Challenge your intellect with these simulation games

Last updated: June 12, 2017

Video games are a fun diversion from reality, but they're also valuable when they teach us about real-world concepts or historic events. Here are five we like when we want to learn while having fun.
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The Trail

290,937
5,000,000
Contains ads
·
Offers in-app purchases
Why we love this
  1. 1Strikingly rendered American wilderness for explorers-at-heart
  2. 2Multi-tiered quest system gives us plenty of reasons to return to the trail
  3. 3Craft your settler from four different types — trader, explorer, lumberjack, or hunter
Relive pioneer times while crafting clothing, tools, and food to survive the journey to a frontier settlement in Peter Molyneux’s newest game. Campsites allow online players to meet up and trade for better gear. In-app purchases are minimal, but can break the immersion.

Design Home

763,470
10,000,000
Contains ads
·
Offers in-app purchases
Why we love this
  1. 1Great for home décor enthusiasts
  2. 2Pit your design skills against other players’ for in-game currency and rare furniture in rotating challenges
  3. 3A stunning variety of locations has us fantasizing about our dream homes
With its static interface and lack of music, Design Home doesn’t feel like a typical game. A wide variety of furnishings from real-life designers can be purchased with in-game currency or real money, providing plenty of inspiration for your next trip to the furniture store.
Why we love this
  1. 1Charming retro-style graphics hide a surprisingly complex simulation
  2. 2Tell your own rags-to-riches story as your career develops over decades
  3. 3Subtle nods to real-life music industry legends
Kairosoft's carved out quite a niche with its cute business management sims, and now it's tackling the music industry. Scout talent, shape them into pop megastars, then ride their coattails to fame and fortune. The formula is still rock solid, though for some it may start to feel a bit too familiar.

SimCity BuildIt

4,828,330
50,000,000
Contains ads
·
Offers in-app purchases
Why we love this
  1. 1A graphically rich urban-planning game for the mayor in all of us
  2. 2Visit other players’ cities to purchase resources at discounted prices
  3. 3Helpful in-game advisors guide unseasoned players in the right direction
SimCity BuildIt is a streamlined take on the classic that lets you build and manage a city from the ground up. This may be the best SimCity has ever looked, but longtime fans who prefer high-level civil engineering to tap-and-wait resource gathering may find themselves wanting a bit more control.

Choices: Stories You Play

1,207,814
10,000,000
Contains ads
·
Offers in-app purchases
Why we love this
  1. 1A ton of fun for drama-seekers looking to spice up their lives
  2. 2Many stories are updated regularly with new chapters
  3. 3High-quality writing keeps us “turning pages” long into the night
From fantasy to mystery to romance, this series of interactive stories is perfect for your inner drama queen. Each narrative is tailored to the choices players make during key moments, though we wish the more exciting outcomes weren't locked behind in-app purchases.
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