2018 was a great year for simulation fans. We got treated to some brutal but rewarding survival simulation games, a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, and even some solid expansions for The Sims 4 and Cities Skylines. Whether you enjoy lighthearted management sims or life-and-death sims, you probably found something to suit your tastes this year.
Surviving Mars released in March this year as a good but rough around the edges city building survival simulation game. It lacked a full tutorial and lacked some quality of life options to help you manage your fledgling colonies on the red planet. Since then, however, many of these features have been added, mostly as free updates, along with various improvements and options to fine tune your games to your liking and preferred difficulty. Recently they released the Space Race DLC, which brought competing colonies to Mars to make things even more interesting.
With all these improvements, Surviving Mars has been a game that I’ve returned to many times over the course of the year. A very close runner-up is Two Point Hospital, a silly but highly addictive hospital management sim that hit all the right notes for fans of Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital. In the few short months since Two Point Hospital’s release, we’ve already seen numerous improvements and additions, as well as a recent DLC. Also worth mentioning in this category is the challenging Frostpunk. (And if you’re looking for something less stressful in the simulation genre, you might want to check out Megaquarium.)
Runner-Up: Two Point Hospital
Honourable Mentions: Frostpunk