How many times have you wished you could play God and create a perfect world that caters to the needs of everyone in it?
Well, game designers have been able to turn that wish into a reality by providing a medium for you to construct your own brave new world.
With world-building simulation apps and games, you can use your imagination to make your utopia come alive. It’s up to you to design and construct your city, village, space colony, or ancient empire however you see fit.
But make sure you think through your strategies because the wrong move can lead to your dream world crumbling down.
If you like the idea of creating a world of your own, developing it, and managing all the moving parts that keep it functioning, we’re going to introduce you to some of the best world-building games apps you’ll love.
You can enjoy these mind-stimulating games right on your mobile phone, computer, or game console, and some of them can even be played offline.
Ready to go on a gaming adventure? Let’s begin!
Megapolis is a city-building game that’s designed to provide you with thrilling experiences by enabling you to bring urban infrastructure to life based on your imagination.
You can construct everything from airports to seaports, service buildings, and underground networks. If you want your imaginary city to make terrific advancements in technology and science, you can build research centers dedicated to that goal.
Explore the mines in Megapolis, then extract the precious natural resources and sell them to neighboring cities to grow your influence and economy.
Popular landmarks from around the globe such as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower are available to be collected and integrated into your city landscape. The more you develop your Megapolis world, the more powerful you’ll become.
You could even gather enough resources to expand your territory into outer space. All you have to do is build a spaceport and rockets to help you explore and conquer the galaxy.
Other captivating features that Megapolis offers include state contests where you and other players, known as mayors, can compete against each other in real-time. You get to earn rewards and win your city some bragging rights along the way.
Megapolis is free to download and play, but you’ll need to make some in-app purchases as you go if you want to make the most of the game.
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This civilization-style world-building game is brought to you from the stables of the indie game studio Midjiwan. If you’ve ever played Age of Empires, you might find that The Battle of Polytopia bears some resemblance to it.
You can start the game by choosing a tribe and setting up a city on the map. The more you play, the greater the opportunities you’ll have to develop more cities and explore new worlds.
You’ll be given a fixed amount of resources at the beginning of your quest, but you can always get more by hunting and making discoveries. True to its name, you’ll have to battle rival tribes, conquer their cities and defend your own in the game.
If you’re looking for a fun way to pass time and put your strategic thinking skills to test, The Battle of Polytopia promises to keep you engaged every step of the way. You can play this game on all your devices from your computer to your smartphone.
The game’s graphics are absolutely stunning. To top it off, you can begin conquering cities and expanding your territory without having to pay a dime.
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Developed by HandyGames, Townsmen is an offline city-building game set in the medieval era. As a player, your mission is to develop your small village to lure more settlers in and turn it into a huge empire.
Since there isn’t a lot of advanced technology to rely on, you’ll have to find smart ways to overcome the hardships of keeping a town running back in the old days.
You’ll have to deal with random events like natural disasters and invasions which will require some strategy to properly maneuver.
Townsmen offers more than 150 production and town buildings, large-scale production chains, and deep economy simulations to provide a comprehensive world-building experience.
The gameplay also comes with quests, digital challenges, and other unlockable elements that add more fun to your gaming experience. But for the most part, you’re free to develop your small ancient backwater town however you please.
There’s a sandbox play mode that you can use to enjoy uninterrupted gaming. Townsmen is available for free with the option of in-app purchases as you play, but there’s also a premium version that unlocks a lot more features for you.
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4. Anno 2070
If you love strategy games, you’ll enjoy putting your skills to the test with Ubisoft’s Anno 2070. The game is set in the future, just after the fall of civilization as we know it, where a rise in ocean levels has caused major floods around the world.
Most of the cities in the world have been ravaged by catastrophic floods, except for a couple of highlands that have been converted into islands. Players are given the chance to rebuild the world in the wake of the disaster that has devastated the planet.
In Anno 2070, there’s something for everyone to enjoy from deep gameplays to managing large economic infrastructures and fighting wars with other groups.
In this new world, all the rules are out the window. All that matters is survival and your ability to innovate. You can design the futuristic world you’ve always dreamed of even if it’s a sprawling underwater city with cutting-edge technology.
Anno 2070 takes pride in the details. The game is bound to pull you in with its fancy trappings, complex economic and social structures, and adventure-driven missions. The more you expand your territory and meet the evolving demands of your population, the more rewards you’ll gain.
This daunting and captivating game can be a lot to take in especially for genre newbies. However, Anno 2070 offers a story campaign that slowly introduces you to its concepts and tasks until you’re ready to strike out and manage your empire on your own.
Anno 2070 runs on Windows PC, but Mac and smartphone users will have to go somewhere else to scratch their world-building itch. Although the game is not free to play, the fun is certainly worth the $29.99 price tag.
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Banished puts its own unique spin on the world-building genre by setting the game in the medieval period and testing your ability to survive in all kinds of unfortunate situations.
In Banished, you’re in control of a small group of exiles who have been cast out of the kingdom by the feudal lord. As a result, you forge your own path, build a community, and establish a new colony from the ground up.
Unlike most other city-building games where you have resources like minerals, cash, and technological products, Banished has one primary resource—the townspeople. And just like in real life these people can get sick, grow old, and die.
So you need to manage them and ensure your surroundings are contributing positively to their wellbeing. You need to keep them happy and well-fed all the time, while also ensuring that everyone’s skills are being adequately utilized.
Money has no place in Banished so resources are traded back and forth using a barter system. You can sell what the village has to get what it needs.
You can use materials from nature to construct homes and other structures for your people. You can create items like tools to make your villager’s lives easier.
Banished is an extremely fun game to play, especially if you derive joy from managing every aspect of your creation doing everything in your power to ensure the survival of your town’s population.
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One of the most popular and beloved world-building games in existence is SimCity. The BuildIt version of the game is designed to give you the stunning graphics and immersive experience the original is known for on your mobile device.
In SimCity BuildIt, the goal is simple: build and manage your own city. This means developing landmarks, roads, factories, shops, buildings, skyscrapers, and other structures to transform your city into a metropolis.
You can join clubs to help advance your city, trade with neighboring cities, and even participate in fun contests to let off some steam. As mayor, your job is to meet the needs of the citizens in your town and provide what’s best for them.
Be prepared to deal with issues like damaged buildings, pollution, traffic congestion, drainage problems, and more. Fix them well and on time and you could become the best mayor in town.
In SimCity Build It, you’re in control of providing utilities such as sanitation, electricity, water, and sewage treatment to the inhabitants of your city. You can tax your citizens and use those taxes to finance deals with other cities that could better the lives of your people.
You can also train your citizens so that they acquire in-demand skills that you can make use of later.
SimCity BuildIt allows you to chat with other partners or competitors, and the wealthier you are in the game, the more weight your opinions will carry in the interaction.
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If you’re looking for a world-building experience that’s different and interesting, Fallout Shelter is worth a try. Instead of making you build traditional cities, Fallout Shelter takes you into a post-apocalyptic world where you have to concentrate on building your vault.
Just like in a typical city, you must manage your vault and its population by upgrading and revamping facilities, and stocking up on necessities like water and food. You can even train members of your population to help you.
As a game player, you can let one of your dwellers take a trip to the surface, have an adventure, then find and bring back vital items the vault needs. Your job is to make sure that none of the dwellers lose their lives while running around on the surface.
Within the fault, you can assign responsibilities to each resident based on their skills to help fulfill important needs like hunting for weapons, producing resources, and fighting off vault raiders.
You must keep them safe from harm and give them what they need to lead happy lives. Another exciting feature of Fallout Shelter is it gives you the ability to modify the look of any resident to fit your creative preferences.
You can also use crafting techniques to turn junk and materials you don’t need into useful objects. The game doesn’t need a lot of hardcore strategy gameplay, so users that love simulation games can just focus on that experience.
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The Simpsons is one of the greatest animated television shows ever made and this game enables you to transplant yourself into that make-believe world. In the Simpsons: Tapped Out, you can experience life like one of the world’s most famous families.
Your mission in this game is to rebuild the city of Springfield from scratch—however you want it—after Homer accidentally wreaks havoc on the town during one of his usual clumsy fits.
You can choose to develop more buildings or increase your cash holdings. The Simpsons: Tapped Out also lets you come up with strategies for
You can change the looks of your characters, collect your favorite ones and reunite them with their friends and family.
Since you’re in control of the city, the well-being of the town’s residents is in your hands. So is the responsibility to nurse business growth and economic expansion for your city.
You can play The Simpsons: Tapped Out for free with the option of in-app purchases, so don’t hesitate to take this classic world builder game for a spin.
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9. City Mania
Brought to you by Gameloft, City Mania is a must-play town-building game that takes place in the modern era where technology like hoverboards and selfie cameras exist.
As you advance in the game, you’ll be able to access, unlock, and customize various elements and industries from commerce to education and entertainment.
City Mania gives you a lot of room to let your creative and innovative sides run free. Unlike most other world-building games out there, City Mania dedicates a lot of attention to character detail.
There are lots of funny, quirky, and interesting characters to keep you engaged while you build and expand your town. The characters you choose will help populate your virtual city and maintain its prosperity.
City Mania lets you collect famous structures like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Although it gives you everything you might be looking for in a game centered around world-building, what’s guaranteed to grab your attention out of the gate is the animation style and quality.
You can expect adorable and lively graphics with an interactive gaming experience that’s sure to leave you wanting more.
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TheoTown bears a resemblance to the classic world-building game, SimCity. It gives you a great deal of control over the gameplay. Your quest begins in a vast forest that you have to build borders around and develop into a thriving city.
You can divide up your city into residential and commercial areas. Your various zones can be demarcated by highways, rails, and other structures. Everything in TheoTown is beautifully detailed and complex, making the game quite a challenge to master.
One amazing feature of TheoTown is that you can explore the buildings deeper to install utilities like water and electric supply. The further you advance in the game, the more you’ll unlock and develop various fixtures in TheoTown.
Although it might take you a while to figure out how things work in TheoTown, there are lots of tutorials online that can help you land on your feet.
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When talking about the best world-building games, it’d be remiss to fail to mention DomiNations. This competitive game empowers you to build an empire of your own, grow its economy, and shore up its military strength enough to successfully invade and conquer neighboring towns.
It’s also possible for your empire to get raided by other cities near you so you need to make sure your base is capable of overcoming them. The game gives you the option of playing with eight nations.
Once you choose from amongst them, you can start developing your empire and having unlimited fun. You’ll need to devise strategies to keep the residents of your empire safe and help your civilization survive.
DomiNations features stunning graphics and an interactive experience that will have you hooked from the minute you launch the game. Don’t be surprised if you lose track of time playing it.
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12. Tropico 6
Get a slice of paradise and explore the Caribbean Islands in Tropico 6. The gameplay manages to be exciting while still being complicated enough to keep you engaged for hours.
Unlike the other games on this list, Tropico 6 puts a lighter spin on world building. Its outlook is less serious and more comedic than the usual games in this genre.
The game’s storyline requires you to take up the mantle as governor of your newly founded island with the goal of becoming the president someday. You’re also charged with helping your fledgling nation progress through the ages from the colonial period to modern times.
As president, you’re in control of governing the island and handling everything from ensuring the comfort of your citizens to managing and allocating resources. The catch is that you must stay in power at all costs.
You cannot afford to lose your seat in office even if it means bribing officials, becoming a dictator, rigging elections, or crafting edicts that only help further your ambitions. You need to be willing to get your hands dirty to enhance your political career in this game.
If you think you’re up to the challenge, you can access and play Tropico 6 on your Windows, Linux, Mac, Xbox One/360, and PlayStation 4 devices.
13. Surviving Mars
Beat Elon Musk to the punch by creating a colony on the red planet in this simulation world-builder game for PC and consoles. In Surviving Mars, your chief responsibility is to oversee the establishment of a new civilization on Mars.
You must colonize the planet from scratch starting by selecting an agency to send the equipment you’ll need to make Mars habitable for when the first humans arrive. Once the living conditions are set, you can then begin the work of expanding your colony.
This means producing and collecting vital resources, observing the mental and physical well-being of the Martians, and bringing in more colonists. You’ll also need to monitor the state of machines, diagnose malfunctions, and resolve issues as they arise.
Remember, the survival of the human race depends on you and your ability to turn a barren, inhospitable wasteland into a livable colony.
14. Cities: Skylines
Few world-building games can match the level of detail and depth that Cities: Skylines provides. In this game, there are no enemy factions for you to battle or devastating disasters to deal with.
Your task is simply to build a self-sufficient and functioning city all by yourself. To ensure everything runs smoothly, you’ll have to pay attention to even the tiniest details.
This includes building commercial, industrial, service, and residential structures, as well as planning public transportation, dividing the city into districts, setting up an efficient network of communication, providing security, and managing garbage disposal.
You also need to collect taxes, exploit resources, establish businesses, provide education, build roads, and deliver utilities. There’s so much work to be done in Cities: Skylines to bring your city to life.
The level of micromanagement the game offers will leave you stunned. And to top it off, you can find lots of great mods that will give you even more control in this challenging city-sim game.
Dungeon Village is one of the oldest world building simulation games around. It’s available on smartphones and is set in a village where fantastic beasts roam free.
At the start, you’re given a small hamlet which you have to grow into a prosperous city that attracts visitors from all over town. The more tourists that flock to your village, the more you earn, so you need to keep adding new facilities to keep them coming.
You also need to complete quests to earn rewards which you can then use to finance your building projects.
In Dungeon Village, you’re going to be constructing specialized components rather than traditional buildings. The gameplay and storyline are impressive and will have you glued to your screen for hours at a time.
World-building games come in all kinds of packages. Some are focused on building the economy, some incorporate warfare into their gameplay, and others strictly focus on creating and managing every aspect of a virtual world.
Whatever your poison is, you’re sure to find your fix on our list, so don’t hesitate to give these games a try and test your strategy and wits.
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.