The 25 Best Tycoon Games - Free, Paid and Online
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)
What Is The Best Paid Tycoon Game?
The Best Tycoon Games
Find The Game For You
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.
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
Game (Year of Release)
RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2002)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (2004)
Windows, Mac, iOS
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D (2012)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile (2014)
RollerCoaster Tycoon World (TBA)
Windows, Mac, Linux
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 - A Tycoon Classic
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Gameplay
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
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.
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
Game (Year of Release)
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon (1990)
MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Atari ST
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon Deluxe (1993)
MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Atari ST
Railroad Tycoon II (1998)
Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast
Railroad Tycoon 3 (2003)
Sid Meier's Railroads! (2006)
My Favourite Game From The Series
Rail Road Tycoon 2 Gameplay
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.
7 - Zoo Tycoon
Create Your Own Zoo In This Popular Game
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
Game (Year of Release)
Zoo Tycoon (2001)
Zoo Tycoon 2 (2004)
Zoo Tycoon (2013)
Xbox 360, Xbox One
Zoo Tycoon 2 - Grab The Ultimate Collection!
Zoo Tycoon (2013) Trailer
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 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
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)
A Popular City Building Game
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.
If you are looking for something different, then SimCity Societies offers a different style of gameplay compared to the other instalments. The game puts emphasis on social engineering and also doesn't include the tax or zone systems present in the previous games.
This offers players more freedom and flexibility when designing their city. The game also boasts tonnes of visual customisation options for buildings and people.
PC SimCity Releases
Game (Year of Release)
Acorn Archimedes, Acorn Electron, Amiga, Amiga CDTV, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, BBC Micro, C64, DESQview, DOS, EPOC32, FM Towns, iOS (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad), PC-98, GBA, OLPC XO-1, OS/2, Linux, Mac OS, Mobile phone (Symbian or Java), NeWS, Web browser, SNES, Tk, Unix, Windows, X11 TCL, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Wii
SimCity 2000 (1994)
Mac OS, DOS, Amiga, Microsoft Windows, Various, SNES, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, N64, GBA, PSN, OS/2
SimCity 3000 (2000)
Mac OS, iOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mobile
SimCity 4 (2003)
Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
SimCity Societies (2007)
Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
SimCity Gameplay - SimCity (2013)
12 - Restaurant Empire
Build Your Own Restaurant Empire From The Ground Up
Restaurant Empire was released in 2003 with a sequel (Restaurant Empire 2) released in 2009. The player is in charge of every aspect of his or her restaurant (and eventually restaurants) including the design, cooking, menu and even staff hiring.
You start with a small amount of cash and your uncle's restaurant, from which you can expand and purchase other restaurants to eventually build a massive empire of cooking. The game features many different restaurant and food types (American, French, or Italian) with the sequel adding German food as an option. There are also hundreds of recipes and even secret recipes that the player can find.
The main game is played throughout Story Mode which also offers the player challenges to improve their empire. There is also a Sandbox Mode where players are free to do anything they want.
Restaurant Empire - A Restaurant Tycoon Experience
Restaurant Empire 2 Gameplay
13 - Game Dev Story
The Best Tycoon Game For iOS and Android
Game Dev Story brings the popular tycoon genre to your smartphone (iOS and Android) with a highly polished and unique experience that will appeal to every gamer's dream of running their own game development studio.
In Game Dev Story, you take on the role of humble video game development team and their journey to becoming a leader (or failure) in the gaming industry. Not only do you advance your company but you also move through the history of game development with new technology becoming available and tastes changing based on the real life history of the game industry.
Players focus their control on the production of hit video games which must make more money than their development costs. In Game Dev Story you'll have control of staff, game genre and the speed of game development which all impact on the final product that your team produces. After completion, the game is released to the public and is scored by critics which is always an exciting experience as you watch the praise roll in.
The simplicity of the game is its greatest asset and will prove to be addicting with fans of gaming and the industry
Game Dev Story Gameplay - (From iOS)
14 - Garbage Garage
Manage Your Own Scrap Yard
Garbage Garage offers something different in the tycoon/management genre by putting you in charge of your own scrap yard. You deal in junk cars, trains, boats, planes and even spacecraft in this uniquely fun browser game that has you managing the finances of your very own junkyard and even going head to head with other players in the arena.
Ultimately your goal is to become the most successful junk dealer in town as you expand the yard, decorate it and upgrade the various buildings to provide your income. All of this profit accumulates in your own custom ride that is half car and half deadly piece of machinery in the arena.
This car is highly customisable as you upgrade stats like life, attack, defense and speed while customising the colours and body kit of your ultimate ride. Players will also unlock items for the 5 available car slots for an added layer of customisation.
15 - Rail Nation
A Fun Rail Business Simulation Tycoon
Rail Nation is a strategic business simulation game that can be played within your browser. The player purchases rail stations and trains while allocating your resources as necessary for maximum growth.
You start the game with a small amount of cash and use this to go about building your empire. There are plenty of locations that you can purchase with the ultimate goal being an impressive rail empire.
The game play is solid and very enjoyable and offers plenty of interesting things to do, allowing players to build and mix things together to find the perfect balance for customers. The game is very easy to learn and the controls are extremely straightforward.
Rail Nation Gameplay
16 - Cinema Tycoon (Series)
Create and Manage Your Own Cinema
Cinema Tycoon has two games in its series. Both of these games put you at the head of a cinema and it is up to you to grow it into the best cinema around.
The game is very fun to play and has a great layout that is easy to navigate and perform the required actions on your way to the top. Fans of tycoon games may find it a little on the easy side, but the massive number of upgrades will make up for it.
Cinema Tycoon 2 has been higher rated than the original by critics (and I personally also enjoy it more) so I strongly recommend starting with the second installment of this series.
Cinema Tycoon 2 - My Preferred Game From The Series
Cinema Tycoon 2: Movie Mania
17 - Monopoly Tycoon
The Popular Board Game In A New Form
Monopoly Tycoon brings the popular board game into a tycoon-style game focused on the construction and subsequent management of various properties and utilities. It can be either played against the computer or with friends online, making it a great option.
The player is in charge of a business that owns various stores and blocks of land (housing and apartments) that are based on the Monopoly game board. Depending on the chosen difficulty, the objectives will range from gaining a financial to a political advantage over your opponents.
However, regardless of the difficulty selected, the underlying objective is to create the most wealth in a specific time period.
I really liked my time with Monopoly Tycoon (I was always a fan of the board game so I think that helped). If you also had a lot of fun with the board game during your childhood then I strongly recommend you check out what the game has to offer.
Monopoly Tycoon - Board Game Turned Tycoon Game!
Playing Monopoly Tycoon
18 - Lemonade Tycoon
For Those Times When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemonade Tycoon is available for PC or your iOS device. It's simple in design and is very easy to learn, making it a great accessible tycoon game (especially if you are new to the genre).
Strangely enough, the goal is to sell lemonade while making profit. Players have control of numerous business aspects including recipe, pricing and locations. The game even features news and weather which will change the way customers interact with your store.
Lemonade Tycoon 2 builds on the original gameplay and is set in New York City. The sequel also allows players to own multiple stands across multiple locations.
Each game version has only slight differences based on the platform. I preferred to play the game on my iPhone as a casual game option.
Lemonade Tycoon Gameplay
19 - Plant Tycoon
Breed, Nurture and Grow Plants in This Great Game
Plant Tycoon was developed by Last Day of Work and puts the player in charge of planting and growing seeds from over 500 species of plant in order to find the 6 magic plants available in the game.
The game runs in real-time much like the other games created by Last Day of Work (Virtual Families and Virtual Villagers). This means that even when you aren't at your computer your plants continue to grow.
Money is earned to buy supplies, upgrades and extra seeds by selling plant creations to customers in the nursery. There are also many other mini-games and optional activities available in the game such as bug catching and plant snapshots.
Plant Tycoon - Buy and Download Plant Tycoon
20 - Fish Tycoon
Breed and Sell Fish In This Addictive Game
Fish Tycoon was originally released in 2004 for the PC and has since become a port for cell phones (iPhone and Windows) and the Nintendo DS system. The objective is to breed the 7 magic fish available in the game.
The player takes control of a fish store where he or she must care for hundreds of different species while also breeding them to unlock the 7 magic fish. Players must also manage the fish store's finances to keep it profitable.
Overall the game is very similar to Plant Tycoon in design but replaces your plants with fish. If you find yourself hooked on what the latter offers or simply aren't interested in plants then Fish Tycoon makes a nice alternative.
Fish Tycoon - Buy and Download Fish Tycoon
Fish Tycoon Walkthrough
21 - The Wrestling Game
Build and Upgrade Your Wrestler In This Simple But Fun Game
Wrestling fans can rejoice with The Wrestling Game which lets you take your star from zero to hero in a game focused on the world of wrestling.
Playing as an inexperienced wrestler looking for that one big break you'll join an online world of other wrestlers as you train hard, battle against others an progress your career. In terms of games that capture the WWE, this is one of the best and does it all within your browser.
While the game started with humble beginnings, the recent addition of 3D wrestling matches adds much more life to the experience, adding an extra layer to the management focused gameplay. For wrestling fans that also love their tycoon games you now finally have a choice that lets you manage a wrestling career.
As of early 2015, the game has already captured an audience of over 200k wrestling fans and regular has thousands of players online.
The Wrestling Game 3D Preview
22 - Prison Block
Survive Prison In This Management Game
Prison Block is a browser-based game that takes place in a prison, combining management and strategy into a single experience. You'll have to manage all parts of prison life, from fighting other prisoners, to making cash for jobs and upgrading your cell to offer permanent stat boosts.
With tens of thousands of users, hundreds online during the day and a player base that continues to grow rapidly, it is a great experience for anyone wanting a free tycoon game with a prison theme.
The level of depth for a free browser game is particularly impressive with many elements being very well-designed and lots of gameplay mechanics to master.
23 - Carnival Tycoon
A Game Like RollerCoaster Tycoon
It's free and playable completely online in your browser with no download required.
The game challenges you to build a successful carnival and has 3 different difficulty levels to keep you busy (best to start on Easy as it provides a good tutorial about the game fundamentals and systems).
Like most tycoon games Carnival Tycoon has heavy emphasis on making sure the visitors in your carnival are happy. However, you must find the fine balance between what makes them happy and what is most profitable to your business.
Carnival Tycoon allows players to build tonnes of different stalls and rides, allowing you to build the perfect carnival.
24 - Airport Tycoon
Become A Tycoon Of The Air In This Airport Management Game
Airport Tycoon gives you 24 months and $12.5 million to turn your average airport into the most popular airport around. You have complete control over many of the airport aspects, including how many runways you have (and their maintenance), cafe/shop products, baggage handling and passport control capacity, destinations (10 possible locations) and marketing campaigns.
The game uses a simple graphic interface and is played with only the mouse. Players upgrade aspects of their airport as they see necessary and then receive a monthly report about how the various airport aspects performed.
25 - Youda Fisherman
Your The (Youda) Fisherman In This Tycoon Game
Youda publish many great tycoon and strategy style games, my personal favourite being Youda Fisherman. In that game, you aim to rebuild a once popular fishing business by buying blueprints and hiring fishing ships in return for oil.
The game is played with the mouse and the in-game interface allows players to hire ships, defend against pirates and trade objects. Each level has a different objective which could be collecting 10 boxes of fish to collecting a hundred logs of wood.
Slowly the player unlocks new buildings, which unlocks even more content. There is a limited version of the game available for free but the full version will set you back $9.95. This game is included in the free games section because there is so much content in the limited version it's almost a complete game in itself.