Most players agree that what was most memorable about The Sims franchise was:
- The process of building and customizing your virtual community
- Watching characters age and change
- Watching real-world family dynamics play out
- Creating new businesses
- Expanding your town
Players are still chasing that fulfilling feeling today. Fortunately for us, game developers for mobile devices (iOS, Android), computers (Steam), and consoles (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 5) are too. The life simulation games are booming in a market that can’t get enough of open-world games.
7 Worlds the Remind You of the Original Sims Game
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- My Time At Portia
- No Man’s Sky
- Project Zomboid
- Stardew Valley
- VR Chat
Gamers love the freedom to shape their own gameplay experiences. So let’s look at seven new worlds that might grant you that cherished old feeling of fostering your very own community again.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons blew up while everyone was in lockdown in 2020 and has maintained a fair amount of momentum since then. As each season changes in real-time with the game’s cute, fantastical, animal-inhabited world, updates continue to color it with new things to experience.
The most recent installment in a long-loved classic Nintendo franchise, New Horizons, takes player customization to previously unseen, well, horizons. Once, you could only customize your player’s house, clothes, and other small aspects of your town.
Now, the player has full reign to customize the entire layout of their town’s houses, stores, furniture, parks, landscape, and more. As different animal neighbors, either NPCs or other players, move into their homes and populate your island, you gradually begin to create your paradise, an expression of your ideal island life.
The game offers players a lot of creativity. Some players have crafted unique virtual worlds.
The game operates in real-time, encouraging you to check back regularly and see how your town has changed or developed with passing the time, seasons, and holidays.
2. My Time At Portia
Developed by Pathea Games, My Time At Portia brings the player back to simplicity by perfecting the comforting atmosphere of the classic virtual life sim. This indie title has had quite a bit of buzz since its release in 2018 and continues to be released for new consoles today.
My Time At Portia utilizes the bright, cute, comforting graphical style of old-life sim and farming sim classics like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, or MySims. Still, it adds role-playing elements and crafting options unique to this type of game.
On top of that, it completely expands the margins of the typical life sim by allowing you to develop your community past its humble roots and into modernity. Aside from developing your farm, you can automate your farm, creating a manufacturing hub for various goods. Before you know it, you’ll have a veritable factory, and then suddenly, you’ll find the world of Portia becoming increasingly modern.
My Time At Portia takes the story-building, community-based characterization of classic life sims and the aesthetics of cute, wholesome farm sims and widens both possibilities. There are various sports, activities, quests, and holidays.
Of course, your character, farm, house, and furniture are all fully customizable. So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a healthy, bustling community, spend some time at Portia.
3. No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is an open-world, crafting-oriented, action-adventure title in which you explore an endlessly expanding cosmos of procedurally-generated planets aboard your fully-customization space crafts. I know, a lot to take in— and that’s the whole point.
On top of creating a world that generates endless exploration, Hello Games, the developers of No Man’s Sky, continue to upgrade, patch, and expand their world, adding more life, variety, and activities to explore. All the while, they craft an immersive, deepening lore orbiting around ancient alien civilizations and the destined explorers of the universe.
While traversing various planets, you can build your bases, manage and customize your freighter spaceship and space crew, and command a fleet, among other things.
Along with choosing your crewmates, you can choose to play with friends and explore the reaches of the universe together, sharing discoveries and providing guidance to your community of space explorers.
No Man’s Sky is for you if you’re a sci-fi fan. It’s a game made to generate curiosity as you play. And if you’re a fan of open-world games, well, it doesn’t get much more open than an ever-expanding universe of worlds to explore. Jump in!
4. Project Zomboid
Project Zomboid may be the chaotic, supernatural life sim for you. An open-world, multiplier RPG, Project Zomboid allows you to customize your character to face the zombie apocalypse.
Sure, warm fuzzy games can bring in that wholesome feeling found in The Sims, but some of us may remember that The Sims wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Let’s face it— many of us Sim’s fans loved to cause chaos, search for the supernatural, conduct experiments, and explore the grittier aspects of life simulation.
Fans of The Sims will immediately notice the familiar slanted birds-eye-view camera angle, spying down on their character as they stiffly traverse the abandoned lots of an apocalyptic city. Just like in The Sims, you have your health to worry about: your hunger, fatigue, and thirst bars, and any injuries you may accrue.
As you explore the world, you gather survival resources, tend to your health bars, and gradually build up your base or safe house.
Best of all, you can find and team up with friends, collect resources together, train yourselves in distinct skills, and take on your jobs within the group such as mechanic, bodyguard, burglar, doctor, and so many others.
Before you know it, you and your friends will have your base and community, with your duties to perform to maintain its safety and growth.
With hordes of hungry zombies scratching at your doors, you may not be in the most optimistic life simulation, but boy, are you glad to have each other.
5. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is an open-worldRPG made by indie developer Eric “Concerned Ape” Barone. While it was released a few years ago, the Stardew Valley is still actively developed and updated to this day with new content and DLC by its team of dedicated developers. Just as you explore and expand the horizons of Stardew Valley, so do the developers.
The game is unique from The Sims in that it focuses solely on farming. You play as a character who inherits their grandfather’s old, falling-apart farm in a distant valley. As the game goes on, you gather resources, craft, and slowly build up your farm.
You can choose to develop a farm that produces a specific kind of resource or a variety of different kinds. You can run a ranch with plenty of animals or have huge fields of crops.
The community aspect of Stardew Valley comes through in the RPG aspects of the game. As you build your farm, you can explore the town and surrounding landscapes in your free time. As you meet characters, you will create bonds, make friends, and eventually carve out your own story and destiny.
Additionally, co-op multiplayer allows you to create joint-farm ventures with your friends and explore Stardew Valley as a group. You can work together creatively to construct your own little farming community while developing and influencing the world outside.
If you’re looking for that wholesome together-feeling you get from The Sims, definitely check this one out.
Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games, takes the life-simulation genre and gives it a surreal spin. You play as Stella, a ‘Spiritfarer’, whose job it is to gather and house lost souls, helping them come to peace and cross over.
You do this by housing them on a big spiritual barge that you build, expand, and improve throughout the game. As the story progresses, you meet new souls, hear new stories, and maintain the rooms on your barge.
Eventually, you’ll have a huge, vibrant tapestry of a community sitting like a huge city on top of your ship, filled with many colorful stories.
Part of the work of the game is maintaining your barge, ensuring all the souls are well accommodated and taken care of. At the same time, who you choose to let in, and how you house them can completely change the character of your community and the nature of your story.
This gives the player a feeling of ownership over their destiny; they can completely shape the environment they build, take hold of their own decisions, and see how they play out and interact within the spiritual world of Spiritfarer.
7. VR Chat
VR Chat, is, as you can guess, a game that can only take place in virtual reality and is perhaps one of the most innovative titles on this list. So strap in.
Created by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey, VR Chat is an online, multiplayer life simulation focused on socialization and a deep interest in customizability.
It is most comparable to online games that had their heydays in the past, such as IMVU or Second Life; massively multiplayer virtual chat room games where the player could customize a wide host of things about their avatar the space where they hang out.
VR Chat offers an even more immersive experience with its technical innovations while offering a much wider range of customization than similar games from the past. This game allows the player to create their avatar and world fully.
They can create a wholly original character or make themselves into their favorite protagonist. There are many fan-based worlds to hang out in an interesting and surreal creations to explore. With all of that, you can also develop activities or mini-games to play with other players.
If you’re looking to appreciate the internet’s creativity or bask in its chaos, VR Chat will likely have what you’re looking for.
Fashion League: The First Female-Centered NFT Game
If customization and community building are experiences you truly care about, Fashion League is worth exploring. As the first female-centered fashion NFT Game, Fashion League allows you to fully customize your shop owner avatar, create your fashion brand, and sell your clothes for real monetary value via the blockchain.
This NFT RPG can create a thriving economy within a social gaming atmosphere. As a holder of an NFT Shop Owner, you can rent your avatar out to other players as an NFT, sell your designs as digital assets, or gather resources for real monetary rewards. Additionally, Fashion League is free to play — you don’t have to own an NFT Shop Owner from the get-go. Instead, players can test the waters and play without the blockchain component before diving in completely.
If building a community, doing your own virtual business, and earning money from your love for simulation games sounds right to you, Fashion League awaits.