19 best games like The Sims to play in 2023, including Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley & more

19 best games like The Sims to play in 2023, including Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley & more
Image via EA | Maxis

Written by 

Kiera Mills & Amy Eastland


1st Nov 2023 13:49


If you're looking for some of the best games to play like The Sims in 2023 across all the major platforms like PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC, then this is the list for you. From town development simulators like Animal Crossing to city management sims like Cities: Skylines, The Sims' influence can be felt throughout.

Included is a mix of RPG, simulation games, management sims and anything that has a similar spirit to The Sims franchise either in art style or gameplay mechanics.

If you love The Sims games but are looking to try something new to play, we have you covered! Read below for our list of the best simulation games available to play right now.

Best games like The Sims

19 - The Game of Life 2

The Game of Life 2 promotional image, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Marmalade Game Studio

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, iOS, PC
  • Release Date: 2020
  • Key features:
    • Simulate a new life with the choices you make
    • Based on the best-selling board game of the same title
    • Multiplayer available 

Although not the game you’d expect to see on one of these lists, hear us out. The Sims is all about simulating the life of your various sims, encountering hardships and troubles along the way. Building a family and expanding the lives of your Sims.

Well, if you’ve played the board game The Game of Life you’ll realise how similar they are. The Game of Life 2 exists and is fully digital, so you can play and simulate life as you roll the dice and play the game of life, as such it is listed as one of the best games like The Sims online.

18 - Harvestella

The protagonist stares at the large crystal during Quietus in Harvestella
Click to enlarge
Image via Square Enix

If you wanted a way of combining Final Fantasy with The Sims and Stardew Valley, then Harvestella is the game for you. After waking up with amnesia in a town you don't remember, the game encourages you to build up your farm, help the people of the town and fight the ominous Omens that may be responsible for the otherworldly fifth season that destroys all the crops in the land.

By combining life sim elements with a fantasy RPG, you'll grow to learn everything about the town and have plenty of help in getting your crops to thrive.

17 - Fallout Shelter

Olivia Mills, a character in Fallout Shelter, uses a weapons bench, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Bethesda

As spin-offs go, Fallout Shelter allows you to live out your Vault-dwelling fantasies and see what it is like to oversee an entire group of survivors following the nuclear apocalypse. Unlike the Overseers in the mainline Fallout series, you'll hopefully show your Dwellers a little more kindness.

In the game, you'll need to manage your Dwellers' happiness, food, and exercise and send them out on missions to collect precious resources if you're going to survive the Wasteland.

16 - Minecraft

Minecraft promotional image of Steve and a Creeper, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Mojang Studios

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux
  • Release Date: 2011
  • Key features:
    • Mining, crafting and building mechanics
    • Build your own base
    • Offers a sandbox for full creativity
    • Co-op available

One of the most popular games of all time might be more akin to The Sims than you might think. Build whatever you want in creative mode, or dabble in survival mode. Minecraft has no ultimate goal or way to win, you curate your gaming experience however you want to with Minecraft. Whether you want to create or explore, you can just about do whatever you want in Minecraft. 

The bonus of playing Minecraft is that you can also invite friends to your world and create villages together. The only limit is your imagination and for that reason, it's one of the best multiplayer games like The Sims to play right now.

15 - Palia

Palia Crafting
Click to enlarge

  • Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: Open Beta (2023)
  • Key features:
    • Free-to-play
    • Multiplayer
    • Decorate a home
    • RPG elements of fishing, mining, hunting, farming and more

Palia is a blend of fantasy RPGs and simulation games. In Palia you can journey to Kilima Village, either solo or with friends via co-op and take on the duties of an aspiring adventurer.

It'll feature character customisation and will be home to a multitude of colourful, madcap inhabitants. Watch your crops grow, cook them into a delicious meal and decorate your budding homestead to suit your tastes.

Palia will be free-to-play and free to explore with various tasks to keep you occupied. When you're not adventuring to uncover the secret ruins left behind by a forgotten sect of humanity, you can relax with some fishing, resource gathering, farming, or building.

The root of Palia is to provide a classic 'cosy game' experience with all the usual delightful tropes that come with that and the additional option of multiplayer.

14 - Dream Daddy

Key art for Dream Daddy, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Game Grumps

If you love the social aspect of The Sims, building relationships and growing families – then Dream Daddy is a valid option.

Dream Daddy is essentially a dating simulator where you can create your character and release them into the trials and tribulations of dating as a 40-or-something-year-old single father.

It could be easy to write the game off as a cheesy simulation game, but it hits a few touching themes and really centres around the relationship between you and your daughter Amanda, who is struggling with a classic coming-of-age tale.

Choose your favourite bachelor from a mix of seven and explore the complex stories between NPCs in this dating simulation game.

13 - Dinkum

Farming in Dinkum
Click to enlarge

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: 2022
  • Key Features:
    • Create your own farm
    • Build up the surrounding town
    • Co-op available
    • Plenty of animals!

Dinkum allows players to create their own farm and sanctuary out in the bush of Australia. There are plenty of biomes to explore, from dusty deserts to tropical forests with Eucalyptus trees. Not only do you get to play with friends should you choose to, but you can also take care of animals like Giant Wombats if you're looking for that aspect of care in a game.

It's worth noting that this game is still in Early Access, but there is plenty to get stuck in with.

12 - Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons promotional image, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Nintendo

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 2020
  • Key features:
    • Terrain tools - design your own island home
    • Furnishings to decorate both home and island
    • adorable art style with iconic animal villager characters
    • Co-op available

When it comes to games like The Sims, Animal Crossing New Horizons is one of the best picks. If you’re looking for a game that is more relaxing than challenging, the Animal Crossing games have become famous for being a game that players can spend hours on and not worry about some ulterior goal other than the ones they set out themselves.

With bright colours and unique animal islanders, Animal Crossing is the ultimate escapist game. You can choose how to play, whether you want to decorate your surroundings (your home or your island), go fishing, catch bugs or dig up fossils. Animal Crossing New Horizons is a beloved game with an active and welcoming community.

With the help of the infamous loan shark Tom Rook, you can fund the exciting process of decorating and expanding your own island home as well as expanding the Island itself. Eventually, you will get terrain tools and the option to build wherever you like on the island.

11 - Stardew Valley

Key art for Stardew Valley, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Concerned Ape

  • Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android
  • Release Date: 2016
  • Key features:
    • Romance options
    • Mining, farming, forage and fishing mechanics
    • NPCs with rich backstories
    • Village festivals
    • Additional free DLC with the Ginger Island update being the largest
    • Co-op available

Similarly to Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is a game with a great number of ways to play. Originally released in 2016, a lot of Sims fans also spend a fair share of their time playing Stardew Valley as the game is equally cosy and relaxing. With no overarching goal, players can choose their own experience. Whether that’s befriending and even romancing the villagers, farming their crops, fishing, foraging, mining or slaying monsters.

Stardew Valley also has an expansive list of farm buildings, decoration items and ways to plant crops. As such, an enjoyable part of Stardew Valley is customising your farm and farmhouse to look exactly how you want. The gameplay loop of farming crops, earning money and decorating is very similar to The Sims in this regard.

10 - Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo promotional image, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Frontier

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: 2019
  • Key features:
    • Management sim - manage the needs of the animals and park visitors
    • Additional content available
    • Build the park of your dreams 
    • Offers a space for full creativity

Many Sims players enjoy the building aspect of the game rather than the simulation one. But in a lot of cases, the Sims building mechanic is limited especially when compared to Planet Zoo. Although a tycoon game, Planet Zoo features one of the most in-depth building mechanics in most modern games, allowing players to create phenomenal builds and sights that would rival any Sims builds.

As a bonus, watching the animals is equally calming and relaxing to do. You can create an in-depth build, then place an animal inside and watch it live its life. Not too different from the Sims!

9 - Planet Coaster

Theme park promotional image for Planet Coaster, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Frontier

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: 2016
  • Key features:
    • Allows full creativity with coaster designs
    • Sandbox elements
    • Build a park and procure a profit
    • Management sim

Similarly to Planet Zoo, Planet Coaster features a very detailed building mechanic. However, Planet Coaster puts a lot more focus on creating gravity-defying coasters that you can either build from scratch or a template then watch guests pour through the doors to enjoy your theme park.

Planet Coaster is one of the games like the Sims we would recommend for the building fans among the Sims community, whilst Planet Zoo has something for all, Planet Coaster is far more focused on the building aspect of these kinds of games.

8 - Two Point Hospital

Gameplay screenshot of a hospital from Two Point Hospital, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Two Point Studios

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux
  • Release Date: 2018
  • Key features:
    • Build mode mechanics
    • Management sim
    • Fulfil furniture requests to keep patients happy

Two Point Hospital features a similar style of gameplay to most simulation-style games. Where players take on the role of a hospital administrator charged with constructing and maintaining a hospital, doing this means building rooms and amenities that satisfy the needs of patients and staff. In particular, you’ll need to build things such as toilets, staff rooms, reception desks, cafés, seating, and vending machines.

Eventually, you'll end up expanding the hospital into new plots, while also hiring and managing doctors, nurses, janitors, and assistants to maintain the hospital. This is all while dealing with a variety of comical illnesses.

Two Point Hospital is a stylised and light-hearted game which is easy to settle down and play.

7 - The Tenants

Gameplay image for The Tenants, showing a character in a pool with no ladder
Click to enlarge
Image via Ancient Forge

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: 2021
  • Key features:
    • Similar building mechanics to The Sims
    • Manage a property
    • Keep tenants happy to maintain a profit

In The Tenants, you become a landlord and deal with problematic tenants as you build your rental property empire. Decide how to react to annoyed neighbours or police interventions. Although you don’t get to decide the actions and desires of your tenants, the home-building aspect of The Tenants is very similar to games like the Sims and you’ll quickly figure out the ropes.

6 - The Wandering Village

The Wandering Village key art, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Stray Fawn Studio

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Release Date: 2022
  • Key features:
  • Key features:
    • Management sim
    • Constant dev updates with new content
    • Both 2D and 3D animation

If the thought of managing Sims and preventing them from fatal accidents is your idea of a good time, then The Wandering Village will provide that and more.

In the game, you are tasked with keeping an entire tribe of people alive as well as Onbu, the giant dinosaur creature they are living on the back of.

Although the back of a creature may not seem like the optimal place to build a civilisation, it is your job to keep society running smoothly and expanding.

In the meantime, you will need to train Onbu to listen to your commands and avoid perilous trails through poison, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

If you love management sims and adorable Ghibli-like artwork, this is a fantastic game for you. Now is also the perfect time to dip your toes in the game as it has just received an update, introducing water biomes to the world.

5 - My Time at Sandrock

Promotional image of Sandrock city in My Time at Sandrock, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Pathea Games

  • Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release Date: 2022
  • Key features:
    • Building mechanics
    • Fulfil favours for NPCs with backstories
    • Customise your workshop space
    • In-depth crafting system

My Time at Sandrock is the sequel to the successful title My Time at Portia.  As a beginner builder, you arrive at Sandrock, a desert town that has fallen into desperate times. It's your job to fulfil contracts for the quirky citizens, construct buildings and restore the town to past glory.

The game is a mixture of building sim and RPG, you even get your own house/workshop to customise and decorate. Unlock new items as you progress and harvest materials from the old, abandoned mines. Just watch out for the creatures lurking within.

4 - Cities: Skylines

Promotional image of a stadium build in Cities: Skylines, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Images via Colossal Order

  • Platforms: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X
  • Release Date: TBA
  • Key features:
    • In-depth terrain tools
    • Management sim
    • Larger-scale city builder

If you're a builder at heart and your favourite aspect of The Sims 4 is experimenting within the build mode, Cities: Skylines will provide this for you but at a much larger scale.

In the game, you take control of an entire town and build it up from nothing. Play with terrain tools, and infrastructure and build new neighbourhoods in a much more involved way than you can in The Sims. Cities: Skylines is one of the most prominent city builder and management games on the market.

3 - Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

Screenshot of the haggle system in Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
Click to enlarge
Image via niceplay games

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, (Switch and PlayStation versions releasing spring 2023)
  • Release Date: 2022
  • Key features:
    • Unique medieval art style
    • Run your own business
    • Elevate your business by crafting new potion recipes

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is a simulator game where you play out the life of an alchemist collecting and brewing potions for the ailing peasantry. This isn’t out of the kindness of your own heart of course; you have a business to run!

Haggle with the in-game balancing system and carve out a business by experimenting with new potion recipes and fully customising their bottle shapes, labels, and names.

The game has a charming sound design and art style that resembles a medieval tapestry - a refreshing break if you're looking for another simulation game like The Sims but wish for a different change of pace.

2 - House Flipper

House Flipper promotional image, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Empyrean

  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android
  • Release Date: 2018
  • Key features:
    • Satisfying gameplay through methodical tasks
    • Buy houses and decorate them for profit
    • Great for players who enjoy fixer-upper gameplay

House Flipper is a simulation game based on the idea of buying down houses, restoring them and selling them for profit. As such, it’s highly recommended for the builders among the Sims players, those who enjoy creating beautiful homes and buildings.

However, don’t expect to see any sims or people wandering around them, as this game focuses on the building and houses more than anything else. You build these houses from the ground up: painting, laying down tiles, cleaning, installations, and demolition. Players can fix and personalize their own homes, fix houses in quests and buy houses to fix and sell.

What is the best game like The Sims?

1 - Disney Dreamlight Valley

Disney Dreamlight Valley promotional image of Magic Kingdom, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Gameloft

  • PlatformsNintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 2022
  • Key features:
    • Create your own character
    • Befriend popular Disney characters
    • Buy furniture and decorate your own house and outside spaces
    • Unlock new biomes
    • Farming, mining, fishing and forage mechanics 

Disney Dreamlight Valley is an absolute must for any fans of The Sims franchise. It also happens to be one of the best free games like The Sims to play if you have an Xbox Game Pass. 

Disney Dreamlight Valley sets you as the protagonist tasked with saving the inhabitants of the Magic Kingdom who have succumbed to 'The Forgetting', mystical thorns which have spread through the lands and taken the memories of famous Disney characters.

In short, you get to perform quests for beloved Disney characters whilst building and customising your own home with Disney-inspired decor. 

The game is constantly updated with new characters, quests and decor to kit out your house. There is also a plethora of clothing items and a character creator system so you can look stylish in the process of creating your ultimate Disney home.

Upcoming games like The Sims

While the above sections cover some of the best games like The Sims that you can play right now in 2023, there are a few on the horizon that we had to mention on this list.

Keep reading for some of the best upcoming games like The Sims.


Paralives key art, one of the best games like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Alex Masse

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: TBA
  • Key features:
    • Similar CAS and build mode mechanics
    • Colour wheel customization
    • Community-led project
    • Mod support
    • Plans for additional content post-launch, including active jobs and occult Parafolk

While Paralives is still in development, the upcoming game reads like a love letter to The Sims franchise.

Starting off as the passion project of sole developer, Alex Masse, the project quickly gained attention on Patreon and has since grown with more developers working on the simulation game.

The developers are open about the inspiration taken from The Sims franchise but are aiming to include features that Sims 4 players have been asking for across the years.

Paralives shares many of the same mechanics as The Sims. In the game, you will be able to build houses in a thriving neighbourhood, make connections with other 'Parafolk' and custom make your own avatars through the Paramaker menu which operates similarly to Create-a-Sim, but with extensive sliders and colour wheel options.

Life by You

Key art for Life by You, an upcoming game like The Sims
Click to enlarge
Image via Paradox Tectonic

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: 5 March 2024
  • Key features:
    • Mod support
    • Open world
    • Can take control of NPCs on the fly
    • Customise characters and buildings

Life by You is a simulation game where you will be able to complete much of what The Sims has laid the foundations for.

You will be able to custom-make characters and play out their lives, exploring the trials and tribulations of advancing through a career, finding love and perhaps even growing a family.

Life by You has advertised an open world where characters will be able to freely move throughout the environment, and you will also be able to switch between NPCs to take control of them on the fly.

The game will have a character creator, a lot creator where players can brush up on their interior decorating skills and a world creator where they can place different buildings to form a custom neighbourhood.

You'll also be able to choose from a range of dialogue options when interacting with other characters in the world.

They're all the games we think you should play if you enjoy The Sims. With these titles, you'll have plenty of variety before diving back into the latest Sims expansion.

For more lists, be sure to check out our lists homepage.

Kiera is a Guide Writer for GGRecon, with a BA (Hons) in Journalism. When she’s not busy covering either the spookiest or cosiest of games, she can be found toiling hours away into her favourite RPGs like Mass Effect, The Witcher and Baldur’s Gate 3. If DnD is your jam, she also moonlights as a Wildfire Druid.

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