Best simulation games for iPhone in 2024

Written By Anirban Reviewed By Games 11 Min Read

If you want to deep dive into gaming and want something a tad different, I think you’re going to find a niche in simulation games. These games are often far more challenging than arcade games and require you to strategize for long-term playthroughs. If you want to challenge yourself, here’s my list of the best simulation games for the iPhone.

  1. Plague Inc.
  2. Fallout Shelter
  3. The Sims Mobile
  4. Penguin Isle
  5. Animal Crossing
  6. Evil Hunter Tycoon
  7. Rebel Inc.
  8. Retro Bowl
  9. Stardew Valley

1. Plague Inc. – Editor’s choice

Plague Inc. simulation game for iPhone

This game might not sound too appealing right now because of the ongoing pandemic. However, it puts you in the microscopic shoes of a virus attempting to destroy the world’s population.

If you’ve ever wondered how it would feel to be on the other side of things, here’s your chance. Don’t worry. It’s not completely serious, and you will get to experiment with different combinations of viruses to create the ultimate super-virus.

Once your virus has started to take effect, you can tinker with it to get to the right potency. It’s a challenging game that will need you to think long-term and strategize properly.

Price: $0.99


2. Fallout Shelter – Construction simulator game

Fallout Shelter simulation game for iPhone

The Fallout series has been one of the biggest hits on consoles for decades. It follows the players as they are released from the Vault. Fallout Shelter shows you what happens inside the Vault itself.

You are the Vault Overseer, and your job is to take care of the Dwellers and upgrade their living facilities. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. You will have to manage resources and assign tasks to all the Dwellers to ensure the smooth functioning of the Vault.

You will run into disputes, drama, and betrayal. There are also mysteries to solve. Moreover, the higher productivity and efficiency you get from the Dwellers, the better your chances of survival in this post-apocalyptic world.

If you’ve played This War of Mine on PC, you’ll like Fallout Shelter.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


3. The Sims Mobile – Best city simulation game

The Sims™ Mobile simulation game for iPhone

We all love The Sims series. For both casual and pro gamers, this has been a popular series. Now, you can play God and dictate the lives of your Sims on your iPhone.

The Sims Mobile hasn’t cut too many corners compared to the console versions. You can design your Sims, give them a range of personalities and watch them play out their lives in the virtual world.

You can even create stories with these characters. A new royal family passing down heirlooms generation after generation? Yes. A Sim changing careers midway due to a change of heart? Yes. A scandal in the family? You can do that too.

The Sims Mobile continues to be one of the most entertaining simulation games you can play.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $2.99)


4. Penguin Isle – Most relaxing simulation game

Penguin Isle simulation game for iOS

Penguin Isle is a simulation game for those players who don’t want to delve too deep into difficult gaming. This is a chill game where you raise penguins as pets and create proper habitats for them.

You can collect penguins from different regions and create habitats to suit their conditions. Are penguins not your thing? Don’t worry. There are other arctic animals you can foster.

You can upgrade their habitats and continue building your park into a haven. The soundtrack accompanying the gameplay is relaxing and smooth. Play Penguin Isle if you’re in a mood to relax.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


5. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Fun simulation game for kids

Animal Crossing - Pocket Camp simulation game for iOS

Animal Crossing as a simulation game has been entertaining players since 2001. Nintendo took its cue from the popularity of The Sims series and decided to create its social simulation game.

While you don’t get all the regular Animal Crossing series features, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is far more niche in its outlook. Here, you are tasked with creating and managing the best campsite ever.

You can organize outdoor music festivals, competitions, and even a theme park for people to enjoy. As you attract visitors, you will also attract friendly animals from the woods to become their friends. This also adds a pet management and simulation aspect to the game. This extra dynamic greatly spices up the gameplay.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a fun game for kids and families.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start $0.99)


6. Evil Hunter Tycoon: Nonstop – Strategy simulator

Evil Hunter Tycoon simulation game for iPhone

Evil Hunter Tycoon – Nonstop isn’t like other management simulation games. Here, you aren’t tasked with building an empire, rather with restoring a bastion.

The forces of evil have completely ravaged a town, with it being a soft target for them. You have to restore the town to its former glory while also fortifying it against further onslaughts.

The players have to protect the town by managing its resources and redirecting it towards better defenses. This means that you have to build weapons, armor, and buildings better suited to war-torn times. You will have to supply the heroes of the village with their defenses.

In Evil Hunter Tycoon – Nonstop, you can think of yourself as Q from the James Bond series. No kidding!

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


7. Rebel Inc. – Military strategic game

Rebel Inc. simulation game for iPhone

Rebel Inc. comes from the developers of Plague Inc. (the first game on this list). As a player, you have to stabilize a ravaged country in the aftermath of war.

The war may be over, but militant and rebel insurgencies continue to pose problems. To regain the people’s trust, you have to guarantee their safety by quickly solving the insurgency crisis.

Every decision you make in the game will have both short-term and long-term effects. Strategize well to build and maintain peace in a post-conflict era, where information is key and can lead to the simulation of real-world issues.

Rebel Inc. is a game that has handled a sensitive topic well and deserves your attention.

Price: $1.99


8. Retro Bowl – Best for football fans

Retro Bowl simulation game for iPhone

Retro Bowl isn’t like the usual simulation or sports games that you find online. If you’ve dreamt about being a better football manager for your favorite team, here’s your chance.

The game has gorgeous and nostalgic aesthetics, reminiscent of the older games in the 1980s. Your objective is to build a superstar football team. However, things aren’t that easy. The bigger the stars, the more fragile egos you’ll have to handle.

Issues in the locker room? Clear the air with press conferences to defend or condemn your players’ actions on and off the field. You can also dictate how your team plays in matches by calling shots from the sidelines.

This is a football simulation game for football fanatics.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


9. Stardew Valley – Best life simulation game

Stardew Valley simulation game for iPhone

Whatever I say about Stardew Valley, it won’t be enough to give you the total picture of how influential this game has been in the modern generation of gaming. Besides, this is both an excellent simulation and role-playing game.

In this game, you take over a dilapidated farm that belonged to your late grandfather. The game has multiple endings, and you can either become an influential farming tycoon or settle in the town with a partner and children.

You can customize your character and select the farm type you want to take over. These farm types have their advantages and disadvantages, and you will have to adjust your playstyle accordingly. There are various issues you deal with, whether agricultural or social. How you handle them will determine your ending to the game.

You can also play the game online with up to three friends.

Price: $4.99


Summing up

Simulation games give us far more control in how we play the game. Their deep mechanics may be daunting at first but are very satisfying once you get the hang of it. This is my list of the best simulation games for iPhone. Did I miss out on a simulation game that you like? Let me know in the comments.

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By Anirban Senior Writer
Anirban is a literature post-grad who delves in philosophy and postmodern novels when not writing on tech and gaming. His love for research is only trumped by his love for chai and heavy metal.
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