Starting this piece is difficult because it is impossible not to mention the issues of the world. I was very optimistic when I thought people would face COVID for another six months when I wrote this list’s version of last year. Since the Omicron is more heritable than any other variant, we could face months of uncertainty now. Even more, if the morons refuse to be vaccinated and allow more strains and mutations to use their bodies as a petri dish. Alas, I don’t have the same control that strategy and simulation games give me, so we can’t fix the stupid ones.
What I can do, however, is tell you the best strategy and simulation games released in 2021. Just like the lists from previous years (Strategy: 2016, 2017. Simulation: 2016, 2017. Strategy and simulation: 2018 , 2019, 2020), there are a few rules that we follow. Only new and released titles can qualify for the roster, which means no Hardspace: Shipbreaker (still in Early Access) or Total War: Rome Remastered (re-release). Of course, only games that have been played will appear, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they all have a review on the site.
I have no doubt that I missed some games, and you could definitely make a case for including Jurassic World Evolution 2, Evil Genius 2, and more. Please feel free to mention any titles that you think should be included below, as there’s also a good chance that I – or someone else – haven’t played it yet. One of those examples, which I want to come back to soon, is “This is the president”.
On that note, enjoy the rest of 2021. Here’s a big 2022, with a list of most anticipated games to come. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite from the list at the end of this article!
Also in Wccftech’s best games lists for 2021: Fighting, Platform
Kind: Simulation. Platforms: PC (coming to 2022 consoles).
Welcome to the odd entry on the list. I mentioned in the podcast a few times that I played hell still in love with this game, and I did. Like so many similar simulation games, Gas Station Simulator is janky, it’s definitely not the most engaging game, and it can be somewhat ruthless. However, where many games are just that, it manages to go above and beyond, becoming a truly addicting title.
Whether it’s filling cars and renovating different areas of your Route 66 station, stocking shelves, and improving the checkout experience for your customers, there’s a lot to do. You also need to make sure your station doesn’t get too dirty as you sweep, wash the walls after a little bastard vandalizes them, take out the trash, and much more. Gas Station Simulation is without a doubt one of the best simulation games I’ve ever played, and it keeps things weird – like these games always do – with the inclusion of mobs, aliens and other mini-games and random events.
Kind: Strategy (4X). Platform: PC.
It’s virtually impossible now to put together a list of the best strategy games in a given year without including SEGA. With such a wealth of exceptional strategy studios, each year brings something special for fans of the genre like me. When I first saw it, humanity immediately caught my interest. A Civilization-style 4X game from the developers of Endless Space? I’m in.
Humanity is a great game, and it manages to stand out from civilization, though specific issues prevent it from being a civilization killer. While aspects like religion, and AI in general, needed improvement, it’s impossible not to love how the progression of your empire is handled, how cities and regions develop, and how many details there are in this game.
Here is the summary of my opinion:
Humankind is a very interesting 4X strategy game with a wide variety of elements, most of which are very detailed – although some, like religion, can feel a bit undercooked. From city building to urban expansion and sprawl over time, much of the world’s development is well represented here. Science, influence, war, economy, growth – there’s very little you’ll find covered here.
Age of Empires IV (9/10)
Kind: Strategy (Real-time strategy). Platform: PC.
Although a game published and funded by Microsoft, Age of Empires IV comes to you from another SEGA studio: Relic Entertainment, assisted by future franchise custodians, World’s Edge. One of my games of the year, it’s a solid throwback to one of the greatest franchises in strategy history, and the way it turned out is nothing but fantastic.
Simple, easy to access, yet offering a solid challenge, Age of Empires IV takes traditional gameplay forward without straying too far, feeling like a true sequel. Along with great gameplay, the campaign offers a host of documentary-style lessons that immerse you in the battles you are about to fight. For strategy players and history buffs, you can’t go wrong here.
Here is what I put for the summary of my review of Age of Empires IV:
Age of Empires IV is, in almost every way, a true sequel to Age of Empires II. It plays great and has a few new features that add more tactical elements to combat and the way you develop your faction. On factions, it really allows them to differentiate themselves from each other. There are slight issues, such as the population cap which seems very restrictive and the inferior quality of the unit models, but these are minor in what is an otherwise exceptional game, and in which an undeniable amount of ‘effort and work has gone into – which includes hours of documentary-style clips to support the campaign.
Kind: Simulation. Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X.
Did you have to give a series the mantle of being the pinnacle of the simulation genre? Farming Simulator would be difficult to rule out. This series has been around since 2008, alternating between main entrances and mobile entrances, and has generated enormous success during this time. Farming Simulator 22 takes the series to the next level, including seasons, production lines, and more.
While it’s never the easiest to tackle, and some gameplay tweaks – even revisions – are now long overdue – there are still very few other similar games on the market in terms of production quality. and a substantial modding scene that only makes what you have got even better.
Football Manager 2022 (9.5 / 10)
Kind: Simulation (Sport). Platforms: PC (base game). Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile (other versions).
Why is it on the list? Because it’s fantastic. Am I going to tell you more? Yes. When? Not now. Wait for the best list of sports and racing games.
Strategy and Simulation Games 2021 – Year in Review
After a few great years, the Simulation genre has seen a downturn when it comes to your top “AAA” developers and publishers. Fortunately, publishers like PlayWay and MovieGames are here for you if you’re a fan of somewhat realistic or quirky simulation titles. It’s also especially true that these titles, often developed by smaller studios in Eastern Europe, improve dramatically over time and as they come out.
Even the strategy game has seen a kind of slowdown. However, I would still say that strategy games – especially grand strategy and 4X titles – need a lot more testing. As such, factors related to working from home and other impacts of the pandemic have caused delays among headlines. A basic example could be Total War: Warhammer III, delayed from 2021 to early 2022.