ByMarcus O'Shea, writer at
Resident RPG nerd and SoulsBorne fanatic. Can be spotted by their floofy hair.
Marcus O'Shea

may be the unbeatable king of the open world sandbox, with uncountable mods, merchandise in every store and even an adventure game spinoff headed by Telltale Games, developers of the series. Many imitators have tried to recreate the game's success, but none have succeeded on quite the scale that Minecraft did. For a start, none of them have created a tool set so diverse which enables you to build a 16 bit computer or a working Game Boy Classic that can play Pokémon.

Even the most varied and open sandbox can end up feeling like a bit of a desert after a few hundred hours though. So for those of you who need a bit of a break but can't suppress that urge to build, bomb, dig and destroy, I've compiled a list of the most interesting, odd and plain fun sandbox and survival games on the market.

Our List Of The Best Games Like Minecraft

Want to see what My Neighbor Totoro looks like in Minecraft? You gotta see this then!


  • Developers - Re-Logic, Engine Software
  • Publishers - Re-Logic, Headup Games
  • Platforms - Android, PlayStation 4, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Windows Phone

Technically not a clone, as it released several months prior to Minecraft, Terraria is the side scrolling sister to the Sandbox king. With a deep crafting system, expansive underworld, smooth combat and a whole bunch of really cool and creepy bosses to fight, Terraria is one of the most polished and fun games in the genre.

Try this if... You want to use your rocket boots to escape to safety after accidentally opening a passage to hell while mining.


  • Developer - Chucklefish Games
  • Publisher - Chucklefish Games
  • Platforms - PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Playstation Vita, PlayStation 3, Linux, Mac

Like the sound of Terraria's side scrolling action but prefer a science fiction bent? Try Starbound, a procedurally generated galactic exploration game, where you can encounter bizarre creatures, travel the universe and try to uncover its secrets on distant, hostile planets.

Try this if... You like the sound of fighting a cosmic crystal horror on a lunar mining base with a laser gun or building a shelter to survive a harsh arctic planet.

Don't Starve

  • Developer - Klei Entertainment
  • Publisher - Klei Entertainment
  • Platforms - Android, PlayStation 4, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U

What Don't Starve lacks in creative construction, it more than makes up for in deep survival mechanics and a beautiful, hand drawn aesthetic. The different playable characters bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses to the table, giving a vastly different experience each time. So grab your pointy stick, build a fire and try to survive in a harsh and deadly landscape.

Try this if... You want to run screaming from a swarm of bees while playing as a mustachioed strongman, a soulless robot or (shudder) a French mime.

The Forest

  • Developer - Endnight games
  • Publisher - Endnight games
  • Platforms - PC, PlayStation 4

If survival's your thing, look no further than The Forest. Inspired by classic cannibal films, The Forest challenges you to survive against the elements following a deadly plane crash. You can construct shelters, build tools and even craft traps for the deadly inhabitants of the island. But beware, survival isn't easy, and if cold, starvation or poison berries don't get you, you might just end up being clubbed and eaten by a terrifying albino cannibal while you're distracted by the absolutely gorgeous scenery and physics that the game boasts.

Try this if... You saw Cannibal Holocaust as a kid and thought 'Eh, I could survive that.'


  • Developer - Ludeon Studios
  • Publisher - Ludeon Studios
  • Platforms - PC, Linux, Mac

Rimworld is still in Early Access, but is already shaping up to be one of the most ambitious sandbox/survival sims ever developed. The game boasts a complex AI system that makes every member of your struggling sci-fi survivor colony a unique personality, with their own fears, attitudes and skills. You can design your own colony, trade for goods, fight off wildlife and even engage in tactical gun play inspired by classic squad based strategy games.

Try this if... You want to watch a tiny AI marriage collapse due to infidelity, then blow up a group of raiders with a pulse rifle all in the same day.

  • Developer - BeamNG
  • Publisher - BeamNG
  • Platforms - PC

Not so much a game as an unbelievably entertaining physics simulator, will allow you to finally learn what happens when an ice cream truck is struck by a giant mallet travelling at high speeds. Spawn an almost endless range of fully simulated vehicles, from cop cars to biplanes, and watch the carnage unfold as you drive, fly and shoot yourself out of a giant cannon into a brick wall.

Try this if... You always wanted to see what would happen if you ramped a motorcycle off a VW bug while under the effects of moon gravity.

Dragon Quest Builders

  • Developer - Square Enix Holdings
  • Publisher - Square Enix Holdings
  • Platforms - PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita

Take the basic mechanics of Minecraft, add some gorgeous art by Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama and throw in a bit of JRPG flair and you've got Dragon Quest Builders. The beautiful yet simple graphics, in-depth combat and host of charming characters more than make up for the lack of multiplayer, and the RPG mechanics and excellent pacing prevent the game from falling into the common sandbox pitfall of feeling aimless.

Try this if... You want the crunch of Minecraft with the charm of a classic JRPG.

The world is your sandbox

When it comes to digital playgrounds, the world of gaming is undergoing a Renaissance, whether you want hardcore survival or hilarious destruction, you can find it in this list. Plus, once you're done playing through these fabulous games, you can come back to Minecraft refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to do something ridiculous like, I don't know... recreate the entirety of Hogwarts?

Have you done or built something wild and crazy in a sandbox game? Got some stories to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments!


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