- Business management games provide a sense of achievement for players, even in a virtual setting.
- Some standard business sims can become repetitive after successful runs, prompting players to seek more challenging options.
- Difficult business management simulators like Cook, Serve Delicious! and Two Point Hospital require players to balance speed, control, and resource management.
Business management games are some of the most popular sims on the markey, particularly among more casual gamers. Building up a business and managing it can be a satisfying experience, especially when it ends up being successful. Even virtually, this can provide a real sense of achievement for players.
10 Most Complex Management Games
Certain management games crank the complexity up to eleven. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
Even games that offer complex budgets can often be manipulated for an easier experience, meaning the challenge can be lessened dramatically. However, for players looking for a challenge, the more standard business sims can become stale after a few successful runs. With this in mind, what are the most difficult business management simulators available?
10 Cook, Serve Delicious!
Manage a restaurant at break-neck pace
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Android, Linux, Windows, iOS, MacOS
- Release Date: 10-5-2012
- Developer: Vertigo Gaming
Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a chaotic management game in which the player takes control of their own restaurant. This sounds like an easy enough task, but as the player improves their restaurant, more customers will come in, especially during the rush periods. As the game becomes more complicated, it becomes a lot easier to make mistakes as the control system seemingly becomes more intuitive yet more complex.
Cook, Serve Delicious! can be a hard game to get used to due to the fast speed and the unconventional control system.
Design and manage the perfect amusement park
- Platforms: Linux, Windows, MacOS
- Release Date: 5-5-2016
- Developer: Texel Raptor
Parkitect is the spiritual successor to the Rollercoaster Tycoon series, as players design and manage their very own amusement park. The design aspect can be hard enough to get right, but the management aspects of the game add another layer of complexity to this game. Managing the needs of guests and staff is a standard aspect of the genre, and that is very present in this game.
10 Darkest Management Games, Ranked
For players looking for something darker than a cozy farm management game, there are plenty of options available.
Parkitect invites players to get involved in the business of amusement parks, and this can be hard to get right.
8 Two Point Hospital
Get into the business of healthcare
Two Point Hospital
- August 30, 2018
- Two Point Studios
Two Point Hospital may not seem too difficult when players first load it up. The goal is simple: cure as many patients as possible while spending as little money as possible doing so. As the ailments patients experience ramp up, though, so do the costs of curing them. Balancing the money against the goal can be hard enough, but adding in the fact that the patients have needs while in the hospital makes the game fairly challenging.
Two Point Hospital is all about taking care of the patients, but not literally at any cost, as money can be a tricky resource to manage.
7 NIMBY Rails
Design and manage the railways
- Platforms: Windows
- Release Date: 1-26-2021
- Developer: Weird and Wry
NIMBY Rails puts the player in full control of the world’s railway systems, as it opens on an empty map and invites players to take control and set everything up. The only restriction is that players cannot build where there are pre-existing rivers or buildings; otherwise, they can expand wherever they want. With the added constraint of a budget, managing all this while trying to meet the demands from passengers can be tricky.
NIMBY Rails is a game that shows just how hard it can be to organize a wide-scale public transport system.
6 Planet Zoo
Run a zoo, keeping guests and animals happy
- November 5, 2019
Planet Zoo is one of the most in-depth Zoo Tycoon-style games available, which both makes it one of the best and one of the most difficult. Each animal has strict needs, including a privacy need, which can be hard to meet within the budget while also keeping guests happy and paying. There is a focus on conservation and releasing animals into the wild, which can grant the player rewards, but is not always available, adding an extra challenge.
Planet Zoo is a complicated yet fun zoo management sim for the modern era, which places emphasis on the animals’ well-being as much as the guests.
5 Jurassic World Evolution 2
Manage a Jurassic-themed amusement park
Jurassic World Evolution 2
- November 9, 2021
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a surprisingly challenging theme park management game in which players must design their own Jurassic Park-themed attractions. Getting the balance right in this game can be a challenge, as the park needs to be enticing enough for visitors without costing too much to run. All this while managing prehistoric animals in the park, and making sure they don’t get loose.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 improves on its predecessor by increasing the amount of things available for the park, while also upping the difficulty level.
4 Tropico 6
Manage the business of politics
- March 29, 2019
- Limbic Entertainment
Tropico 6 makes players take on the role of the dictator of an island nation, putting them in the business of politics. Players must manage everything about their island, from what farms are growing and the quality of this product, to how many workers are needed for a business and how educated they need to be. Managing all of this is extremely difficult, and players can find themselves with a rebellion on their hands fairly quickly if they do a poor job.
Tropico 6 is the most difficult game in the franchise, but it’s still incredibly enjoyable to play once players get a handle on the game’s political aspects.
3 Prison Architect
Build and manage a private prison
Prison Architect puts players in control of designing and managing their own private prisons. Designing a functioning prison is hard enough, as players are usually working blind with regard to how the prison will work with prisoners actually living there. Managing it is where the real difficulty comes in, which only increases with the available DLCs, all of which add more realism to the game.
Keeping prisoners happy is a difficult thing to do while keeping to a budget in Prison Architect, making it a real challenge.
Lord over a factory-based empire
- August 14, 2020
- Wube Software
- Simulation , Real-Time Strategy
Factorio is a notoriously difficult game to get the hang of, even for players who are veterans of the business sim genre. Players must harvest resources constantly to ensure their factory empires have enough resources to run and thrive. Players can create their own blueprints for factory parts to lighten the load a little, but overall, the game is just grueling to get through, especially when advanced technologies are unlocked.
Best Sci-Fi Management Games
Management games come in all shapes and sizes, but sci-fi management games are easily the most intriguing in setting and mechanics.
Factorio requires players to be fully dedicated to expanding their factory empire, making it one of the most difficult business management games.
1 Big Pharma
A painfully difficult medical business sim
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, Windows, MacOS
- Release Date: 8-27-2015
- Developer: Twice Circled, Klabater
Finally, the most difficult business management game available for players today is Big Pharma. The game is based on the medical system, as players are in the pharmaceutical business and must build and manage their medical factories. Each medicine requires different raw materials, which players must source while also managing the side effects and concentration levels of each one. The game is intrinsically complicated and is extremely difficult to understand and get the hang of.
Big Pharma is an incredibly challenging medical-based business management game, requiring intense attention to detail from its players.
MORE: Management Games For Newcomers To The Genre