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? Tycoon games are a popular game genre, but 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 your needs.
The tycoon games listed on this page offer many different game experiences from rollercoasters to lemonade to being a fairy godmother. All the games 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 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 tycoon games. For more games I recommend you start with the great collection of tycoon games (by Big Fish Games), the vast number of high quality online tycoon games (by Upjers) or the massive collection of classic simulation and tycoon games over at Good Old Games.
I love the tycoon game genre and I'm always looking for new games to play so please don't hesitate to stop by the comment section and share your own favourites.
The Best Tycoon Games
Find The Game For You
What Is A Tycoon Game?
Learn More About The Genre
Tycoon games at their core focus on management and building. Some tycoon games 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 tycoon genres mix of strategy and creativity make it a great alternative and casual game genre 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?See results without voting
Best Paid Tycoon Games
Best Games To Purchase
1 - Rollercoaster Tycoon (Series)
One Of The Best Tycoon Games 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.
RollerCoaster Tycoon is split into several scenarios which are completed by achieving particular objectives in a specific time period. Awards are also handed out to parks based on their safety, tidiness and the rides on offer.
Currently there are 3 games in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series and several expansion packs to go along with them. If you are interested in buying a game from the RollerCoaster Tycoon series look towards the bundles 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 Tycooon, then check out Carnival Tycoon ( #16 on this page). There are also many other games like Rollercoaster Tycoon featured on this page of best tycoon games.
If you are interested in playing the original Rollercoaster Tycoon then I recommend purchasing RCT from Good Old Games 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.
Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 - A Tycoon Classic
Amazon offers digital download and physical shipping of the Triple Thrill Pack which includes the original Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and its expansion packs (Time Twister and Wacky Worlds).
While the original game was definitely my favourite in the series (and one of the best tycoon games of all time) RCT2 is a close second and with this bundle the amount of rides and scenarios you'll get is more than enough to keep you busy.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Gameplay
2 - 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 Railroad Tycoon games focus on building railroads and the management of a railroad company. Players are in control of laying tracks, purchasing trains, making train schedules and building stations.
Railroad Tycoon is one of the easiest tycoon games to learn and is a visually attractive experience. My favourite feature of the Railroad Tycoon series is how the game makes you feel like a mighty powerful business tycoon 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. It was also my favourite from the series which is why it is recommended here.
My Favourite Game From The Series
Choosing my favourite game from the Railroad series isn't easy but I have to go with Railroad Tycoon 2 (Platinum Edition in particular) simply because the game mechanics were highly polished and provided the best tycoon experience.
Grabbing the Platinum Edition means you'll also get the expansion packs that add even more content to an already impressive and game.
Rail Road Tycoon 3 Intro
3 - Sim City (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 building tycoon game. Other titles in the series include SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, SimCity 4 and SimCity Societies.
The goal of the SimCity games is basically the same for the whole series with each addition adding more options than the previous version.
Players in SimCity 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 SimCity 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.
That latest SimCity game release stayed very true to the origins of the game and despite some early launching problems (now long over) the game is an absolute joy to play for both veterans and newcomers to the SimCity series.
I loved every minute I spent in the game which also gave me a great nostalgic feeling. Create your ultimate city with this ultimate SimCity experience.
SimCity Gameplay - SimCity (2013)
4 - 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 tycoon fans especially fans of gaming and the industry.
Game Dev Story Gameplay - (From iOS)
5 - Prison Architect
An Upcoming (But Already Available) Tycoon Game
Prison Architect is an upcoming tycoon game being 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. The game already offers an amazing experience and despite not being fully released is well deserving of its spot on this page.
This alpha game purchase grants players full access to the game as it develops through the Steam platform so you can follow the development of the game closely up until its release.
Inspiration for the game comes from a mixture of games 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 months ago and haven't been disappointed at what the game already offers or at the pace of updates.
Prison Architect Alpha Preview - An Overview Of What To Expect
6 - Lemonade Tycoon
For Those Times When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemonade Tycoon is available for PC or your iOS device. Lemonade Tycoon is 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 of Lemonade Tycoon 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.
When life gives you lemons, play Lemonade Tycoon.
Lemonade Tycoon Gameplay
7 - Zoo Tycoon
Create Your Own Zoo In This Popular Tycoon 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 (similar to RollerCoaster Tycoon). While Free Play Mode allows the player to create and design their zoo without specific objectives and less limitations.
Zoo Tycoon focuses primarily on business simulation, players must design zoo layout, 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 Zoo Tycoon 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 2 - Grab The Ultimate Collection!
If the Zoo Tycoon series sounds like a tycoon game that interests you then consider grabbing the Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection.
The pack offers the original game along with all 4 expansion packs so you'll have plenty of content to enjoy.
Create your exhibits, look after your animals and above all make sure your guests are happy!
After playing the expansions for Zoo Tycoon 2 it is hard to imagine the game without it simply because of the huge boost in content it offers.
Zoo Tycoon 2 Trailer
8 - Monopoly Tycoon
The Popular Board Game In A Tycoon Version
Monopoly Tycoon brings the popular board game of Monopoly into a tycoon style game focused on the construction and subsequent management of various properties and utilities. Monopoly Tycoon can be either played against the computer or with friends online, making it a great tycoon game 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
9 - Wildlife Park (Series)
A Tycoon Game Like Zoo Tycoon
The Wildlife Park Series is a collection of management and construction simulation game with many similarities to Zoo Tycoon. In Wildlife Park 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 to populate your park.
Popular animals available include Lions, Tigers, Polar Pears, 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 Wildlife Park is a great game option. All 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 Gold offers the original Wildlife Park 2 game and the Crazy Zoo expansion pack which adds over 30 new animals and plants. Including Ducks, Koalas, Black Bears, Kangaroos and even Spider Crabs
The expansion pack also offers players many new buildings like helicopter rides and shark cages.
Wildlife Park 2
10 - Fairy Godmother Tycoon
A Fun and Unique Tycoon 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 (similar to Lemonade Tycoon).
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 villagers and 2 different game modes.
Fairy Godmother Tycoon - Become The Best Fairy Godmother In This Unique Tycoon Game
Build up your own potion empire and make the Fairy Godmother proud. Research new and exciting potion recipes while managing your stock levels to turn a nice profit.
With superior store management and customer satisfaction you can earn enough profit to defeat your competitors.
Fairy Godmother Tycoon Trailer
11 - Plant Tycoon
Breed, Nurture and Grow Plants In This Great Tycoon Game
Plant Tycoon is 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
12 - Fish Tycoon
Breed and Sell Fish In This Addictive Tycoon Game
Fish Tycoon was originally released in 2004 for the PC and has since become a port for cell phones (iPhone and Windows Phone) and the Nintendo DS system. The game play is very similar to Plant Tycoon with the ultimate objective being to breed the 7 magic fish available in the game.
The player takes control of a fish store where you 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 Plant Tycoon 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
13 - Cinema Tycoon (Series)
Create and Manage Your Own Cinema
Cinema Tycoon has two games in its series. Both of these games puts 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 Tycoon style layout that is easy to navigate and perform the required actions on your way to the top. Fans of tycoon games may find the games 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 instalment of this series.
Cinema Tycoon 2 - My Preferred Game From The Series
The second game in the Cinema Tycoon franchise follows a similar gameplay style of the original and has you in charge of a growing cinema business. You'll hire the appropriate staff, set your prices and stock the candy bar with your favourites.
Of the two games in the series I definitely found Cinema Tycoon 2 to be more polished and generally more enjoyable overall.
Cinema Tycoon 2: Movie Mania
14 - Restaurant Empire
Build Your Own Restaurant Empire From The Ground Up
Restaurant Empire was released in 2003 with a sequel (Restaurant Empire 2) being released in 2009. The player is in charge of every aspect of their restaurant (and eventually restaurants) from the design, cooking, menu and even staff hiring.
In Restaurant Empire 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
The second game in this popular series of restaurant tycoon games has you tackle a variety of fresh new missions and cooking styles. The game also offers hundreds of interior design options. There is also a trial option available.
The second game in the series addressed my main issue in the original which was lack of dish variety. The inclusion of new dishes really helped boost the realism in this tycoon game.
Restaurant Empire 2 Gameplay
Best Free & Online Tycoon Games
Free To Download Or Play Online
15 - 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 past 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 Trailer
16 - 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 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 page.
17 - 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
18 - Carnival Tycoon
A Tycoon Game Like RollerCoaster Tycoon
Carnival Tycoon is a game like Rollercoaster Tycoon but 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.
19 - My Free Zoo
Control Your Own Zoo In This Free Browser Based Tycoon Experience
My Free Zoo draws inspiration from popular Tycoon games like Zoo Tycoon and Wildlife Park Tycoon to deliver a highly polished and visually impressive free tycoon game.
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 also 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
20 - Corporation Inc.
Create Your Push Button Corporation
Corporation Inc. allows you to build your own office tower and fill it with employees. Corporation Inc. is a Push Button company, where you make money from your employees pushing buttons all day long.
The games offers plenty of space to build an epic office and has many different staff that you can hire including workers, supervisors, janitors and researchers. The game also includes a bunch of objectives to teach you the ropes and get your office off to a good start.
The game also features 3 difficulty levels, so there is plenty of game play and replay value.
21 - Grand Prix Tycoon
Manage Your Team To Victory
If you've ever wanted to be the head of a F1 racing franchise now is your chance. You start with 2 million dollars and are in control of everything including driver, pit crew, research and grid girls.
While the game has you running the F1 franchise you still have a big impact on race day results. Pit stops and qualifying is completed by the player through a mini-game that requires you to press the keys on your keyboard as they appear on the screen. While during the actual race you are required to manage fuel consumption, how hard your driver drives (higher levels increase fuel use and chance of crashing).
With all the different options this game is definitely a stand out in the free tycoon genre.
22 - Shopping City
Build and Upgrade Shops In This Simple But Fun Tycoon Game
Shopping City is a fun tycoon game that features 9 different levels. As the player you are required to build different shops (10 available) to attract customers that walk by (via a pre-determined route).
You can also use things to slow down your customers such as benches, newspaper stands and ice-cream stalls to ensure they spend maximum money.
Each level has a different number of days that the player has to earn a specified amount of money. Shops can also be upgraded to improve the size and amount of money they make.
Play Shopping City
Shopping City Level 9
23 - Oiligarchy
Build An Oil Empire
Oiligarchy puts you in charge of our oil needs, you must explore land and sea to find oil deposits and then build wells on top of them.
The game also requires players to bribe governments and environmentalist groups in order to get pro oil laws past through parliament. If the player donates enough money to the party in charge they also gain access to the secret room where you can carry out evil deeds thanks to the president.
The game has plenty of depth and requires you to continually read the various random events that take place during the game in order to adjust your oil digging strategy.
24 - Airport Tycoon
Become A Tycoon Of The Air In This Airport Tycoon
Airport Tycoon gives you 24months 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 Youda Fisherman you aim to rebuild a once popular fishing tycoon by buying blueprints and hiring fishing ships in return for oil.
The game is played with the mouse and in-game interface which 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 will unlock 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 tycoon games section because there is so much content in the limited version it's almost a complete game in itself.
Youda Fisherman Gameplay
Sites For Free Tycoon Games - Check Out These Sites For More Great Online & Free Tycoon Games
- Tycoon Games - Free Tycoon Games at Addicting Games
Addicting Games is the largest source of tycoon games, including free tycoon games.
- Shockwave - Tycoon Games
Shockwave has a massive collection of Tycoon Games and plenty of free trials and demos for the big name Tycoon Games.
- More Games Like Roller Coaster Tycoon
Haven't satisfied your desire for tycoon games? Try this link for even more great tycoon games.
- Tycoon Games | Strategy Games
Play free tycoon games online. Build and manage business empires in the top tycoon games like Carnival Tycoon, Corporation Inc, Lemonade World, and more!
Other Pages I've Published:
Last updated on December 4, 2014
You can help the HubPages community highlight top quality content by ranking this article up or down.