Looking for games like Sims? If you’re fed up with setting your Sims on fire, watching them struggle to control their own bladder, or seeing them wash their dinner plate in the bathroom sink, then these games are very similar to The Sims, but offer a nice alternative to EA’s Truman Show simulator. You may be able to download The Sims 4 for free these days, but sometimes it’s fun to try something different. From farming, building, and property management, these seven games are the best games like The Sims on PC.
There are few games that let you play god in a neighbourhood of hedonistic and needy townsfolk, but The Sims has stood the test of time, providing countless expansions and tat for you to spruce things up with. Of course, virtual humans still require real love and care. You need to keep them fed and watered, in a job, and with a rich social life that satisfies all their personality traits. And after a few hundred hours we’re ready to throw in the towel and try something new. Er, that is until the Sims 5 release date or a Project Rene beta rolls around.
So, if those Simlish cries for attention are falling on deaf ears and you want to try a game that’s a little different, there’s something to love about all these picks. From doing up houses and managing budgets, to forging relationships and maintaining sim happiness, join us as we run the gamut of Sims-like experiences on PC.
Here at the best games like Sims:
- Two Point Hospital
- House Flipper
- My Time at Portia
- Stardew Valley
- Planet Zoo
- Cities Skylines
- GTA V
Two Point Hospital
The spiritual successor to Theme Hospital doesn’t disappoint and for anyone who remembers Mr. Bloaty Head and the other farcical ailments, the diseases in Two Point Hospital are even wackier. In Two Point Hospital, you’re tasked with managing a hospital, growing it from just a small reception to a full blown operation of diagnostic rooms, wards, and, er, clown clinics. Everything can go wrong, and everything does, but learning to juggle the rising queues, the cranky doctors demanding pay rises, and training up fresh blood is half the fun.
As challenges roll in, there’s a lot of structure to Two Point Hospital, as you strive to meet objectives such as curing a certain amount of patients. Striking the right balance between staff and patient demands, while still remaining profitable will force you into rash decisions and woeful mistakes. If you love designing your ideal, functional Sims house and reacting to your sims’ unpredictable mood swings, then you’ll love handling a pay dispute with Dr. Nigel Explosion – you can fire him and watch him storm through your hospital corridors, possibly slipping on an overflowing trash can or ghost remnants in a fit of rage. There are also plenty of fires to put out, literally and metaphorically and ghosts to vacuum up in this weird but very wonderful ode to one of the best simulation games of all time.
For a more relaxing Sims experience – namely one that doesn’t involve looking after people who can’t tell themselves to eat – and if your favourite part of The Sims is buying and fixing up houses, then House Flipper let’s you do exactly that. You begin with a rundown shack dumped in the middle of an overgrown plot and you slowly fix it up by ripping up weeds, smashing down walls, sanding down skirting boards, taking out the trash, and giving it a fresh coat of paint.
There’s an addictive progression loop where you need to complete odd jobs for people to unlock new tools for further home improvements, such as installing radiators or cleaning out someone’s garage. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about the mundanity of disposing of old boxes and selling tatty posters to bring a house up to scratch and ready for the market.
My time at Portia
Speaking of relaxing games, My Time at Portia is high up on our list, with its endearing art style, sleepy village, and charming residents. Instead of characters going about their everyday life, My Time at Portia is story-driven, but still incorporates building mechanics, as well as relationships your character can form with the locals.
It’s technically an apocalypse game, set in Portia, a recovering village where you inherit an old workshop. On arriving in Portia, you need to improve on your workshop, expand on the land, and help out the residents with maintaining and expanding the village. There’s also plenty of customisation options, from fresh haircuts to new clothes, and while there are a lot of similarities between The Sims and My Time at Portia, the latter provides a slightly more wholesome experience.
If farming games sounds more up your street, there’s nothing more relaxing than Stardew Valley, a game where you leave the hubbub of the city and retire to a small town to take over the family farm. This life and town sim transports you to Pelican Town, where you get to know, befriend, and possibly marry the local residents (although there’s no WooHoo equivalent).
As you forge relationships with the townspeople, you also need to keep on top of your farming, creating profitable produce and mining resources to put back into the local community and use for tool upgrades. If you’re interested in getting rich quick, check out our guide on how to make money fast in Stardew Valley – it’s a bit trickier than using Sims 4 cheats.
Planet Zoo is an extensive and relaxing sim game where you’ll spend ages poring over your zoo build. You can either tackle a new zoo from scratch in sandbox mode or pick up zoos in the need of dire help in the career mode. There’s a lot more heart to Planet Zoo than other building games like Cities Skylines and Two Point Hospital.
Building enclosures and creating the perfect habitats for your critters is by far the most satisfying part of Planet Zoo, especially when the animals arrive ready to explore their new home and you can zoom in to witness their behaviour. You can then raise your animals and release them back into the wild to earn conservation points, which unlock more exotic animals and upgrades for your zoo. You’ll need to keep your animals fed, watered, and content in their surroundings by tweaking their enclosure to include enough space, companions, and flora to their liking – otherwise you’ll get an influx of notifications to warn you otherwise.
Planet Zoo does require a lot of patience to grasp the slightly convoluted interface and there’s more to running a zoo than just cute pandas, you’ll also need to keep the customers and your staff happy. This means creating a zoo that takes all these facets into account, including benches for your guests, making sure they’re educated with information screens, and all your staff have toilets and a staff room on hand. You’ll also be obsessing over the placement of each building and the zoo’s overall aesthetic, so if you’re a stickler for the details in The Sims and the high-pressured occupation of keeping your Sims happy, then Planet Zoo is an adorable step in the right direction.
If you want to rule over your residents, without getting to really know them; you can detach yourself from your Sims’ disgruntled faces by overseeing the construction of a large city. This way, you get to rule over thousands of Sims, rather than one measly family. Instead of zooming in on individual houses, you’ll need to think bigger as you grow and maintain a city using grids to build entire neighbourhoods. Sure, Sims had their own answer to this in the form of the SimCity series, but Cities Skylines is arguably the best city-building games around.
Cities Skylines is more about creating a well-functioning city with effective roads and junctions, a running water supply, and a self-contained economy. You’ll need to think of everything from electricity to neighbourhood placement while keeping the residents happy and your city funds ticking over. If you love building games, and The Sims’ construction mechanics, there’s a lot of similarity in Cities Skylines management, but with more strategy and much less coaxing your Sim to get it on with Jeff from across the street.
Okay, hear us out. You can play as a customised character in an open-world setting rife with content from owning apartments to having your own garage packed with cars. There’s definitely some sims-esque action in earning money to buy and customise property, but instead of overseeing your sims empire, you can roam the streets of Los Santos choosing to throw a punch at an unsuspecting passerby, or spin the wheel at the local Diamond Casino.
If you want a more authentic sims experience, GTA Online roleplaying allows players to play specific community roles like grocery store clerks, police officers, and taxi drivers. We’ve put together the best GTA Online roleplaying servers and how to join them, including some help on how to navigate the forum lingo to get started.