Skip to main content

The best simulation games for the iPhone

Whether you’re a fan of simulation games — games where you pretend to do things you could do in real life, from driving a truck to managing an ice cream stall — or not, there’s no denying they’re the perfect escape. Score points by flinging a goat around, become a long-haul trucker, or develop and run a farm — all from the comfort of your couch.

There’s a plethora of simulation games out there to choose from, so how do you choose between the downright awesome games and those that are not so great ?  We know download regret is real, so we’ve picked some of the best simulation games for the iPhone, which means you don’t have to waste time browsing the app store. There’s something for everyone on our list, from animal-themed sims to games that let you experience what life’s really like inside Fallout‘s Vaults.

Not in the mood for a simulation game? Check out our roundup of the best iPhone games instead.

Don’t Trip!

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Walking simulators are always fun, but none more so than Don’t Trip!, a “silly walking simulator” that turns your in-game thumbs into your feet. Walk around, avoid the obstacles, and get to your destination quickly — but be careful! Obstacles range from lego blocks to household items and even dog poop, and the game is surprisingly challenging. Along the way you’ll unlock 50 different types of shoes, which adds a bit more longevity to the game — and you can save live-action replays to share your silly walking disasters, or success stories, with friends.

Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter screenshot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Fallout Shelter has been around for a while now, so if you haven’t played it yet there’s no time like the present. Protect your vault dwellers from the perils of the Wasteland and control a state-of-the-art underground vault. Add a variety of different rooms to attract new dwellers with a mix of skills, find them the perfect jobs for their abilities, and send them out to explore the Wasteland, bringing back loot, armor, and weapons. Once you get started building your vault it’s amazing how much of a time sink this game can become — and it’s free to play, although there are in-app purchases.

Euro Truck Evolution

Euro Truck Evolution
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Always dreamed of trucking across the world with nothing more for company than your trusty ol’ trucker cap, the open road stretching out in front of you? Euro Truck Evolution takes the trucking dream to Europe, where long, peaceful road trips across the European countryside are surprisingly relaxing. Visit cities across France, Spain, Germany, and more as you complete deliveries and earn cash to spend upgrading your truck — or even buy a snazzy new one. Multiplayer mode adds a new level of challenge, where you can show off your truck and pit your delivery skills against your friends. With realistic day/night cycles and weather, as well as traffic A.I., this is a truly realistic trucking simulator that fans of American Truck Simulator will love.

Goat Simulator ($3)

Goat Simulator
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There always has to be one ridiculous game on every list — and in this case, it’s Goat Simulator. Be a goat. Do goat-y things. Oh, and cause as much destruction as is goat-ily possible along the way. The ragdoll physics and moveable objects of the game make it easy to goat around, wrecking things and generally having a grand old time. Goat Simulator is packed with bugs, too, mostly hilarious ones that add to the utter madness of the game. Just get it; we promise you won’t regret it.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the laid-back alternative to New Horizons, and a great little free game to while away some time for those into the franchise. Design your own mini campsite complete with a cabin and camper, and choose from more than 1,000 items of furniture, from beachy hammocks to leopard-print couches. Along the way you can befriend more than 100 quirky animals and invite them to your site for scavenger hunts, fishing competitions, and seasonal themed events. The game is free to download, with in-app purchases.

Terraria ($5)


A delight for fans of the PC and console versions — and an enjoyable experience even for those new to the game, Terraria is a procedurally generated sandbox that lets you construct, fight, and explore a vast world in your quest for fame and fortune. Recent updates have ensured the mobile game provides a comparable experience to the PC version, with a choice of small, medium, or large worlds, and a vast range of game modes, items, and enemies. There’s also support for Bluetooth gamepads, if you prefer a controller to using your touchscreen.

Stardew Valley ($5)

Stardew Valley
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Part simulator, part farming RPG, Stardew Valley is a surprisingly charming little game. Cutesy pixel art, a vast array of animals to befriend and care for, and your own farm to manage — what could be better? Build and grow your farm, meet new characters and make friends, raise animals and crops, and venture into the world to defeat terrifying monsters. Stardew Valley is packed with mini-games and activities, so there’s always something to do, and new seasonal plants to grow. This is a fantastic game to lose yourself in, and once you get started you’ll find it’s quite addictive.

Far: Lone Sails ($4)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’ve ever played walking simulators like Firewatch on PC, you’ll love Far: Lone Sails. Yes, the pace is slow — and yes, it’s a short game — but this game is an experience in every sense of the word, as you traverse a bleak, desert-like post-apocalyptic landscape. Your mission? Keep your vehicle moving no matter what, and reach your destination. Along the way, you’ll modify your vehicle to overcome natural hazards and obstacles, battle through hazardous weather conditions, and explore a beautiful, abandoned world, uncovering relics and ruins that tell the tale of a destroyed civilization. It’s an experience that’ll stay with you long after you complete the game.

Evil Hunter Tycoon

Evil Hunter Tycoon
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A less realistic simulator than most on our list, Evil Hunter Tycoon allows you to design, develop, and maintain your own little town on the outskirts of the badlands. The Dark Lord has brought destruction to the world, and it’s up to you to complete four missions to restore order: rebuild your town, raise strong hunters to fight monsters, seek revenge, and get out there to explore the new world. You’re basically running the economy here, sending fighters out to slay monsters, buying loot from them on their return, refining it into goods, stocking your stores, then reselling it to power up your fighters. Build facilities that help you raise strong hunters, like the Bounty Hut that gives hunters special monster hunting quests, or the Training Ground that helps them level up quickly. If you get bored playing alone, you can even join a Guild and combine forces for Boss Raids and team missions.

Editors' Recommendations

Paula Beaton
Freelance tech and travel writer living in (somewhat) sunny Scotland. Gamer, tea addict, never without a good book.
Best prepaid phone deals: Android, iPhone, flip phone
episode 209 https  cdn cnn com cnnnext dam assets 190910135448 20190910 apple event iphone 11 02

Buying some of the best phones on the market can be expensive, especially if you don't really need anything that fancy. Of course, you could always take advantage of some great phone deals, but even those can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars, and that's not even taking into account the cost of the plan you're locked into. As such, prepaid phones are a great alternative to cell phone plan deals since you can get cheap phones at a very budget-friendly price while not locking yourself in a particular plan.

There are, of course, some downsides, and we do go into that a bit at the end, but in the meantime, we've collected our favorite prepaid phone deals below. While these aren't the best phones you can get, quite a few of them come from the best Android phone brands out there. You'll even see Samsung Galaxy deals and iPhone deals.
Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy A03s -- $40, was $60

Read more
iPhone SE deals: Refurbished 2nd and 3rd Gen iPhones
apple iphone se 2020 news new black camera and touch id 04152020

Apple’s iPhone is one of the most popular phones on the planet, and whatever its current model happens to be almost always ranks among the best phones. This makes the iPhone an expensive purchase, which is where the iPhone SE comes in. Apple launched the iPhone SE in order to make an iPhone affordable to more people. The SE utilizes technology that’s a generation or two old and will often take the form factor of a previous iPhone model. Right now the it's a great phone to turn to for even more savings through Apple deals.

While it’s difficult to find newer iPhone SE models, you can shop refurbished knowing the big retailers are likely backing the purchase with warranties and solid return windows. So whether you’re looking for some great iPhone deals or phone deals in general, below you’ll find the best iPhone SE deals to shop right now. If you decide you need something with a bit more power, check out iPhone 14 deals and iPhone 15 deals.
iPhone SE 2nd Gen deals

Read more
Best iPhone 14 deals: Unlocked and refurbished
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro's camera module

While the iPhone 15 may be Apple’s most recent iPhone release, that only makes the iPhone 14 a better way to save. The iPhone 14 isn’t far removed from being among the best phones on the market, and it’s still a powerhouse option for most smartphone users. There are a lot of ways to save with Apple deals on the iPhone 14, with shopping refurbished models being one of the best. You'll get a good warranty and a large return window when shopping refurbished iPhone deals at most major retailers, which makes them some of the best iPhone deals you'll find. With so many to take advantage of right now, we thought we’d do the heavy lifting and put all of the best iPhone 14 deals together in one place.
Apple iPhone 14 -- from $479, was $699

With the Apple iPhone 14 you’re getting what is still one of the most popular smartphones on the market. This is the iPhone 14 model that’s meant for everyone. It holds back a few features you can only get on the Pro model, but it still has an impressive 6.1-inch display, an impressive camera, and dozens of ways to personalize your iOS experience with widgets and fonts. The phone can reach up to 26 hours of battery life on a single charge, and it’s powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chip. Face ID, emergency SOS via satellite, and super fast 5G cellular connectivity round out the top features of the Apple iPhone 14.
Buy Refurbished at Amazon — from $479

Read more