Instead of living out our days like productive, articulated human beings and individuals, most of us have shirked our responsibilities to play God and control the lives of NPCs or Sims. We might live out our days in the Sims to recreate our own lives, achieving unattainable goals like becoming the best version of ourselves(or recreating Jim Pickens).
But if you’re tired of the Sims, owing to its rather janky control scheme(on console), and don’t want to spend the extra money on its massively expensive Add-On packs(that add up to around a thousand dollars in total), then you could take a break and find a new simulation game to try out. Here are 8 games like the Sims.
Gas Station Simulator
Who would’ve expected Gas Station Simulator to make it on the list? Being a simulation game and sharing loads of mechanics from other titles, Gas Station Simulator still seems to be one of the top-selling games on Steam. It’s still in Early Access, but you can wait for the final version when it releases on February 6.
You’re supposed to do lots of odd jobs which are quite fun, don’t get me wrong. But some activities start to become a bit of a headache, such as the constant sweeping to keep the Gas Station clean and relegating duties to a roster of employees.
And the cost of items is still pretty high. And let’s not mention the bugs here because there are loads of them, something you would expect from an Early Access title. Hopefully, the game will come out bug-free when it officially releases. If you need the Sims: Gas Station Edition, for some reason, this title fails to disappoint.
This game came out more than half a decade ago and it’s still my go-to city-building sim. While you don’t get to control individual characters as you do in the Sims, Cities Skylines allows you to build an entire city and run it properly.
There’s no real end goal. You just build bigger and better as the game progresses, similar to how you build better houses and communities in the Sims. But Cities Skylines works on a grander scale and lacks the nitty gritty bits that the Sims is known for. If you want to play God on a bigger plate, then Cities Skylines might be just what you’re looking for.
Fallout Shelter isn’t a traditional Fallout game and shares more DNA with the Sims if it were 2 dimensional. It’s basically a post-apocalyptic Sim where you manage and control the lives of the Vault and its corresponding residents.
But being a mobile game, it has its own fair share of caveats. The game starts to lose charm when you get to forty to fifty vault dwellers and afterward, the gameplay becomes monotonous. It’s a game that holds value in the sea of similar simulation games out there, but it starts to bore you once you’re done going through all the character dialogues and random events.
At the end of the day, you put the right character with the right jacket in the right room, keep your Vault in order and pray to god one of the dwellers doesn’t wish for death. Fallout Shelter is a decent mobile Sim that’s interesting early on and could be relegated to the occasional bathroom break during late-game sections.
Bitlife is unlike your traditional simulation games. You only control the life of one character, but where it starts to get drastically different are the numerous jobs, traits, and random events you’re thrown in.
Bitlife is pretty complicated, and of course, your actions earlier on in the game determine the jobs you land, the money you make, and the relations you have, but every decision has its own set of consequences.
Studying too hard in school? You’ll end up with depression, and if untreated, you’ll end up as a crack addict, and before you know it, you’ll land a job in the couch interview industry, if you get the drift. Bitlife is crazy and knows no bounds or limits. It flies off the handle creating some whacky randomized experiences.
So how did a zombie game make it onto a list of games like the Sims? Well, the answer is pretty straightforward. Project Zomboid is a post-apocalyptic zombie survival game. It could be confused for the sims due to its camera perspective, but observing its dark and gritty setting, that confusion clears up pretty quickly.
So aside from that, what else does Project Zomboid do similarly? Starting off from the beginning, you can customize character traits and options that allow you to use a particular skill set. Say, you’re a carpenter or an electrician, you can build essentials on the fly. And if you’re lacking in a particular area, you can hit the books just like in Sims and learn new skills to aid you in your survival journey.
Just like the Sims, Project Zomboid has no end goal. You’re supposed to survive and try to live a normal life just like the Sims, except with the impending threat of a brutal death always lingering over your head.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If you’re hell-bent on trying out the Sims, but you’ve only got a Nintendo Switch, then your next best bet would be to try out Animal Crossing: New Horizons. ACNH features activities like decoration, fishing, catching bugs, and new visitors to your Island and home like the Sims. It’s a lot more addictive and charming than one would expect at first glance.
Basically, Animal Crossing is a life simulator just like the Sims. You start off on an abandoned Island. Set up your home, craft recipes, and collect cool stuff along the way. It couldn’t come out at a better time. It was released in the midst of the Pandemic, which paved the way for many new gamers to join in on the fun. The mass appeal is due to its soft and cute art style and its relaxing and slow-paced gameplay.
But it’s a tad bit annoying that you can only have one island per Nintendo Switch Console. Using a separate account still allows you to create another character, but you’ll still live on the same island. In the end, it becomes a game of who started first, as you’ll have to wait it out and grind while older users get to try out better activities.
Two Point Hospital
With a goofy Wallace and Gromit-esque style, Two Point Hospital, as suggested by the name, gives you the keys to running a hospital. Think of it as a cross between the Sims and a medical institution. It can’t get any more direct than that.
Two Point Hospital largely shares the same mechanics put in place as the Sims. I wouldn’t call it a sheer rip-off. Hey if it works, go for it. And besides, it’s a follow-up to the 1997 MS-DOS Theme Hospital.
Overall, Two Point Hospital is loads of fun and takes things up a notch with its quirky art style and animations. As a direct sequel, Two Point Hospital utilizes most of the ideas of its previous entry and leaves innovation off the table. I wish it played it less safe in terms of adding more to the game. Still, it offers a solid and enjoyable experience.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Paralives is a lot like the Sims from what we’ve seen so far. While Sims dominates the life simulation genre, it seems Paralives plans to go toe-to-toe and even beat the Sims. While EA is busy making money off of add-ons and turning a blind eye to community feedback, Paralives is planning to fix the things EA doesn’t want to.
Paralives add a lot more flexibility in terms of house construction and interior decoration. You can create curved walls, custom platforms, and even build walls diagonally. Going for interior decoration but don’t want it to be too neat.
You can stack items, and shelves lamps on top of each other and place them at different angles. Furniture and items can even be resized according to your needs.
Overall, Paralives is shaping up to be a Sims-killer, creating some well-needed competition for EA in a life simulation market dominated by the Sims. Surely, competition can be healthy, allowing EA to innovate in the next iteration of the Sims. Till then, we can hopefully enjoy Paralives when it releases in the coming years.
If you’ve been craving some sims and needed a decent hit, you’re going to get much more than just a kick. That’s a wrap for 8 games like the Sims, at least for the most part. So broaden your horizons, try them out, and tell us what you think in the comments!