Best 13 Games Like Spore For Sim And Strategy Fans
Real-time strategy and branching evolution are the elements Spore offers to make you “play God.” The 2008 game was quite unique on debut, and there was nothing else like it.
Spore’s innovation turned it into a cult following experience. Its tools allow you to use your imagination to customize beings and civilizations. You create a being and guide it from a cell to the “Space Age.”
In general, games like Spore should feature a mix or a twist or Maxis’ complex simulator:
- Spore is a life-sim, a social-sim, and an evolution-sim /”God-sim” in its first stages. The last evolution stage, the “Space Age,” mixes RTS, grand strategy, and 4X elements.
- The game offers procedurally generated planets and creatures. You’re free to explore these open-world planets to interact with other creatures peacefully or aggressively.
- The mechanics are fully open-ended. There’re branching evolution paths, multiple ways to interact with other creatures, and consequences for your choices.
- Developer: Revolutionary Games Studio
- Publisher: Revolutionary Games Studio
- Release Date: November 2021
- Platform: Windows, Linux, MacOS
Thrive is a 2D open-world evolution simulator sandbox where you take control of an organism on an alien planet. You begin your “campaign” with the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) and, like Spore, your goal is evolving your species.
Your species can adapt by adding mutations. However, other species will come to compete against you for survival. Mutations, as well as species, are random, so the game is entirely open-ended. There’s also a system that handles dynamic simulation to evolve your population.
The game also goes through various Stages, like Spore. You begin as a nucleus, become a cell, become sentient, create a society, manage a society, manage an empire, and “Ascent” to become a God. There’re seven stages, and whatever you do affects your survival chances in the following phase.
- Developer: Crytivo Games
- Publisher: Crytivo Games
- Release Date: August 2018 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS
Next on our list is a planet management simulator. You can guide a whimsical civilization through the ages. Its quirk is how the citizens (the “Nuggets”) can make their own decisions, but you may influence their decisions through power or faith.
The game starts in the Stone Age, where you start fulfilling the basic needs of your creatures, like fire and shelter. These necessities change with the ages. Moreover, there are weather simulations, seasons, catastrophes, and dynamic events in every place and age.
The gameplay will evolve as your civilization grows in power. Once you reach the Space era, you’ll be able to colonize other planets, harvest their resources, and expand your territory. That said, the game procedurally generates every planet.
Grow: Song of the Evertree
- Developer: Prideful Sloth
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: November 2021
- Platform:Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Song of Evertree, like Spore, mixes various genres for a unique strategy experience. It’s an immersive sandbox life-management sim with adventure, farming, and world-crafting elements.
You’re to grow your worlds, and see how your actions change the environment. You play in the Worlds of Alardia, a barren place where you can plant using ancestral knowledge.
The game has open-ended gameplay. The building mechanics allow you to craft a huge array of cute structures to customize your town. Other elements include solving puzzles, exploring caves, collecting flowers, mining minerals, catching bugs, fishing, and interacting with NPCs.
Species: Artificial Life, Real Evolution
- Developer: Quasar
- Publisher: Quasar
- Release Date: September, 2018
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS
“Species” is an evolution simulator with old-school graphics. Here, you create, observe, tinker, and destroy life. The goal is to create the perfect lifeform by understanding the principles of evolution and biology. It’s a tough task, though, and it requires plenty of trial and error.
That’s because every creature you create is unique. The differentiating element of all beings is their genes. You can observe their genes, or guide their behaviors. Then, children come out with slightly modified versions of their parent’s genes, which is how the species evolve.
Then, the environment and global catastrophes affect the creatures as they struggle to survive. Natural selection will do its part. You will get to see the fruits of your efforts in the death, survival, or reproduction of your species.
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: Aspyr Media
- Release Date: October 2016
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Civilization VI is a 4X game. That means a grand strategy title where you manage a civilization through the ages. The “Xs” stands for “Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate.”
So, rather than managing a species, you manage a historic civilization. There’s a win condition, though, as you can become the ruler through war, diplomacy, technological supremacy, or wonders.
The gameplay feels like the last two stages of Spore. That means you have a series of evolving mechanics to control every aspect of your civilization. You start with a single settlement and, turn by turn, turn it into an empire on procedurally generated campaigns.
Dawn Of Man
- Developer: Madruga Works
- Publisher: Madruga Works
- Release Date: March 2019
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, macOS
Dawn of Man is a colony simulator with RTS and survival mechanisms. You start by controlling a settlement of Stone Age humans, and the goal is guiding them up to the Iron Age – these are 10,000 years of ancient history.
You play with a top-down perspective, and you can command citizens with clicks, or build structures. Your mission is to help them survive, expand, and evolve.
To do so, they’ll need to hunt dangerous animals like Mammoths, gather natural resources, plan ahead to face seasons, expand and fortify settlements, research technologies, and more. Additionally, you have to manage “Happiness,” which helps you grow the population.
Kerbal Space Program
- Developer: Squad
- Publisher: Squad
- Release Date: June 2011
- Platform: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Kerbal Space Program is about you controlling a space program for the Kerbals, an alien race. That gives you access to complex mechanics you could enjoy for years. In other words, it’s a space colony simulator with sandbox mechanics and a physics engine.
The goal is to launch a Kerbal crew into orbit, and beyond. Then, perhaps, keeping them alive to explore the planets and satellites. However, mistakes, errors, and disasters are an integral part of the game. You could, for example, assemble a ship that can’t fly, based on realistic orbital and aerodynamic physics.
That said, there’re three gameplay modes. In Science, you can perform experiments to unlock techs. In Career Mode, you manage every aspect of the program (construction, strategy, upgrades, funding, tech, etc.). Lastly, the Sandbox mode grants all parts to build freely.
Oxygen Not Included
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Publisher: Klei Entertainment
- Release Date: July 2019
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS
Oxygen Not Included is a 2D space-colony simulator. The theme is a scarcity of oxygen, supplies, and warmth. So, you must guide your colonist through the dangers of living in the subterranean of a randomly-generated asteroid.
You control the space colony, from excavation to mining resources, power systems, plumbing, oxygen, and population growth. The trick is every breath depletes a resource. So, you must keep digging as fast as you can to find the supplies you need to sustain life.
The experience is stressful for both you and your inhabitants, so you need to manage Happiness via leisure activities. Additionally, the game includes complex thermodynamics, liquid, gas, and power grid simulations.
- Developer: TastyHamGames
- Publisher: TastyHamGames
- Release Date: July 2017 (in development)
- Platform: Windows
Planetoid 3 is an RTS title in space. You can choose a race to expand an empire, and grow in multiple ways. Like Spore, the game evolves, so you’ll be able to train ships to declare war, negotiate, or explore the stars.
The main game mode is Freemode, which doesn’t have a win condition. Instead, you start on a randomly-generated star system. Then, the journey is open-ended.
Overall, the gameplay is about expanding your civilization, interacting with other alien races, managing resources, and researching technologies. In particular, technology allows you to explore solar systems and colonize other worlds.
Endless Space 2
- Developer: Amplitude Studios
- Publisher: SEGA
- Release Date: May 2017
- Platform: Windows, macOS
Endless Space 1 and 2 are some of the best 4X games. These are grand-strategy games where you manage an intergalactic civilization across stars and planets. Unlike other genre titles, there’re no turns, as everyone acts simultaneously.
Consider it as a deeper, complex, fully-fledged Space Stage. On Spore, it works through mini-games, menus, and arcade-like systems. On Endless Space 2, though, you’ll handle combat, exploring, building, managing resources, trading, researching, and conquering.
There’s a story as well. A God-like entity known as the “Endless” colonized the galaxy eons ago. Only mystical ruins and artifacts remain, plus the magical Dust substance. You’re to explore the star system to discover the secret of the long-gone race.
Plague Inc Evolved
- Developers: Ndemic Creations
- Publisher: Ndemic Creations
- Release Date: September 2015
- Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux
Plague Inc: Evolved is a remake of “Plague Inc.,” which is available for Android and iOS devices. This is an RTS and simulation game where you evolve and control a pathogen.
The goal is to destroy the world with a plague. The title uses an epidemic model system that imitates a set of realistic variables to simulate the spread of the virus.
The gameplay comes with a world map interface. You start by controlling patient zero, and then, you get various tools to evolve and spread the virus worldwide. As the virus spreads, though, other countries will try to develop a cure.
Black & White 2
- Developer: Lionhead Studios
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: October 2005
- Platform: Windows, macOS (play with compatibility mode for Windows XP or Windows 7)
Black & White 2 is not available at official stores, but if the description is appealing, you may find it as an abandonware elsewhere. This game is the sequel to a popular God simulator game. It expanded the core gameplay by adding real-time strategy elements.
You play as a god, coming forth from the void to help the villagers that summoned you. You have a physical body in the world, a giant avatar creature. Your avatar can grow and evolve as an evil or a good deity according to how to punish or reward your citizen’s actions – your follower’s belief adds “Prayer Power.”
Additionally, there’re city-building elements, plus warfare. So, you develop a city, create military units, and go to war by controlling your fighting units. By the way, you interact with the world with the avatar’s hand, which you can use to cast powers or pick people, food, trees, and other stuff.
Populous: The Beginning
- Developer: Bullfrog Productions
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: November 1998
- Platform: Windows, PlayStation
Populous: The Beginning is the third part of an old-school strategy game. As the prequel to the story, though, newcomers can try it without issue. And we recommend it because it’s a classic, once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. The god-sim/RTS is available at the GoG store if you’re wondering.
You play as the leader of a tribe across a series of 25 episodes, on 25 different planets. On each planet, you must defeat a rival tribe and their shaman. However, each new tribe may have a new power or a new military unit, and you can learn powers and tech by praying in key locations.
The mechanics are simple, but the game itself is challenging. Villagers chop wood, build, reproduce at shacks, and train to become soldiers. Then, your Shaman gathers Mana as your population grows, which you can use to throw increasingly devastating powers.