The best Xbox One simulation games available in 2020

By Dave Horobin,
What are the best simulation games available on the Xbox One? If you like the idea of being the boss, simulation games are the perfect way to pass the hours. Whether it's controlling every tiny detail of a rapidly expanding metropolis, colonizing new worlds, escaping from prison or simply tending to a farm, there's an increasing number of simulation games now available on the Xbox One.

To assist you in deciding which game you should be looking to play next, we've narrowed down the choice by using a combination of site review scores and your community ratings to put together our list of the best Xbox One simulation games available in 2020.

Stardew Valley

cover

Stardew Valleyhas to be on this list. It's a unique game for consoles that you don't realize you want until you have it. Growing your farm from a small plot of land to a massive industry is a wonderful feeling. You'll constantly be thinking of new ventures that you can try to make gold; with proper work those ventures always pay off, which only makes you want to play even more. With plenty of extra activities in which to participate throughout your days, you won't grow bored quickly. While the game isn't perfect — side activities can be dull and end-game content can feel a little lacking — Stardew Valley will no doubt remain a staple in many player's game rotations. It's a game that fully succeeds in its premise and for that, it is worthy of your time.

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley

You’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in Stardew Valley. Armed with hand-me-down tools, you set out to begin your new life. Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home? Ever since Joja Corporation came to town, the old ways of life have all but disappeared. The community center, once the town’s most vibrant hub of activity, now lies in shambles. With a little dedication, you might just be the one to restore Stardew Valley to greatness!


My Time at Portia

My Time at Portia

My Time at Portia is a life sim, which combines management and role-playing elements. As with Stardew Valley, you're starting a new life and moving to Portia, where you'll inherit your Pa's old workshop. Aside from completing commissions for the local townspeople, you'll also be joining the Guild and competing against its other members to boost your reputation and make your workshop the best in the area. Along with resource gathering and crafting, there's also activities like mining, exploring, and farming to be done, as well as an extensive friendship system to follow with the local NPCs. As with Stardew Valley, this is one you'll sink hours into before you know it.

My Time At Portia
My Time At Portia

Start a new life in the enchanting town of Portia! Restore your Pa's neglected workshop to its former glory by fulfilling commissions, growing crops, raising animals, and befriending the quirky inhabitants of this charming post-apocalyptic land!



Jurassic World Evolution

12/06/2018 - Carousel

For fans of the series and simulation games, Jurassic World Evolution is a must-buy. Being able to create and tweak the DNA of a big collection of dinosaurs across all Las Cinco Muertas islands, with each one offering unique challenges, makes for an exciting gaming experience. The detail in the dinosaurs is impressive and the fact you can take control of pretty much everything on your islands means your parks can truly be your vision. The game's initial lack of customisation options held it back a little, but a subsequent update, which added in features such as terrain tools, made it possible to micro manage your park even more. It's pretty much everything you could want in a simulation game. At some point, you've probably wished Jurassic Park really existed. For now, this is the closest you can get.

Jurassic World Evolution
Jurassic World Evolution

Place yourself at the heart of the Jurassic franchise and build your own Jurassic World. Bioengineer dinosaurs that think, feel and react intelligently to the world around them and face threats posed by espionage, breakouts and devastating tropical storms in an uncertain world where life always finds a way.


Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital release date

A year after launching for PC, Two Point Hospital arrived for consoles earlier this year. It starts you out at the beginning of a management career, with the aim of building, designing, and running the best hospitals across Two Point County. Two Point Hospital doesn't take itself too seriously, and the illnesses you'll be treating range from Light-headedness — with a lightbulb where your head should be — to Mock Star, where patients are suddenly convinced they're famous rockstars. The player has to build increasingly bizarre treatment facilities, while making sure the hospital's equipped for each and every weird disease, as well as other routine issues, such as ghosts and visiting celebrities. It's addictive from the start, and the increase in difficulty, number of patients, and complexity of treatment make it consistently engaging.

Two Point Hospital™
Two Point Hospital™

The hit hospital building management sim comes to console for the first time! BUILD, CURE and IMPROVE: Design stunning hospitals, decorate them as you like, cure very unusual illnesses and manage troublesome staff!


Surviving Mars

Screens

Surviving Mars offers most of the things you expect in a simulation game: a chaotic and overwhelming start is eventually calmed down once you understand what's going on and how to work efficiently. Mysteries add a unique bonus to the progression and don't be surprised if you become quite invested in your colony the more you play. As is often the case, the controls pose a bit of a problem and feel like they'd be better suited on a computer. Never the less, for simulation game fanatics, Surviving Mars is an easy recommendation. For everyone else, if you are willing to sink in the time and the effort, you'll be happy in your new home on the red planet.

Surviving Mars
Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars is a sci-fi city builder about colonizing Mars and surviving the process. Choose a sponsor for resources and financial support before landing on the surface. Build domes and infrastructure, research new possibilities and utilize drones to maintain your colonies functions. Cultivate your own food, mine minerals or just relax by the bar after a day’s work. Most important of all, keep your colonists alive. Are you ready? Mars is waiting for you.


Aven Colony

Aven Colony

All in all, Aven Colony is a blast. Planning out the best places to put your facilities in order to keep most people happy is both fun and absorbing. Surprisingly simple to learn, the game makes it easy to quickly get in the groove of building and splashes of humor keep you smiling. There are times of frustration when overproduction keeps your storage facilities at capacity, but this is a very small dark cloud in the otherwise blue expanse of Aven Prime's skies. If you're into building games, you'll definitely want to give this one a try.

Aven Colony
Aven Colony

Build a new home for humanity in Aven Colony. Discover Aven Prime - an alien planet of deserts, tundras, and wetlands light years from earth. Build your colonies into massive, sprawling cities whilst dealing with the challenges faced when settling on a new world.


Planetbase

PB

Planetbase is a nice change of pace from the usual building simulators as the space environment brings up new challenges. Trying to make sure your colonists have enough of everything to keep them alive, and balancing this with fending off potential hazards and trying to earn yourself some money at the same time, is a genuinely fun challenge. The limited number of planets on which to build and a tutorial that leaves a bit to be desired means that the game may feel a little off-putting at first, although it is definitely worth sticking with. Taking this adventure with your colonists is well worth the ride.

Planetbase
Planetbase

Guide a group of space settlers trying to establish a base on a remote planet. Grow food, collect energy, mine resources, survive disasters and build a self-sufficient colony in a harsh and unforgiving environment.


Prison Architect: Xbox One Edition

Prison Architect Key Art

Not since an imprisoned George Bluth had an endless supply of ice cream sandwiches has doing time ever been so rewarding. Prison Architect is a deep offering of gameplay elements, interconnected systems, and emergent storytelling, all of which remain addictive for fans of such micromanagement. If all this sounds like more work than fun, you're probably right; this game just isn't for you. Controlling a population of inmates who, by the basic nature of prison, don't want to be there, can feel like a second job. But prepare to be amazed by the game's intense level of detail to the human element of being behind bars, and you'll walk away from the experience with an appreciation for such a stellar genre title. If you're a fan of simulations, Prison Architect is one of the best there is.

Prison Architect: Xbox One Edition
Prison Architect: Xbox One Edition

Take control of the building and running of a maximum security prison as the critically acclaimed lock-em-up arrives on Xbox One! In Prison Architect you will see the impact of your grand design on the lives of your inmates; be it a utopic centre for rehabilitation, a brutal Super Max Prison or anything in between. Even when all of your prisoners’ needs are met, remember one thing - it’s still a prison and no one really wants to be there.


The Escapists

Escapists(1/13/15) 1

Prison life isn't easy, that much we have learned from our time playing The Escapists. This game can be frustrating, make you angry, and want to quit altogether. That is, until that one thing you've been missing finally hits you and you make your escape out of a prison. That feeling of accomplishment is lacking in many mainstream titles. Avoid using walkthroughs and you will find the game difficult to master but immensely rewarding when the plan comes together.

The Escapists
The Escapists

The Escapists is an award winning prison break simulation that provides players the opportunity of experiencing a light-hearted insight into everyday prison life. Master the routine, plan your strategy then execute your Escape.


Elite: Dangerous

Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter Three screen 1

Elite: Dangerous is a unique game. It's given us a gigantic galaxy to explore of which it is nigh-on impossible to see the full extent. It's a classic space simulator through and through, to the point in which the controls and game mechanics can be hard to grasp. This in itself isn't a bad thing, but it won't appeal to everyone. Only with a huge time investment will players get the full experience of the title, but with that comes a greater feeling of reward. It's a good alternative to exploring the Milky Way galaxy in all its glory instead of training in real life to become a fully fledged astronaut, but you still need to be prepared for the long haul before you suit up.

Elite Dangerous Standard Edition
Elite Dangerous Standard Edition

The Elite Dangerous Standard Edition is a bundle that includes Elite Dangerous: Arena, Elite: Dangerous and the Elite Dangerous Core


Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines

Lacking in both content and features in comparison to its PC counterpart, this version of Cities: Skylines is probably not for those who already own and enjoy the game there. However, thanks to a personal touch, it's a game that is very satisfying to progress through and a worthy city builder for genre fans on Xbox One. Just consider having a guide at hand, and perhaps something to keep you entertained in between projects.

Cities: Skylines - Xbox One Edition
Cities: Skylines - Xbox One Edition

Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition puts you in charge of a growing city – from the ground-breaking of its first streets to the ever-changing needs of thousands of citizens. Design, build, and manage the city of your dreams, from public services to civic policies, and challenge yourself to grow from a simple town to a bustling metropolitan hub.


Farm Together

11/01/2019 - Carousel

While most of the other farming simulators currently available on the Xbox One opt for ultra-realism, at the opposite end of the scale, you'll find Farm Together. Offering a much cuter looking, simpler and hands-off approach to the genre, Farm Together allows you to sit back and relax as you and your friends tend to your farm. If you like the idea of running and tending to a farm but are fed up of busy menu systems and convoluted instructions, Farm Together is the perfect alternative.

Farm Together
Farm Together

Grow your own farm all by yourself, or cooperate with your friends in this unique, relaxing farming experience!


Farming Simulator 19

Farming Simulator 19

The gameplay available in Farming Simulator 19 is obviously very niche, but behind the actual subject matter the game offers an in-depth sandbox that allows you to decide exactly how you wish to progress using the various farming techniques available. Farming Simulator 19 isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and if you've played the previous iteration in the series there isn't a lot new her to discover. For those of you who do wish to take to the fields, you’ll find a surprisingly detailed experience that can prove to be enjoyable once you get your production line in place.

Farming Simulator 19
Farming Simulator 19

Play the most complete farming experience ever! Become a modern farmer and develop your farm on two huge American and European environments, filled with exciting new farming activities, crops to harvest and animals to tend to. Xbox One exclusive tractor: Valtra N-Series Gold.


Railway Empire

Screens

If you're a fan of the old Tycoon games from yesteryear or have Hornby railway collection in your loft space, Railway Empire will definitely scratch that itch. Set in the 1800s North America, industry is booming and you're the person tasked with building the biggest and best railway network across the country to link it all together. You're not the only player in the game, however, and you'll constantly be trying to outwit and outmanoeuvre competitors who also want a piece of the action. There's a steep learning curve and it can be a bit of a slow-burner, but if you can stick with it, Railway Empire has a lot to offer.

Railway Empire
Railway Empire

United States, 1830: ‘The New World’ is in its ascendancy. Industry is booming, and the race is on to establish the most dominant and powerful rail empire in all of North America. It’s time to outthink and outmaneuver your competitors as you lead your company into the 20th century!



Additional reporting by Heidi Nicholas.
Dave Horobin
Written by Dave Horobin
Dave is the TrueAchievements Social Manager and has been a Newshound since 2010. When he's not chasing developers and publishers for early review copies, he can usually be found on the TrueAchievements social pages discussing all things TA related.