Try your hand at a new career without ever leaving your sofa
ESRB Everyone: User Interact
Job type: Farmer
Widely regarded as the daddy of all job sims, the Farming Simulator series keeps rolling on, offering a dizzying array of ways to tend to your crops and livestock.
You can choose to work the land in either the US or Europe, each bringing different terrain, growing conditions, and considerations for the day-to-day running of your rural empire. Visit local businesses to process or sell your goods, choose from over 300 vehicles and tools to buy, and keep your machinery in good condition. The real skill is in knowing what equipment is right for the type of farm you want to run, and when to use it.
You can even visit other players’ farms online and take notes on where they grow their crops or graze their cows. Just watch where you step...
ESRB Everyone 10+: Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Simulated Gambling
Job type: Farmer
One of the biggest indie success stories ever, Stardew Valley is less a farming game and more of a “leave it all behind, move to the country, and live off the land” simulator. And who doesn’t dream of that?
You play a newcomer in Pelican Town, taking over your grandfather's farm and trying to make your way in the world. As you clear your land to grow and harvest crops, you can invest your profits in new buildings, livestock, and machinery, while spending your free time getting to know the townsfolk and building relationships – and maybe even settling down and getting married.
There are moral choices to make along the way – like whether to sell out to the soulless corporation trying to take over the town – and a smattering of adventure if you explore the caves.
ESRB Teen: Violence, Blood
Job type: Surgeon
A steady hand and a strong stomach are all you need to perform life-saving surgery on your patients. What could possibly go wrong? Well, you could lose your watch in their chest cavity for a start, and that’s before you consider how much damage an errant scalpel can do.
You’ll take on a series of gruesome, gory, and hilarious surgical procedures using your controller to steady the surgeon’s flailing limbs, and can even team up with a friend for some couch co-op.
ESRB Everyone: Mild Language, Violent References, Use of Tobacco, Alcohol Reference
Job type: Public transport developer
From coast to coast, the North American continent is wide open and prime for development – it’s just waiting for a rail network. Which is where you come in.
As you lay tracks between settlements, transporting people and goods around the country, you’ll see towns grow into cities, and the wealth flow from the economy back into your coffers.
There are plenty of challenges along the way however; budgets must balance, routes need to be optimised, workers and passengers have to be kept happy, and the great American terrain can sometimes get in the way of a smooth journey.
There are also a range of scenarios to play through, and plenty of DLC to expand your network into South America and Europe. All aboard!
Job type: Train driver
If you prefer driving the trains to laying the tracks, Train Sim World puts you in the cab of a huge array of heavy locomotives on some of the world’s most iconic railways – like the Northeast Corridor in New York, the Great Western Express in the UK, and Germany’s S-Bahn Rapid Transit route.
Real-world data has informed the performance and feel of each train, and as the driver you’ll have timetables to stick to and passengers to keep happy.
The platforms, junctions, and tunnels of each line are stunningly detailed, the inside of the cabs and carriages faithfully replicated, and the surrounding landscapes are a joy to behold – you can even play as a passenger and take it all in from the carriages. Just don’t put your feet on the seats.
Job type: Airport manager
You might expect the day-to-day running of a major international airport to be a complex operation requiring meticulous planning and coordination… and you’d be right, as you’ll find out in Airport Simulator.
You’ll manage every functional area of the airport, from hiring personnel and purchasing vehicles and machinery (and driving them around the site), to aircraft maintenance and preparing them to fly passengers around the world. Your airport will grow over time, adding more runways and terminals, bigger budgets and more and more passengers. After all that, you might need a holiday yourself…
Job type: Town planner
If a single farm, railway, or hospital just isn’t enough for you to manage, maybe you need a whole city to rule over. One of the most intricate city builders on PS4, Cities Skylines lets you plan and build every part of your settlement, laying roads and suburbs that will grow from a small town to a sprawling metropolis – if you balance the budgets and keep your population happy, that is.
From the glamour of building entertainment districts, monuments and parks, to the grit and grime of highway planning, waste management and corpse disposal, everything is under your control and needs to work in perfect harmony. Just make sure your sewer outlet is away from your drinking water supply.
ESRB MATURE 17+: Violence, Strong Language, Sexual Content, Blood, Drug Reference, Partial Nudity
Job type: Prison governor
If you’ve ever dreamed of running your own correctional facility – and let’s face it, who hasn’t – then this is just the ticket. This quirky simulator tasks you with constructing a prison from scratch, then managing every aspect of its day-to-day running.
Keep your inmates fed and clothed, put them to work in reform programs, stop them from rioting, ensure they are rehabilitated; and keep your books balanced.
If you identify more with the inmates than management, check out the Escape Mode DLC, which puts you in the shoes of a prisoner planning a daring breakout.
Job type: Office drone
While most of the games on this list expect you to master your chosen form of employment, this one is a little different: the goal is to escape your life of corporate drudgery for good.
Manipulate blocks and platforms in this abstract PS VR puzzle platformer to create an exit route for the beleaguered protagonist. Expect 78 fiendish levels to master, a catchy ‘80s-inspired soundtrack, and a thoughtful existential meditation on the futility of the contemporary white collar experience.
Job type: Rocket scientist
Take charge of the space program in this unique space-flight simulator and, using a vast array of interchangeable parts, assemble a fully-functional spacecraft based on real aerodynamics.
Launch your crew into orbit and beyond (while keeping them alive, obviously) to explore moons and planets in the Kerbal solar system, constructing bases and space stations to expand the reach of your expedition.
The three game modes - Science, Career, or Sandbox - have plenty of ways to keep budding rocket scientists busy. Just try to bring your crew home as heroes.
ESRB Teen: Violence, Mild Blood / In-Game Purchases
Job type: Theme park manager
Design and develop your own dinosaur theme park in this movie tie-in management sim from genre specialists Frontier Developments.
Take charge of operations on the legendary Muertes archipelago, transforming the quiet island into the ultimate tourist attraction and bringing the wonder, majesty, and danger of dinosaurs to life.
Of course, given the source material, prepare for things to go very, very wrong. With over 40 species of dinosaur to contain, running out of hot dog rolls and cleaning the bathrooms will be the least of your problems…
Job type: Head chef
Take charge of a frantic restaurant kitchen in Team17’s co-op smash hit. You’ll need to work together with other players to juggle food prep, cooking, serving, and cleaning up as the orders keep flying in.
Sounds straightforward? Well, what if we told you there was a busy pedestrian crossing slicing your kitchen in half? Or if your kitchen was situated in the middle of a toxic swamp? These are kitchen nightmares that demand more than a quick visit from Gordon Ramsay to remedy.
ESRB Everyone 10+: Crude Humor
Job type: All of them?
Really getting to the essence of what it means “to job”, Job Simulator transports you into a future where robots have taken over every aspect of daily life, rendering humans useless.
As an inquisitive robot, you’ll learn what it was like to have a job; become a gourmet chef, an office worker, and a mechanic, among others. Inside your PS VR headset you’ll control the droid’s newly acquired hands, completing a series of tasks, or just causing mayhem in the workplace. After all, throwing office equipment at your boss is much more fun than filing, right?
ESRB Everyone 10+: Crude Humor
Job type: Time to take a holiday!
After all that hard work, you probably deserve a holiday. And what better way than to re-join your robotic friends in virtual reality. In Job Simulator they learned what humans did “to job”; now they want to know how to “not job”…
There are a range of ways to unwind, from exploring a tropical island, cooking barbeques on the beach, and taking selfies, to scaling snowy mountains, having snowball fights, and going fishing. Of course, controlling the unwieldy limbs of a robot makes this vacation a little less than relaxing as chaos unfolds all around you, but the hilarious mess you make of your VR paradise is a lot more fun than lying by the pool anyway.
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