While some games are specifically designed to be educational tools for improving time management, this list will look at recognized, enjoyable video games that can improve the valuable skill of time management more naturally.
Overcooked was developed by Ghost Town Games and first released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in August 2016 before arriving on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S in the years that followed.
As the name suggests, Overcooked is a cooking simulator that puts players in the heat of a fast-paced kitchen. However, Overcooked strays far away from the realism side of simulation titles, as the game gives players ridiculously convoluted kitchen layouts to work in, as they desperately try to time their many pots and pans efficiently and stop anything from burning.
Both Overcooked and its sequel, Overcooked 2, are among the most casually enjoyable couch co-op games available today.
The Farming Simulator series originally rose to prominence as a meme, as many people were surprised to learn that people opted to do regular jobs in their gaming sessions instead of embarking on fantasy adventures. However, it soon became clear to players that simulation games like Farming Simulator and Truck Simulator had plenty to offer, as both games are deceivingly addictive and perfect for playing while listening to a podcast.
With the many crops and cattle to manage, finances to keep on top of, and side jobs to complete - Farming Simulator improves time management skills in a true-to-life way.
The surprise success of the Farming Simulator series has led to the franchise being able to release new entries every couple of years. It has also inspired numerous other farming games that are likewise excellent for teaching time management, such as Stardew Valley, Farm Together, and Pure Farming.
SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off is a cooking simulator like Overcooked but plants players firmly on the grill instead of having them run around the kitchen like uncooked chickens. Players would be mistaken in thinking that this will make life easier for them, though, as the game will soon fill the player's screen with a ton of things to keep an eye on, such as customer orders, drinks, toppings, and burgers being cooked on an extremely hot grill that will soon burn them if they stay on for too long.
Like Farming Simulator, Krusty Cook-Off is incredibly addictive, as it constantly gives players something to work towards, such as purchasable upgrades for the kitchen or nicer tables and chairs for the customers. The game looks almost identical to the Spongebob TV show, making it a great option for parents who want to help their children learn time management skills like prioritization without telling them that they're learning something.
Two Point Hospital was developed by the aptly named British development team Two Point Studios and first released on PC in August 2018 before arriving on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in February 2020. The game is a spiritual successor to the '90s classic Theme Hospital.
Like Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital tasks players with building a hospital from scratch. Players must build important rooms like GP Offices, DNA Labs, and Wards; hire and maintain staff; and keep people happy by ensuring that food, drinks, and toilets are available. However, the game doesn't take itself too seriously, exemplified by the cartoonish animations and bizarre treatment types, such as the need to build a Clown Clinic to ensure that "clowns are rehabilitated for post-circus life."
Players must manage their time well in Two Point Hospital, otherwise, they will have to deal with a plethora of issues such as patients going hungry, staff being undertrained, long queues in waiting rooms, and even patient death. A sequel to Two Point Hospital, titled Two Point Campus, was originally scheduled to release in May 2022 but was recently delayed to August 2022.
The Civilization franchise began in 1991 and has become one of the strategy genre's flagship franchises. The Civilization games are known for their 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) gameplay. 4X is a subgenre of grand strategy that predominantly focuses on letting players build an empire from scratch.
In the latest game, Civilization VI, players begin a standard game with a warrior and settler who can settle their first city. Players then try to build a powerful empire that can successfully meet the requirements for one of the game's winning conditions, whether it be Score, Science, Domination, Religion, Culture, or even Diplomacy if players have purchased the Gathering Storm expansion.
Because a single Civilization game can take numerous hours to complete, it may seem as though players have plenty of time to waste and can gradually build their empire over the hundreds of turns. However, this is a recipe for clear defeat, as players must work hard to maintain a strong military to avoid invasion, keep science progressing at a good pace to unlock new technologies, and try to complete one of the winning conditions as fast as possible. These factors together make the Civilization series perfect for those wanting to improve their time management skills.