Sandbox games allow you to creatively design your environment yourself, just like in a sandpit. Sometimes it’s just about creativity and creating a world of your own; other times, it’s just about survival. But sandbox games have one thing in common: Building your little kingdom is damn addicting. So here we have recommendations on Best Sandbox Games in 2021.
In Factorio, the game principle is already in the name: Here, too, you can let off steam in a freely customizable world by assembling machines! You play an engineer yourself and think about what kind of crazy gadgets you might need to automate as many processes as possible gradually. But be careful: the creatures of the 2D world could tamper with your technical marvels, and you always have to defend your cool inventions against attacks. If you are not sure whether Factorio is for you, Steam also offers you a free demo.
When the aesthetic of a Tim Burton film meets struggles for survival in the wild, then you have Don’t Starve. In it, you try to survive in a randomly generated world that looks as if it sprang from a gloomy storybook, and you make use of crafting options to defy numerous dangers. However, there is no clear “goal of the game” or instructions that take you by the hand. Rather you are on your own, have to look for your tasks, and of course, do not starve. The game was later released as Don’t Starve Together for joint co-op survival adventures.
Need a new career? How about, for example, as a cemetery attendant? This macabre and bitterly evil building game makes you the guardian of your medieval graveyard. Meet crazy characters, build new tombstones and sell uh … mysterious meat to the local landlord in a sandbox game that can compete with the big genre titles in-game mechanics but doesn’t take itself seriously in terms of story. Instead, complex crafting systems and numerous freedoms for the creative design of the world can keep you trapped for hours in the black-humored world of the gloomy Middle Ages because: After all, people always die.
No Man’s Sky
A game with a bumpy start that is celebrating its fifth birthday this year. In the meantime, it has built a decent community with numerous updates and new content and has done a lot for its reputation. In No Man’s Sky, you travel freely through space, colonize areas, build a base, craft and design a new world according to your wishes. You also have the opportunity to follow a story or to have fun with others in multiplayer – now really, because when the game was released, the co-op mode was advertised but then did not exist at all. But now you can go on a space trip with a group or visit other bases.
The absolute classic among sandbox games with the famous block aesthetic has been quoted and parodied repeatedly. In random worlds, you create everything you want and how you want it, from cubes, alone or with others. Probably the most famous sandbox game, there was not only DLC or the spin-off Minecraft Dungeons, but also a lot of user-defined content – numerous mods and add-ons make the Minecraft world even more creative than it already is. It is no wonder that eleven years after it was first published, it is still one of the ten most-watched games on the Twitch streaming platform.
If you want a slightly more funky space sandbox experience, Rimworld might be for you. Because in this weird future world between humor and dystopia, pretty much anything can happen. As the omnipotent leader, you try to found a new colony and build a base with only three people after the crash on a strange planet. But as people are, you have to deal with weird characters, strange habits, wild histories, disputes, and conflicts. And then some wild animals or bandits can make life in the colony difficult for you. So regardless of whether you are picking up fugitives, making a tasty squirrel soup, or replacing vital organs with cyber implants, there is always something to do.
Of course, there is one sub-category in the sandbox list: farm games. The popular simulation is a major project for just one person – Eric Barone – and it’s much more than just a farm adventure. In addition to designing your farm, which you can decorate, plant, and manage according to your wishes, you can fight your way through numerous dungeon levels and get to know lots of charming characters – always accompanied by the change of seasons.
Role-play elements in Stardew Valley mean that you can not only have cute small talk in the whole valley but sometimes also very in-depth conversations. When you are not cooking, crafting, or taking part in cute city festivals, you will also reveal one or the other profound secret of the population.
If you feel stressed while playing this game, you can use the Stardew Valley cheats, making this game easier.
Here you are again in strange galaxies of a randomly generated pixel world. You can choose your character from one of four species and design it as you like before you go on your first space adventure. The sandbox experience in Starbound is quite large because you can remove everything in the world with various tools and rebuild it as you wish. But be careful: This is also about survival, and you have to assert yourself against your hunger and many alien monsters. Numerous small quests, missions with final bosses, and design options make Starbound dangerously addictive.
This sandbox game throws you into the deep end. On a strange planet, you dive deep into a diverse but equally threatening underwater world, in which numerous achievements, as well as dangers, lurking in the depths. There you set up a base, look for new blueprints to assemble, and try not to be caught by aggressive sea creatures like the reapers or the phantoms. In addition to story elements, you have an overwhelming, expansive water world to explore. In the game’s creative mode, you don’t even slow down your feeling of hunger, only the nasty critters around you in your creativity. With the standalone add-on Below Zero, you can also explore other space waters.
The Long Dark
It gets dark in the name of the sandbox survival game The Long Dark. In it, you go into the icy, snow-covered wilderness of northern Canada and try to survive there and build a safe base – just you, your sparse equipment, and the lights of the north against cold, disease, hunger, and aggressive predators. The whole thing takes place in a melancholy scene after a geomagnetic storm that has virtually made the power grids cold. You have the choice between a story mode and a real sandbox mode with a free struggle for survival and permadeath. You are asked to collect important equipment, hunt for food, map areas, and more to arm yourself against the hostile environment. You are free to choose what you do. Only death can slow you down.
At first glance, Terraria looks quite similar to Starbound and also has a similar principle. However, this is an even bigger blockbuster because Terraria is the top-rated and best-selling game on Steam to date. You can first assemble a small pixel figure from many design options and then design a randomly generated world according to your wishes. Then, build your own house in different climates, dig deep and grab every useful item not nailed on. Your self-designed world is not empty, however: monsters are just waiting to nibble at you – from skeletons to zombies. But, on the other hand, the peaceful population can hardly wait to sell you useful or less useful goods.
There were so many distant worlds among the sandbox games, but you can look at our recommendations for the best strategy games if you prefer strategy games. Or if you are a lover of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can’t miss ten games like Animal Crossing.