Best PC Simulation Games Windows Central 2021
The best PC simulation games let you become absorbed in an experience outside your normal wheelhouse, whether that means you learn how to fly myriad aircraft, transport goods across Europe, plan a city, control a border, or race the fastest cars in the world. This is one of the most encompassing genres out there, so we undoubtedly missed a few favorites, but these are guaranteed to give you an awesome experience.
- See The World: Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Create A Dynasty: Crusader Kings 3
- Drive Across Europe: Euro Truck Simulator 2
- Build A City: Cities: Skylines
- Live The Rural Life: Stardew Valley
- Build A Theme Park: Planet Coaster
- Sit And Play Awhile: Tabletop Simulator
- Warfare Like Never Before: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
- Keep The Border Safe: Papers, Please
- Dirt To Space Travel: Factorio
- Drive The Car Of Your Dreams: iRacing
- Become An Astronaut: Kerbal Space Program
See The World: Microsoft Flight SimulatorEditor's choice
Microsoft's Flight Simulator is truly a next-gen experience, with live-streaming satellite data that lets you see the entire world from the cockpit of one of 20 detailed planes. Fly over your house, fly over your friend's house, then fly around the world. Set the sim level from an easy, carefree ride to a challenging real-time flight.
Create A Dynasty: Crusader Kings 3Staff pick
Paradox took what made Crusader Kings II so good and ramped it all up a notch. The third installment is easier to get into as a newcomer to the series, offers more addictive RPG systems like the revamped dynasty feature, whilst maintaining that medieval simulator charm. Just watch your back, you hear me?
Drive Across Europe: Euro Truck Simulator 2
Driving across Europe in a truck might sound all that exciting to some people, but this is a deep game that is surprisingly addictive. Manage your trucking business, customize your rig, and meet deadlines to collect your pay. Best part? This game is massive, with countless hours of content, but it doesn't require a powerful PC to enjoy.
Build A City: Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines has been out for quite a while now, but it remains the best city building. It took over after the EA Sim City disaster and hasn't looked back. With full modding support, tons of expansion content, and a value price, this is the simulation game if you love starting a city from nothing and helping it along until it becomes a metropolis.
Live The Rural Life: Stardew Valley
It's almost unbelievable that one person developed this game, considering how much content there is to enjoy. You start with a rundown farm next to a quaint town filled with people you can meet, befriend, and even love when you're not growing crops and mining for precious gems. There's a reason this game is so beloved by so many people.
Build A Theme Park: Planet Coaster
Planet Coaster is a wonderful homage to Rollercoaster Tycoon games of old, letting you build a theme park from the ground up. The graphics are beautiful, there is a ton of content to add to your park, and you can get lost designing new coasters that don't kill or maim their riders. For some screaming fun, definitely give this sim a try.
Sit And Play Awhile: Tabletop Simulator
Tabletop Simulator is especially fun while people are stuck inside, allowing friends to play the most popular board games from behind a screen. Not only does it come with 15 games, but you can also design your own games to play with friends. It includes an RPG kit, but you can also import all your own content to use with your creation.
Warfare Like Never Before: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
This tongue-in-cheek battle simulator uses physics to create some truly wacky clashes between historical armies. There's a campaign to plow through, plus a sandbox mode where you can go crazy pitting units against each other. If that's not good enough, there's also a workshop mode that lets you create campaign missions and custom battles.
Keep The Border Safe: Papers, Please
It's your first day as a border agent between the fictional East and West divisions of Grestin, and it's up to you to make sure no undocumented or illegal immigrants make it across. The game looks quite simple, but it'll have you pulling your hair out in no time. It will also probably leave you depressed as you choose between feeding your family and obeying the law—so much fun.
Dirt To Space Travel: Factorio
You're stuck on a planet with nothing but a power tool, and it's your job to launch a rocket into space. Along the way, you're going to create an ever-expanding factory that ruins the native flora and fauna and drains the planet of resources. You can play this game for years on end and not see all it has to offer, and at $30, that's a great deal.
Drive The Car Of Your Dreams: iRacing
iRacing is about as close as you can get to real racing without putting a helmet on. Its ultra-realistic physics are backed up by a great selection of real-life cars and circuits, and there's a massive community of competitive racers to face and series to enter. It's even a favorite of current F1 racers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, so it can't get a much better endorsement.
Become An Astronaut: Kerbal Space Program
I don't know what the Kerbals are, but that's OK. What I do know is that they love space and will do just about anything to get here. It's up to you to create spacecraft with a bunch of different parts that will actually fly when subjected to actual physics and aerodynamics. Whether you have a working knowledge of this type of stuff really doesn't matter to the Kerbals.
If we're making some suggestions
Any of these picks for best PC simulation games will make a great addition to your library, but there are a couple we can't stop playing. Microsoft's Flight Simulator is an astounding achievement, bringing photo-realistic graphics, detailed aircraft, and satellite data to deliver a literal world of content. Whether or not you fancy yourself a flight enthusiast, this game is a whole lot of fun with unending content. That's especially true when you consider the best Flight Simulator mods and add-ons that up the overall experience. It takes a beefy PC to run, so be sure to check out our pick for best pre-built computer for Microsoft Flight Simulator if your rig isn't quite up to the task.
We've also had a grand time simulating the rise of a medieval dynasty, as evidenced in our Crusader Kings 3 review. Paradox really knows how to create a strategy game, and the latest from the CK franchise makes it easier than ever before to start playing. The game looks better than ever, there have been a bunch of improvements to mechanics behind the scenes, and it's still ready to give you endless hours of content as you try and try again to marry, stab, and poison your way to European royalty.
If these games aren't quite what you're looking for, do be sure to have a look at our overall best PC games roundup.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.