For realistic real world lifestyle simulation few multiplayer games can compete with Second Life which offers a complete virtual world experience. Replicating the real world and encouraging user generated content Second Life provides the infrastructure for a player driven economy tied to real money. With this unique setup Second Life has proven to be both a fun and profitable past time for a number of Second Life Residents
Economy aside Second Life is ideal for The Sims fan who wants to recreate themselves in a virtual environment and pursue objectives or interact with other players as it is one of the few multiplayer games like The Sims. With the multiplayer component Second Life offers content far beyond any single player game even beating The Sims vast catalogue of items and clothing thanks to its central feature of user created virtual content. Said content includes environments, avatar clothing and scripts which are all traded on the virtual marketplace.
For those that would rather be a consumer of content rather than a creator you’ll still find plenty of engaging experiences as you explore the hundreds of themed game locations. To unlock even more of this impressive lifestyle simulation experience Second Life does offer a premium monthly membership for players looking to stand out from the crowd with additional in game funds. [Read Review]
Lady Popular is all about fashion and avatar customisation making it an attractive alternative for players that value the ability to dress up their own character. Available within your browser and on mobile devices Lady Popular also includes a city to explore with quests and your own place to house your fashion purchases making it ideal for the gamer looking for something similar to Sims Mobile or Sims FreePlay.
The foundation of Lady Popular is offered through the hundreds of clothing items that are slowly unlocked through gameplay and goes beyond most fashion-based titles with an impressive range of clothing items and accessories to create your ideal avatar. An exciting feature in particular is the colour palette which gives every item several variants which creates an added layer of customisation from the thousands of other players.
For additional structure and long term goals to strive towards Lady Popular bases the gameplay loop around the Fashion Arena where your popularity stats (which are driven by your clothing and other in game actions) are compared to a random player of your level with the victor receiving a healthy bonus of cash to reinvest into extra fashion items. [Read Review]
For house building games like The Sims it is hard to look past My Sunny Resort which offers a free to play browser based (online with no download) alternative for fans of The Sims franchise. Focusing the player's attention on the management and growth of their own island resort you'll be given complete control over the finances, resort activities and most importantly designs of the individual guest rooms. From the basic decisions of choosing appropriate bedding, tables and accessories on your budget rooms to the glamorous and over the top decorations used to attract high value clients to your resort through premium rooms every item placement and design is up to the player in a similar fashion to the acclaimed Sims.
My Sunny Resort features nearly 1,000 furniture items and decorations for players to mix and match as they desire allowing for the creation of unique and stunning resort rooms. All of these objects are slowly unlocked as you progress through the levels of My Sunny Resort and allow for the accumulation of Hotel Dollars from your visitors to reinvest back into grander resort designs. My Sunny Resort also features some basic need management for your guests based around having the correct buildings although not at the depth offered by The Sims.
Important to note is that like many free online games My Sunny Resort requires Flash in your browser to run or alternatively the Upjers Playground browser installed on your computer. [Read Review]
The Virtual Families series and other titles from Last Day of Work separate themselves from the life simulation genre by employing real time mechanics which means that Virtual Families moves at a slower pace, allowing for methodical decision making and a more realistic presentation of life. These decisions put before the player revolve around your adopted virtual family such as career, house decoration and day to day family life.
A key element of Virtual Families is the randomly generated combinations of family members that players adopt and come with their own associated personalities. With a focus on the multi-generational families through the family tree mechanic players can reflect back on up to 30 generations. This is not the only dynamic system at the heart of the Virtual Families either with weather, puzzles and sickness mechanics that make the experience a reactive title where players respond to events that happen to their virtual family.
Given the original Virtual Families accessibility on iOS and Android devices it’s a fantastic option for those seeking games like the Sims Mobile in particular with the aforementioned real time elements suiting the mobile environment as you check in on your virtual family throughout the day from anywhere. [Read Review]
Like other games on this page Ciao Bella opts for a stat and story focused life simulation and management game. Its simple design makes it particularly attractive for those that want a more casual offering in the genre or aren’t able to achieve the higher system requirements that current day games demand.
Following the story of Elena, Ciao Bella challenges players to guide her through the hectic requirements of day to day living across family, work and health. A central theme to the 13 chapter driven story is her relationship with Elio and the potential for a marriage proposal amongst a backdrop of family drama which requires players to travel around the city to resolve. Other activities include going out to eat, hitting the gym, working or relaxing at home which all require balance and have their own trade-offs. [Read Review]
Avakin Life offers a game like Sims for Android (and iOS) with vast avatar customisation and house building alongside social oriented gameplay. This mobile game has attracted an audience of millions with its high-quality graphics which is able to bring your avatar and dream home creations to life within the palm of your hand.
A vast range of home and clothing styles makes Avakin Life comparable to The Sims franchise in terms of raw item numbers especially when the regular updates are considered. The free price tag also makes Avakin Life an affordable virtual simulation pick and means you don’t have to fork out extra money for the latest expansion content pack like you do in The Sims. As a social focused chat game though Avakin Life does lack life simulation and management elements, instead replacing it with social and community features where you’ll meet and interact with other players and take part in fashion challenges. [Read Review]
Sansar is a newer entrant in the life simulation genre and comes from the same creators (Linden Labs) that brought you Second Life. While similar in overall design to the experience offered by Second Life Sansar builds on the fundamentals with a fresh visual look and the inclusion of VR as it continues to grow in popularity. Sansar is also one of the limited number of Steam games like Sims for gamers who prefer to house all their games within their Steam library.
For the Sims fan the attraction to Sansar is similar to that of Second Life with players who want to go from creating houses to creating entire worlds using self-created objects or those found within the Sansar store. In particular Sansar has established itself as home for fanatics of popular culture to recreate scenes from their favourite films and novels with entire worlds dedicated to Star Trek, Star Wars and other culture that has been meticulously created.
This is paired with arguably one of the best avatar customisation systems of any life simulation title to recreate yourself or something entirely new in the Sansar universe which is used to play games, explore worlds and meet new people. [Read Review]
For games similar to Sims 4 but with more structure and storyline Desperate Housewives: The Game offers a story focused life simulation adventure with close ties to the early seasons of the popular television series of the same name. Fan of the comedy drama show or not Desperate Housewives: The Game features a similar user interface and general gameplay of the popular Sims franchise albeit with a more defined path of progression with 4 possible endings which make it ideal for the fan of the genre that is running out of creativity in the sandbox heavy environments of similar games.
Other core gameplay elements with Desperate Housewives: The Game include the likes of house design and interior decoration alongside managing character needs (appearance, social, composure and happiness) and relationships with other non-player characters. Underneath this Sim like gameplay is also mystery solving which requires players to visit key locations, uncover clues and question characters across the 12 episodic storyline. [Read Review]
With Adobe Flash ceasing to be supported in modern web browsers the number of games like Sims online (free, no download) has shrivelled in recent years leaving fans few options to enjoy a life simulation experience for free online. Unfortunately, City Girl Life suffers from the retirement of Flash as well however the game does live on through the Facebook Gameroom which for a small download grants access to City Girl Life and other Facebook games.
Despite being a Facebook game City Girl Life captures some of the fundamentals of The Sims franchise such as avatar customisation, apartment decoration and needs management. For customisation players will be able to access hundreds of items to create their own style and upgrade their apartment from basic to fabulous by excelling in their artistic career path (7 total options).
While juggling this career players must also balance their character needs of rest, hygiene, health, friendship and fun which are impacted by individual actions that are taken within the game world and are designed to encourage players to get out of their apartment and enjoy the city life in New York City. [Read Review]
Focusing on your journey up the social ladder and obtaining your dreams Life Quest 2 offers an experience similar to Kudos 2 (also featured on this list) with gameplay revolving around specific objectives that are achieved through stat based milestones. Giving players 100 days to achieve the 12 life quests there is an emphasis on replay as players attempt different strategies and paths to reach this ultimate objective. This design gives Life Quest 2 a much shorter gameplay loop than other Sim alternatives and a great option for those that find their interest quickly dies away after the first few hours of a new Sims playthrough.
These objectives fall into broad categories such as popularity, leisure, finance, medicine, fitness, athletics, academics, relationship, practicality, startup, toys and law with each having their 3 step quest lines to accomplish in order to fully achieve that life quest. Tasks range from the simple like spending a day at the park for leisure to obtaining a job as hedge fund manager that requires a wealth of prerequisites to be met. Accordingly, players have to optimise their time, travel the game’s virtual city and complete tasks to improve their character statistics to open the necessary doors for life quest completion. [Read Review]
For the creatively minded Sims fans IMVU offers a wealth of customisation for your virtual avatar and allows you to become a creator of such items through the VIP system in a similar vein to second life. If your ideal life simulation game experience ends after customising your character and house then IMVU is a viable option given the games absolute focus on making your dream avatar and personalised space.
In the IMVU Shop you’ll be able to select from tens of thousands of tops, bottoms and accessories to craft your avatar along with a similar expansive number of furniture items to express your own style. Particularly attractive is the opportunity for shared rooms where you and an IMVU friend (or game marriage partner) can decorate the interior of your house together.
Outside of customisation IMVU is primarily a chat-based experience where players can connect with others with shared interests to meet new people and form lasting online friendships. [Read Review]
For the life simulation game fan that prefers to crunch numbers and optimise their character stats Kudos 2 offers this gameplay loop as players guide their customised character through 10 years of their virtual life (age 20 to 30). Taking these years one day at a time Kudos 2 gives you a limited amount of time each day to complete tasks, work, eat, shop and ultimately increase the near two dozen character statistics.
With this focus on limited time players will have to consider their specific goals within each playthrough and optimise the appropriate stats for that goal. Be it the dream career, relationship or simply the best life possible Kudos 2 allows players to chase all of these objectives within its sandbox framework.
While not as interactive as The Sims franchise Kudos 2 excels at stat optimisation and the difficult choices that we all experience day to day as we aim to maximise our time, relationships and money. [Read Review]
Released around the same time as The Sims 2 Singles Flirt Up Your Life takes clear inspiration from The Sims franchise and targets the sub-group of fans that spend the bulk of their time dedicated to relationship management, dating and romance. Limiting you to a single house of roommates Singles Flirt Up Your Life features similar room customisation, needs management and romance options as the various instalments in the Sims series.
What sets Singles Flirt Up Your Life apart though is that the relationship between the two roommates that you select is your ultimately your sole focus. With a preset number of characters with their own traits and backgrounds it’s the matching of personalities that creates alternative and interesting gameplay for Singles Flirt Up Your Life. While selecting similar characters is definitely possible the real enjoyment of the game comes from selecting opposing personalities and attempting to make them work amongst balancing career and day to day tasks. [Read Review]
Despite a different game setting that focuses around the creation of movies with some light touches of business and tycoon management The Movies is another high-quality game to play if you like Sims. Based around the idea of building your own movie studio players are invited to create their own scripts, build movie sets and manage the needs of their upcoming stars.
The interface and general gameplay are reminiscent of the earlier Sims titles with players managing stats such as stress and boredom while also customising their studio. Careful management of both of these mechanics can add significant production value to their movie and with diligent genre, script and costume selection can hopefully win a movie award. While the campaign mode of The Movies introduces these elements slowly and pairs it with a progression through the eras of film (impacting genre preferences and technology) a sandbox mode is also available for complete movie freedom. [Read Review]
Offering one of the few free life simulation games Virtual Families 2: Our Dream House builds on the success of the franchise with a range of new features and general expanded pool of items, events, collectibles and trophies. Just like the original and the other games from Last Day of Work your Virtual Families 2 game runs at a slower pace with a year spread across several game hours and designed to represent real-time gameplay. This design encourages players to check in regularly with their virtual family rather than constantly playing as one would in The Sims.
Within these check-in points players will respond to random events such as sickness, renovate their house, customise rooms, shop for items, upgrade their career and even adopt a virtual pet. Not limiting itself to a single-family generation Virtual Families 2 expects you to go through this cycle several times as you care for one generation to the next. [Read Review]
The Sims is a life simulation video game with sandbox elements which mimics real life while giving players the ability to impact, customise and manipulate the game world. Central to the life simulation genre is the ability to manage your own simulated life as you would in the real world with The Sims in particular focusing on house building, career management and fulfilling the dreams of your Sim characters. These mechanics are common in other life simulation games although vary in their specific focus.
As a sandbox focused title the purpose of The Sims is to live out a virtual life according to the player’s own vision using the tools available in The Sims universe. For some players this purpose will be to build the ultimate dream house, live out their perfect career, create an ideal family life or some mixture of these goals. While there are some defined objectives to guide player progress and teach the core mechanics the definitive purpose is ultimately up to the individual player.
“Sims” is the name given to all characters within the universe of The Sims and is widely regarded to be in reference to the fact that they are simulated human beings in a simulated world and thus shorted simply to “Sims”. Due to the popularity of the Sims franchise this term is also used in other life simulation games.
While there are currently no official announced plans to develop The Sims 5 given the success of the franchise to Electronic Arts (EA) historically it is likely to assume they will release a Sims 5 at some stage. The Sims franchise has historically operated on a 4-5 year core game cycle with releases in 2000 (The Sims), 2004 (The Sims 2), 2009 (The Sims 3) and 2014 (The Sims 4) which may suggest a possible Sims 5 release in 2019 or 2020. However, a mobile version, The Sims Mobile was released in 2018 which could indicate that EA intends to extend the lifecycle of The Sims 4 beyond 2020/2021 which is further supported by expansion and other game packs for The Sims 4 being released throughout 2020.