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Best Sim Games On PS Plus

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harvest moon back to nature ps1

Simulations cover a fairly wide spectrum of games. Life, farming, and management sims have all produced successful projects, but while their representatives share a few things in common, there is no guarantee that fans of one subgenre will gravitate toward another. Frequently blending with city-builders, RPGs, and racers, sims are responsible for some of the most relaxing and stressful games on the market. Although not overflowing with options, PlayStation Plus‘ library highlights the genre’s range quite well.



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Regardless of whether someone subscribes to the service’s Extra or Premium tiers, they will have access to hundreds of games; consequently, narrowing down the options can be a difficult task. To make that process as simple as possible, here are some of the best PS Plus sim games.


Each entry states whether a game is part of PS Plus’ Extra tier. Also, Amazon links will be included if listings are available, just in case somebody prefers to pick up a title’s physical copy.

HowLongtoBeat
was used as a source to find the average length of each game.


Harvest Moon: Back To Nature

Metascore: 82

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

PS Plus Availability
Premium

Released
November 22, 2000

Developer
Victor Interactive Software, Marvelous Interactive

How Long To Beat
80 Hours

Even though PS Plus has a couple of Harvest Moon games, Mad Dash, One World, and Light of Hope are not part of the same franchise that started on the SNES. Thankfully, the Premium tier has one exception to the rule: Back to Nature. The PS1 classic focuses on a boy who has just inherited his grandfather’s farm, and he has roughly three years to get it into tip-top shape.


Naturally, this means a lot of farming, which is an area Back to Nature knocks out of the park. Although not the deepest farming sim ever, the game has all the basics one would expect from the genre, and the core mechanics have aged relatively well. Harvest Moon also incorporates other elements to inject a touch of variety, including a degree of exploration and a focus on crafting friendships with the town’s residents.

Two Point Hospital

Metascore: 82

Overhead shot of Hospital with several rooms from Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
August 30, 2018

Developer(s)
Two Point Studios

How Long To Beat
38 Hours

Two Point Studios has done a great job of making business sims accessible to a casual audience, while still offering more than enough debt to keep veterans of the genre hooked. While 2022’s Two Point Campus is not on PS Plus Extra, its spiritual predecessor, Two Point Hospital, is available on the service and well worth playing. As the title suggests, the game puts players in charge of running hospitals in different scenarios, which obviously comes with plenty of unique challenges that must be overcome to keep the staff, patients, and bottom line happy.


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As with most business sims, Two Point Hospital eases players into their new responsibilities, only for things to expand exponentially as the hours fly by. Before long, players will be running a sprawling hospital with so many moving parts that they might start to feel overwhelmed. While taking its mechanics seriously, Two Point Hospital is overall a lighthearted experience filled to the brim with humor.

Thrillville & Off The Rails

Metascore: 72

thrillville off the rails

Thrillville

PS Plus Availability
Premium

Released
November 21, 2006

How Long To Beat
6 Hours

PS Plus Premium has been steadily expanding its classic selection, adding PS1, PS2, and PSP games alongside a few hundred PS3 titles. Although the tier’s library is not definitive or exhaustive, it does provide easy access to a range of projects that might be otherwise difficult to come by in this day and age. The Thrillville games might not have been on many people’s wishlists since they are fairly forgotten in the grand scheme of things, but they do provide a unique experience for PS Plus. The service is lacking in management sims, so any titles are positive additions. While Frontier’s PSP releases are hardly the genre’s deepest or most timeless representatives, they are solid entry-level options that prioritize accessibility above most things. For their time, they were decent spiritual successors to RollerCoaster Tycoon, another series that Frontier worked on.


Like most management games of this ilk, Thrillville challenges players to build and run their own amusement parks, with the campaign coming with five settings. The games provide players with a respectable range of options when setting up their parks, and they also emphasize immersion by allowing players to actively run around the locations and mingle with guests. Mini-games are also a big part of the package, and they are generally fine if unspectacular. Both entries are pretty good, but the sequel fine-tunes a couple of things to make it the slightly better pick. That said, these games have not aged flawlessly, so players should keep that in mind.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Metascore: 79

Hardspace: Shipbreaker - Laser Cutter


Hardspace: Shipbreaker

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
May 24, 2022

Developer(s)
Blackbird Interactive

How Long To Beat
25 Hours

The gaming industry is not lacking in space adventures that capture the excitement of traveling the cosmos to discover planets unknown or fight Lovecraftian aliens; however, somebody has to do the busy work. Hardspace: Shipbreaker is all about the daily struggle of trying to make a living working for a soulless and exploitative Mega Corporation. As Lynx’s employees, players strip abandoned ships of their resources to meet a quota. As someone gradually becomes better at their job, they will start to take on harder challenges, all with the hope of eventually earning some degree of freedom from the grind.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker presents a unique take on the sci-fi genre while also being among the best PS Plus sims, even though it might not appeal to everyone. Visually, the game looks great in most areas, be it the ships’ internals or the vacuum of space. The gameplay starts simple but steadily increases in complexity.

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Metascore: 70

character-lawn-mowing-simulator


Lawn Mowing Simulator

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
August 10, 2021

Developer
Skyhook Games

How Long To Beat
20 Hours

No activity is too mundane to be turned into an addictive sim. Lawn Mowing Simulator almost sounds like a fake game that might have appeared as a gag in an early-2010s movie or TV show, but it is not only a reality but also pretty good. Skyhook’s project does not come with all that many surprises as it delivers the exact experience most people might picture when they hear the title; however, that is not a criticism.

Lawn Mowing Simulator is a management game at its heart. Players start a company and take on contracts with the goal of earning money, expanding their operation, hiring employees, and purchasing better equipment. The campaign is really that simple, and the same could be said for the basic gameplay loop. Although not devoid of depth, Lawn Moving Simulator is overall fairly straightforward, at least for the management sim genre. As such, the game is a good option for people who want to unwind for a few hours.


Rune Factory 4 Special

Metascore: 74

A player watering plants in Rune Factory 4 Special

Rune Factory 4 Special

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
February 25, 2020

Developer(s)
Marvelous

How Long To Beat
38 Hours

A remaster of a 2012 Nintendo 3DS game, Rune Factory 4 Special is among the better entries in Marvelous’ franchise, and it is a solid gateway point for people who have never tried the license. For the uninitiated, Rune Factory combines dungeon-crawling with farming and life-sim elements, offering a package that strikes a few different coals rather than sharpens one or two. The result is a project that is more than the sum of its parts, especially since the individual mechanics can be a bit shallow when compared to other farming sims or action RPGs.

While not exactly story-driven by JRPG standards, Rune Factory 4 emphasizes this part of the equation more than most sims, and the campaign does have some forward momentum. The gameplay is solid, if unspectacular, and the overall experience is relaxing while still providing a decent amount of action. This JRPG is one of the most accessible farming sims on PS Plus.


Overcooked! 2

Metascore: 83

Co-Op

Overcooked 2

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
August 7, 2018

Developer(s)
Team17 , Ghost Town Games

How Long To Beat
8 Hours

What is more relaxing than running a kitchen? Overcooked! 2 is a co-op game featuring chefs who work tirelessly to ensure their restaurant is running as smoothly as possible. While solo play is viable, the experience is enhanced considerably when played with friends.

As a cooking sim, Overcooked! 2 is one of the most immersive options on the market. That said, it walks a fine line between a grounded sim and a party game, managing to strike a good balance between the two.

Tropico 5

Metascore: 76

tropico 5


Tropico 5

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
May 23, 2014

Developer(s)
Haemimont Games

How Long To Beat
22 Hours

Tropico 5 is a management sim revolving around the rulers of an island. Starting from basically nothing, players aim to guide their nation to global prominence, a journey that can take many routes to arrive at its destination. While some strategy is involved, Tropico 5 belongs to the sim and city-building genres, and it is a fairly accessible representative of both spheres.

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As El Presidente, players live through multiple generations and eras as their city naturally grows. While not as complex as, for instance, Cities Skylines, Tropico 5‘s city progression is nevertheless satisfying and rewarding. Players have to also make decisions that impact their political and social standings.

Sakuna: Of Rice And Ruin

Metascore: 77

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin


Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
November 10, 2020

Developer(s)
Edelweiss

How Long To Beat
30 Hours

Similar to something like Rune Factory, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin blends action RPGs with farming sims, a combo that has time and again proven to be successful. As the title suggests, this game focuses on rice farming, with players taking on the role of a goddess who is a bit too arrogant (initially).

When she is not planting rice, Sakuna has to hack and slash her way through a few dungeons filled with monsters, engaging in a flashy and satisfying combat system that is one of the package’s strongest elements. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is just charming. Sure, some components can get repetitive due to the campaign’s length, but the overall experience is a positive one.

Prison Architect

Metascore: 80

Prison Architect Star Wars Imperial Architect Mod

Prison Architect

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
October 6, 2015

How Long To Beat
17 Hours

Once upon a time, construction sims were destined to remain PC exclusives, but this trend started to change during the PS4 era. Prison Architect was one of the earlier projects to make the jump, and, while not without a few growing pains, the transition was largely a success.


As its title suggests, the game puts players in charge of constructing and managing a prison, and they are offered a wide range of options to construct a system that suits them. Do not be fooled by its cartoonish and somewhat simplistic 2D visuals, Prison Architect incorporates an impressive array of mechanics, and they generally combine well with each other.

Cities: Skylines

Metascore: 80

A large city in the Nintendo Switch version of Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
March 10, 2015

Developer(s)
Colossal Order

How Long To Beat
50 Hours

A contender for the most popular city-builder of the 2010s, Cities: Skylines is a spiritual successor to SimCity. Expertly walking the line between hardcore and accessible, Colossal’s project does a good job of easing genre newcomers into the flow of things, allowing them to create and work at their own pace. Once accustomed to the basics, players will come to realize the game has a great deal of depth and also encourages experimentation and creativity.


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Cities: Skylines foregoes anything resembling a story in favor of unfiltered expansion. Although most playthroughs start fairly small, when it comes to expansion, the sky is the limit. Before long, players will be in charge of sprawling metropolises with distinct districts and a diverse array of building types. As far as city-builders on PS Plus are concerned, this title is the best.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Metascore: 80

evil genius 2

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

PS Plus Availability
Extra & Premium

Released
March 30, 2021

How Long To Beat
26 Hours

The villains are always the best parts of Saturday Morning Cartoons, and Evil Genius 2 capitalizes on that. Rebellion’s title features four playable geniuses, each of whom can take over one of three lairs as they try to set up their operation and eventually seek to expand their global reach. Naturally, such a feat requires resources, information, and security, all of which can be obtained by building an elaborate lair capable of catching spies, generating income, and keeping minions happy.


Considering its wacky setup, Evil Genius 2 is surprisingly relaxing and slow-moving, which is not a criticism. The game’s stylish visual aesthetic is thematically consistent, while the base-building is detailed, complex, and approachable.

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