One of my favorite sim builder games was Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers. Sure, it was based on the show about survivalists preparing for an inevitable apocalypse, but this game is super cute. Even the underground bunkers of survivalist supplies are adorable. Like most of these sim games, players will start by building the basics. Build more housing, and more preppers will come, and then you’ll have a workforce for the subterranean workshops and hydroponic gardens.
I know the game’s meant to be about survivalism, but the animations of little preppers doing their tasks are cheerful and cute. Although your preppers can take on any task, they each have skills that’ll help them produce more in one of the different tasks. Specialities won’t mean much in the beginning, but later on, preppers can produce better by being assigned to their preferred tasks, and they’ll even show up and request a certain specialty.
This is a social game, which means the heavy suggestions to invite friends and the ubiquitous premium currency (What exactly are my little preppers going to do with diamonds in their bunker? Use them as very fancy drillbits?). There are also funny achievements, for the number of preppers, gold earned, or goods built.
That might be my favorite, but I think these sim building/management games like Prison Architect, Game Dev Tycoon Doomsday Preppers, Startup Company, Oxygen Not Included, and others will always be popular.
Indie game dev Greenheart Games’ Game Dev Tycoon puts players in charge of an indie game dev studio. Players will try to manage staff and resources to design and sell successful indie games, reinvesting any profits into the company for the next big game. Then, hire more staff and more equipment for the next project.
Game Dev Tycoon also has one of the greatest anti-piracy systems imaginable: pirated copies of the game can be traced back to a build of Game Dev Tycoon with one very clear flaw. In-game pirates routinely steal copies of any in-game indie games, preventing real-life pirates from earning any money in-game. Greenheart Games’ forum complaints from real-life pirates about in-game pirates are hilarious.
Hovgaard Games’ Startup Company is a resource management / building sim, a bit like the app development version of Game Dev Tycoon. Decorate your startup office with the typical houseplants, vending machines and Ikea-ish furniture, and start hiring employees. Then bring in some contracts, to start making apps and earning some money. If your employees are starting to complain about overwork, you can boost their mood with office decor or vacation days.
This game emulates client work, so you need to keep looking for new projects and employees need to be assigned their next task. Or you can hire a project manager to keep them at work. This is an early-access game, so more Silicon Valley paraphernalia may be added.
Klei’s Oxygen Not Included is another appealing builder sim, also in early-access, but so far, it looks like a charming sci-fi builder. Like Doomsday Preppers, your characters will need to tunnel and build underground housing. But, in Oxygen Not Included, characters need to either find underground caches of oxygen or build technology to create oxygen for survival.