Whether you’re a fan of simulation games — games where you pretend to do things you could do in real life, from driving a truck to managing an ice cream stall — or not, there’s no denying they’re the perfect escape. Score points by flinging a goat around, become a long-haul trucker, or develop and run a farm — all from the comfort of your couch.
There’s a plethora of simulation games out there to choose from, so how do you choose between the downright awesome games and those that are not so great ? We know download regret is real, so we’ve picked some of the best simulation games for the iPhone, which means you don’t have to waste time browsing the app store. There’s something for everyone on our list, from animal-themed sims to games that let you experience what life’s really like inside Fallout‘s Vaults.
Not in the mood for a simulation game? Check out our roundup of the best iPhone games instead.
Walking simulators are always fun, but none more so than Don’t Trip!, a “silly walking simulator” that turns your in-game thumbs into your feet. Walk around, avoid the obstacles, and get to your destination quickly — but be careful! Obstacles range from lego blocks to household items and even dog poop, and the game is surprisingly challenging. Along the way you’ll unlock 50 different types of shoes, which adds a bit more longevity to the game — and you can save live-action replays to share your silly walking disasters, or success stories, with friends.
Fallout Shelter has been around for a while now, so if you haven’t played it yet there’s no time like the present. Protect your vault dwellers from the perils of the Wasteland and control a state-of-the-art underground vault. Add a variety of different rooms to attract new dwellers with a mix of skills, find them the perfect jobs for their abilities, and send them out to explore the Wasteland, bringing back loot, armor, and weapons. Once you get started building your vault it’s amazing how much of a time sink this game can become — and it’s free to play, although there are in-app purchases.
Euro Truck Evolution
Always dreamed of trucking across the world with nothing more for company than your trusty ol’ trucker cap, the open road stretching out in front of you? Euro Truck Evolution takes the trucking dream to Europe, where long, peaceful road trips across the European countryside are surprisingly relaxing. Visit cities across France, Spain, Germany, and more as you complete deliveries and earn cash to spend upgrading your truck — or even buy a snazzy new one. Multiplayer mode adds a new level of challenge, where you can show off your truck and pit your delivery skills against your friends. With realistic day/night cycles and weather, as well as traffic A.I., this is a truly realistic trucking simulator that fans of American Truck Simulator will love.
Goat Simulator ($3)
There always has to be one ridiculous game on every list — and in this case, it’s Goat Simulator. Be a goat. Do goat-y things. Oh, and cause as much destruction as is goat-ily possible along the way. The ragdoll physics and moveable objects of the game make it easy to goat around, wrecking things and generally having a grand old time. Goat Simulator is packed with bugs, too, mostly hilarious ones that add to the utter madness of the game. Just get it; we promise you won’t regret it.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the laid-back alternative to New Horizons, and a great little free game to while away some time for those into the franchise. Design your own mini campsite complete with a cabin and camper, and choose from more than 1,000 items of furniture, from beachy hammocks to leopard-print couches. Along the way you can befriend more than 100 quirky animals and invite them to your site for scavenger hunts, fishing competitions, and seasonal themed events. The game is free to download, with in-app purchases.
A delight for fans of the PC and console versions — and an enjoyable experience even for those new to the game, Terraria is a procedurally generated sandbox that lets you construct, fight, and explore a vast world in your quest for fame and fortune. Recent updates have ensured the mobile game provides a comparable experience to the PC version, with a choice of small, medium, or large worlds, and a vast range of game modes, items, and enemies. There’s also support for Bluetooth gamepads, if you prefer a controller to using your touchscreen.
Stardew Valley ($5)
Part simulator, part farming RPG, Stardew Valley is a surprisingly charming little game. Cutesy pixel art, a vast array of animals to befriend and care for, and your own farm to manage — what could be better? Build and grow your farm, meet new characters and make friends, raise animals and crops, and venture into the world to defeat terrifying monsters. Stardew Valley is packed with mini-games and activities, so there’s always something to do, and new seasonal plants to grow. This is a fantastic game to lose yourself in, and once you get started you’ll find it’s quite addictive.
Far: Lone Sails ($4)
If you’ve ever played walking simulators like Firewatch on PC, you’ll love Far: Lone Sails. Yes, the pace is slow — and yes, it’s a short game — but this game is an experience in every sense of the word, as you traverse a bleak, desert-like post-apocalyptic landscape. Your mission? Keep your vehicle moving no matter what, and reach your destination. Along the way, you’ll modify your vehicle to overcome natural hazards and obstacles, battle through hazardous weather conditions, and explore a beautiful, abandoned world, uncovering relics and ruins that tell the tale of a destroyed civilization. It’s an experience that’ll stay with you long after you complete the game.
Evil Hunter Tycoon
A less realistic simulator than most on our list, Evil Hunter Tycoon allows you to design, develop, and maintain your own little town on the outskirts of the badlands. The Dark Lord has brought destruction to the world, and it’s up to you to complete four missions to restore order: rebuild your town, raise strong hunters to fight monsters, seek revenge, and get out there to explore the new world. You’re basically running the economy here, sending fighters out to slay monsters, buying loot from them on their return, refining it into goods, stocking your stores, then reselling it to power up your fighters. Build facilities that help you raise strong hunters, like the Bounty Hut that gives hunters special monster hunting quests, or the Training Ground that helps them level up quickly. If you get bored playing alone, you can even join a Guild and combine forces for Boss Raids and team missions.