Oxygen Not Included almost didn’t make this list. I have been playing this game since pretty much the original alpha launch. I liked the idea of a sims style game. I always liked Sim Tower when I was younger. Turns out this game is a lot more complex than that though.
At first the game mechanics were fairly simple. Dig out a world, make oxygen, conserve water, watch temperatures. Then they added freaking SPACE. It gets wild so fast. With so much to do I feel the new dynamics actually make it a little challenging for new players to get the swing of it.
That said though, the game is still extremely fun. I’ve spent so many hours on this game I don’t even want to admit the number. Trying new things. Attempting to optimize my bases. Even though I admit I know there are more efficient ways to do things. But I don’t want to just look it up, I want to feel like I did it on my own. Some people come up with absolutely wild bases that I can’t hold a candle to.
If you’re looking for a mental challenge over a skill one, this game is definitely for you. It’s still in developmental release from Steam, but the developers are very active and keep adding new stuff. Only downside is that I have to start a new base sometimes to fully utilize the added content.