You’ll find thousands of websites that let you play tycoon games for free. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good. In fact, the number of terrible tycoon games out there, vying for your valuable gaming time, can be a little overwhelming.
Well, you’re in good hands. I’m going to show you 10 free online tycoon games worth their salt, and worth sinking some time into.
Let’s take a look!
Where else to start than with one of the single best tycoon games of all time: Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe (read our short review). If you’re a tycoon game fan and you haven’t played OpenTTD at some point, I’m going to have to doubt you’re a real fan.
The browser version is a port of OpenTTD 1.2.3, a very early version of the open source port. Regardless, it features the full spectrum of transportation options, along with some of the extra OpenTTD functionality that makes the game so popular.
It is pretty self-explanatory. Link corresponding industries with road, rail, boat, or plane to generate revenue. And then, do it again. You receive higher payments for fast deliveries over longer distances, with some cargo types paying more than others.
If you want to save your game, you’ll have to sign up to the host website. It even features some of the original soundtrack! (As a complete aside, someone just released the original Doom soundtrack for the desktop version of OpenTTD…)
Kongregate hosts a dazzling amount of browser games. I’m sure many of you have come across Endless Expansion in your time. The aim of the game is simple: acquire resources, build industries, and expand your empire. Endless Expansion looks quite simple, but after a while you’ll have to play a delicate balancing game as your explorers discover new land for expansion.
While Endless Expansion is a tycoon, it also features some idle elements. You can set your first-tier technologies up, upgrade them, and then leave them for a while to amass resources.
You’ll need a Kongregate account to save your game progress in this, as well as the other games on this list hosted on Kongregate.
3. Theme Hotel
Theme Hotel is a Sim Tower clone (and more recently, Project Highrise). It is fast paced, featuring numerous levels. The objective is to quickly build a 5-star hotel from the ground up — literally. Your tasks include deploying support staff, deciding how many elevator shafts to put in, and choosing the number of rooms in the hotel.
An initially small hotel will quickly turn into a sprawling maze-like mess, so you’ll need some careful planning to succeed.
StudioTcn is a music studio management game. You’ll attempt to become the world’s best music manager by creating (and managing) bands.
While StudioTcn is entirely text-based, there’s a reasonable amount of depth. You can upgrade your band with better recording equipment for specific instruments, or unlock a “writer’s toolbox” to improve your song craft. Furthermore, you can upgrade your recording studio to unlock more bands — and more bands equals more money, equals you becoming the best manager in the land.
However, StudioTcn plays out in real time, with each daily turn ending at midnight. This means you can get a great tycoon game fix, without losing hours of your day (we’ve all done it).
The growth of indie game platform itch.io has opened up a new stomping ground for ambitious amateur developers. Hardware Tycoon is a work-in-progress, but very much playable, and a great way to spend an hour or so.
You’re tasked with building a new hardware company from scratch. At the current time, your single focus is CPUs, but the developers plan to add more hardware in future updates. They’re actively working on the project, so keep an eye out for new features.
Dinopark Tycoon actually started life as both a retail and an educational game in the 90s. The educational version included extra information and classroom activities for teachers, and was designed to teach kids about managing their finances.
Dinopark Tycoon is basic. If you’ve played games from the DOS era, you’ll understand. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, or a challenge. In fact, it is slightly more of a challenge given some of the antiquated navigation methods we’ve long since ditched. Better still, Dinopark Tycoon doesn’t hold your hand. If you splash your cash too early, it is game over, straight-up (and your dinosaurs will starve — that’s a little hint!).
Animation Studio Tycoon is another itch.io indie browser game. You’re tasked with building an animated studio dynasty, to match Disney and other great studios.
The game starts in the 1920s, so your initial range of animation technology is extremely limited. You have a few options to choose from, including the topic of the film, the genre, sound quality, and film base. Down below your studio is a research lab, where you can quickly begin to upgrade your studio’s technical prowess.
Perhaps the best feature is naming your films. Or, if you’re stuck, using the film name randomize button — there are some real gems in there!
8. Pizza Tycoon
Pizza Tycoon is another classic DOS game that you can now play in your browser. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat childish outline of pizza. You’ll decide everything from the building you want to rent for your first establishment, to the types of tables and chairs, to the waiters, ingredients, and more.
As was typical of many DOS games, it is a somewhat unforgiving challenge. If you run out of cash, you’re done. Make the wrong decision, just once or twice, and your pizza empire will come crashing down around you.
Oiligarchy is a tycoon strategy game focused on everything oil… well, with a lighthearted focus on the “bad” side.
The game starts in the 1950s, with several untapped oil markets spread around the globe. You can fly your company to Alaska, Texas, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Iraq in search for black gold. Drill in Texas, and you’re good to go — oil aplenty. But drilling in a sensitive area comes with certain issues, as you’ll see.
Oiligarchy features a mocked-up Washington D.C., complete with government. “Help” the government during their election campaign, and they might grant you a favor or two afterwards.
So you see, it is an accurate reflection of real life.
Our final tip is Recordshop Tycoon. I really like this game. You’re building a record shop empire from humble beginnings — starting with a single shop, and a single CD rack. You choose from the limited range of music genres, and slowly build a loyal customer base.
There are some handy marketing features, and you can add some useful upgrades to your store to bring more customers in.
That said, it is one of the easier tycoon games. You can go into debt to buy more records, increasing your stock. Expanding into a new store doesn’t take long.
Go, Build Your Empire
We’ve listed some pretty great tycoon games, covering a range of scenarios. Better still, you’ll find a mixture of difficulty levels, meaning you can pick and choose how much time you want to dedicate to taking over each respective world.
For more games to play in your browser, check out the best browser FPS games.
What are you favorite tycoon games? Do you have any browser tycoon game suggestions? Or do you only play “real” tycoon games? Let us know your thoughts below!
Image Credit: dedMazay/Depositphotos