If you want to create while playing to alter the game, then you are in the right place. Sandbox games are a huge open world where you can do whatever you wish. You can get creative with the tools the game provides or just wreak havoc.
The main purpose is to experiment and have fun doing them in different ways. Some sandboxes give you all the tools to alter the world’s reality, while some are limited to a few.
Nevertheless, every sandbox game will give you a sense of controlling the world in your palm as you create, destroy and enjoy doing them.
Difference Between Open World and Sandbox
Many people do get confused by the terms open-world and sandbox games. Although both games are set in a large world, they are different in many ways.
Open world and sandbox fall under similar categories in some cases, but the freedom you get to change the world setting makes sandbox different from the open world.
The open-world games focuses on letting players explore the secrets of the world and getting to know the world settings like towns, people, and their history. Sandbox, on the other hand, lets you explore the world at your own pace.
You can follow the storyline( if the game provides you with any) or wander around the vast lands of possibility.
Craft, create, build or destroy because you can do all of the things in a sandbox game, whereas an open-world game lets you exist in a story and a world set by the game.
Best Sandbox Games
Sandbox games are more of a playground to test your creative skills and experiments from resources the game provides you with. Some games provide you too much to handle and some, just enough to enjoy the game. Here is the list of ten best sandbox games you can get creative into.
- Developer: Mojang
- Publisher: Mojang, Xbox Game Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: 18 November 2011
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, iPadOS, Xbox 360, Raspberry Pi, Windows Phone, PS3, Fire OS, PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Apple TV, tvOS, Nintendo Switch, New Nintendo 3DS
- Genre: Sandbox, Survival
How can I not talk about Minecraft when it comes to sandbox games? It’s a game where you can do anything. Just imagine and invest your time creating them. From a messy dirt house to a mighty castle, the possibility is endless.
The modding community has provided various mods to let you play with its physics and graphics. Be careful, though. Your PC might not be able to handle the limitless possibility of modding Minecraft.
Exolore any biomes you like, and build anything you desire because you can indeed do all those things. However, you have to find resources to create such marvels, but if you jump into creative mode, You will get an endless supply of all the resources to get creative.
For Minecraft, the sky was the limit before modders set in to cross the boundaries, and now it’s an infinite possibility from galaxies you can reach to complex contraptions you can build.
- Developer: Axolot Games
- Publisher: Axolot Games
- Release Date: January 20, 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows
- Genre: Indie, simulation, survival
It’s the game where you can craft and build amazing vehicles and other contraptions to simplify your game life. It’s easy to pick up and build but very difficult to master. Thanks to its guide book that will guide you to play, build and work on each item you craft.
You also have challenge mode, where the game teaches you to apply the machines while you play and uncover the puzzle-like stages. It’s rewarding to learn something new that you know will help you later while enjoying accomplishing challenges.
Although it’s educational to learn the fundamentals of the game in challenge mode, survival mode is where the game shows its true potential. You can now apply all the knowledge you learned from challenge mode to the survival mode and also in creative ways.
Collecting resources, farming crops, and fending off wild robots together with friends makes this game a whole lot enjoyable to play. What I explained to you is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a lot of things that might be added by the developers. You should play to experience the limitless potential of Scrap Mechanic.
- Developer: Re-Logic
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: May 16, 2011
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, macOS, Linux, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
- Genre: Action-adventure, sandbox
Into the 2d pixel sandbox world where you mine deep to gather resources and fight monsters, but it is much more than that. You might consider Terraria as a 2d pixel version of Minecraft, but the deeper you go, the more it stands out to give you its own taste of gameplay.
Although it looks like an old-age game directly ported from the NES console, its art style does not hinder the feeling of exploration and creating something beautiful. It’s what keeps players coming back for more.
It’s an absolute blast to scour through the lands, mine resources, and powerful craft weapons. The sense of progression to craft, explore and fight unknown monsters is so satisfying as it’s enthralling. Invite your friends and alter the land of Terraria. You might not know what surprises lay ahead.
- Developer: Media Molecule
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: 14 February 2020
- Platform: PlayStation 4
- Genre: Game creation system
It’s not only a sandbox but a creation tool for your imagination to run wild. Players who love sandbox games will be overwhelmed by the possible way dreams provide. Dreams can also be called an easy-to-pick-up game engine where players worldwide have created amazing games to play and mod to your preference.
Dream provides two options for players. You can either dream surf or dream shape. Dream surfing is where you are introduced to the world through its gameplay and story missions.
It lets you think outside the box and apply your own ideas while solving ways to complete each individual stage. The aspect of fun learning and applying your own ideas in the game is perfectly crafted in dream surfing mode.
Dream shaping is the creative mode of the game. If your mind can conceive it, then you can build it. Another good part about dream shaping is that you don’t have to start out everything from scratch. You can take other creators’ pieces or assets and put them together to make your own designs.
I know I am stretching the sandbox genre too much in this game but isn’t that what all sandbox-loving players want? The absolute amount of freedom for players to do whatever they want is what makes sandbox games loved by many. That’s what Dreams do and even more.
Kerbal Space Program
- Developer: Squad
- Publisher: Private Division
- Release Date: 27 April 2015
- Platform: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
- Genre: Space flight simulation
A game that is insanely addictive even after several attempts to get your space rocket to orbit. A physics simulation game where you have to successfully blast your rocket into space, and success is hard when you randomly throw a booster to the rocket attachment.
However, doing those sorts of experiments and failing only to build more accurate rockets is where the fun lies.
The process of building a space rocket only to explode midway might be somewhat disheartening but never frustrating because you can revert back to where your engine failed and tweak those systems accordingly.
If you are out of ideas in career modes and want to play with rockets, you can go to sandbox mode and experiment with different types of attachments and blast them to your heart’s content.
There is so much stuff for you to progress from earth orbital program to moon landing to create your base. The game provides you all the joy to experiment and satisfaction when you successfully launch your space rocket to orbit.
Just Cause 3
- Developer: Avalanche Studios
- Publisher: Square Enix Europe
- Release Date: 1 December 2015
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Genre: Action-adventure
Enough crafting and creating. It’s time for destruction, and what game can do so much property damage other than Just Cause 3. It’s a balance between open-world and sandbox, and the way I see it, it’s a hell of a game to blow off steam after a long monotonous day.
If you are the type of person who loves destructive action games, then it’s for you. You play as Rico Rodriguez, who returns to his place called Medici. His home has now been overtaken by dictator General Sebastiano Di Ravello. Your ultimate goal is to kill him, but first, let’s blow up camps, tanks, and whatever comes in your way.
There are hilarious ways to perform so many actions that it’s utterly ridiculous. Using your grappling hook, paragliders, and jetpack boost to perform stunts is exciting as well as satisfying.
Its huge amount of crazy weapons and vehicles, explosive physics, and creative ways to execute denotation will keep you entertained for hours.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild
- Developer: Nintendo EPD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: March 3, 2017
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
- Genre: Action-adventure
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is a beautiful open-world sandbox game that will let you explore the world in your own ways. There is no such thing as crafting and creating, except for cooking.
But the amount of freedom it gives you to play with its physics system is astounding. Even to this date, people are finding new ways to do things and reach new places.
The games make use of their clever mechanics by giving players the option to use four completely different physics-based abilities. You can use magnets to lift up heavy metal objects, freeze water to create ice walls, freeze time to reach places, or use a bomb to clear your path.
Combining all of those and executing in a world full of innovative playgrounds makes a delightful experience.
On top of that, there are elements and environments to alter the course of the game. Once you know how to play with the elements of nature, you can work them to your advantage.
Even after contributing a hundred fifty hours to the game, it is still baffling to learn so many surprising ways to do tasks creatively and efficiently.
- Developer: Iron Gate Studio
- Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
- Release Date: 2 February 2021
- Platform: Linux, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Genre: Sandbox, survival
It’s enchanting to explore the vast uncharted territory when searching for resources. Collecting and crafting to give yourself new and improved weapons has become a common staple of sandbox games, and Valheim does this better, adding depth to the immersive world.
It’s gorgeous landscape and mystical ambiance give the feel of getting lost in the woods.
All the challenges it lays out in the world might get too difficult to overcome, but with enough grind and crafting weapons, it’s a joy to take down enemies you once ran away from due to incompetence.
The constant feeling of leveling up higher to find new places and building new bases is always satisfying.
You are absolutely free to go anywhere you like. The limitation of you not getting ready to face the challenge brings the urge to successfully overcome those obstacles. Valheim does this in a beautiful way by mixing survival and sandbox aspects within the game.
No Man’s Sky
- Developer: Hello Games
- Publisher: Hello Games
- Release Date: 9 August 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S iPad
- Genre: Action-adventure, survival
It’s not only an open-world sandbox game but an open universe where you leap from one planet to another in search of resources. Its massive star system is too much to handle for players.
But, once you get to know how to interact with planet ecosystems, it will seem pretty obvious to upgrade your weapons and builds to progress further in the game.
You need to explore before creating anything because you will be given a limited supply at the start of the game. Collecting resources will help you build an amazing base and different useful contraption that will make working efficient within the game.
There are varieties of things you can do since you have the option to go out into the universe and explore every star system. It might be overwhelming at first, but once you understand the core of the game, you will quickly learn to adapt to the ever-expanding universe of No Man’s Sky.
Saints Row IV
- Developer: Volition
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: August 20, 2013
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
- Genre: Action-adventure
You might view this game as a super-action game with a ridiculous amount of nonsensical content, and you are right. With the superpower you have, you are able to perform over-the-top actions.
The story also does not make any sense, but it’s full of jokes and gags that it’s hard not to get entertained by such absurd performances. Superpowers, Aliens, Mutants, strange weapons, and vehicles. You name it. Saints Row IV has got everything to let you play with the world to your fancy.
It’s a parody of all the action games, and it does execute every bit of performance flawlessly. If you want to test your skills on the superhero and crazy arsenal, then this game will deliver what you want.