When you think about it, the constraints of the simulation genre can be quite vague. In essence, every game is a simulation of something, but not every game fits into the simulator genre. It can be hard to discern what does and doesn’t fit into the purview of the simulator genre, but luckily for you, we’re on hand to let you know about the best simulation games on Xbox Game Pass.
For this list, we’ve decided to go quite strict with what a simulation game is. We’re spotlighting games that try to simulate aspects of life in some way, either realistically or otherwise, that you wouldn’t normally get from other video games. Hopefully, our choices will make sense as we go. Here’s our picks for the best simulation games on Xbox Game Pass.
The Best Simulation Games On Xbox Game Pass
10. Train Sim World 3
Developer: Dovetail Games
Publisher: Dovetail Games
Not everyone has the space in the basement or spare bedroom to get a full model train set up and running, so for those people, a train simulator game is the perfect substitute. Why settle for just a dingy table in a poorly-lit room when you can take over train networks across the entire world? If that kind of experience sounds right for you, Train Sim World 3 on Xbox Game Pass is absolutely worth checking out.
As the name would imply, Train Sim World 3 allows you to manage the train networks of locations across the globe, with hundreds of licensed trains to choose from. For a train aficionado, there’s probably no better game out there than Train Sim World 3, but it’s sat at tenth on this list because it’s one of the most expensive games to get into, even on Game Pass. Train Sim World 3 has so much DLC to choose from that obtaining it all would be a costly process.
9. Cooking Simulator
Developer: Big Cheese Studio
Publisher: Big Cheese Studio
Cooking food can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you can have, but cleaning up after your own mess sounds exhausting. If only there was a way to simulate the joy of cooking without having to deal with washing the dishes and pans for 15 minutes afterwards. Fortunately for you, Cooking Simulator offers just that kind of experience, letting you run loose in a professional kitchen.
Cooking Simulator’s main focus is its career mode, where you’re trying to develop your restaurant into a world-beating powerhouse. Along the way, you’ll unlock new skills and more complex dishes to aid you in your goal of becoming the best chef in the land. Of course, you could also forgo all that work and just head straight into the sandbox mode, where you’re free to throw darts at the wall and blow the kitchen sky-high. As it goes, Cooking Simulator is definitely one of the greatest simulation games you can find on Xbox Game Pass.
8. Next Space Rebels
Developer: Studio Floris Kaayk, Humble Games
Publisher: Humble Games
You’d probably be lying if you said you didn’t ever have the fantasy of building a rocketship in your backyard, but the truth of the matter is that most people don’t have the resources or ingenuity to actually follow through on that desire. Next Space Rebels simulates what life would be like for you if you did, and if the game is anything to go by, it’d lead to a very successful YouTube channel, if nothing else.
Next Space Rebels sees you building rockets in your garden with whatever scrap parts you find or buy for cheap, but as you complete challenges and upload videos of your exploits, you’ll slowly begin to unlock more parts and opportunities. Over time, your little hobbyist venture morphs into the journey to becoming a fully-fledged rocket scientist, as you’ll move from bottle rockets to actual satellites.
7. Surgeon Simulator 2: Access All Areas
Developer: Bossa Studios
Publisher: Bossa Studios
Surgeon Simulator sits alongside Goat Simulator as one of the originators of the wacky, ridiculous simulators that achieved ridiculous numbers on YouTube and Twitch. It only made sense that Bossa Studios would try to up the ante with Surgeon Simulator 2: Access All Areas, and they sure outdid themselves second time round. If you want a ludicrous simulator experience to play with up to three friends, this is the game for you.
Surgeon Simulator 2 will once again see the player taking the life of poor patient Bob into their own hands, only you’ll be able to control more than just the surgeon’s hands in this entry. Across the story mode, you’ll have to operate on Bob in a variety of theatres that would have no chance of passing any kind of safety inspection, all the while doing your utmost to ensure that Bob doesn’t bleed out on you. As you can guess, that’s easier said than done.
6. Lawn Mowing Simulator
Developer: Skyhook Games
Publisher: Curve Games
If we were ranking Game Pass titles on how well they’d depict the British countryside, Lawn Mowing Simulator would definitely grab the number one spot, narrowly beating Forza Horizon 4 just because you’re not going 200mph through someone’s village. How can you appreciate the scenery when you’re driving that fast? Lovely views aside, Lawn Mowing Simulator deserves its place as part of the best simulation games on Xbox Game Pass for how absorbing the experience is.
As the name would imply, Lawn Mowing Simulator is all about cutting grass, and while that might not sound like the most fun in the world, it’s undeniably satisfying to watch an overgrown lawn get trimmed down to size over time. Aside from just cutting grass, you’ll also manage a lawn mowing business, purchasing licensed mowing equipment and customising them with a variety of attachments.
5. House Flipper
Developer: Frozen District
Publisher: PlayWay S.A.
Anyone who’s ever caught a cursory glance at British TV will know that we’re obsessed with programmes about renovating old houses, so naturally a game about the same premise is going to be of interest. House Flipper is all about taking houses, improving them immeasurably, then selling them on for a tidy profit. While House Flipper might not be as lucrative as actual house flipping, the game itself is still quite rewarding.
House Flipper is all about the fun of renovation without the danger of getting splinters every time you deal with wood. Players can customise everything from the house layout itself, to the floors, walls, ceiling and everything in between. With plenty of houses to flip, and more content to play with if you decide to spring for the DLC, House Flipper should definitely be recognised as one of the finest simulation games available on Xbox Game Pass.
4. theHunter: Call Of The Wild
Developer: Expansive Worlds
Publisher: Expansive Worlds, Avalanche Studios Group
As simulators go, theHunter: Call Of The Wild probably shares the most similar DNA with other, traditional games, namely the first-person shooter genre. Still, there’s so many shooters that boil hunting down to just “shoot animal, grab pelt, repeat”, whereas theHunter: Call Of The Wild is an in-depth simulation of the actual sport of hunting. When it comes to hunting, this game is about as accurate of a simulation as you can get.
theHunter: Call Of The Wild drops the player into a massive open world, filled with various creatures and biomes, before giving you a bunch of tools and letting you loose. A simulator for the patient above all else, theHunter rewards players for studying the movements and patterns of the animals you’re hunting, as you’ll need that knowledge to effectively bag your prey. With multiplayer and co-op support too, theHunter is one of the best simulation games on Xbox Game Pass if you’re looking to play with friends.
3. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Developer: Landfall Games
Publisher: Landfall Games
Given how silly the physics and character models of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator are, we’d hazard a guess that the name might just be a little bit sarcastic. Only a little bit though. While Totally Accurate Battle Simulator might not showcase medieval fighting with the same level of realism that the Total War series does, it’s no less entertaining to watch two groups of brightly coloured noodle lads running at each other with murderous intent.
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator allows players to set up two armies of equal or unequal power, and then sit back and watch the fireworks. It’s a simulator in the sense that it simulates what it would be like to be an emperor, observing the gladiators in the coliseum fight for your amusement. Of course, if the fighting gets too tiring, you can also create your own units and send them out to die. It’s bonkers stuff, but well worth checking out.
2. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Developer: Asobo Studio
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
The dynasty of simulator games, Microsoft Flight Simulator has been around in some form or fashion for decades now, but the most recent iteration of the game is undoubtedly the best. If you’ve got even just a passing interest in aviation, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the game for you, and if that’s not the case, it’s still a brilliant addition to the library of simulation titles on Xbox Game Pass. Sure, that might be because you can use cloud gaming to hop on, find your house and then hop off again, but that’s still pretty interesting.
Microsoft Flight Simulator leverages the power of Microsoft’s own systems, including Bing Maps and Microsoft Azure AI to generate a pretty realistic version of the entire world. Sure, some of the rural areas might not be well-represented, but it’s got most of the recognisable landmarks at least. With a bevy of free updates since launch, which have added new planes and overhauled certain key areas and landmarks, Microsoft Flight Simulator is well worth a look.
1. PowerWash Simulator
Publisher: Square Enix
We can all relate to spending a little bit too much time on our phones or laptops getting sucked into a really satisfying video of something really dirty being cleaned, so it’s no surprise that this universal human experience has now translated into a video game. That video game is PowerWash Simulator, and if you’re looking for the satisfaction of a hard day’s work cleaning without having to get up off the couch, PowerWash Simulator is unbeatable.
Just like the name says, PowerWash Simulator gives you a really powerful pressure washer, and lets you loose on a host of levels that could all do with a big clean. Naturally, your first instinct will be to draw something lewd in the muck, but once you’ve got past that inclination, you’ll find a fascinatingly chill game that you’ll struggle to put down. This is especially true once you recruit some friends to help you out in online co-op. As it stands, PowerWash Simulator is the best simulation game on Xbox Game Pass.
READ MORE: 10 Best Strategy Games on Xbox Game Pass
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