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Have you ever desired to have your own empire? Imagine; fame, fortune, power. It can all be yours in the world of tycoon games. While you could pursue business ventures in real life, that requires a lot of risks. Besides, in a game, you can be whoever you want to be. If you wish to run an entire city, build a theme park, or run a gaming studio, the world is your oyster.
Tycoon games hand you the reins of the business and allow you to become the entrepreneur you always wanted to be. With the games featuring so many different industries, you can find your niche. Entrepreneurship can be fun, and these games show you how.
🏆 Our Honorable Picks🥇
» Best Cult Classic Tycoon: Jurassic World Evolution at Amazon
“Dinos get brought back to life and put on display for the public. But it all goes horribly wrong.”
» Best Aquatic Tycoon: Megaquarium
“There are over 97 different types of livestock, and each has specific care requirements.”
» Best Game Dev Tycoon: Game Dev Story at Amazon
“You’ll start with nothing and build a successful game development studio from the ground up.”
» Best Prison Tycoon: Prison Architect at Amazon
“Ensuring that the inmates stay in check, as well as the finances will require some strategic thinking.”
» Best Theme Park Tycoon: Roller Coaster Tycoon at Amazon
“The design makes it an attractive option for the style aware gamer.”
» Best Theme Park Tycoon #2: Planet Coaster at Amazon
“It’s a great and well-rounded tycoon game, with lots to offer in its various game modes.”
» Best Tropical Island Tycoon: Tropico at Amazon
“Be the leader of an entire tropical island and control pretty much everything that happens there.”
» Best Tower Builder Tycoon: Tiny Tower at Amazon
“Visitors all have unique stats. It’s up to you to decide which floor to send them to.”
» Best Moral Compass Tycoon: Frost Punk at Amazon
“A unique twist to the tycoon gaming genre. The twist is making you choose whether to be good or evil.”
» Best Hospital Tycoon: Two Point Hospital at Amazon
“Your management skills will either leave the hospital in shambles or bring you riches.”
» Best Farm Tycoon: Star Dew Valley at Amazon
“Handed down the family farm from your grandfather. Are you up to the challenge of turning this farm around?”
» Best Zoo Tycoon: Zoo Tycoon at Amazon
“Your job includes everything from the initial building stages, to choosing which animals you’ll have displayed.”
» Best City Building Tycoon: Sim City Series at Amazon
“A trailblazer in the tycoon gaming world and has laid the foundation for the games that have followed.”
» Best City Building Tycoon #2: Cities: Skylines at Amazon
“Consider the placement of roads and transport options as well as public services available for your populace.”
» Best Business Tycoon: Capitalism Lab
“There is no help given in this simulator. You are the manager, creator, designer, buyer, manufacturer, and shipper, all in one.”
Best Tycoon Games – Reviews
1. Jurassic World Evolution
We’ve all seen the cult classic; dinos get brought back to life and put on display for the public. But it all goes horribly wrong. In this simulation, ideally, things won’t take a turn for the worse thanks to your leadership.
Jurassic World Evolution places you in control of the building and running your very own Jurassic Park. Your task is designing the layout of the park, breeding dinosaurs, and finally, actually opening and running it. The better you can maintain the park, the more money you will make.
It’s among the best tycoon games for someone who is just trying them out for the first time. It is quite basic and easy to get a handle on. That in itself could be a positive or negative depending on what you’re looking for. But if you’re into a more challenging and complex management games, than this one may not be exciting enough for you.
Frontier Developments, the minds behind many other tycoon games, developed and published this game as well. It is available for PC, as well as PS4 and Xbox One.
If you’re looking for something fishier than maybe you’d be into running an aquarium. This aquatic tycoon game is among the easiest to learn but more challenging to master. The first ten levels are tutorial-based, allowing you to learn the ropes. Then, it’s time to figure out the rest on your own.
You’ll start with only a couple of fish and some dirty ol’ tanks and have to begin upgrading from there. There are over 97 different types of livestock, and each has specific care requirements. They need different food, water quality, and tank set up to thrive.
Beyond just the fish themselves, you need to keep your guests happy by ensuring they have proper facilities. Keeping them well managed by directing them to purchase food, drinks, and gifts will help boost profits.
Staff is another component that requires consideration. You will hire and train staff in the proper positions to keep your aquarium running smoothly.
Twice Circled developed the game. It is available for many consoles, including PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
3. Game Dev Story
If you’re into video games, then chances are you’ve considered the developmental stage of a game. In Game Dev Story you get the opportunity to run a game development studio of your own.
Your journey will begin in your garage, aka your studio. You’ll start with nothing and build a successful game development studio from the ground up. Get going by hiring all your development staff and create innovative games to release into the gaming market. You’ll produce the games and ship them out to buyers. Then you get to see their ratings through reviews from the consumers.
The game has been around for a while and was initially released on PC by Kairosoft. It is, however, best known for its mobile version. You can play on either IOS or Android, and it’s one of the best tycoon games for mobile.
4. Prison Architect
What does it take to run a prison? You’re about to find out in Prison Architect. This tycoon game will teach you the ins and outs of successfully operating a jail. There is a lot more strategy than you think that goes into all the layers of a prison.
You will begin by building the prison itself, including all the cells, facilities, and required utilities. Once you build it, you need to hire your staff. But successful operation comes down to more than that.
Ensuring that the inmates stay in check, as well as the finances will require some strategic thinking. Beyond just the day to day running of the facility, you can implement programs to rehab the prisoners. That way, they will enter back into the world set up for success.
Although it’s been pretty successful since its launch, it doesn’t look like there is a sequel planned.
Introversion Software developed it and published by them and Paradox Interactive. The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and 360, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile.
5. Roller Coaster Tycoon
The Roller Coaster Tycoon is probably one of, if not the most, well-known tycoon game on the market. It’s a trailblazer in the tycoon game industry as it has had success with five different games in the series. These include Roller Coaster Tycoon 1-3, Roller Coaster Tycoon World, and Roller Coaster Tycoon Adventures. They are all among the best tycoon games on the market.
If you’ve never seen it before, essentially the game entails building and running a theme park. You will be in charge of creating and designing the park. Tasks will include choosing and maintaining the rides that will continue to bring in business. You’ll also need to hire staff to run the various facilities of the park, including shops and food vendors.
If you can keep the park operating smoothly and continue attracting happy customers, you’ll be successful in this game.
The various games in the series have had input from multiple different development studies over the years. These include Chris Sawyer Productions, n-Space, Nvizzio Creations, Frontier Developments, and On5. Even with so many developers on board, the structure of the game has remained generally the same.
The game was published by Infogames, Hasbro Interactive, and Atari. You can play it on Xbox, PC, iOS, and, most recently, Nintendo Switch.
6. Planet Coaster
We wanted to follow up on Roller Coaster Tycoon with its brother, Planet Coaster. It was developed and produced by Frontier Developments, who also designed parts of the Roller Coaster Tycoon. They used their experience to create their own, enhanced version.
Although it claims to be superior, it is quite similar. Though we must admit, it’s got a higher entertainment value.
There are three game modes to choose from; Career Mode, Challenge, and Sandbox Mode. In Career Mode, you will be given a scenario to work through with different objectives to reach along the way. Career Mode is the best mode to figure out how the game works. Challenge Mode will present players with a range of tasks. Once completed, you will reach money or other rewards. Sandbox Mode is a bit of a free for all. You will receive unlimited money and a large area to build whatever you would like.
It’s a great and well-rounded tycoon game, with lots to offer in its various game modes. Planet Coaster is only available on PC.
Tropicos newest release, Tropico 6 is the latest tycoon game on our list.
You will be the leader of an entire tropical island and control pretty much everything that happens there. Your control will continue throughout four eras, as is the norm in the Tropico series games. Make the right decisions for your island, and it will prosper. Make the wrong choices and the island dwellers with rebel against you.
Your decisions will range from making laws, managing the day to day on the island, and dealing with political issues.
Limbic Entertainment developed Tropico 6, and Kalypso Media published it. You can get it on PlayStation 4, Xbox One PC.
8. Tiny Tower
Tiny Tower itself has been around for a couple of years but has been incredibly successful. It has even inspired a range of spin-off tycoon games.
It’s got a relatively simple concept in which you want to build your tower as high as possible. You begin with a tiny tower and continue adding new floors, which all feature a different business. Visitors come into the elevator and head to the stores to either shop or to work.
The visitors all have unique stats. It’s up to you to decide which floor to send them to, based on those stats. You will need to take in to account which level will benefit from them the most, dependent on the type of business.
The game was both produced and developed by NimbleBit and is only available on mobile. You can play on both Ios and Android.
9. Frost Punk
If you’ve heard of the popular This War of Mine, then you’ll be pleased with the release of Frost Punk. Created in a similar style, it adds a unique twist to the tycoon gaming genre. The twist is making you choose whether to be good or evil.
Where most tycoon games run in a more structured and algorithmic way, Front Punk brings in moral responsibility.
In the game, you are leading one of the only cities that operate around a source of heat. The problem is that the rest of the world is subject to frigid temperatures. Refugees are all coming to your city for help and shelter.
That’s where you come in. You only have limited resources and will need to obtain more to keep taking care of the civilians. Unfortunately, you may not have enough resources for people and need to consider that.
Without resources, your city may be susceptible to bad health and a string of other problems.
Frost Punk is developed and published by 11 Bit Studios. It is currently only available for PC.
10. Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor to a tycoon game from the 90s, Theme Hospital. It will give you the chance to manage a hospital, rife with different illnesses.
As the business management, you will be in charge of building developments, hiring of staff, and ensuring all your patients are satisfied. Your management skills will either leave the hospital in shambles or bring you riches.
The game aims to lighten the lousy mood associated with hospitals by adding a sense of humor to the mix. There are a bunch of funny illnesses like ‘Heart Throb’ and ‘Inflated Ego’, portraying it as a less scary place.
Two Point Studios developed the game with the help of Mark Webley and Gary Carr, who helped develop Theme Hospital. It was published by Sega and can is playable on PC, Mac, or Linux. There are plans for the release of Two Point Hospital on console coming soon.
11. Star Dew Valley
Similar to Harvest Moon, Star Dew Valley put you in the role of a farmer. You are handed down the family farm from your grandfather, and it’s in quite the state. Are you up to the challenge of turning this farm around?
It has become hugely popular, and within one year of release had already been purchased 3,000,000 times! Due to its popularity, there is likely to be a sequel, though we don’t know when yet.
In the game, you will need to grow healthy crops, take care of the livestock, and participate in a variety of activities. These include mining, crafting goods, and social pursuits.
ConcernedApe developed it and published by Chucklefish. Star Dew Valley is available on many consoles, including Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation Vita.
12. Zoo Tycoon
Zoo Tycoon, similar to Roller Coaster Tycoon, has a full series of sequels. With the first released back in 2001, there have been four games total in the series. These include the original Zoo Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon 2, Zoo Tycoon 2013, Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection. It’s got quite the following and is considered to be a contender for the best tycoon games on the market.
You will be fully in charge of running a zoo. Your job includes everything from the initial building stages, to choosing which animals you’ll have displayed. You will also have to coordinate the business and entertainment options throughout the zoo to maximize profits.
Paying attention to what the visitors like and dislike about your current setup will help you make better choices going forward.
Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection is for ultimate fans of the game. It has both the first editions of Zoo Tycoon plus the expansion packs. There are also some different animals available as well.
The last version was developed by Frontier Developments, though there have been other developmental influences over the years. These include both Blue Fang Games and Behavior Interactive. The reboot of the original came out in 2013 is for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It offers a campaign mode as well as upgraded graphics.
Zoo Tycoon is available for PC, Xbox 360, or Xbox One.
13. Sim City Series
Sim City was first released in 1989 and is one of the longest-running of all gaming franchises. It is a trailblazer in the tycoon gaming world and has laid the foundation for the games that have followed. In the city-building genre, this tops the best tycoon games.
The idea of Sim City is that you are tasked to build and run a city. You will need to design the city skyscape and ensure that all the people who live there are happy. There will be many hiccups along the way. Your city will be hit by devastation through a range of disasters. Play your cards right, and you may soon be running your thriving and prosperous city! Imagine all that power!
Because it’s been around so long, many developers have had a go at it, creating new versions and expansions. Some of these include Maxis, Aspyr Media, Tilted Mill Entertainment, and more. Nintendo, Maxi, and Electronic Arts have published it, to name a few. It is playable on almost any platform. It has versions for PC, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, Wii, and more.
14. Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines has been called a sequel to Sim City, and it’s pretty obvious why. It was launched in 2015, towards the end of Sim City’s reign and featured a similar gaming structure.
Like in Sim City, you are tasked with the development and maintenance of a city. It includes building plans and improvements and doing everything to ensure your people are happy. You’ll need to consider the placement of roads and transport options as well as public services available for your populace. Taxation is another element, but be careful as if you tax too high, your civilians will be unimpressed.
On top of this, you will face many problems as the head of the city, including civil unrest and natural disasters that may hit.
Cities: Skylines has many expansion packs available, so there are many options for continuous exciting gameplay. It is one of the contributing factors which makes it one of the best typhoon games.
It was developed by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive. You can play it on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or PC.
15. Capitalism Lab
Just for good measure, we’ve thrown in this classic tycoon game that is one of the best tycoon games of all time. The first Capitalism was released back in 1995 and was used in Harvard and Stanford as a business simulator. If that’s not a testimony to its real-world applications, then I don’t know what is.
The basis of the game is to start a business empire. You will manage it from its humble beginnings to becoming a global company. There is no help given in this simulator. You are the manager, creator, designer, buyer, manufacturer, and shipper, all in one.
Where it differs from others is that you are not focused on one market. Your fingers will be in many pots, which adds the additional challenge of multi-tasking. You have the opportunity for expansion into various avenues, including real estate, importing, retail, purchasing, and more. There is no end to how deep you can get into this game.
It is not for the faint of heart but will be a welcomed challenge to anyone considering entering the business world. Capitalism Lab is far more than just a tycoon game. It’s a training tool that’s knowledge can be applied to the real world.
Enlight developed it, and you can only play on PC.
The classic structure of tycoon games has stood the test of time. They are being produced in new and innovative ways so everyone can experience the excitement of building an empire. If you want a simple and smooth ride, you’ve got titles like Jurassic World Evolution. If you want more of a challenge, maybe give Capitalism Lab a try. Regardless of your gaming style or interests, there’s a tycoon game out there for you. These are the best tycoon games available and give you some great options for loads of fun business ventures.
What is a Tycoon Game?
Tycoon games are basically simulation games that focus on business and economic development in a variety of different industries. You will typically build an empire from the ground up to maximize profits and achieve ultimate success in your business.
You will start by making your initial plan of action for the business. From there, you will physically build the structures required. You could be creating a city to building a prison, depending on the game. Once you make the structures, you will have to run and operate the developmental side of the business.
Typically, tycoon games will echo actual business types that are present in real-life. Some of the trailblazing tycoon games from back in the 80s were Lemonade Stand and Oil Barons. They were super basic, but they crafted the blueprint. They progressed from there and began to gain some momentum in the video game world. It’s crazy to think, but the first Sim City was released in the late 80s and became super popular.
The tycoon game trend reached its maximum popularity towards the end of the 90s. There are companies still releasing tycoon games to this day. Companies are continuously innovating and adding new spins on the classic tycoon structure.
You Can Apply Tycoon Games to Real-World Scenarios
Beyond just the fun of playing a video game, tycoon games are used for training. How? Many tycoon games feature scenarios that are very similar to running an actual. Creating business plans and strategies in the game can help you learn how to do the same in real-life. For many industries, this is a beneficial training tool. It can prep employees or students and build actual skills that will aid them in business settings.
Some examples of where industries are using tycoon games are in marketing, hospitality, management, and economics.
Since it is a game, players get the chance to mess up. They can test out strategies or ideas and see which ones work and which ones don’t. It’s a fact that training tools like games are more engaging to people than sitting through a lecture. There are higher materials and knowledge retention, and players are correctly implementing them into practice.
In the workplace, they can be used to teach employees the purpose of having an economic plan and structure. Many of the tycoon games have over 10,000 outcomes based on the moves you make.
Where Can You Play Tycoon Games?
The original tycoon games were created for PC. Computer tycoon games are still the most widely popular, though they are now available on many devices. You can find tycoon games for just about every console out there, including PlayStation and Xbox series. Tycoon games for mobile are also becoming increasingly more popular. Regardless of which is your preferred device, there’s a tycoon game on there for you.
Now for Some Fun!
All other factors aside, tycoon games are just a whole lot of fun. Who wouldn’t want to build their own Jurassic Park? The power is in your hands. Have you got what it takes to build a successful empire?
There have been hundreds of tycoon style games produced, but some are better than others. Are you looking to try some out but don’t know where to start? We’ve chosen the top 15 best tycoon games on the market and reviewed them all here. Our list will give you a solid base to start from on your journey to becoming the ultimate business tycoon.