11 best simulation games for Android

by: Joe HindyJuly 10, 2014

Simulation games are popular the world over. They let people take control of a situation and run with it in the way that they want to and a lot of people garner enjoyment out of a platform that lets them do that. Believe it or not, Android actually has quite a few simulation games available and many of them are pretty good. Here are our choices for the best ones!

farmville 2 simulation gamesFarmville 2: Country Escape

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

It's like regular Farmville but smaller.

  • Surprisingly good graphics and game play.
  • There is a lot to do pretty much all the time.
  • Integrated with the web version for those who play that.
  • Zynga has been surprisingly resopnsive about people's complaints.
  • It can get repetitive and boring for some after a while.
  • There are some game glitches that are still being worked out.
  • Some people really just hate Farmville.
We know there is a polarizing audience when it comes to Farmville 2. Some people really love it and other people really hate it. However, the game itself isn’t all that bad and the mobile app surpassed expectations when we reviewed it. It’s free to play with in app purchases and if you like sims with a fun, cartoon feel then you may find yourself more into this game than you realize.
google play

best simulation gamesF18 Carrier Landing

[Price: Free / $2.99]

Prepare for takeoff.

  • Above average graphics and control schemes make the game fun to look at and play.
  • Over half a dozen airplanes to choose from.
  • Free flight mode for those who just like to cruise.
  • Free version available.
  • You can actually play this game with two devices.
  • Paid with in app purchases is going to irk some folks.
  • We wish there were more terrain and plane options.
  • While there are a few different types of missions available, it feels like there could be more there.
F18 Carrier Landing is a pseudo realistic flight sim where you must take off from one place and land in another. It’s fairly typical for a flight sim but it comes with some pretty decent and somewhat realistic graphics and there is a free version to play. It’s pretty highly regarded and it does look pretty good.
google play

best simulation gamesGame Dev Story

[Price: $2.50]

These guys made a game that people play to pretend like they're making games.

  • It contains a deep story that allows you to sim your way through various generations of video game hardware.
  • You can do fun stuff like mix genres to see what works.
  • The game challenges you by giving you power outages and equipment failures to keep things interesting.
  • No in app purchases.
  • Very highly regarded by others.
  • The game is a little short for some and there isn't much replay value.
  • Performance issues reported on some mid to low range devices.
In this sim you play the roll of a video game studio owner who is trying to make a million dollar video game. It features cutesy 8-bit graphics along with an amazing sim story and it’s very highly regarded. Even the people who have problems with the game still give it a 5-star rating in the Google Play Store. It’s $2.50 with no in app purchases so those of you who like the old way of buying apps will be pleased.
google play

best simulation games

best simulation gamesIce Age Village

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

More scrat than you can scrat a scrat at.

  • It's a very, very long game. It'll take you a long time to finish.
  • Frequent updates bring new content on a consistent basis.
  • Simple mechanics make it easy to pick up and learn how to play.
  • Google+ and Facebook support let you earn achievements and play with friends.
  • You can only play with Facebook friends.
  • Gameloft's classic 'we overdo the in app purchases' motif is alive and well here.
  • Like all other sims, it'll get repetitive after a while.
Yes, this sim is based on the hit movie Ice Age and thus involves pretty much all of your favorite characters from that movie. In this game you build a new village for all of the prehistoric animals to live. It’s a kid friendly sim but adults who enjoyed the movie can probably get a kick out of it too. It’s also free to play with in app purchases.
google play

best simulation gamesInfinite Flight Simulator

[Price: $4.99 with in app purchases]

Put your trays in their regular upright position.

  • Some of the best graphics of any game on this list.
  • A lot of advanced options to make the flight simulation feel more real.
  • A total of 35 planes to choose from.
  • You can choose where you fly, in what conditions, and at what time of day.
  • 18 of the planes are in app purchases. With a $4.99 price tag outright, that seems a little much.
Infinite Flight Simulator is among the best looking games for Android. The graphics are superb and for the most part the game play is too. In this flight sim you take control of a number of different planes to go for a nice pleasant flight. There are a lot of smaller parts of this game that make it a more in-depth flight sim than most if its competition. It’s $4.99 which isn’t too shabby either.
google play

best simulation gamesParadise Island

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

Warning: does not come with cheeseburger

  • There is a lot of content so the game will take a while to finish.
  • Social aspect allows you to connect with friends.
  • Colorful and fun premise which is good for casual gamers.
  • Free to play is always a bonus with games like this.
  • The social part is like Farmville where you have friends to visit and gift invites to deal with.
  • Gets repetitive after a while.
Paradise Island is kind of like a tropical version of Sim City. You build yourself a paradise island city with businesses, residences, and other things. You earn profit from your buildings and you can level them up and repair them to earn more profit. There is also a social aspect where you can play with others. It’s a little “run of the mill” but it is free with in app purchases so at least it won’t cost you anything to try it out.
google play

simcity buildit best android multiplayer gamesSimCity BuildIt

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

Like the old SimCity kind of!

  • Some nostalgic value for old school sim games.
  • Upgraded graphics from the old days and an all around good looking mobile game.
  • Game mechanics are pretty simple to follow.
  • Plenty of things to build and disasters to deal with.
  • Social gaming can be a pro or con depending on who you ask.
  • Potential for a pay wall if you're not patient or not good at this game.
  • Again, social can be good or bad depending on who you ask.
  • Occasional bugs and issues have plagued some players.
SimCity BuildIt took the Google Play Store by storm in late 2014 and, at one point, topped six different top apps charts. It has a lot of that old charm of SimCity with some more modern features like social gaming and better graphics.
google play

The Sims FreePlay simulation gamesThe Sims FreePlay

[Price: Free]

When in doubt, more gibberish!

  • The classic Sims experience in mobile form!
  • The graphics aren't different at all from the PC versions of The Sims
  • A lot of content and options when it comes to raising and building up your Sim.
  • Social aspect lets you visit towns other people build.
  • Weird device compatibility.
  • Occasional cloud connection problems and online-only play makes some people angry.
Pretty much all of the best simulation games lists has this title on it. It’s The Sims from EA which is a series that is already intensely popular. Aside from playing a sim from a title you’ve actually heard about before, there is a lot of content and the classic playing style that made The Sims famous is here. It’s also free to play which is nice.
google play

best simulation gamesSmurfs’ Village

[Price: Free with in app purchases]

Smurf the whole day long.

  • Playing as the Smurfs will be delightful for anyone who enjoyed the TV show as a kid.
  • The graphics are cartoonish and apt which helps add to the enjoyment.
  • Developers have been steadily releasing new content despite the game's age.
  • Social gaming via Facebook lets you visit your friends' villages.
  • Sync to play offline and the game will sync back up when you have a web connection. This is a rare feature on games these days. Even free ones.
  • The latest string of updates have introduced some bugs that the developers haven't fixed yet.
  • Like any other town-building sim, it'll get repetitive after a while.
  • You may experience performance issues on older devices.
In this sim, you get to play as the symbolic Smurfs as you build a village for them to live in after Gargamel scatters the Smurfs and destroys their old village. There are also unicorns which we consider a serious win. It’s an old game but the developers are still working on it and have even released new content since 2014 started. It’s free to play so you won’t spend a dime seeing if this is for you.
google play

best simulation gamesStar Traders RPG

[Price: Free / $2.99]

Text based gaming at its finest.

  • Sim with RPG elements. Essentially the world's two longest game genres working together which means you'll be playing this one for a while.
  • Charming retro look is great for you old school game fans out there.
  • Plenty of content to enjoy and plenty of routes to take to get to the top allows you to play how you want (mostly).
  • Free version available to let you try it out first.
  • Developers still updating and adding new content.
  • There is a slight learning curve that can make the beginning of this game a pain in the rear end.
  • Paid with in app purchases is going to make some people angry.
Star Traders is kind of a sim/RPG mashup that allows you to play as the commander of a star ship. You then barter, steal, attack, and otherwise work your way to the top. It’s not as much of a simulation as some of these other titles but thanks to the text-based game play and simplistic graphics, the sim feel is actually there. It’s free to try with restricted content and $2.99 if you want the full experience.
google play

best simulation gamesTransport Tycoon

[Price: $6.99]

A real OG.

  • Enjoy the same game play that captured imaginations a generation ago.
  • A lot of content to enjoy. 49 levels and 150 vehicles overall.
  • No in app purchases at all. Just the full game as it was 20 years ago.
  • Re-designed graphics makes it look good on today's devices without losing the original charm.
  • Developers have been maintaining and updating the app with new content.
  • While it is a complete port, not all functions of the game translated well to mobile.
  • Performance issues reported on low end phones.
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon hasn't been released yet!
Transport Tycoon has already been a successful game once before on PC but that was about 20 years ago. The game has been ported and re-released for Android which we thought was great. It’s a little expensive at $6.99USD but this sim captured the imagination of many and helped drive forward the simulation genre on PC all those years ago. If you’re really bent on playing this for free, there is a free variant that you don’t have to pirate but we recommend supporting the original developer so maybe we can get more Tycoon games on Android!
google play

Wrap up

As always, if we missed a great simulation game and you think we should know about it, please let us know in the comments!

  • Don’t you wish there was a “Simulation” game category on Google Play? Applorer does a great job with adding a variety of categories catered to avid gamers: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.movend.gamebox2

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  • mark

    d you know some offline sports management games?
    spcially basketball management games?

    • JimChaplin

      Basketball Dynasty Manager 13 is awesome. Wish there was a comparable hockey and baseball game as well.

  • alex

    On my smartphone (samsung galaxy chat) sims free play are not suppoted. Sad, I like the sims series.

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  • Mur

    No X-Plane, are you kidding? Hands down the MOST realistic flight sim, period.

    • Jayfeather787

      It’s good but hasn’t been updated in a long time.

      • JosephHindy

        Yeah, hasn’t been updated since September 2012. Devs abandoned it so I can’t put it on here. Sorry bud.

        • Jayfeather787

          It’s still good, but I wish they would update it. Needs some scenery and more planes!

        • Mur

          The iPad version got updated several times recently though, and they said they were now allocating half the team to the mobile apps, so there is hope!

          • JosephHindy

            If they update it, I’ll add it but not until then.

  • Root Beer

    Pretty spot on. My favorites on android are gamedev story, transport tycoons, and Sims 3 (not sims freeplay). Also Anno 1701 ds (using emu).
    Don’t forget there’s also racing sim and dating sim (gran turismo, loveplus anyone?). Simulation games is pretty broad.

    • JosephHindy

      I was considering putting Sims 3 on this list but sooooo many people have problems with that game that it’s clear EA doesn’t have it all together yet with that title. Maybe next year ^_^

  • Jayfeather787

    Thanks for this list! Been looking for a good flight simulation app for a while. Wish X-plane 10 would come to phones. Might need a Tegra K1 to push it, but that would be cool.

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      • Jayfeather787

        Kindly fuck off. Thanks
        Bold. Looks nice.

  • BB

    You seriously need to check out the Space Shuttle Landing sim “F-Sim.” One of the best sims available and incredibly realistic. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.ledinsky.fsim

  • monkey god

    What about Star Command? It’s kindve an alternative to FTL since that game’s not on Android yet.

  • Balraj

    What about clash of clans!!!

    • JosephHindy

      That’s a strategy not a sim ;)

  • Will S.

    I love F18 Carrier Landing!

  • Victor
  • illregal

    Leo’s RC simulator, and little crane are both BOSS.

  • prakhar


  • Knch

    Galaxy on Fire 2! Space combat Sim with excellent graphics, addictive game play, complete base game is free.

  • Somepotato

    OpenTTD anyone? Is a direct port that plays rather nicely

  • Martin

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  • skull131

    You know you really ought to put surgeon simulator up there

  • Deterrent099
  • Ansh

    Where is Plague Inc.????

  • Androgamer

    angry shark simulator

  • Arfas
  • Swamp Fox

    Hey Joseph, from a 51 year old man, I want to say that you made some excellent suggestions and gave great decision-making descriptions. Thanks! Keep up the good work. ^5

  • Zeshan Momin
  • franklai

    half of these are freemiums.