Simulation games are easy to dismiss out of hand. A genre that’s all about pretending to do things that are possible in real life isn’t as attention-grabbing as a high fantasy adventure or action RPG. But don’t let the realism fool you — hidden behind this boring-sounding genre are some of the most charming games on the market, offering players everything from a relaxing escape in the countryside to a high-speed, high-stress customer service job in the city.
I’m personally a big fan of idle simulation games that let me veg out while listening to music, but there are a ton of other options to fit your preferred playstyle. For this gaming roundup, I’ve collected the top 12 simulation games for iOS to help expand your mobile gaming library.
Top 12 Best Simulation Games
Let’s move right into the list with a look at #12.
12. Don’t Trip!
- Publisher: Noodlecake Studios Inc
- Release Date: November 28, 2018
- File Size: 276 MB
The first simulation game in our roundup is a self-defined “silly walking simulator.”
Don’t Trip! is a cute and funny simulator where players’ thumbs become their in-game feet, and they must avoid a wide variety of obstacles to get from one place to the next. Sound easy? Think again. Don’t Trip! is surprisingly challenging, not least of all because stepping on Legos is just as bad in the game as it is in real life!
Players control their feet by rotating their device left and right and “stepping” down with their thumbs. The idea is to walk quickly but carefully, avoiding everything from spills to vacuum cleaners to dog poop. Players can unlock fifty different types of shoes to accessorize their fancy footwork, completing missions and saving action replays to share their silly walking with friends.
11. Euro Truck Evolution
- Publisher: Alexandru Marusac
- Release Date: December 16, 2015
- File Size: 776 MB
Euro Truck Evolution is a game for players who find peace in long road trips through quiet countrysides. Players can drive customizable trucks across the European landscape, visiting beautiful cities in Spain, France, Germany, and more as they make their deliveries.
As players complete deliveries, they’ll make money that they can use to purchase new trucks and upgrades. Multiplayer mode also allows players to challenge their friends and show off their customized vehicles, meaning that the fun doesn’t stop at the end of a delivery!
The game features simple touchscreen controls, traffic AI, realistic weather and day/night cycles, as well as various other realistic effects. The result is a realistic simulator that’s sure to delight.
10. Fallout Shelter
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks LLC
- Release Date: June 14, 2015
- File Size: 411 MB
Fallout Shelter is a construction and management simulator in which players live out the parts of the Fallout franchise that don’t appear in the main games — namely, life inside the Vaults. Players take on the role of Vault Overseer, and must upgrade and defend their Vaults for the safety and well-being of their Dwellers.
As the Vault Overseer, much of the gameplay involves making survival improvements to the Vaults. Dwellers are happier when given a mix of safety and comfort, so players must do what they can to attain this balance. They can send Dwellers out in the wasteland to find supplies for later Vault improvements, assign jobs that will increase productivity and Vault efficiency for a higher chance at survival, and even meddle in their Dwellers’ love lives to produce more efficient children.
There’s no one sure-fire way to manage a Vault, and there’s lots of room for you to test strategies and explore the mechanics. So what are you waiting for? Build up and care for your little haven, protecting your Dwellers from the apocalyptic wasteland. Trust us — you’re sure to have a blast.
9. Penguin Isle
- Publisher: HABBY
- Release Date:
- File Size: 244 MB
Much like Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector (which appears later in this roundup), Penguin Isle is a collection and pet simulation game that revolves around collecting a variety of penguins and other arctic animals. Players build habitats for and interact with their penguins, enjoying the relaxing ocean soundtrack as they expand their island and welcome in more friends.
Penguin Isle’s gameplay is relatively simple, revolving around tapping to interact with penguins and purchase new upgrades. That means players can steadily expand their island and make a more exciting and complex habitat with just the touch of a button.
8. Roller Coaster Tycoon® Classic
- Publisher: Atari
- Release Date: December 22, 2016
- File Size: 426 MB
Roller Coaster Tycoon® Classic combines the best features from Roller Coaster Tycoon® and Roller Coaster Tycoon® 2. It welcomes new players while delivering a fun and familiar experience to established fans of the franchise.
In RCTC, Players can design and run gravity-defying theme parks, balancing the fun of customizable roller coasters with business simulations as they rise to the top.
Roller Coaster Tycoon® Classic is optimized for mobile platforms, making the design elements easier to manage on the go. Players expand their parks by building premade coasters or designing their own with piece-by-piece building tools, adding wild rides to a customizable landscape. Other park elements can be added to improve customer experiences, generating more revenue for further upgrades.
The game offers a few expansion packs that give players a variety of new park options ranging from exotic locations, rides, and concessions to parks based on time travel. All of these are available for an added cost, though the vanilla game’s full content is available upon initial purchase.
7. Goat Simulator
- Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing AB
- Release Date: September 16, 2014
- File Size: 457 MB
Goat Simulator is one of the most ridiculous games on the market, simultaneously embodying all of the great things about simulation games while actively mocking the genre. Even its own development team doesn’t take it seriously, embracing the myriad bugs as part of the experience and advertising above all else that the main appeal is wrecking as many things as possible.
Unlike most simulation games, the title doesn’t quite say it all. Goat Simulator goes above and beyond players’ expectations, allowing them to live out their most destructive caprine fantasies. The game’s ragdoll physics and movable objects allow for a variety of stunts, which are scored using a system similar to skater games. Players looking for a creative outlet in a world not limited by real-life goat experiences should strongly consider checking this one out.
6. Farming Simulator 20
- Publisher: GIANTS Software GmbH
- Release Date: December 3, 2019
- File Size: 574 MB
Farming Simulator differs from other farming/life simulators like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon in that the focus is on delivering an authentic farming experience. Players who enjoy the day-to-day routines of country living will thrive on the game’s beautiful simplicity, enjoying a countryside inspired by American and European rural landscapes as they care for their crops and livestock.
The game performs similarly to its PC and console cousins, albeit with improved controls and UIs for mobile gaming. It’s certainly not as expansive, but with recent updates giving players more control over the game’s settings and simulation options, Farming Simulator 20 still delivers a varied and engaging experience.
5. Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
- Publisher: Hit-Point Co., Ltd.
- Release Date: October 20, 2014
- File Size: 51 MB
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector has been featured on one of our previous mobile game roundups, but the game is enough of a delight to mention again. This combination collection and pet simulation game showcases the appeal of simple mobile games. All that’s required? Collecting as many unique kitties as possible!
The collection process is relatively simple. Players need only upgrade their gardens to attract more kitties, adding more food and toys to support their growing clowder. Special themed cats can be collected with the introduction of specific items, bringing cute pop culture references into the mix.
The game is free-to-play and endless, meaning that players can continue collecting kitties for as long as they want. Since the cats all have a mind of their own and will show up as long as players keep feeding them, this cute little game actually ends up being a pretty accurate pet cat simulator.
4. Papa’s Freezeria To Go!
- Publisher: Flipline IDS LLC
- Release Date: February 27, 2014
- File Size: 53 MB
Papa’s Freezeria To Go! is a fun business simulation game that drops players into the hectic action of manning and managing a popular oceanfront ice cream shop in the heat of summer. Players must take, make, and deliver their customers’ sundae orders, upgrading and improving their ingredients list and storefront as they go.
The game’s multitasking elements are made easier with the introduction of interactive touchscreen controls. Players can swap between sundae stations with a tap of their thumb, and each station involves a separate set of tasks and commands to keep gameplay varied and exciting. Papa’s Freezeria To Go! is also explicitly designed to work with smaller mobile screens, which means that every aspect of the gameplay is streamlined to work, as the game’s title suggests, on the go!
3. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: November 21, 2017
- File Size: 229 MB
If you’re a fan of the Animal Crossing franchise but haven’t had a chance to pick up New Horizons, Pocket Camp is an excellent, downsized alternative. In this mobile game, players can design their own miniature campground and invite tons of fun, quirky animal campers to enjoy it with.
Pocket Camp plays more or less like other Animal Crossing titles, with players earning items to customize their camper, site, and cabin through various events and activities. Events include fishing tournaments, garden events, scavenger hunts, and seasonally themed activities. Players can also become friends with the animals and invite them back to their campsite for a photo op!
Overall, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a sweet, relaxing game that provides all of the franchise’s fun without the added pressure of maintaining an entire town or island. It’s absolutely worth checking out!
- Publisher: 505 Games (US), Inc.
- Release Date: August 29, 2013
- File Size: 188 MB
Terraria is a procedurally-generated sandbox that offers hours of exploration, combat, and construction for players looking to escape the real world. With a variety of activities for players to pursue, Terraria provides a lot of diverse simulation elements in each moment of engaging gameplay.
Recent updates have allowed Terraria’s mobile port to expand considerably, introducing new world sizes, biomes, enemies, items, game modes, and more. All of this gives mobile players a comparable experience to PC gamers. The game also features new controls and an improved interface that allows players to customize their layout as desired. Overall, it’s an enjoyable romp for mobile!
1. Stardew Valley
- Publisher: Chucklefish Limited
- Release Date: October 24, 2018
- File Size: 367 MB
I’ve mentioned Stardew Valley a lot in these game roundups, but I stand by every one of my recommendations. It’s a pleasant, relaxing, and charming little game that combines all the best elements of life simulations, farm simulations, and RPGs into a single pixel-art package.
In Stardew Valley, players inherit a run-down plot of land on the quiet outskirts of Pelican Town, and must spend the next four in-game years developing and upgrading their farm. Through hard work and creativity, players can return their property and the rest of Pelican Town to their former glory.
Upgrades are unlocked through a variety of in-game activities, including fishing, mining, and foraging. Stardew Valley’s mobile port features touchscreen-specific controls like auto-select and auto-attack that streamline gameplay, as well as various other improvements to the game.
Thanks for checking out our list of the top simulation games for iOS! If you have any thoughts or would like to recommend a few other games for the High Ground team, feel free to leave a comment — we’re always happy to hear from you.