A new lo-fi Sims competitor just launched in early access

On the very short list of games attempting to take a bite out of The Sims, I was not expecting to find a super pixelated, funky game like Tiny Life. It may not be sleek and polished like Paralives or have the former Sims developer pedigree of Life By You, but Tiny Life launched in early access today with a roadmap full of ideas and a demo version that you can try for yourself.

I spent about an hour with the Tiny Life demo and it sure is lo-fi Sims: It's got a radial menu for actions, the same six basic needs (energy, hunger, social, toilet, hygiene, entertainment), and all the strange quirks that little simulated people wind up having. 

At one point the two adults in my household just kept pulling meals out of the fridge with the intention to cook and setting them down until they were surrounded by ingredients for grilled cheese, spaghetti bolognese, and tuna melts but refused to finish any of them. Meanwhile their adopted son Winter kept sleeping in his parents' bed and their first-ever neighbor visitor made fun of them for being unemployed. You know, the usual life sim chaos.

(Image credit: Ellpeck Games)

The demo version is quite pared down, with a small set of furniture and finishes available, though there are more in the paid early access version that launched today. Aside from my sad eyes struggling to parse the very low pixel count aesthetic, my quibbles with it were minor, like not knowing how long my Tiny is about to spend doing an action. 

Tiny Life does have some bits that Sims players have been wishing for, like open world neighborhoods where Tinies can move freely from lot to lot. It supports mods and Steam Workshop content, including custom neighborhood maps.

Over on its website, Tiny Life has laid out a list of features it plans to develop during early access including more life stages (only adults, children, and babies so far), more events, multiple floors in build mode, seasons, pets, and multiplayer.

You can download the Tiny Life demo on Itch.io or on Steam or get the early access version on Steam for 10% off its usual $14.99 price until May 10.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.