There’s something oddly compelling about life simulation games. There’s something about that combination of god-like control over quotidian matters, combined with the lack of any real world consequences, that makes for a safe yet empowering play space.
The best life simulation games provide the ultimate escapist experience, taking you out of the hum drum of day to day life and placing you right in a world where you have control over everything. These are some of the finest examples of life simulation games on iPhone and iPad.
The don of life simulation games, The Sims is the kind of crossover hit that even your parents have heard about. Possibly. The Sims Mobile brings EA’s micromanaging masterpiece to mobile in finely honed mobile-friendly form. Create your avatar, set their preferences, and guide them through the mundane matters of life in a cute and colorful fashion. It’s as endlessly fascinating here on iPhone as it has been on countless platforms over the past two decades – albeit with microtransactions.
BitLife dubs itself a “Life Simulator”, but don’t let that dry term fool you. This is a deeply casual, hilariously simple time waster that sees you galavanting through virtual lives by making simple multiple choice decisions. It’s like one of those classic choose your own adventure books, only on your iPhone, and where the consequences determine who you’ll date and what kind of career you’ll pursue. The key here is in the writing, with important lifestyle choices sketched out in a deeply amusing way.
Godus kind of fills the space in between life simulator and city building game. Call it a macro-life simulator, if you will. As the title suggests, you’re essentially playing God here. Indeed, the game was made by the inventor of the god game, Peter Molyneux. Your time here will be spend carving out hills with your finger, spouting miraculous meteor showers, and generally encouraging life to flourish according to your whim. It’s up to you just how much you help or hinder the development of a budding civilization in this thrillingly empowering game.
No, it’s not as deep or involved as the Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing game that took over our lives during lockdown, but Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp serves as a charming abbreviation of Nintendo’s cutesy life simulator. Befriend anthropomorphic animals, hunt bugs, and deck out your campsite crib in gloriously bespoke fashion. As with the source game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’s time-sensitive events and festivals dictate a gentle sense of progression. If only real life were this genteel and fundamentally satisfying.