If you’re a Minecraft fan looking for new worlds in which to gather resources and build complex structures, these are the best sandbox creation games to scratch your voxel art itch.
Few games are as ubiquitous as Minecraft. The sandbox survival game is the best-selling video game of all time with more than 200 million copies sold. Since Microsoft acquired the game’s developer, Mojang, for $2.5 billion in 2014, Minecraft has spawned ports for every platform and console, a relaunched Minecraft Classic, as well as spin-off titles like Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Dungeons.
It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason why gamers love Minecraft, but one critical factor is the game’s freedom and creativity. Players can spend all their time gathering resources and building structures, or attempt to live through Survival Mode. Multiplayer mode adds a cooperative dimension, letting players build worlds together and share experiences—a tried-and-true way to keep a title thriving long after release.
Still, newer titles have emerged with interesting spins on the concept Minecraft made famous. If you want to see what else is out there, here are some alternatives.
As a massively multiplayer online sandbox title, Boundless allows players to explore planets, acquire resources, craft items, and build structures. Survival is key. Players are asked to feed their character, defend against wildlife, and preserve their own land from other players. Online multiplayer features let players work together in order to gather resources and survive. Boundless is available on PC and Mac via Steam, as well as PlayStation 4.
Creativerse takes its cue from Minecraft, but offers more action-adventure elements within its creation mechanics. Wielding a gauntlet that can manipulate matter, players can join public worlds and gather resources for crafting or create their own unique environments. Creativerse is free to play but offers in-game purchases and pro bundles to add more capabilities.
Dragon Quest Builders
Dragon Quest Builders and its sequel re-create the feel of Minecraft within the unique world of the Dragon Quest franchise. You play as a legendary builder destined to rebuild the land by collecting resources and erecting structures. While there’s plenty of Dragon Quest lore for fans to enjoy, both games still stand on their own for anyone to pick up and play. Dragon Quest Builders 2 adds online play; dive into the sequel on PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch.
Putting a different spin on the survival genre, Eco asks players to work together and build a civilization that can stop a meteor from destroying the world. Initially developed as an educational tool and funded by the US Department of Education, Eco stresses sustainability. The goal is to create an advanced society while responsibly managing resources. Eco is currently in early access for Windows, with several purchase packs available for players, students, and developers.
Lego brought its popular buildable toy to its logical conclusion with Lego Worlds. So much of the Lego experience revolves around unlimited creativity, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the 2017 video game version. Roam freely around the open-world, sandbox-style game while collecting currency and resources to build your own custom Lego world. Play Lego Worlds on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
Feel like Minecraft is too limited? Minetest is a free, open-source version that’s similar to Minecraft but offers a near-limitless horizontal and vertical playing area and complex modding capabilities in both single- and multiplayer formats. Play on PC, Mac, Linux, or Android.
Fans of Ark: Survival Evolved should check out its spinoff title, PixARK. The procedurally generated game, in which each game and quest is unique to every player, lets you collect resources and build structures while defending yourself from attacking dinosaurs and other players. Play solo, in multiplayer mode, or—if you don’t want to deal with the survival element—switch to creative mode and build in peace. Play on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
This massively multiplayer online game is powered entirely by user-generated content. You can either create your own game or play in previously created worlds. Anyone can become a game developer—and actually make real-world money—by utilizing the game’s programming language. Initially released in 2006, Roblox has grown to over 100 million active users and contains safety measures for players under the age of 13. The game is free and available on all platforms, including iOS, Android, and Xbox One.
Turn Minecraft into an action RPG game and you get Portal Knights. Explore the world, fight monsters, craft items, and build structures either alone or with up to four others in multiplayer mode. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS, and Android.
SurvivalCraft and SurvivalCraft 2 are considered Minecraft clones, but unique features like a custom furniture crafting system set them apart. Marooned on an island, players must collect resources to craft clothes for warmth, armor for protection, food for eating, weapons for defense, and tools to build more complex items. Play on PC, Android, and iOS.
What began as a tech demo based on Minecraft evolved into its own open-source, Java-based game that will run on virtually any platform. Terasology is developed and maintained by a community of enthusiasts, so players have a choice between simply enjoying the game and helping to build new features. The game includes a multiplayer mode and add-on modules to change up gameplay.