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Simulation games used to be all the rage. Games like Sim City SimCity for Android: What Are Your Options? SimCity for Android: What Are Your Options? SimCity is an excellent game, but EA made a few massive blunders that resulted in a poor launch, disgruntled customers, and a sour taste in everyone's mouths. Even so, no one can deny the city-building... Read More , Microsoft Flight Simulator and Freespace 2 6 Free Space Combat, Exploration & Simulation Games [Windows, Mac OS X & Linux] 6 Free Space Combat, Exploration & Simulation Games [Windows, Mac OS X & Linux] These days it can be hard to find a decent space sim, whether you’re into combat, exploration or the die-hard simulation experience. The genre is regarded as "dead" by many, with projects like Elite 4... Read More  practically sold themselves. Be it a flight yoke, race wheel or something a little less orthodox, the pages of PC Zone were full of them. It was the age of the simulation, and it lasted a while.

These days PC gaming has taken a bit of a tumble from grace and, generally speaking, simulation games don’t work so well on consoles – there’s just something about sitting in front of your TV from the comfort of the couch that cannot beat the immersive hunched-upright lit-by-CRT appeal of yesteryear. There’s good news though. Many simulations have found a new home on iOS & Android as affordable yet addictive apps.

Among the old and the new, you’ll find a hearty selection of quality simulators to sink your teeth into here.

Uplink ($4.99, iPad & Android)

Initially released for the PC in 2001 by Introversion Software, Uplink is a hacking simulator that takes more from the movies than it does real life. If you’ve ever seen an episode of NCIS or some equivalent over-the-top rubbish on TV, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Uplink entails.

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In short, you’re an agent working for the Uplink Corporation who must take on contracts, hack networks and above all avoid detection. As you progress and your skills develop, you’ll earn money, software and hardware to use as you progress through the main story (which is predictably cyberpunk).

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The touch interface translates beautifully from the previous reliance on mouse-clicks, making it a smooth transition at an attractive price of $4.99. It was a lot of fun back then, and it still works today.

Farming Simulator 2012 ($1.99, iOS & Android)

If you can’t wait for Farming Simulator 2013 (which was recently released for other platforms) then the 2012 edition will hopefully scratch your farming itch. Whether you want to play the game properly, or are simply up for your own version of the infamous no-scope cornshot video below (language warning), for $1.99 you can find out.

Using a fleet of genuine licensed equipment, you can work the land to produce corn, canola and wheat then harvest your crop so you can invest in even more equipment. The game uses an open world model, so you can drive around and explore before deciding what you want to do next.

Farming Simulator throws you a bone in the form of computerised farmworkers who will steer and work for you (for a cost), so if you’re more of a management type you can play that way too. The game is littered with in-app purchases, though there’s still plenty to do for the initial $2. Farming Simulator is even available for Windows Phone/RT, though keep your eyes peeled for the 2013 mobile update soon.

Plague Inc ($0.99, iOS & Android)

I recently wrote an article about my love affair with Pandemic games Spread Disease & Destroy Humanity With The Best Pandemic Games [Web, iOS & Android] Spread Disease & Destroy Humanity With The Best Pandemic Games [Web, iOS & Android] The aim of the game is simple: you must infiltrate the human race, spread your disease and try to wipe-out humanity. It’s a game of strategy and vengeance! I was immediately hooked, and over the... Read More  in which I concluded that Plague Inc is where it’s at when it comes to wiping out humanity on your mobile device. Plague Inc improves on the Pandemic formula with features like an unlock tree, which provides plenty of incentive to keep playing and trying different strategies (and you can always pay to unlock).

The other thing that makes Plague Inc great is the on-going work the developer has put into it, as regular updates have provided new features and game modes to enjoy. The last update added a Speed Run game mode and Center for Disease Control & Prevention content after the CDC contacted the developer for a chat.

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This is an addictive, unique timewaster with plenty of depth.

Survivalcraft ($3.99, iOS & Android)

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What’s that you say – “this isn’t Minecraft!” – and you’d be right. It’s no secret that most game clones are lame attempts at cashing in on the success of another, often using a similar confusing title. And, on first glance, you’ll be forgiven for thinking this is just another Minecraft knock-off. But this isn’t Minecraft. It’s better.

Survivalcraft attempts to take all of the things missing from the current Minecraft Pocket Edition (which costs an unnecessarily inflated $6.99, not to mention the quite frankly ridiculous console prices) and implement them in its own loveable way. Among these features is an endless world, a mind-boggling achievement considering the limited abilities of our devices.

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Other enhancements include caves (oddly absent from the current Minecraft PE), the ability to use custom textures, the online sharing of your worlds and the jacked-up survival aspect. As the name suggests, Survivalcraft puts heavy emphasis on survival with tougher rules and smarter AI to keep you on your toes. The game was actually first released on Windows Phone, then Android before shaking up the iOS charts when it arrived on the platform in a very stable and playable state.

Star Command ($2.99, iOS & coming to Android)

Nobody makes space exploration games any more, and if they do they need to make themselves heard. Star Command had me salivating when I first saw it, and while it’s not quite where I hoped the genre would be at this stage in the game, it certainly scratches a sci-fi itch of sorts.

In Star Command you play the captain of a ship who must assemble a crew and clear your name, all while zipping around the universe responding to rescue beacons and getting into trouble. Elite this is not, but it is probably the closest thing (beyond Faster Than Light) you’ll come to a stellar space sim on iOS.

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While the initial version was harder than nails and had newcomers spitting teeth, the developers have added a beginner mode to ease new players into the game, along with tips and help. Star Command is currently in development for Android..

True Skate ($1.99, iOS & Android)

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True Skate is the first attempt at a realistic skating simulation by iOS developer True Axis, who previously enjoyed success with their Jet Car Stunts fast-paced racer. Thankfully, True Skate is a brilliant concept that has been expertly seen through to the finished product.

Your fingers are the rider, and by tapping, flicking and swiping you can pull off tricks, grind and cruise your way around a detailed skate park. If anything, that’s my only criticism – there’s only one skate park included, and another available by way of in-app purchase.

But for $1.99 it doesn’t feel so bad once you’ve experienced the realistic physics, beautiful graphics and diverse range of tricks on offer.

More?

Before leaving I feel it’s only right to point out that the hugely celebrated Transport Tycoon will be making it to iOS and Android this year, announced using the following video at E3. Suffice to say, we’re excited.

Do you have any more favourite simulation games that you like to play while you’re out and about? Which classic PC sims would you love to see return to grace on today’s touchscreen devices? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.

  1. Skeeballfamily
    October 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Would love to see Black & White!!!

  2. Aivee S
    August 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I love Plague! I'll check out the others, starting with Uplink

  3. Lizzie B
    August 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I have 'Plague' and it love to play it while travelling. Usually pick it up when i can't sleep aswell :)

  4. Patty W
    August 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Oooo! I can't believe I hadn't heard of Uplink and True Skate before. How fun! Looking forward to checking them out tonight. Thanks!

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