Sid Meier once said that “a game is a series of interesting choices”, apparently. I never heard him say it, but it is a pretty good quote. What I can be certain of, is that he is why those Civilization games exist. While his role now is described as “more of an institutional memory repository”, I’m sure he’s still there, lurking in corners.
There are two good reasons he’s famous. First off, he put his name on the front of some of the best-selling strategy games ever. That’s a surefire way to make sure everyone knows your name. If you ever make something good, put your name on it! Be like Sid Meier. Be like Bennet Foddy. The second reason is that he’s the granddaddy of 4X strategy video games. But, maybe you’re bored of Civilization, if so, we can help with our list of the best games like Civilization available portably.
If you don’t know what 4X is, it’s a term that derives from the game Master of Orion, as the writer described it as an XXXX game. A good joke, but also a useful abbreviation. The Xs represent the four core things in the game. You explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. Colonialism simulator! Yay! Anyway, if you’re not loyal to the empire, we’ve also got a list of the best Switch strategy games so you can be strategic rather than commit virtual atrocities.
Now, let’s get into our list of the best games like Civilization on Switch and mobile.
Games like Civilization
Rise of Cultures
This is a game that sees you building your own civilisation, and one that goes for a strong human-centric perspective. What do we mean by that? Well, the shoulders upon which your empire stands are not disposable units, but rather a community that you have to keep happy and fulfilled with the creation of different culturally-enriching structures around your city. Different structures give different bonuses, but only for those who work and live within a certain range of them.
Beyond the city-building aspects of the game, Rise of Cultures is also going to appeal to Civilization fans due to the way that it draws many elements out of real world history. And, of course, what is history full of, if not war? Your civilisation will inevitably clash with another, which then changes the gameplay into a strategy game. For a free game, there’s a lot of meat on its bones, and we definitely recommend it.
Slime Rancher – Switch
While this is a first-person simulation game, it does share some similarities to Civilization. You are Beatrix LeBeau, and you set out to a distant planet to become a slime rancher. Slimes are these cute little creatures (we have a great guide to all the Slime Rancher slimes if you need it) that produce things called plorts. You hang out, build up your ranch, and explore a new world. It’s not that much like Civilization, but it shares some vibes for sure.
Slime Rancher Slime Rancher $24.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
Cities Skylines – Switch
So, you like building up a kingdom. If you like Civ, that’s a given. But what if you want more control over the minutiae of a city? That’s where Cities: Skylines comes in. If you’ve ever played SimCity, this game is the same, but better. Build up a city, control all aspects from electricity and water to schooling and taxes, and try not to ruin your citizens’ lives. Lovely stuff.
Islanders – Switch
A procedurally generated city-builder, Islanders is chill to the max. It has a minimalist design, lovely soundscapes, and casual but engaging building mechanics. Every island you start out on is procedurally generated, having a wide range of environments to pull from. It’s just a really straightforward city-builder, which is lovely.
Islanders Islanders $4.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
For the King – Switch
Hey, look! Hexagons! Any Civ player likes hexagonal maps, and that’s what For the King has. Beyond that, it has a really interesting blend of strategy, turn-based combat, and RPG and roguelike elements. It also has a wonderfully soft, pastel art style, and bags of charm to boot.
For the King For the King $24.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
Kingdom: Two Crowns – Switch and mobile
The second game in the woefully underappreciated Kingdom series, Two Crowns perfects the formula from the original game, but this time with co-op. You have to build up a city during the day, running out from beyond the walls and exploring for resources, before defending against attacks at night. It’s gorgeous to look at and brilliantly engaging throughout.
Kingdom Two Crowns Kingdom Two Crowns $19.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
80 Days – Switch and mobile
80 Days is one of the best games ever made. Developed by the so-talented-it-makes-me-angry Inkle, it’s a reimagining of the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days in a steampunk style. You’re Passepartout, servant to Phileas Fogg, and have to facilitate his journey around the world. It’s all delivered by text, crossing the boundaries of novels and games, and that’s where it shines. It has some exceptional writing throughout, and feels like something out of a classic novel rather than a video game.
80 Days 80 Days $12.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
Rome: Total War – mobile
The Total War series is unmatched when it comes to recreating war. If the thing that annoys you most about Civ is the lack of control during battles, the excellent mobile port of Rome: Total War might be for you. You take control of one of many, many factions, and try to conquer the world. When you need to fight a battle, you get down and dirty with the troops, directing them where to attack and how. Nothing comes close. If you’ve played too much Rome, don’t worry, Total War: Medieval 2 is coming to mobile this spring to help out.
Rome: Total War Rome: Total War $9.99 Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
That should be enough strategy for you. Any one of the best games like Civilization could take up hundreds of hours just like Civ does for me, often. If you need more recommendations, we got ‘em. You can check out our list of the best mobile strategy games for your next fix.