10 games like The Sims 4 that will let you live a virtual life

10 games like The Sims
(Image credit: EA)

When it comes to games like The Sims 4, there's a surprising amount of contenders. The news that Paradox has canceled Life by You is a bummer for sure, but luckily, you still don't have to look too far to find some viable alternatives to Bella Goth and the company she keeps in The Sims 4.

When it comes to life sims, it's all about sandbox play that helps you find excitement in the seemingly mundane. Creating a new family in a brand new home to watch it grow and prosper can be such a delightfully peaceful joy – or a total chaotic wreck if that's what you're after. The choice is, like everything else in the best sim games, utterly yours.

EA's series has been going strong for over 20 years now, but with The Sims 5 seemingly nowhere in sight, it makes sense that you might be growing tired of all things Simlish. If you're looking for other games that strike a comparable balance of storytelling-meets-management sim gameplay potential, read on below to discover some of the best games like The Sims to get stuck into instead 

The best games like The Sims, starting with...

10. My Time at Portia 

My Time at Portia

(Image credit: Pathea)

Developer: Pathea
Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Instead of taking up residence in Oasis Springs or Willow Creek, why not move into Portia? Pathea’s cutesy open-world life sim has so much to offer fans of the genre, with a whole mish-mash of occupations to keep you busy. As the new resident in town who inherits a workshop from their relative, you can earn money by crafting all manner of gadgets of gizmos to fulfill commissions. But it doesn’t stop there. With mining, fishing, farming, crafting, cooking and so much more besides, there’s no end of ways to making a living. The true heart of Portia lies in its thriving community and the many, many residents you can form friendships and romantic relationships with. Just like the Sims, you can get married, have children, decorate your house, and customize the look of your character. There’s so much to do in My Time at Portia, it’ll certainly keep you busy. 

9. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Developer: ConcernedApe
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Ah, Stardew Valley. As another time stealer with oodles of heart, this charming farming sim is like The Sims 3 if you were a farmer in the pixelated countryside. Going at your own pace, you can build up your farm, decorate your house and get engrossed in Stardew Valley’s endlessly interesting community. Just like the Sims, you can form relationships with every character in each household of the Valley, and all the residents have a their own unique story and background. There’s so much more than meets the eye to this delightful RPG. Fishing, mining, cooking, farming and raising farm animals are just a handful of ways to keep yourself occupied. From its relatable characters to its hidden secrets, playing one in-game day's worth won’t be enough. Before you know it, you'll sink hours upon hours into making your farm just right without realising how much time has past you by. 

8. Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital

(Image credit: Two Point Studios / Sega)

Developer: Two Point Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

In the Sims 4 Careers expansion, being a doctor is arguably one of the most entertaining jobs to do because you actually get to control your sim and treat patients. If managing a little sim hospital ticked all the right boxes for you, Two Point Hospital will scratch that itch and then some. The endlessly fun management sim lets you design your hospital from start to finish and the mechanics aren’t a million miles away from building rooms in the Sims. You’ll also be tasked with managing your staff, improving the hospital's reputation, and making sure everything runs smoothly. With its own unique blend of humor and its tongue and cheek representation of running a healthcare system, it’ll keep you playing just as long as any hearty Simming session. 

7. Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Developer: Colossal Order
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Who doesn’t love being able to decide the fate of Sims? Whether you want to help them fulfil their dreams, or be the cause of their untimely demise by trapping them in a pool or setting a stove on fire, having all the power is what makes it so much fun. If this is why you love to get stuck into the Sims world, Paradox’s Cities: Skylines will feed your desire to be a virtual god even more. Instead of just managing a household, you manage an entire city, with all manner of ways to help it thrive or cause chaos. And if building and designing is your bag, you’ll be glad to know you get to design and build up your city however you wish. All jokes aside, if you thought managing a big family household or town was a challenge, managing a city takes it to a whole other level. Contending with natural disasters, pollution, and traffic jams are just some the problems a city can encounter, and you can deal with it in whatever way you want.  

6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

We waited so long for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and it was worth every second. The game doesn't just let you build and decorate your own home, but a whole island. All the best features are there - designing your own clothes, sending letters and gifts to friends, and collecting adorable home furnishings - but now you can also travel to other islands courtesy of Dodo Airlines, and even indulge in a spot of terraforming to create ponds, rivers, and cliffs wherever you want.  Its never-ending gameplay loop of fishing, catching bugs, improving your home, and making friends with an ever-increasing cast of quirky critters is incredibly comforting, and if you're looking for thrills there are always tarantulas to stalk and the turnip stock market to play.

5. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

(Image credit: Prideful Sloth)

Developer: Prideful Sloth
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Ever wondered what lies beyond a Sim's town? If you long for something with more exploration, Yonder's world of Gemea might just be for you. In the shoes of a hero, the gentle open-world RPG lets you explore all that Gemea has to offer at your own pace. With some similar elements to the Sims - such as different jobs and skills to try out, tons of character customisations options, residents to meet, and friends to make - it's a great option for anyone who's are after a more laid-back experience. Those who loved befriending animals in the Sims Pets will undoubtedly enjoy befriending and adopting Yonder’s adorable creatures. And if you want to take a break from exploring, you can build up your very own farms across the various different landscapes - from tropical beaches to forested areas.  

4. The Sims Medieval

The Sims Medieval

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Developer: Maxis Redwood Shores
Platforms: PC

Okay, so this might be cheating, but The Sims Medieval offers such a unique twist to the mainline Sims franchise that it deserves to be mentioned. Incorporating elements of RPG into the life sim framework, The Sims Medieval is a spin-off that starts players off as monarch of a burgeoning medieval kingdom and puts you to work setting the place up. You'll still have a castle to decorate and can start a family, but the addition of quests makes TSM's goal-oriented gameplay a true standout offering. You'll have to build churches, graveyards, medical quarters, and more in order to keep the townsfolk happy. Will you send them to the stocks for being disobedient? Will you sneak away from the throne room to sail the seas and claim lands from adjacent kingdoms? Will you simply stay home and lap up the lavish life of a medieval noble, courting suitors and birthing heirs to the throne? This is no ordinary game like The Sims; this is The Sims, but better.

3. Jurassic World Evolution 

Jurassic World Evolution

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Developer: Frontier Developments
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

No one ever said you couldn't swap the Sims with dinosaurs, right? Jurassic World Evolution is a dinosaur theme park management sim that lets you unleash your designer streak by creating your very own park from scratch. You then manage and maintain the park, and make sure the T-Rex you just added doesn't get break free and starting snacking on your visitors. Keeping your dinosaurs secure and your park visitors happy isn't always the easiest task, but seeing a theme park of your own making rack in the big bucks and operate smoothly is just as satisfying as running a happy household. With lots of nods to the Jurassic series, and a great look and feel, this is a slightly different kind of sim that will bring out the budding dino park manager in you. 

2. Graveyard Keeper 

Graveyard Keeper

(Image credit: tinyBuild)

Developer: Lazy Bear Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Where there is a life sim, death will inevitably follow. If you're after something a bit darker in tone and a lot more morbid, Graveyard Keeper will hit all the right notes. Just as Death appears in the shape of the grim reaper in the Sims, here death becomes a prominent part of your livelihood as you become the new manager of a graveyard in a medieval town. You can even design the layout of the graveyard and craft items to help you please the locals and make life in the medieval world a bit easier. The darker side doesn't just stem from the element of death though - plenty of questionable decisions will pop along the way that will make the choices you make in the Sims seem like a piece of cake. 

1. House Flipper

House Flipper

(Image credit: Empyrean)

Developer: Frozen District
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

The Sims 4 truly perfected the house building system into a game of its own. Spending a good chunk of time creating a giant mansion plucked straight out of your imagination is incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. If building up towns and decorating homes is the main draw for you, House Flipper is the answer to all your prayers. Empyrean's realistic house renovation sim lets you buy rundown houses off the market and fix up them to make a healthy profit from your efforts. Transforming a grimy, cockroach-infested kitchen into a sparkling, beautifully designed cooking haven makes you feel like a true DIY champion. All in first-person with some very fun building mechanics, you can let your creative juices flow and give some neglected houses a new lease of life in any style you want. 

Looking for more suggestions? Be sure to check out our list of games like Stardew Valley

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good. 

With contributions from