforts earn you a satisfactory customer review. 

1. Anno 1800

Anno 1800 Console - Launch Trailer

Anno 1800 takes you back to the Industrial Revolution, where diplomacy, trade, and innovation played significant roles in shaping the world we live in today. If you ever thought about doing things differently, here’s your chance to make your mark in history and watch your choices evolve over time. You have the freedom to lead your city however you want, whether with a firm hand or as a liberator. Either way, other unexplored cities booming around you will impact your survival. Whether to team up with them, trade and share ideas with one another, or squash them in an all-out war and take resources by force is up to you. Well, provided your city remains thriving and history remembers you, for better or worse.

So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? What do you think are the best simulation games on Steam? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!

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.