Some of us play video games to escape from our reality and get our minds off some of the problems that taunt us in the real world. Well, playing some good old simulation games is a great way of getting those sweet hours of relaxation and chill. But enough talk, let’s jump right into this selection of amazing simulation games available on Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service.
Starting off with a must-play when it comes to survival simulation, we have 11 bit studios‘ Frostpunk.
Released in April 2018 for Windows and in October 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the game is set in an alternate reality, where unknown factors led to a worldwide cataclysmic event, a volcanic winter. The player, known as “the Captain”, has to control and manage a small group of survivors as they fight for their lives and try to build a city from scratch.
The goal is to survive as long as possible, by gathering many different resources, like wood, coal, and steel, and to build the infrastructure necessary to sustain the livelihood of all the population.
In Frostpunk, the player is allowed to pass certain laws to regulate worker productivity and to get access to better infrastructural upgrades. These laws, however, can create discontent amongst the population, which can be worrisome. If the discontent values reach a certain high, the player gets banished from the city.
On August 12, 2021, a sequel was announced, named Frostpunk 2. Set in New London 30 years after the events of the first game, this new entry focuses on the consequences of the petroleum industry in the region.
2. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Sequel to 2006’s Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the 11th installment of the series that started back in November 1982.
Developed by Asobo Studio and published by Xbox Game Studios, the game was released on August 18, 2020, for Windows and on July 27, 2021, for the Xbox Series X/S. The classic Microsoft Flight Simulator experience that everyone knows and loves is back with this new entry, with a couple of upgrades a new feature that are worth taking a look at.
The game now has an improved physics engine that provides realistic flight control surfaces. Microsoft Flight Simulator’s AI also incorporates elements in real-time, like the weather and the real-world air traffic. The new installment also includes landing challenges, helpers, and photographable safaris, which can be seen from the air.
The player can choose any aircraft of their liking, with accurate cockpits, and fly over any city of their choosing, passing through all the landmarks and famous places on their journey.
With access to over 20 flyable aircraft in the Standard Edition, the Deluxe Edition offers the player an increased catalog of planes, with 5 additional aircraft added. When playing the Premium Deluxe Edition, that number increases to 10.
3. Two Point Hospital
Developed by Two Point Studios and published by Sega, Two Point Hospital is a business simulation game where players construct and manage an empire of hospitals.
Released on August 2018 for PC and in February 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, the game is a spiritual successor to 1997’s Theme Hospital, where players were also put in control of a hospital.
As a hospital manager, your tasks revolve around building rooms and new medical areas to satisfy the needs of the patients, as well as hiring and managing every member of your staff, ranging from medics, nurses, janitors, etc. All staff members have independent skills that can be upgraded and improved in a certain department.
Each hospital that the player goes through also has a level system, determined by the number of rooms and staff members a certain hospital has. Each level adds a layer of difficulty to the game, with more patients and more challenges, but also access to more skilled staff.
With the addition of co-operative and multiplayer modes, the game features online leaderboards that add an extra layer of fun and competitiveness to those who are looking for a bigger challenge.
4. Cities: Skylines
A classic of the city-building genre, Cities: Skylines was developed by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive.
Cities: Skylines was released for PC in March 2015, for Xbox One in April 2017, for PlayStation 4 in August 2017, and for the Nintendo Switch in September 2018. At the start of the game, the player is given a relatively small plot of land, with highway access and an amount of in-game money. From there, the goal is to build a functional city, with all the services that come with it, like water, electricity, sanitation, etc.
With the increase of city population, the player will unlock city improvements, such as police stations, schools, and much more that can be utilized to improve the living conditions of the city and attract even more people to it.
One interesting feature of the game allows the player to divide his city by districts, with each district having its own set of permits and regulations. Some of these regulations include agriculture-specific sectors, free public transportation, raising or reducing taxes, etc.
Cities: Skylines also allows the addition of user-generated content, via the Steam Workshop. These mods can add different layers to the core game, such as increased difficulty, increased map area, and unlimited funds.
5. Prison Architect
Last but not least comes a prison construction and management game, developed by Introversion Software and also published by Paradox Interactive.
Prison Architect was released in October 2015 for PC, in June and July 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively, and for the Nintendo Switch in August 2018. Played from a top-down perspective, players will take on the role of a prison manager in charge of building and running the facility. This duality allows for the player to take control of the prison at an architectural level and a management level, building facilities and managing the staff team at the same time.
The player is also in control of the prison’s finances, as well as meeting a minimum level of prisoner needs, such as sanitation, food, recreational time, etc. One other aspect of the game is that it allows the player to build a female prison, where additional facilities such as nursing and childcare are available to build and manage.
In Prison Architect, the player can also be fired from his position as prison manager, for a bunch of different reasons. These reasons include massive riots, where the National Guard needs to be involved; bankruptcy, where the prison has a negative bank balance and is unable to improve its financial situation; and wrongful executions, where Death Row inmates with a high “clemency” rate get executed.
If you are a massive simulation genre fan, then you have probably heard of every game on this list. If you are just an overall video game enjoyer that’s looking for a new game to sink their hours into, then this list will definitely help you.
Do you enjoy playing simulation games? Do you agree with this selection? What are your favorite simulation games? Let me know in the comments down below!