Independent game developer Mojang took the world by storm in 2011 with the release of open-world sandbox game Minecraft. Odds are, you’ve heard so much about Minecraft that you’re sick of it by now. For those that haven’t, here’s the gist. In Minecraft you explore a procedurally generated world in search of raw materials, which can be used to craft tools, weapons, or armor. You’re also able to build structures from the materials. It may not sound like much, but Minecraft has become one of the most popular games in the world. People were captivated by it’s open-ended gameplay and multiplayer capabilities, and it became a global hit.
Of course, with popularity comes imitators. Since Minecraft was first released, the gaming industry has seen a massive influx of games that are similar to it. Games that are open-world, multiplayer, and survival/crafting oriented. Some of these games are pretty bad. Others are fantastic. If you’re getting bored of Minecraft, and you’re looking for a new game that shares some of it’s core gameplay mechanics, then take a look at this list of a few games that are similar.
Top Five Games like Minecraft
5. 7 Days to Die
One of the most common complaints that I have heard from gamers about Minecraft is that it is too child-like. True, it is a more light-hearted game, and it’s very popular among children. If you’re looking for a game like Minecraft with a more mature twist, you may want to look into 7 Days to Die. 7 Days to Die is a survival/horror game, where players traverse an unfamiliar landscape and gather resources to protect themselves from hordes of zombies, who attack when the sun goes down. Sound familiar?
7 Days to Die has several mining and crafting mechanics that are very similar to Minecraft’s. You’re able to craft tools of varying effectiveness, which are used to mine different materials. These different materials, like clay and iron, can be smelted in a furnace to create weapons, armors, or other kinds of defenses. You don’t have to assemble items in a specific shape on a grid like you do in Minecraft’s PC version, but you still have to gather a specific amount of materials. I would argue that 7 Days to Die’s crafting system is more challenging than progenitor’s because it takes time for your items to be created. In Minecraft, you can craft a set of armor as quickly as you can click the button. In 7 Days to Die, you have to wait a certain amount of time (usually between 5 and 45 seconds) until the item is complete.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. The survival/horror Minecraft-esque genre is pretty oversaturated. Just off of the top of my head, there are games like Day-Z, H1Z1, The Forest, and many more. So what sets 7 Days to Die apart from its extensive competition? 7 Days to Die has a very active development team, who work hard to deliver regular, free updates on a regular basis. In my opinion, 7 Days to Die is currently the best in its overcrowded genre, if only because it’s constantly improving.
4. Lego Worlds
To me, the ability to create grand and magnificent structures has always been one of the best parts of Minecraft. Lego Worlds is one of the few open world sandbox builders out there that is able to capture that same level of creativity. As you can probably guess from the name, Lego Worlds is a game made by the fine folks over at Lego. Lego is already known for an expansive series of video games based off of movies and comic book characters, but Lego Worlds is very different from those games.
Lego Worlds is a game where you take third-person control of a character of your own making. You’re able to run around and explore a vast Lego world, fight skeleton monsters, and build structures. Since Lego World is brought to you by Lego, you can be sure that the building aspect of the game is absolutely phenomenal. There are so many different kinds of pieces to choose from, which allows you to create smaller, more detailed structures than you can in Minecraft. Lego Worlds will feel very familiar to the average Minecraft player, with other features like rideable creatures, pre-generated villages, and the ability to explore underwater biomes.
Lego Worlds, like 7 Days to Die, is still in early access. Certain aspects of the game are still a little glitchy. The game is prone to crashing unexpectedly, and there are a few key features that haven’t been made public yet. For instance, one of the biggest draws of Minecraft is its large and expansive online community. At the time of writing, Lego Worlds has yet to implement an online multiplayer mode. Still, the game is in active development. I think that if we give Lego Worlds another year or two, it could give Minecraft a run for its money.
I don’t know if it’s completely fair to call Roblox a “game like Minecraft”, when it was released several years
before it. If anything, Minecraft is a game like Roblox. Regardless, Roblox was a game that was wildly popular during the late 2000s, and it still boasts a fairly active user base. If you like the building and multiplayer aspects of Minecraft, you’ll love Roblox.
Roblox is a game that enables players to build their own worlds and levels, in an environment very similar to Minecraft’s creative mode. Roblox’s character customization is also roughly on-par with Minecraft’s, allowing users to equip different skins and hats and what not. Roblox doesn’t really have a single-player survival mode like Minecraft does, however. The bulk of Roblox’s success has come from its active and friendly online community, where groups of people will come together and build a massive city together. If you watch someone exploring a Roblox world, odds are it was all built by a few dedicated Roblox users.
One of my favorite things to do in early Minecraft was jump into a server with a few friends and work on building a skyscraper or a bird or something equally silly. Roblox captures that same level of camaraderie and teamwork perfectly, and they’ve been doing so for ten years now. Roblox also has a lot of PvP style arenas and games that bear a resemblance to the competitive PvP servers that we have seen in Minecraft. If you find yourself spending a lot of time playing with strangers in Minecraft, you should give Roblox a shot.
A common criticism of Minecraft is its percieved lack of graphical fidelity. While I can understand the complaint, I think it is arguable that the voxel-based simplicity of Minecraft’s visuals will stand the test of time. However, for those who can’t stand looking at endless piles of cubes, there’s Subnautica. It’s stylized underwater wonderland is breath taking. Each and every monstrous beauty you encounter a work of art. Few games can match the atmosphere of this survive ’em up.
Subnautica is your standard survival/crafting game, where you explore an uncharted world and do everything that you can to survive in it. However, there’s a twist. As you may have been able to determine from the name, Subnautica takes place almost entirely underwater. You spend the majority of your time exploring the unknown depths of the terrifying ocean. And trust me, as beautiful as the game seems, it can be pretty scary. The ocean is a really mysterious, quiet place. It can be pretty unnerving to be searching for food, knowing that a dangerous fish of some kind could be lurking behind any corner.
Crafting in Subnautica is obviously more science-oriented than Minecraft crafting. You wouldn’t have very much use for a set of iron armor at the bottom of the sea. Subnautica is a particularly refreshing game, because it manages to be similar to Minecraft despite being so fundamentally different. Subnautica is still in early access, but the development team is very serious about delivering updates on a schedule, so I don’t think you have to worry about it being abandoned. Subnautica doesn’t currently offer online multiplayer, and there are some slight optimization issues currently, but the dev team promises that fixes are coming soon.
No surprise here. If Terraria got a dollar for every time it was put at the top of a “Games like Minecraft” list, it… would have a lot of money. Terraria was released around the same time as Minecraft, and its fundamental gameplay elements are pretty simple, which means that it was one of the first games to have been compared to Minecraft since the moment it was released. (I don’t envy them.)
At first glance, Terraria looks really different from Minecraft. To start off with, Terraria is entirely two dimensional. There is no first or third person, because you view your character from the side, platformer-style. Combat in Terraria is also completely different from combat in Minecraft. In my opinion, it’s vastly superior. In Minecraft, combat often consists of strafing in a “strategic” manner while mashing the same button over and over again. Terraria’s combat feels much more Metroidvania-esque, and it’s an absolute blast.
What makes Terraria and Minecraft similar is that they both place a strong emphasis on crafting, mining, and exploration. When you play both games, you’ll realize that your general strategies are similar. You mine to craft and level up your gear in order to take on a larger boss. In both Minecraft and Terraria, you can’t really get by without crafting and mining, and you’re rewarded for taking risks and exploring dangerous areas of the world. Although certain aspects of their gameplay are radically different, the fundamental values are pretty much the same.
The Future of The Open World Survival Sandbox
As I mentioned before, Minecraft is really popular among younger gamers. It’s the game a lot of the world’s budding game developers will grow up on, and so I think it’s safe to expect more Minecraft-like games to come in the future. Even today, games like Guncraft, Unturned, Starbound, and Don’t Starve, are pretty successful and borrow heavily from the central mechanics that once made Minecraft unique.
Personally, I’m happy with the popularization of this genre of game, if only because it’s constantly being tweaked. There are very few popular games out there that are just like Minecraft. Games like Lego Worlds and Subnautica are very similar to Minecraft, but they still manage to feel brand new. Minecraft’s core mechanics are married with other unique ideas, creating something both expansive and innovative. If people are making games where incredible worlds can be explored, terrible beasts can be defeated, and friendships can be forged over the construction of a mighty fortress…I think that there are far worse directions for video games to go.