Breaking in through walls, bombing hallways, demolishing buildings – the definition of a fun-packed game is an architect’s worst nightmare!
But, does that stop us from playing video games? Of course not, and if you look past the kabooms and pow-pows, most of the open-world and simulation games fuel the creative bugs in your head. House-building games, city-building games, and sandbox games are cradles of creativity for architects and creatives.
Fasten your seatbelts; we’re going to explore how video games can inspire architects to hone their craft without being bored for even a split second. Here’s a list of the top 25 games (Android/iOS/PC/Xbox/Playstation) that are best for architects right now.
Without any further ado, let’s get started!
Best Games for Architects
The first recommendation that we have is none other than the most-streamed EA Maxis game, SimCity, a building game with an immense following. The theme of this highly entertaining game mostly revolves around building self-powering cities, which is guaranteed to be a wholesome treat for budding architects.
- Features two completely new building sets - Asian...
- Add color to your city by incorporating quaint...
You can truly savor the joy of planning, as you get to choose a square plot to develop into a high-profile society from scratch. You can flourish it with landscapes, advanced infrastructure, and whatnot. It’s an open slate to test your imagination and ideas, which can further boost your building skills to newer heights (pun intended).
You’ve probably been living under a rock until now if you’re hearing the term “Super Mario” for the first time. Let’s be clear – it’s not just limited to being an endless-running, princess-rescuing adventure game. Being a cult classic, this game has evolved beyond our wildest imagination over the years.
The best thing about this game that the average person skips is how intricately the cities and landscapes have been designed in this game since the very first edition.
- Explore 3D kingdoms filled with secrets and...
- Mario's new friend, Cappy, lets you master new...
Throughout Mario’s globetrotting journey, you get to see some hyper-detailed architectural ideas. The fun part – you also get to explore the streets of “New Donk City”, inspired by you-know-what-place.
Calvino Noir by Dan Walters
If your taste is slightly subtle and retro, then we have just the right game for you. Dan Walters had changed the dynamics of exploratory adventure games with Calvino Noir, which is mainly based on 1930s European society.
Here’s a little nerd trivia – did you know that Walters was an established architect himself? That’s simply mind-blowing!
As the name implies, Calvino Noir beautifully merges classic architecture and noir to birth a very mysteriously attractive cityscape. While playing this game, you can explore some intricately sculptured towers and hallways that brighten up only when the players travel through them.
Who can forget the iconic masterpiece that we know as Minecraft, a game that has shaped the childhood of the majority of millennials?
This game hosts about 126 million players each month – that’s how popular it is! However, apart from being the most famous option on our list, it is also every budding architect’s delight.
- Build, create, and explore in Minecraft for PC and...
- Play alone or with friends. Minecraft for PC/Mac...
This sandbox game allows users to explore an open-world universe without any limitations, the options are limitless, to call it a building game would be extraordinarily poor wording and an immense understatement. You can replicate the authenticity and details of real-life architecture with the blocks to an extent. It allows you to show off your building skills and ideas by establishing creative infrastructure, cities, farms, and whatnot.
For anyone who asks us to define minimalism at its finest, we have only two words – Monument Valley. This game has created a buzz for being so captivating without trying too hard and been acclaimed by numerous critics for successfully portraying a hybrid postmodern architectural universe.
While playing Monument Valley you’ll also get a fair idea of the 1970 design wave and deconstructivism, which is an absolute treat to your eyes. Furthermore, it also introduces budding designers to complex architectural themes that can inspire them to merge intricacy and subtlety in their future ideas.
Euclidean Lands (iOS game)
What if the world was your Rubix cube? The popular iOS game Euclidean Lands is very similar to our previous recommendations, the only add-on here is a lot more Hitman-esque thrill and action. Although it may sound a little fast-paced and competitive, it also provides a very relaxing feel.
This game challenges your quick-thinking abilities, which is pretty fun. You get to keep rotating a Rubix cube until the right building structures are formed, which can be a quick brain exercise. It’s incredible how the game is overflowing with an abundance of abstract concepts but still carries a subdued theme.
As the name itself suggests, this game is all about interior design, a building game of sorts. Yes, without beating around the bush, this game shows you how virtual home designing works. However, it’s a fun game to play for non-architects to enjoy as well.
The players have the liberty to select the doors and furniture from real-life brands and compete with friends to find out who comes up with the most unique decor designs. The fun part is that if you happen to like one of your designs, you can get it done in real life.
Next on our list is the 2013 Game of the Year winner, “Gone Home” by Fullbright Games. We’re fans of the horror-esque theme it represents, brilliantly incorporated with vintage architecture for a highly intense gaming experience.
The story arc revolves around the protagonist, who sets out to explore her dead relative Oscar’s dark history. When it comes to architectural influence, it appears to be a lot more simple than our top picks like Simcity.
The key difference here is that instead of establishing new buildings, you get to explore every corner of an antique mansion. The icing on the cake is that it helps comprehend the impact of a small room and how it can move a person’s emotions.
Electronic Arts has always managed to stay one step ahead of its competition, whenever it comes to gaming experience that sweeps the players off their feet. That said, the 2008 best-selling game Mirror Edge Catalyst allows you to test your parkour skills without breaking a few bones.
- First-Person Action - Get up close with your...
- Explore the City of Glass - Roam the beautiful,...
And when we speak of parkour, we automatically envision tall skyscrapers, buildings, and whatnot. This open-world game lets you explore a dystopian cityscape enriched with brilliant modern architecture. However, the fun part here is that you have to master your skills to unlock new levels, and with more original levels come even more complex building designs.
How about a game that revolves around building an efficient metro network in some of the most popular towns, a town-building game? If that sounds intriguing, you’re going to love the Colossal Order game “Cities in Motion”.
This game allows you to implement a fully functional transportation system in Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, and more. It allows you to build metro train stations, tram depots, bus garages, and even helipads.
Frankly, we rarely come across similar business simulation games that revolve around establishing infrastructure for a city’s development. But it gets even better – you can also explore its sequels to have a taste of London and Tokyo.
The next trick up our sleeve is also another major hit by Colossal Order, “Cities: Skylines”. At this point, we’re impressed with the Colossal Order’s initiative to merge entertainment and constructive learning for an engaging gaming experience.
Although it isn’t very different from our previous pick, it lets you design the entire city rather than its transportation systems.
Apart from creating art extraordinaire, you also get to control the crime rates, pollution, water supply systems, and whatnot. Want to know how it feels to be a City Mayor? Try Skylines for a virtual experience as realistic as it can get.
Speaking of games that are best for architecture, does it get than one that lets you be a full-fledged interior designer? We don’t think so! “Design This Home” – the name itself speaks volumes about the architectural practice you’ll be open to while enjoying a relaxing, stress-busting gaming experience.
- Decorate and own up to 11 homes with 6 fabulous...
- Customize every aspect of your home to make it...
If you prefer simplicity over complexity, then this brilliant yet subtle game designed by App Mints will surely keep you engaged for hours. It contains infinite possibilities, and hundreds of design ideas to play with. The one with the most exclusively designed abode takes home the highest income.
- Design This Castle by App Mints
Intrigued by the idea of designing a home? Why not take it a notch higher and change the room to an entire castle instead? A castle-building game is something that you don’t encounter often for sure. Challenge your designing skills at higher levels with another popular App Mints game, Design This Castle.
Experience how it is to be a royal designer and build some of the most spectacular castles your friends have ever seen!
- INFRA by Loiste Interactive Ltd.
Ravaging through the dark alleys filled with betrayal and deceit – that’s just the best way to describe the Loiste Interactive game “INFRA”. If you genuinely enjoy thriller novels, its storyline is guaranteed to have you feeling ecstatic.
Its story arc revolves around a city that is slowly falling apart and a protagonist who aims to bring it back to life.
While playing this game, you’ll be able to sense a profound resemblance to Crumbling America, a documentary exposing the infrastructural blunders in the States. Here, things get intense as you get to encounter and fix the architectural issues with a flashlight and a camera.
- Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp by Nintendo
From Super Mario to Animal Crossing, Nintendo has never failed to impress us with the fascinating architectural influence in its game design. The 2017 blockbuster game “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” takes building and infrastructural development to a new level; you get to design your dream camp.
To break it down, this game is a social simulation where players are allowed to interact and complete missions together. You can build and furnish virtual living spaces, perform tasks, and manage a fantastic campsite.
- Mini Metro by Dinosaur Polo Club
In case you’re stressed out by how the metro system is maintained in your city, Dinosaur Polo Club has just the perfect game that gives you a platform to establish your own.
Mini Metro is by far one of the simplest Android/iOS games we’ve had our hands on, directly related to construction and architecture.
Here, you have to construct a full-fledged rail system in a rapidly developing city, managing the operations to ensure uninterrupted transportation. It allows you to work in any global city you prefer, and the entertaining levels make it a great option to kill time.
Hidden Folks by Adriaan de Jongh and Sylvian Tegroeg
Before we begin – Do remember playing Where’s Waldo with your siblings during your early years? Now take its core element, and sprinkle a little urbanism on it; that’s what you’ll be experiencing in Hidden Folks.
Here, you play to explore and find your way out of an incredibly beautiful and precisely-sculpted b/w cityscape. So simple, yet so engaging! In 2017, it received a 10/10 score by Polygon and currently holds a successful rating of 4.9/5 in the Apple App Store.
If you’ve played both Sim City and Minecraft, you’re definitely going to love Plethora Project’s Block’ hood. Although this game mainly revolves around efficient resource management, you also get to test your architectural skills by building some creative buildings.
As you’ve guessed by the name itself, you can establish infrastructure by placing blocks to create a city/farm/village from scratch. The best part? You’re required to create a self-sustaining neighborhood that doesn’t destroy nature for survival.
Looking for an ultra-realistic game that keeps you engaged for hours? Look no more! The Sims by EA Maxis is a brilliant role-playing game franchise that hosts around 66 million players every month.
If you’re looking for an appropriate way to spend time commuting, this game is one of the best options to consider.
- Maxis (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Although it doesn’t wholly revolve around architectural practices, the reason why it makes an excellent choice for architects is that it allows the characters to renovate their houses to their taste. Show us a better Sandbox game that will enable you to test your constructive creativity, building, and design skills like The Sims.
Project Highrise by SomaSim
If there’s a game representing what a building stands for, and that’s how it’s more than only a couple of rooms to live in, it’s Project Highrise by SomaSim. There’s a drawback, of course – it’s an old 2D game with subpar graphics.
However, it still goes head-to-head against some of the recent architectural management simulation games we’ve played.
Know why? Because of the realism it carries that remains unparalleled. It shows that constructing an enormous building isn’t an overnight job. You have to stay patient for the building to develop and plan accordingly.
We used to believe that 2D games weren’t as engaging as 3D games until now, as the classic Introversion Software game “Prison Architect” stood out to be one of the most stringent building games we’ve played.
- Play through 5 engrossing chapters of Prison...
- English (Publication Language)
Who said that prisons aren’t fun to manage? The theme of this game is based on developing a highly efficient prison that takes care of both the inmates and the workforce. It’s incredibly realistic and goes as deep as finance management, staff recruitment, and so on.
Anno 2205 by Blue Byte Mainz
As architects and designers, the most we can do is create an infrastructure to develop an entire city. Well, how’d you react if you were handed over the responsibility to build an entire planet? Sounds like crazy fun? That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
With Anno 2205, you step foot into a futuristic world that is committed to building and progressing consistently. You can reign the world and plan strategies to develop wealth and prosperity – all of which are just economic simulations at its best. As a bonus, the cyberpunk design and ultra-modern architecture will get you hooked.
- Imagine Earth by Serious Brothers
Although our previous pick gives you a good taste of how it feels to conquer the earth, Imagine Earth by Serious Brothers is simply out of the world (pun intended). Yes, Imagine Earth revolves around departing from Earth to colonize planets that are far away.
In this outstanding simulation, you can engage in intergalactic trade. You’re allowed to create an infrastructure to develop the colonies and combat against the foes to safeguard the establishments from damage. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
- Project Aura by Pixel Quality Games
Project Aura is a hyper-realistic simulation of how the water crisis can seriously threaten our future. We love how this game is filled with endless challenges, keeping you glued to the screen for hours.
So, how does this game benefit the architects? Well, it revolves around a post-disaster planet that is submerged in water. You have to develop buildings and colonies above the water to protect humankind from being wiped out forever.
Also, apart from that, you have to protect the infrastructure which is exposed to other challenges from the outside environment.
- Banished by Shining Rock Software
Our final recommendation is Shining Rock Software’s “Banished”, a building game in which players are required to establish a fully functional society to shelter the travelers in exile. This game also revolves around taking care of their clothing, food, and other needs.
The main objective of this game is to ensure that society remains populated, which aids its economic growth. Most of the fun lies in designing and establishing infrastructure, which is why every architect must play it at least once.
Whether it’s sandbox games, house-building games, or other video games that allow you to flex your architectural skills, we know that gaming can be a fantastic way to bust stress, refresh your mind, and spark new creative ideas.
As much as we love the immersive soundscapes these games provide, we also understand the need for balance – especially if you’re gaming in a shared living space. That’s why we suggest considering soundproofing your gaming room to create a quieter environment that your loved ones will greatly appreciate whilst offering you better sound fidelity and volume.
We hope you’ve found inspiration and new games to try from our list of 25 best games for architects. We’ll be back soon with more fun-filled articles, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, keep playing, explore the techniques to properly soundproof your gaming room, and share this knowledge with your friends!