The “sandbox” categorisation of games is very broad and includes games from multiple genres, including simulation, role-playing, management, and crafting titles.
While these games may contain certain sandbox elements, allowing you to do whatever you like in the game, there are some games which feature sandbox mechanics as their primary form of gameplay.
These games focus solely on allowing the player to build, explore, and interact with their own world or universe, and create new objects or change the world around them at will.
Minecraft is the grandather of the pure sandbox genre, placing players in a fully-malleable world with no gameplay and forcing them to create their own settings and stories.
Many games have implemented this sandbox approach to gameplay in various forms since the release of Minecraft, with some attempts delivering better results than others.
We’ve rounded up seven games that could keep you playing forever with their open worlds and creative potential:
Minecraft is the ultimate, pure sandbox experience and remains unrivalled in terms of creative freedom built on a foundation of solid gameplay mechanics and survival.
With both multiplayer and singleplayer, Minecraft will never be boring as long as the player has an imagination.
Planet Explorers was recently released on Steam, and delivers an interesting concept which finds a balance somewhere between the creative freedom of Minecraft and the story and atmosphere of a regular space survival game.
Players can fully shape and transform the world around them , which is made up of voxels (like Minecraft’s blocks, but able to form multiple different shapes).
Everything is made up of voxels in Planet Explorers, allowing players to create and modify vehicles, weapons, terrain, and buildings.
Empyrion: Galactic Survival
Empyrion: Galactic Survival has been lauded by fans as “what No Man’s Sky could have been”.
Featuring the same interplanetary travel and surface exploration boasted by No Man’s Sky (minus the quintillion procedurally-generated planets), Empyrion also adds a creative element by allowing players to craft their own land, air, and space vehicles and bases.
If you were disappointed by No Man’s Sky’s lack of sandbox features, Empyrion could be for you.
Garry’s Mod is a pure creative experience, granting users the freedom to create anything they want, from games to movies.
The game is relatively cheap on Steam, and offers endless creative gameplay along with both multiplayer and singleplayer.
Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program allows you to take charge of your very own space program, journeying to moons and distant planets in custom-built space vessels.
The design and creative tools KSP offers mean you can never get bored as long as you keep working on that next big project, whether it’s an interplanetary capital vessel or a mining base on a distant planet.
Terrarria features a similar basic concept to Minecraft, although there are two major differences.
The game uses a familiar 2D platformer perspective and features a lot more role-playing elements than Mojang’s pure sandbox experience.
Starbound is similar to Terraria, although it features interplanetary travel and the expansion of your personal starship.
The game also uses a 2D side-on camera and features co-op or competitive multiplayer.
Dwarf Fortress is difficult to explain, as it is possibly the most complex video game ever created.
With it’s text-based graphics and steep learning curve, most gamers bounce right off the game, despite its promises of infinite creative potential and unbelievable depth.
What is your favourite sandbox game? Let us know in the comments and forum.Forum discussion