Rui Carreira is a pop-culture oriented individual and he loves all things cinema, anime, gaming and entertainment.
Top 20 Minecraft Alternatives: 20 Different Sandbox Open World Games
There are a lot of paid and free games like Minecraft out there, and I have seen myself browse for them over and over again. I like the way you can build things, explore the world, craft different components from different materials and all of the freedom that comes with the genre so I had to play more games on this building and sandbox theme.
Fortunately, during my quests for Minecraft replacement games I found a lot of free and paid games like the Mojang hit, and that’s why I bring you some cool alternatives and some Minecraft clones for you to check out – lots of them bring some novelty into the genre.
Throughout this medium length article – I was going to write short but then I took a look at the word count – I am going to disclose 20 different Minecraft-like games, and they aren’t all for PC but for mobile devices and consoles as well… so there’s plenty for everyone!
What makes Minecraft so Popular?
Well, first of all it opened up a new concept. Mojang’s Minecraft is a game in which you can build and throw yourself in an adventure on an open-world sandbox game.
This, combined with Mojang’s constant tweaks, added content, updates and fan-made mods make the game a huge hit for different markets (depending on mods installed, server features and everything) while also guaranteeing the game has virtually endless replay value.
The game has been increasingly popular since launch and it has become one of the best blockbuster games on the market, selling millions of copies worldwide across different platforms.
As far as I’m concerned, Minecraft was my first love in what comes to open world games and crafting based experiences, and I always dreamt of a game like this one before Mojang made it happen.
Now, due to Minecraft’s success, developers are launching more and more alternatives to the popular title, trying to capitalize on this flagship game’s success.
Suggest your own Minecraft Alternative:
- Below, at the end of the article, you’ll find a comment section – post your game suggestion there for us to see!
1. Minetest: Free Minecraft for Low Performance Systems
This one is a free Minecraft clone and if the name wasn’t there you would think you’re playing Mojang’s title.
This game made its debut in 2010 and is getting updated in order to reproduce Minecraft’s features to their fullness. The developer also focuses on enabling the easy creation of mods, so if you know even a little bit about modding you can even produce your own versions.
Minetest’s goal is to be portable and accessible for those with old computers that have a really low performance, systems that cannot play the traditional Minecraft – but this brings some drawbacks of course:
- Graphics are a bit Worse
- Some Gameplay Features are Absent
So, if your hardware prevents you for experience the wondrous Minecraft experience, then check Minetest instead.
However, if you’re looking for something fresh or if you can play the original, then Minetest isn’t the option for you – read on!
MineTest Gameplay Video!
2. Roblox: Free Game for the Social Crew:
Now, for the social in all of us there’s Roblox, a Minecraft alternative that is not only free but tackles the building theme in a different way.
One thing you should know about Roblox is that it is played on different levels, and all of these levels are 100% user designed, so there’s a lot of variety to explore.
The game will also let you share your levels so others can play in them and there are a lot of game-modes to choose from, like RPG levels, racing levels or even first person shooters.
You have total liberty when customizing your character and you can opt to have a free account or enter the “Builder’s Club”, a paid feature with advanced perks – even though they aren’t required to enjoy Roblox to its fullest.
This game is more focused on player interaction and less focused on crafting and survival.
The only negative thing that I can point out is the game has a younger user-base than Minecraft, and you’ll hang out with kids a lot.
Roblox Gameplay Video!
3. Block Story: Cross-Platform Minecraft-like Game
Block Story can be very gratifying to play, and I used to play it on my iPhone on the go. It is a game that brings some novelty into the genre since you’ll have a lot of RPG elements blended on it, like equipment, loot, companions and several quests to pursue.
It can feel a bit like a blend of the open world survival genre with classical or online RPG games, so if you like both genres then Block Story might just be the game to try.
As I was playing this game, I found out that I spend the majority of time advancing my character by doing quests throughout the world, but I found some other players would just ignore them and do their things throughout one of the many biomes you can choose from.
As a good open-world game, Block Story lets you choose between questing and exploring the world as you see fit, and this is always a positive thing – it’s this kind of stuff that makes games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age become so successful.
You’ll get equipment, levels, skill points to allocate and you’ll definitely always have something to do – so if you’re looking for something neat to play on your iPhone or iPad, I recommend checking this one out, but it is also available for PC, so don’t fear as it isn’t only a mobile game.
Block Story Gameplay!
4. Ace of Spades: A Low-Spec Free Minecraft Alternative
Ace of Spades clearly was inspired on Minecraft, but it is so much more than your average block building game experience.
Consider the fact that there are a lot of genres mixed up on this title and add it to the fact that some features were taken from successful games, leaving it with a Team Fortress feel.
If you love FPS games, but you really want to add the complexity and freedom that comes with sandbox building games, you’ll love this title.
Having said that, you will find yourself crafting bunkers for cover or digging out trenches, underground tunnels and switching between game modes in order to keep the novelty factor high.
The graphics aren’t state of the art, as you may expect from a game that runs on most systems, but its gameplay is polished – I find it addicting.
Ace of Spades Gameplay!
5. BlockLand: Minecraft meets Lego
Gamers usually love other geeky stuff, and when we talk about crafting games then this becomes even truer. People like this usually love another thing – Lego.
If you’re one of those persons who think Lego is something for children only, then you shouldn’t play Blockland – however, if you really like to build with those iconic pieces, then this might just be the one for you.
The art in this game is pretty neat, and you can see the lego-like blocks giving it an extra charm. Mini-games can be found throughout Blockland, and you can explore them both on PC and Mac.
The focus is in these mini-games and they have a “hook” property since they keep players in, however this means there’s less of a focus on gathering than on Minecraft.
Scripting your objects is also a reality in Blockland, so you can expect to make high tech stuff and items capable of doing complex tasks.
There’s another thing to consider in this Minecraft inspired game, the Physics Engine that dictates how stuff behaves in world, and how it falls around when it is being destroyed (highly gratifying).
The price is really low, so even though it isn’t a free to play game it is affordable and even people who usually don’t buy games can consider it.
My rule of thumb is that a game is worth it if it is worth the triple of the price in game hours – and this is something we verify here.
The computer requirements are also lower on this title than on the one it is based on.
The friendly art style and the low skill entry level make this game an ideal one for younger audiences.
6. Manic Digger: Amazing Free Alternative!
If you know about programming and modding, you’ll be glad to know not only is Manic Digger one of the best Minecraft alternatives, but it is also open-source!
Being inspired by Mojang’s title doesn’t mean this one doesn’t present a new look on the genre, and just looking at the image will let you know you’re looking at something polished – the high graphics give it away.
Graphics aren’t everything, and I know that well, but the features are all there and the community will have your back and play with you hours on end – it thrives since there are a lot of mods available and different game modes, based on either building, crafting or survival.
If you like to play this kind of game on the single player mode, then this is also a strong contender for your attention since it is fun and it will give you gameplay hours to last some months, even when playing alone.
Manic Digger Gameplay!
7. Terraria: 2D Sandbox Building Game!
One of the most interesting things about this game, Terraria, is that it runs in a 2D world. The gameplay is the same as Minecraft, but you’ll be seeing it from 2D, which certainly makes it less confusing and gives it a different feel.
Some new features takes the focus from building and places it more in adventuring – you will enjoy an open world, but you’ll also travel throughout different biomes and kill a wide array of bosses and mobs.
This makes it a widely versatile sandbox game, fit for a lot of different gamer types.
Know that you won’t be living in Terraria’s open-world alone; since you’ll attract some NPCs if you build them homes and shops, and they’ll sell you a lot of different resources, so you can arguably say Terraria mixes in some RPG elements, since you’ll be hitting the blacksmith and other shopkeepers from time to time.
It is hugely gratifying to build a thriving city – of course you’re at the helm of it all, so build yourself a decent castle or a modern capitol.
As far as I’m concerned, Terraria is as great as Minecraft but with a different feel – and you should definitely try the former if you enjoyed the later.
8. Don’t Starve: A Dark Survival Minecraft Alternative!
This title is quite popular and it has been selling great at Steam. You’re looking at a survival based open world experience that can be played both on PC and Mac – and in PS4 as well.
You are placed in a scary world, facing harsh conditions, and you’ll have to survive. You do so by getting resources, tools and items to help you avoid starvation or worst!
If you don’t play this game right, or even if you do sometime, you’ll get starved to death, killed or lose your sanity.
As you proceed throughout the game, you’ll be earning experience that will enable you to pick new characters the next time you start your adventure, each with different perks, skills and overall gameplay.
Personally, I logged a lot of hours playing Don’t Starve, and they even surpass the game hours I have on Minecraft, so that means something. However, the game is paid and it isn’t too much of a free builder – you’re given freedom to build, but not so much as in other games.
Don't Starve Gameplay!
9. Epic Inventor: Terraria Alternative with an RTS feel!
This game is inspired on Terraria, so if you liked that title then you’re going to like this one as well – it is a free alternative to Terraria so it is worth a shot, even if you end up not liking it at all.
You’ll be looking at a mix of different styles in Epic Inventor, such as RTS, RPG and Side-Scrolling game styles, and the result is something incredibly amusing!
You won’t notice how awesome Epic Inventor is as whole during the first hours in, and the start of the game is pretty ordinary since you’ll be gathering resources, building and learning about how to play the game (no news here), but as the game progresses you’ll be building your own city from the ground up – making it huge and complete with functional industry buildings and everything!
Your city will yield you resources, so you’ll be less absorbed in gathering as the game time grows – you’ll be getting the outputs from your buildings, fruit of you hard labor.
Of course, in a big open-world there are other races that grow jealous of how successful your city is becoming, and throughout the game you’ll have to defend your utopia from them – for that, use towers, traps and skill to defend your empire in a RTS way.
Epic Inventor gets patched often and the developers are keen on adding new content, which is great for a free to play game – although they surely accept donations if you’re so inclined.
Epic Inventor Gameplay!
10. King Arthur’s Gold: Build Castles, Raise an Empire, Become a King – Minecraft Style!
If you’re looking for a Minecraft alternative with a little more epicness, King Arthur’s Gold may be just the title for you, as it will make you raise castles, fight off enemies, conquer land and mine for resources like you would expect!
The game isn’t 3D, and you’ll be playing on a fast-paced 2D world, but that doesn’t turn you off when you’ll be highly focused on producing and inventing massive weapons of war to defend or attack all who stand against you.
You can be an archer, the skilled marksman who gets enemies from afar, a builder who focuses on structural defenses, or a Knight who will just hack and slash throughout the enemy ranks!
Whatever your play style is, you’ll find something interesting at King Arthur’s Gold, and the graphics are way superior to those of Epic Inventor, so if you’ve been turned off by that detail you’ll be remedying it here!
This Minecraft like game has a lot of novelty to it and the content is always expanding, so it is definitely worth a try. I have several hours on this one already.
11. Clonk Series: Terraria and Epic Inventor Mix!
As the title suggests, this game feels like a bit from Epic Inventor was mixed with another bit from Terraria to create a game you’ll love if you’re into those two titles above.
You’ll feel like you’re managing a civilization, and your goal is to advance it, so it is really gratifying to proceed throughout its development levels by mining, crafting, gathering, harvesting and inventing.
The weather conditions are varied, there are a lot of biomes to explore and the physics engine isn’t too shabby.
You’ll be looking at a game that mixes a lot of different gaming “feels”, like action, skill, tactic planning and strategy, so it is great for a single player experience, although multiplayer is also available and the game is fun to play with your mates.
There are currently 3 Clonk titles, and if you want to know more about how the game works, try to get Clonk Rage, Clonk Endeavour or Clonk Extreme.
Clonk Rage Gameplay!
12. Mythruna: Developing Game like Minecraft
This game has a lot of different features, and the best thing is there are a whole lot of features yet to be added – the content is constantly being added on this one.
Just a glance of how the game looks like can get a Minecraft player drooling – it is very polished and graphically superior.
An endless sandbox world is the basis for this title, though it isn’t only for you to roam around like in Minecraft – the game has a lot of role playing elements and will keep on including more.
However, I have to mention this again: The beauty of this game is the way it looks, and everything you build will leave you in awe – you aren’t just creating stuff with blocks, it is way better.
I think we will be waiting years until the developers claim this game is finished – they just seem to never run out of stuff to add, and that’s a good thing!
13. Craft the World: Beautiful Art, Amazing Design… and much more!
This little Minecraft like game has an amazing polished art and the thematic of it may remind you of a great hit that once was played all over the world – Dwarf Fortress.
Craft the World is a rich and gorgeous game that will place you in a 2D sandbox world and have you control dwarves on their chores as they survive in the wild, build huge fortresses, secure homes against the zombies and wraiths that roam during the night, hunt, research, fish and build towers so your base gets defended in a tower defense way.
This game is feature rich and it mixes a lot of different game genres, so if you’re looking for a modern and sleek minecraft alternative in which you not only control 1 single person but an army of dwarves – with warriors, mages, peasants and more – then this game is for you.
It mixes RTS, RPG, Tower Defense, Survival, Open-World, crafting and more!
Craft the world has got to be one of my favorite games from this list, and I don’t know what makes it so amazing, but I prefer this one over to Minecraft any day of the week.
Craft the World Gameplay!
14. Cortex Command: Not so much like Minecraft, but had to include it!
So, looking upon this one from a superficial standpoint will leave you wondering on how did I manage to include it in this list, but the truth is we are looking at a game that shares a lot of common things with most of the sandbox crafting games out there.
The purpose of the game is to destroy enemy bases, but the way you’ll do this is what I thought would make this title a sound addition to this “Top 20 Minecraft Alternatives” list.
You see, you’ll be mining, crafting items, building your own base and more – if I had to give you an idea of how the game feels like, I would say it feels like a mix of Minecraft with the classic title Hogs of War.
I think the game isn’t bad and it is certainly underrated, however I think it is the item you can ignore the most on this list.
Cortex Command Gameplay!
15. Total Miner: An Xbox Minecraft Alternative!
The title is named Total Miner: Forge and it comes from the indie gaming studio Greenstone Games.
This is a great experience for players who love Minecraft and I just can’t recommend this game to everyone simply because it is only supported by Xbox.
You’ll be looking at a very low investment if you want to buy this game, since it is a cheap little entry in the Xbox Live indie game section market. I say it is worth that and much more!
There are a lot of different game modes to choose from, some focused on building, others focused on fighting and others focused on delivering everything in a mixed and balanced way. A great open world adventure feel in most of them.
You’ll be doing a lot of things that sound familiar, like joining different items and ingredients to get tools and weapons, as well as enabling you to go to stores to get even better gear.
The game supports up to 24 different players in each world, so you’re looking at a rich multiplayer experience.
There’s isn’t too much content you haven’t seen elsewhere, but if you own an Xbox you can spend several hours exploring this title, one of the many hidden indie gems in the game market.
Total Miner: Forge Gameplay!
16. FortressCraft: Another Minecraft-like Indie Game for Xbox
This is another indie game title you’ll find on the Xbox market, and it is a fit substitute for the previously discussed game Total Miner: Forge. Fortress Craft focuses more on the social feel and on building, but it really lacks resource collection features as it deems those a bit too boring.
Like the previous title, the game’s price is low, and you can find the game on its Indie section – make sure you play the free trial available before purchasing in order to gauge whether you consider this title interesting or passable.
The strong point of the game is it feels great when you play it with friends via its multiplayer functionality, so if you’re looking for a game to play with your girlfriend or a couple of your mates, this might be the title for you.
Fortress Craft Gameplay!
17. Eden: World Builder: Minecraft Inspired Portable iOS Game
An iPhone, iPad and iPod is a powerful gaming tool if you get the right apps on it, and will a price tag so low on the App Store market, you’ll definitely be equipping your iOS device with Eden: World Builder, a mobile Minecraft alternative.
With this title, you’ll build your own stuff and use an unlimited number of blocks to do so. You’re looking at a game that is highly focused on building, so being creative is key in order to make the most out of this game – it’s just like having a mobile bucket of Lego to play with.
There’s also the social element of being able to share your creations with fellow Eden World Builder players, so if you’re hoping to impress by sharing your greatest creation ever, then you’re looking at the right title.
If I had to point out some negative aspects, it would be the control scheme and the lack of advanced functionalities, but the ability to play on the go and the casual feel make up for it.
The game is quite popular and enjoying stellar ratings.
Eden - World Builder
18. SurvivalCraft: Mobile Phone Minecraft Clone
SurvivalCraft is a title you can play at virtually any phone, from iOS devices, Android devices and even a Windows Phone.
The price is affordable and the ratings are very high, you can even see the game has a higher rating than the mobile Minecraft Pocket Edition on most of the app shops, and that means something.
You are given a lot of freedom and refined graphics, while the experience is still pretty in line with what you enjoy in Minecraft and other open world sandbox games.
As far as the context of SurvivalCraft goes, you’re a castaway on a world, and you’ll feel the true meaning of solitude, punching stones in order to mine them and building up your new haven from scratch.
The controls are pretty bad, albeit this is true in most of the mobile crafting games, but you’ll eventually get used to it and spend a lot of time building a world it is worth returning to.
19. WorldCrafter: A Terraria Android Alternative!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to determine from where did WorldCrafter’s developers get their inspiration – it was pretty obviously from Terraria.
However, the game still delivers on what it promises, with some features or looks that make it feel unique.
As in Terraria, WorldCrafter presents you with a 2D environment you’ll explore and build in, and you can farm, breed cattle and repel enemies just like in other titles.
There is, however, the review scenario which shows the Android Market doesn’t really knows what to think about this game – some love it while some hate it.
If you can’t play Minecraft, check this out, but if you can – then there’s not a lot to see here.
20- The Forest: Horror Minecraft Alternative – Survive the Horror!
The Forest is a pretty grim game and it isn’t meant for those faint of heart. If you belong to a mature audience, then I definitely advise you to check The Forest out.
However, if you are looking for games to target younger audiences, this game isn’t for you – in fact, if you are easily scared, prone to getting nightmares or easily impressed, you shouldn’t play this game as it focused a lot on horror and scaring you out of your seat!
Let’s just say the game includes thought disturbing creatures, cannibalism, dark rituals and a lot of gore.
On a gameplay stand point, you’ll be harvesting, gathering, building and crafting like in Minecraft, except this time you face realist graphics and a whole new threat level.
For starters, don’t you think your walls are going to stop the flesh eating monsters who crawl out at night, grab a weapon and build some traps if you wish to survive through the night.
A dark Minecraft game and one of the best horror sandbox games of all time – not that the choice is plenty.
The Forest Gameplay
Let me Know:
© 2015 Rui Carreira
Phillip Grobler from Polokwane on September 03, 2016:
If the Forest is on the list then i feel 7 days to die should have been included as well, do not get me wrong, it is a good hub with good explanations to each game and why each tittle made it to your list.