Skip to main content
Updated date:

The 25 Best Tycoon Games - Free, Paid and Online

the-best-tycoon-games-2

The Best Tycoon Games - Free, No Download (Online) and Paid

Looking for a collection of the best tycoon games? A popular game genre, there are so many available these days that it can be difficult to pick one to play.

This page features my personal favourite games from the genre with a mixture of options (free, paid and browser based) that will ensure everyone can find a game that suits his or her needs.

The games listed on this page offer many different experiences from rollercoasters to lemonade to being a fairy godmother. The ones on this page feature a review of the game, a video of the gameplay and any relevant links to play or purchase the game.

With so many tycoon games out there, I couldn't possibly include them all, as such I've limited this list to the 25 games that I consider to be the best. For more recommendations, start with the great collection available at Big Fish Games or for free online options try the high quality online games by Upjers.

I love these games and I'm always looking for new ones to play, so please don't hesitate to stop by the comment section and share your own favourites.

All images on this page have been provided by publisher media departments for the purpose of critique.

What Is A Tycoon Game?

Learn More About The Genre

At their core, they focus on management and building. Some have a larger focus on building (such as cities, theme parks or zoos) while other focus more on managing finances, staff or moods of customers.

The genre's mix of strategy and creativity make it a great alternative to other games currently on the market.

What Is The Best Tycoon Game? - (Not All Tycoon Games Listed)

My Sunny Resort

My Sunny Resort

1 - My Sunny Resort

Create Your Own Resort Corporation

If creating a theme park, restaurant, city or business isn't something that interests you, then a resort might just be the next best thing. My Sunny Resort not only gives you control over a unique beach side resort but also staff, finances and even individual rooms in your resort.

It also avoids the pitfalls of other similar games with less down time thanks to the way you'll have to interact with your guests to maximise the amount of money you make from each one. This can be as simple as assigning them to a more expensive room that meets their needs, selecting a restaurant for them to dine out or an activity to extract the last few dollars.

This intense amount of customisation will have you spending hours on your resort as you go from a single room to an island full of volleyball courts and high profile rooms with all the luxuries you could ever want a resort.

My Sunny Resort - Official Website

2 - Rollercoaster Tycoon (Series)

One Of The Best and My Personal Favourite

RollerCoaster Tycoon is often considered one of the very best tycoon games. Players are placed in charge of a theme park and go about building rides, hiring staff and managing the finances. Players can also design their own roller coasters to bring visitors to their park.

The game is split into several scenarios that are completed by achieving particular objectives in a specific period. Awards are also handed out to parks based on their safety, tidiness and the rides on offer.

Currently, there are three games in the series and several expansion packs to go along with them. If you are interested in playing, look for the bundled packages, which include the game and the expansions at a nicely reduced price (while giving you access to a large amount of content).

If you want a free game like Rollercoaster Tycoon, then check out Carnival Tycoon ( #16 on this page).

If you are interested in playing the original Rollercoaster Tycoon, then I recommend purchasing RCT from Good Old Games (GOG.com) to remove compatibility issues with newer computers. The second and third game in the series won't have these issues and can be found from a variety of retailers including Amazon and Steam.

The RCT Franchise

Metacritic scores are for the first platform listed, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.

Game (Year of Release)PlatformsMetacritic Score

RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)

Windows, Xbox

87

RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2002)

Windows

74

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (2004)

Windows, Mac, iOS

81

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D (2012)

Nintendo 3DS

39

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile (2014)

iOS, Android

35

RollerCoaster Tycoon World (TBA)

Windows, Mac, Linux

N/A

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 - A Tycoon Classic

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Gameplay

Prison Architect

Prison Architect

3 - Prison Architect

An Upcoming (But Already Available) Game

Prison Architect is a game developed by Introversion Software which has you take control of your own maximum security prison.

The game has been available for alpha purchase since late 2012 but has since been completed. This title offers a amazing experience and despite taking some time to release was well worth the wait.

Inspiration for the game comes from a mixture of other titles, but the most notable is Bullfrog's Theme Hospital with its building elements and similar view perspective. As you would expect from the genre, players have great control over the prison operations from staff, cell blocks, finances and keeping the inmates manageable.

I bought my alpha game version only a few months in and it has been a joy to watch this game develop into the impressive full version.

Prison Architect Alpha Preview - An Overview Of What To Expect

My Fantastic Park

My Fantastic Park

4 - My Fantastic Park

A Free And Online Alternative To Rollercoaster Tycoon

My Fantastic Park is one of my favourite alternatives to the Rollercoaster Tycoon series and can be played online for free within your browser, making it a great way to pass time regardless of your computer system (great option for laptop gamers especially).

The game is published by Upjers who run many great browser based experiences, which means a high quality of service and game up time.

As you would expect from the title, you are put in charge of developing your own amusement park with the game pushing you forward with challenges. The game is beautifully presented and offers a huge number of attractions and decorations to spread across your park.

The sheer amount of customisation in the game will have you playing for hours on end as you mix and match your favourite rides to meet the demands of your ever growing visitor population.

My Fantastic Park - Official Website

5 - Railroad Tycoon (Series)

Build And Manage Your Own Railroad Company

The Railroad Tycoon franchise began in 1990 with the most recent additions being Railroad Tycoon 3 (2003) and Sid Meier's Railroads! (2006).

The games focus on building railroads and managing a railroad company. Players are in control of laying tracks, purchasing trains, making train schedules and building stations.

It's easy to learn and is a visually attractive experience. My favourite feature of the series is how the game makes you feel like a mighty powerful business person while requiring minimal micromanagement.

The pick of the series for me is without a doubt Railroad Tycoon 2, which scored a high 89 on Metacritic.

The Railroad Tycoon Franchise

Metacritic scores are for the first platform listed, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.

Game (Year of Release)PlatformsMetacritic Score

Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon (1990)

MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Atari ST

N/A

Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon Deluxe (1993)

MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Atari ST

N/A

Railroad Tycoon II (1998)

Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast

89

Railroad Tycoon 3 (2003)

Windows, Mac

80

Sid Meier's Railroads! (2006)

Windows, Mac

77

My Favourite Game From The Series

Rail Road Tycoon 2 Gameplay

OpenTTD

OpenTTD

6 - OpenTTD

A Free Version Of Transport Tycoon

OpenTTD is a fan developed remake of the popular Transport Tycoon game. The original game was released in 1994 but because of its age (and lack of availability) I strongly recommend that gamers try out OpenTTD instead.

At the core of OpenTTD is a business simulation game, supported by simple 2D graphics. The player controls a transport company (did you guess that from the title of the original game?) and must expand it while competing with other transport companies. The ultimate goal is to gain as much profit as possible by transporting goods and people by air, sea, road and rail.

The game offers a very similar experience to Transport Tycoon but has been updated (and supported) to work with modern operating systems, so I have to definitely recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of a transport based tycoon experience.

OpenTTD can be played for free by using a different set of base graphics if you do not own the original Transport Tycoon game. You can read more about installing OpenTTD over at the OpenTTD installation page wiki.

OpenTTD - Official Website

OpenTTD Gameplay

7 - Zoo Tycoon

The Zoo Tycoon series started back in 2001 and puts the player in charge of building up a successful and profitable zoo while also completing several scenarios and goals in Scenario Mode. Free Play Mode allows the player to create and design their zoo without specific objectives and less limitations.

The game focuses primarily on business simulation: players must design zoo layouts, insert animals, hire the necessary staff and build various stalls to keep visitors happy.

The games are available on several platforms including Mac, PC and Nintendo DS. If you are looking to purchase the game, I recommend either the Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection or the Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection (my personal favourite shown below). These products combine the original games with the various expansion packs available, giving you tonnes of potential content in a single bundle at a reduced price.

Zoo Tycoon Franchise

Metacritic scores are for the first platform listed, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.

Game (Year of Release)PlatformsMetacritic Score

Zoo Tycoon (2001)

Windows, Macintosh

68

Zoo Tycoon 2 (2004)

Windows, Mac

72

Zoo Tycoon (2013)

Xbox 360, Xbox One

68

Zoo Tycoon 2 - Grab The Ultimate Collection!

Zoo Tycoon (2013) Trailer

My Free Zoo

My Free Zoo

8 - My Free Zoo

Control Your Own Zoo in This Free Browser-Based Game

My Free Zoo draws inspiration from popular games like Zoo Tycoon and Wildlife Park to deliver a highly polished and visually impressive playing experience.

Of course the game has particular appeal to animal lovers with its cute animal management focused gameplay. You won't spend all your time managing animals, though you will have to carefully design enclosures, build supporting stalls (food) and of course look after the finances.

As you go through your My Free Zoo adventure you'll level up and slowly gain access to new animals and objects to increase your park's popularity. Just like in similar games, you are guided through your adventure by receiving main and side quests.

My Free Zoo - Official Website

My Free Zoo Trailer

9 - Wildlife Park (Series)

A Game Like Zoo Tycoon

The Wildlife Park Series is a collection of management and construction simulation games with many similarities to Zoo Tycoon. You are put in charge of a wildlife park and required to maintain the finances and guests that enter your park. The game has massive appeal to animal lovers, as it features over 60 different animal species.

Popular animals available include lions, tigers, polar bears, pandas, dolphins, goats and even hammerhead sharks. Players are also able to breed animals to create new additions into their zoo (only if you provide excellent conditions for an animal species).

If you are a fan of Zoo Tycoon or have ever wanted to design and manage a wildlife park filled with tonnes of different animal species then this is a great option. All the animal species are beautifully animated and even watching them interact with each other is an exciting experience.

Wildlife Park 2 - Gold Edition!

Wildlife Park 2 Gameplay

Fairy Godmother Tycoon

Fairy Godmother Tycoon

10 - Fairy Godmother Tycoon

A Fun and Unique Game

Fairy Godmother Tycoon has a heavy focus on business simulation and maximising profit in a unique game environment. Players must establish a successful potion shop in several of the cities available in the game.

Players are given control of a potion shop and must handle the budget and day-to-day activities of the business. This includes supplies, pricing and researching new potion recipes. The weather can also have an impact on the mood and purchase needs of customers.

The game also offers many interesting characters to interact with, including hired goons, loan sharks and freelance workers (all with a fairy tale theme behind them). Occasionally players will even get a visit from a popular fairy tale character that will trigger special events.

Fairy Godmother Tycoon offers hundreds of options within 9 different villages and 2 different game modes.

Fairy Godmother Tycoon - Become The Best Fairy Godmother In This Unique Tycoon Game

Fairy Godmother Tycoon Gameplay

11 - SimCity (Series)

SimCity is a city-building game that also has a console series available. The game originally appeared in 1989 as SimCity and since then has grown to be a popular franchise.

The goal is basically the same for each entry in the series, with each addition adding more options than the previous version.

Players must build and develop a city while focusing on maintaining the happiness of their population and their cities' bank balance. In the later additions to the series, players are also given lots of choice regarding terrain adjustments to create more customisation. SimCity 4 is definitely the most popular game in the series.