Best Simulator Games to Play in 2022

Jeff Nabors
Jeff Nabors
20 Min Read

Simulators are one of the most underrated game genres that you can immerse yourself in. While city builders are the most popular titles, the simulation genre has branched out from farming sims, vehicle sims, and even “job” simulators.

You might even catch me on Twitch or YouTube when I stream these games especially if I want to take a break from competitive games like Valorant, Shatterline, and the like.

Let’s dive into the best simulator games that you can try out in 2022 (in no particular order). Discover some hidden gems in your Steam library or even your Xbox Game Pass.

  1. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  2. F1 2022
  3. War Thunder
  4. Train Sim World 3
  5. World of Warships
  6. Assetto Corsa Competizione
  7. No Man’s Sky
  8. The Sims 4
  9. House Flipper
  10. Cities: Skylines
  11. The Wandering Village
  12. Tropico 6
  13. Dinkum
  14. Mini Motorways
  15. Prison Architect
  16. Plague Inc: Evolved
  17. Factorio
  18. Endzone – A World Apart
  19. Two Point Campus
  20. Coral Island

1

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Experience flying a real plane over the night sky in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: July 14, 2022
Platforms: Steam, Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the best simulators that you can play in 2022. It features a plethora of planes at your disposal so that you can practice piloting. You can tinker around with the game and start exploring and flying to different cities with your aircraft.

The game provides you with training simulations. However, it may have a steep learning curve for beginners because Microsoft Flight Simulator leans more toward realism. So the virtual looks of every cockpit are well matched with its real counterpart.

They’ve managed to pull off some nice day and night cycles so you’ll really feel like you’re flying a plane. You can also do some nice photo mode shots in the process.

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2

F1 2022

Drive your dream F1 cars in F1 22

Release Date: July 1, 2022
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation, Xbox

F1 2022 is one of the most realistic simulator racing sims that you can play. If you have a monster gaming rig, it also supports VR and has ray tracing for that added detail and immersive experience. Show off your supercars, clothing, and accessories through F1 Life.

Although it got some mixed reviews compared to its predecessor, F1 2022 can still be worth your money with better graphics. Similar to any sports games like FIFA or NBA 2K, these genres grow on you and cannot help but collect.

It’s also one of those games that can support split-screen, which we don’t see as often nowadays. So F1 2022 can also be one of your go-to couch co-op games.

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3

War Thunder

Fly military planes and more in War Thunder

Release Date: August 15, 2013
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation, Xbox

War Thunder is a free-to-play multiplayer military vehicle simulator where you get to control either air, land, or sea units. Engage in head-to-head combat with other players, and if you have a high-specs rig, War Thunder also supports VR.

Choose different vehicles from the early 20th century to the most advanced combat units. War Thunder also supports cross-platform gameplay across PC and consoles. Whether you want to play PvP or PvE, you get to immerse yourself in a historical war game experience.

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4

Train Sim World 3

Experience running trains in extreme weather conditions with Train Sim World 3

Release Date: September 7, 2022
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation, Xbox

Train Sim World 3 gives you the chance to explore different parts of the world by operating real trains. Figure out how each model works by tinkering with the controls. Every weather condition you experience also gives off a challenge from changing tracks because you see a broken path or you need to slow down due to heavy rains.

It may have a steep learning curve similar to Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you’ll get realistic graphics and physics for a train sim. If you’re a hobbyist, then you might be able to appreciate and enjoy this game as you admire each train’s ins and outs.

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5

World of Warships

Go in head-to-head naval battles with World of Warships

Release Date: November 15, 2017
Platforms: Steam

World of Warships is another free-to-play MMO naval simulator that you can play on PC. It features hundreds of ships to choose from. You get to try four different classes where every playstyle has its perks.

Control devastating but slow battleships, versatile but fragile cruisers, stealthy but lightly-armed destroyers, or quick-striking but vulnerable aircraft carriers.

Aside from its rewarding progression, you can also upgrade and customize your ship that is fit to your playstyle.

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6

Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa Competizione gives you a GT racing sim experience

Release Date: May 29, 2019
Platforms: Steam

Assetto Corsa Competizione is a great GT World Challenge sim for those who want to experience realistic racing. It is designed to recreate the performance and the driving experience of real GT World Challenge cars through accurately replicating tire grip, aerodynamic impact, engine parameters, suspensions, and electronics systems that determine vehicle balance, as well as the influence of mechanical damage on the car’s drivability.

Each car also has its unique cockpits, so you can also experience feeling like you’re inside the car. Its photo mode is also eye candy like its predecessor. If you’re lucky, you can catch this game during Steam sales. However, the DLCs can be a cash grab and might annoy some gamers.

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7

No Man’s Sky

Exploring random universes with No Man's Sky

Release Date: August 13, 2016
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation, Xbox

If you’re looking for an immersive space exploration sim, then No Man’s Sky is your best bet. Play as an explorer in this procedurally generated infinite universe where you explore random planets, and study their resources, flora, and fauna.

You can also encounter some friendly and hostile creatures along your journey. No Man’s Sky also features a bit of base-building and ship-building as well. From a game that wasn’t well received by the masses during its early days, we’ve seen No Man’s Sky evolve to become one of the best open-world space simulator games with a very supportive community.

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8

The Sims 4

The Sims 4 characters chilling in a room

Release Date: September 4, 2014
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox

Build your dream home and live the life you’ve always wanted in this classic life simulation game. Create your own sims and aspire to become anything you want to be. A frustrated artist? A crazy rich person? You can do that here.

What I don’t like about this game is the DLC can hurt your wallet a lot. However, the base game becomes free on October 2022 so you can guiltlessly add this title to your collection.

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9

House Flipper

Become a master fixer, cleaner, and renovator by taking odd jobs in House Flipper

Release Date: May 17, 2018
Platforms: Steam, Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

As the title suggests, this immersive renovation sim will surprisingly make house decorating fun. House Flipper is a nice sandbox sim that you can add to your collection. You’re basically an all-around handyman, and your goal is to take on odd house jobs.

These jobs range from cleaning, picking up trash, breaking and painting walls, and even assembling some bathroom fixtures and placing furniture around the house. Save up money, and you can move your office to a better house or make it nice and sell it to the highest bidder.

House Flipper is another relaxing game that you might enjoy if you enjoy cleaning and organizing stuff. You might even use this game as inspiration for your dream renovation of your actual house.

Watch for Steam sales if you want to pick up the DLC since they can be quite expensive. But for the base game, you can pick it up for free on the Xbox Game Pass.

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10

Cities: Skylines

Create utopias of buildings and zones with Cities: Skylines

Release Date: March 11, 2015
Platforms: Steam

If you love the classic Sim City game series then you may want to check out Cities: Skylines. It gives you one of the best simulation experiences when it comes to city building. Create your desired terrain and zone out your residential, commercial, and industrial areas. You can even set up districts for that added complexity.

Cities: Skylines also has a ton of DLC for you to explore. The only issue that some people might have with this game is that the DLCs can be expensive and you’ll be torn on which upgrades you want to get to complete your city-building experience.

Also, if you’re at the endgame, you might encounter some performance issues especially if you’re running on minimum specs.

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11

The Wandering Village

Experience managing a tribe while taking care of a dinosaur like creature in The Wandering Village

Release Date: September 15, 2022
Platforms: Steam

The Wandering Village takes a unique spin on the city-building genre by integrating some “pet care” mechanics. The premise of the game is that you’re a group of villagers set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy era. These villagers discover Onbu, a giant dinosaur-like creature and you are set on an adventure to explore the lands while building your city on top of Onbu.

Although the space for building your dream village is quite limited, the developers were able to balance it with taking care of Onbu which gives the game a bit of a challenge. In The Wandering Village, you are challenged with which technologies to prioritize to ensure that your colony survives. The game’s over if all your villagers or Onbu die.

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12

Tropico 6

Run things around the Carribean with Tropico 6

Release Date: March 30, 2019
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox Game Pass

Always wanted to experience how to lead the Caribbean? Tropico 6 is the game to go. You can treat this game as another alternative to either Sim City or Cities: Skylines. What I like about this game is that you have your own president avatar which you can control to explore the different parts of the island.

In terms of resource management, the game has a slightly steep learning curve. In Tropico, you will learn how to create trade routes, maintain diplomatic relations between the Axis and Allied powers, and even hire secret agents or pirates to get more money and resources.

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13

Dinkum

Creating your own outback paradise in Dinkum

Release Date: July 14, 2022
Platforms: Steam

This 3D Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley-like farm sim came as a surprise for gamers this year as James Bendon, a solo developer, was able to create a lovely game that has over 8,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam.

Inspired by the Australian outback, Dinkum takes us into an open-world sandbox adventure where you create a settlement on a lonely island. I would personally call this Animal Crossing on steroids.

Start your way by camping in the area with tents while gathering resources to upgrade your town and inviting residents to stay on your island. Make friends with the inhabitants, do quests explore mines, kill or capture some wildlife, and plant some trees and other crops until you create your utopia.

Dinkum can be your go-to relaxation game especially if you’re not really attracted to retro-like sims and if you have a tiny attention span and you cannot wait for the “next day” in Animal Crossing.

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14

Mini Motorways

Create a complex but efficient traffic management system with Mini Motorways

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Platforms: Steam, Apple Arcade, Nintendo Switch

Mini Motorways is a minimalistic traffic management game where you’ll be challenged to create the most efficient paths for the cars to reach their current destinations.

If you’re too overwhelmed with resource management, but you want to challenge your brain in these procedurally generated puzzle sessions, then Mini Motorways might be one of the best simulator games that you can pick up. Read our guide if you want to learn the basics on how to score high in Mini Motorways.

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15

Prison Architect

Learn how to run a correction facility with Prison Architect

Release Date: October 6, 2015
Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation 4

Prison Architect lets you experience what it’s like to manage a state penitentiary and jailhouse featuring rowdy prisoners and a full team of guards. Try to create a harmonious prison by improving facilities and generating income out of prison labor.

The longer you play the game, the more challenging it gets as you face random events such as prisoners trying to escape.

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16

Endzone – A World Apart

Manage a post-apocalyptic colony in Endzone - A World Apart

Release Date: March 19, 2021
Platforms: Steam

Endzone – A World Apart is set in a post-apocalyptic era where you’ll manage a group of survivors in a desolate area. This hybrid survival and city-building simulator gives the player a couple of challenging scenarios with specific win conditions and a distinct storyline.

Build a settlement and experience dynamically simulated environments while trying to figure out the most efficient way to make use of different resources. Endzone also provides ways to assign workers to do tasks.

Send your people on expeditions and try to collect valuable materials to improve your settlement’s happiness. Make decisions that can change the fate of your people and put your people management skills to the test.

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17

Plague Inc: Evolved

Infest the whole world with a scary simulation called Plague Inc: Evolved

Release Date: February 19, 2016
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

Plague Inc: Evolved is a unique mix of high level strategy and a terrifying simulation. Your task is to create a mutated virus that can end the entire human history.

The goal of the game is to infect the entire world and prevent humanity from coming up with a cure. Don’t let its simple graphics fool you because you can get reeled in playing for hours.

If you want to play the good guys, you can also try playing The Cure expansion. As a unique experience and one of the best simulator games to play in 2022, you should definitely try this out.

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18

Factorio

Create sophisticated assembly lines in Factorio

Release Date: August 14, 2020
Platforms: Steam

Factorio is what I would describe as a good 2D alternative to Satisfactory (special mention) if you find its graphical requirements too demanding. But don’t let the presentation fool you as this is one of the most challenging easy-to-learn but hard-to-master sims that you’ll come across in 2022.

The game sets you as a survivor on a desolate planet filled with aliens. Your objective is to create a rocket ship and escape the planet. Put your imagination to the test and build blueprints of automated factories and assembly lines to create items that you will need for your survival. You can also team up with some friends and make an efficient base.

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19

Two Point Campus

Making your dream school in Two Point Campus

Release Date: August 9, 2022
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Game Pass

From the developers of the famous Two Point Hospital, comes another management sim game where you’ll learn how to run a school. Two Point Campus brings in the quirkiness of its previous predecessor and you can explore the different course programs that you want to provide for your dream university.

Build a common college campus, a specialized medical school, an archeological site, or even a magic school of wizardry. Two Point Campus has you covered in creating one of the best simulator games and sandboxes that you can try out and it’s currently free to download if you’re subscribed to the Xbox Game Pass.

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20

Coral Island

Coral Island: Managing a nice 3D farm

Release Date: October 11, 2022
Platforms: Steam

If you’re itching to play a game that has a similar vibe to Stardew Valley, then Coral Island might be your best bet in the farming sim category. Its vibrant and laid-back graphics makes it a perfect chill game. For an early access game, you’ll be occupied with tons of content.

Experience an enchanting island living at your own pace—live off the land, nurture animals, build relationships with a diverse cast of townsfolk, and make the world around you a more vital and harmonious place.

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The Verdict

Simulator games aren’t only limited to city-building as you can see from this list. There are some titles that have a steep learning curve, but getting through those tutorials will give you that sense of accomplishment.

These games aren’t for everybody, but for those people who want to learn resource management, economics, or basically how to live a life of a professional, then these best simulator games are for you.

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Jeff Nabors is a self-described "internet person". He's been writing about tech and gaming for the last few years now, between running podcasts and Dungeons and Dragons games. You can learn more at www.jeffnabors.best, or catch him live on Twitch www.twitch.tv/RKDnc
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