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9 great new simulation games to play in 2021

When our lives are on hold while we are stuck at home, we can always rely on simulation video games to help us reshape some virtual worlds. The genre is thriving: whether you want to live out your prison guard fantasies, open your own restaurant, or become a god, there is a simulation game coming out in 2021 for you.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC

Evil Genius 2: World Domination is a mix of a base builder and a management game. Players have to create the perfect hideout for themselves, while also organizing acts of terror around the world. And, as any professional villain would tell you, you also need to run a believable front, which in the case of Evil Genius 2 is a casino which scams tourists for easy money. They say the house always wins, and one of your objectives in this game is to make sure that’s true.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination - Gameplay Trailer

Your goal is simple: take over the world. Easy enough, right? To do so, you can count on the help of your minions. They will help you destroy walls to expand your lair, build and operate your machines, fight your enemies, and bring home some valuable goods. Evil Genius 2: World Domination seems like it will be a good simulation game, and a pretty funny one as well.

Prison Simulator

Developer: Baked Games
Publisher: Baked Games, Appscraft, PlayWay
Release Date: March 2021
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android

Prison Simulator is not for everyone. First of all, the setting – a prison – is not everyone’s cup of tea. But more importantly, it’s the role you have to assume in this new game that may turn some potential players off. You don’t play a convict, nor do you play the prison’s warden. It is a bit more hands-on than that.

Prison Simulator New Trailer

Your role in Prison Simulator is to be a guard, and not just any guard – a mean one. Instead of managing the prison or trying to escape, your mission is only to maintain a semblance of peace among the prison population. Gameplay involves a lot of chores, such as counting inmates, finding contraband, or casually beating people up. The challenge is to keep a balance between meeting management’s expectations, and not getting killed in the yard.

Prison Simulator brings a different kind of experience from other prison games. However, I cannot guarantee your Orange is the New Black fantasy will come true in this one.

Starbase

Developer: Frozenbyte
Publisher: Frozenbyte
Release Date: Q1 2021
Platforms: PC

Starbase takes you out of this world to explore the infinity of space. More precisely, it is a “hybrid voxel/vertex-based space MMO” according to its Steam page. Starbase is about resource gathering, crafting, exploring, fighting, and building starbases.

Starbase - Announcement Trailer

Space exploration games can sometimes be lacking at launch, but here the universe is not empty and under-developed. Starbase is filled with futuristic buildings, spaceships, and stuff to keep yourself busy with . There is plenty of problems to solves and ways to be creative in Starbase, which is ultimately what you want from a simulation game.

Pharaoh: A New Era

Developer: Triskell Interactive
Publisher: DotEmu
Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC

Another good old game that comes back to life! Pharaoh: A New Era is the 2021 version of the 1999 Egyptian city builder game.

Pharaoh: A New Era - Official Announcement Trailer | Gamescom 2020

The overall content of Pharaoh: A New Era is similar to its predecessor. But the story is not the most important aspect of this simulation game. To be honest, I don’t exactly remember the plot behind the original Pharaoh, and I doubt many of its original players do.

The major upgrade from the old Pharaoh comes in the user interface. No more messy menus, no more sub-categories hiding gameplay elements we didn’t even know existed. The UI is much clearer and the remaster even supports 4K. Overall, Pharaoh: A New Era seems like a great simulation game combining the best of two eras of gaming.

Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2

Developer: MasterCode
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A.
Release Date: Q1 2021
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/ S, Xbox One, PC

Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 calls itself the “most comprehensive fishing game of all time,” and we will leave you to judge whether that claim is accurate or not.

Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 - Trailer

Cooking Simulator VR

Developer: GameBoom VR
Publisher: Big Cheese Studio, PlayWay S.A.
Release Date: Q1 2021
Platforms: VR (PC)

I personally love to cook, and finding fun new recipes has definitely made the lockdown easier. If you are a cooking enthusiast, Cooking Simulator VR is for you. I should warn you, however, that looking at virtual food in this game will make you pretty hungry. I suggest that you always have a snack handy for when you are done playing.

Cooking Simulator VR - Official Trailer

Once you are done setting your virtual kitchen on fire, you can become a real chef with the career mode. I do not guarantee your virtual skills will translate to real life, but you will have to test them to find out.

The Pope: Power & Sin

Developer: Forestlight Games
Publisher: Forestlight Games, PlayWay S.A.
Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC

What if The Guild ever met Crusader Kings, but with a religious twist? It would probably look like The Pope: Power & Sin. This game takes quite a unique spin on the political simulation subgenre, or even religion as a whole. In The Pope: Power & Sin, you play as The Pope. A mysterious, scandalous, murderous pope.

THE POPE: POWER & SIN - trailer

The Pope: Power & Sin might offend some religious players due to its depiction of the Church as the lair of depravity. But if you can get past that aspect, The Pope: Power & Sin is a unique political simulation game with a lot of interesting features.

Camper Flipper

Developer: Forestlight Games
Publisher: Forestlight Games, PlayWay
Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, MacOS

Turn old rusty campers into flaming new custom ones with Camper Flipper. And without any risk of injury or tetanus!

Camper Flipper Trailer 2020

Camper Flipper gives you the reigns of your own garage. There, you can pick old campers, modify and fix them to create brand new campers. Once back up and running, you can arrange and decorate the interior, before taking your revamped camper on a ride in the countryside.

Cartel Tycoon

Developer: Moon Moose
Publisher: tinyBuild
Release Date: March 18, 2021
Platforms: PC

You remember that one show everyone told you to watch in 2015? This game is kind of about that.

Cartel Tycoon - Official Trailer | Summer of Gaming 2020

Cartel Tycoon is a simulation game like no other. At its core, it is about running an illicit business in a gritty world where “ambiguous” is the default setting you put your morality on. The whole simulation aspect of the game revolves around running your drug cartel, as you not only have to expand it but also avoid police interference, and getting killed by your rivals. The demo of Cartel Tycoon is already available if you want to feel like the next Pablo Escobar.

To be clear, these are just some of the great simulation game picks I could have included. There are so many other interesting, great looking, and frankly confusing sim games out there, and many more in development. No matter the simulation game you pick in 2021, there are certainly plenty of ways to reinvent your life.

Stay tuned to SQUAD for more gaming info and news!

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Ophélie Castelot

I was born with a gamepad and played my first MMORPG at 8. I'm scared to death by Resident Evil's dogs. FPS enthusiast, I like to pewpew people. I love both video games and writing, so naturally, I'm a gaming writer. Want to pitch an idea or debate the latest game you played? Let's talk!
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