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Trucker, mayor, space cowboy: Five sim games that let you live out your dreams

At a Glance

Strike Suit Zero breathes new life into an old genre, and introduces an engaging innovation in space combat: A space fighter that transforms into a mech.

Price when rated: $20

Pros

  • Beautiful graphics
  • Fun, challenging gameplay

Cons

  • Infrequent checkpoints

At a Glance

A true classic, FreeSpace 2 bred several open-source modifications, but the even the original, unmodded game is still fun to play if you don't mind the dated graphics.

Price when rated: 10

Pros

  • Intricate controls
  • Free, open-source versions available
  • Sophisticated HUD

Cons

  • Graphics are starting to show their age

At a Glance

SimCity is a visually striking homage to a classic series that takes city building in bold new directions, but troubling business decisions and technical snafus spell trouble.

Price when rated: $60.00

Pros

  • Gorgeous.
  • GlassBox simulations give a sense of a teeming, thriving city.

Cons

  • Required online connectivity is at the mercy of EA’s server uptime.
  • Small cities limit single-player potential.
  • Crippled single-player experience.

At a Glance

Despite its beautiful looks and impressive lineage, Microsoft Flight fails to offer a truly compelling gameplay experience.

Price when rated: Free

Pros

  • Beautiful graphics

Cons

  • No longer being developed
  • Requires paid content from an early stage

At a Glance

A beautiful surprise, Euro Truck Simulator 2 takes an activity that seems mundane at first glance and turns it into a compelling challenge.

Price when rated: $40, free demo

Pros

  • Immersive environment
  • Detailed vehicle interiors
  • Convincing physics

Cons

  • Trucking is an acquired taste

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