HomeEditorialBest Sandbox Games to Unleash Your Creativity

Best Sandbox Games to Unleash Your Creativity

What do you want to do next? In these games, you'd best take a deep breath first because the possibilities are huge!

Do you want a game with creative freedom? An experience in which you can explore as well as create? With our ranking of the best sandbox games, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Many games have elaborated and exciting storytelling. But as great as that may be, sometimes we want to be the ones writing the story. These five games offer an excellent opportunity to do just that – and not just alone, but also cooperatively with your friends if you like.

 

15. Lego Worlds

The effortless placement of brick on brick continues on the digital screen with sandbox games like Lego World. Find your perfect place in this iconic world and build the way you like it. Thanks to terraforming, you can shape the landscape to your liking, and it even allows you to set mountains and rivers. Take your creativity to a new level and create your Lego universe, alone or with friends.

Build your brick world the way you like it. This screenshot from Lego World shows a player wearing a red jersey, white pants, and a white and black helmet on a motocrosser on the right side of the screen in a long shot. He's just jumping with his motorcycle to the front right, which gives us a half-profile view of him from the right side. On the left side of the image is a built race track made of Lego bricks, which leads from the back left to us in the foreground. In the background, the blue sky is shown and the setting sun shines directly into our eyes, creating a very nice evening atmosphere. At the right back, we can see a mountain range and numerous placed light green cacti to the right of the player.
Build a racetrack in Lego Worlds (Source: Traveller’s Tales/WB Games)

 

Lego Worlds is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

14. The Long Dark

A plane crash leaves you in the middle of the harsh Canadian wilderness. Your adventure begins in the midst of fire and debris, and you’ll have to search in the cold forest for a friend you’re missing. Besides the very well-written story, the game also offers you a sandbox mode where you can explore, collect and build as you like. Beware of dangerous bears and wolves, while you have to take care of survival mechanics such as hunger, thirst, and energy.

In this screenshot from the Long Dark, we as the player are standing in a snowy valley armed with a carbine in the first-person perspective. We are reloading our weapons, while a wild bear runs towards us, which we can see in the center of the image. Our hands can be seen at the bottom of the picture, pale from the cold. To the left and right of the picture are numerous very tall fir trees, which are also shown in great numbers in the background. It is snowing and the sky is heavily overcast, creating an oppressive sunless mood.
Bears in The Long Dark (Source: Hinterland Studio Inc.)

 

You can play the title on macOS, and Linux. Get a free copy for PC via Steam.

 

13. The Forest

A sequel to this survival sandbox game, Sonst of the Forest, is already in the starting blocks and will be released in February 2023. Therefore, it is even more worth taking a closer look at this title. If you want to combine survival and crafting with horror, besides sandbox games like The Long Dark, you’ve made a no less significant find in this area with The Forest. Alone or with friends, you’ll build your own settlement on an island, while you have to watch out for bloodthirsty cannibals and other scary creatures.

As the player, in a first-person perspective, we look out of a brightly lit forest during the day onto a distant beach, which can be seen in the fog in the center of the image. The water on the coast is light blue and a self-built boat with a high mast is visible. To the left and right of the player in the foreground are numerous coniferous trees. The player is armed with a built stone axe which he holds in his right hand and we can see it in the crop on the right of the image. Sandbox games like The Forest combine building with survival and horror.
Surviving in The Forest (Source: Endnight Games Ltd)

 

The Forest is available for PS4/PS5 and can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

12. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Role-play sandbox games like Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord take you to the harsh times of the Middle Ages. The game gives you a lot of possibilities to develop, which are really remarkable. For example, you’ll be able to lead your created army (which can consist of hundreds of soldiers) from your leading hero’s perspective or from above in an isometric perspective, which will give you a very good overview as a commander. Besides, the game offers stunning graphics and great effects that make for truly epic battles.

Command your army of knights from an isometric perspective or be in the middle of the action, as illustrated in this screenshot: As a leader, we run in first-person perspective armed with a spear by day to an enemy palisade wall of a stronghold, which we can see impressively in the background on a hill. As we storm, we find ourselves surrounded by many other knights wearing chainmail and helmets and equipped with swords, shields, and spears. Directly in front of us, our army already put two large ladders against the palisade and are in the process of climbing up. The enemies can be seen at the top of the wall trying to stop and kill the knights climbing up. Directly in front of us are wooden spikes pointing in our direction. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is one of the very notable sandbox games set in the Middle Ages. The game is also available on Steam.
Screenshot of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord (Source: Taleworlds/Prime Matter)

 

You can play this title on PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Get a copy for PC via Steam.

 

11. EVE Online

This title has a very epic reputation: Fleets of ships with thousands of real players that fight each other in space, form alliances, plunder and establish space colonies. These are stories that are told here without the pretense of the developers. As a capsuleer pilot, you’ll find yourself in a vibrant galaxy with many alliances, corporations, and a complex economy. Enter the sci-fi universe and play your part in one of the best sandbox games set in space. The recently released expansion EVE: Uprising makes an entry particularly appealing.

Even though this title can’t be declared as a typical sandbox game, there are special areas (so-called nullsecs – zero security areas) where, within the limits of the game mechanics, complete anarchy reigns. While this is successively restricted in Lowsec and Highsec, there is freedom in Null if you decide to go for it. But beware, there are no authorities to protect you when you’re in Null.

In one of the most epic space sandbox games, you can experience space battles with thousands of other real players, as illustrated in this screenshot from EVE Online: In the long shot, we see a massive yellow and black colored spaceship floating in an orange appearing space at the bottom center of the image. The structure is relatively flat and very elongated. The spaceship has numerous vertically running protective beams on the sides. At the rear, on the left and right sides, two fire fountains emerge from the ceiling. The ship has two cannons on the front and back of the roof, with which it just shoots two blue laser beams out of the picture to the upper left. Around the ship fly numerous more or less distant asteroids. Play the game for free.
Play EVE Online for free (Source: CCP Games)

 

You can play the title on macOS, and Linux. Get a free copy for PC via Steam.

 

10. Just Cause 3

The Just Cause series traditionally gives the player a very large, expansive world. In the third installment, Rico Rodriguez’s task is to free his home island Medici from the creep General Di Ravello. The strength here is, again, clearly the creative freedom to leave a lot of explosive chaos on the island and blow up a lot of buildings and vehicles. Jump into the depths with a wingsuit, perform impressive stunts and really let it rip with your rocket launcher.

In this screenshot from Just Cause 3, we see the protagonist in the third person in the center of the image in a long shot. He is running with a minigun in his hands towards a military base during the day, which he is shooting at the same time. He has short black hair, and wears a blue shirt and blue jeans. On his back, he has an Assault Rifle and a Grenade Launcher. On the left in the background, a huge radar station with a satellite dish rises into the air, and to the right of it, we see a surveillance tower, at the base of which a violent explosion is taking place. Also at the bottom left of the image, we glimpse an explosion in the crop, and throughout the base in the background smoke projectiles shoot through the air and the scene is enveloped in fire and smoke. One of the most insane sandbox games on Steam.
Just Cause 3 screenshot (Source: Avalanche Studios/Square Enix)

 

Just Cause 3 is available for PS4/PS5, and Xbox One. It can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

9. The Sims 4

In your search for good sandbox games, you should definitely check out The Sims 4. The latest installment in the series is still supported with updates and DLC. Create your own Sims, build a house for them and watch them live their best or worst lives at home. Here you have a lot of creative freedom. Watch them travel to other parts of the city, go to work, pursue their hobbies, or encourage them to do certain actions that you can direct. Great fun awaits you – since recently totally free!

Take part in the simulated life of your Sims, as shown in this screenshot: We catch sight of a bride by daylight in a manicured garden with lots of colorful plants. They can be seen in the center of the image and are currently dancing between bushes in front of applauding seated guests, who are sitting on white festive chairs and are also festively dressed. On the right, a building with a white wooden facade and stone bricks is shown in the crop. At the top right of the image, we can see many green trees of various kinds, in front of which many round tables with more white chairs can be seen. In the distance, a blue body of water with a sailing ship and a white building with a white roof is shown. Sims 4 is available for free.
A wedding in The Sims 4 (Source: Maxis/Electronic Arts)

 

You can get it for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and macOS. Grab a free copy for PC via Steam.

 

8. Creativerse

It’s a kind of new futuristic Minecraft, which advertises itself as an adventure game as big as your imagination. And the game fully lives up to this claim! There are all kinds of different treasures, monsters, and resources to discover, and you can even create your own creatures and items. Build and design according to your wishes. In addition to decorating your own realm, you can also easily explore the game worlds of other players, alone or with friends.

In this screenshot, we see a player in the top left of the image in a long shot from the right side. We are in a dark underground cave, lit only by torches, two of which we can see in the center of the image in the background. The player is wearing a blue tricot, and black pants and has a large curved sword in his right hand. He stands on a blue block and looks down into the abyss, which we can see on the right of the picture. There we can see lava rocks on the right edge of the image and further to the left a blue spidery black creature with several yellow eyes, which illuminates the near surroundings around it in light blue. Further down in the depths, a green light can be seen. Sandbox games like Creativerse give you a gameplay experience very similar to Minecraft.
Creativerse screenshot (Source: Playful Corporation)

 

You can get Creativerse for PC via Steam.

 

7. Robocraft

In short, this is a sort of futuristic Minecraft. However, the graphics are more realistic and less pixelated. Here you can construct your own robots. But that’s not all, of course. It’s free, and you can also introduce your self-built mech into the world and pilot it through it to hunt down and destroy other robots/players. Sandbox games like Robocraft are made for all fans of the sci-fi genre and offer a lot of creative freedom. Have fun tinkering around!

In the long shot, we see a crafted flying red robot in the form of a space shuttle at the bottom center of the image. It is facing us and is flying away from a round gray-blue platform on the ground. It is daytime and to the right of the platform are steep gray rocks jutting out of the image and extending into the background. There is also a brown road leading from the platform into the background. On the left side of the picture, we see rocky plateaus covered with grass. At the top left and top right of the screenshot, we can see turquoise shield-like shapes.
Screenshot from Robocraft (Source: Freejam Games)

 

Robocraft is available for macOS & Linux. Play it for free on PC via Steam.

 

6. Arma 3

Possibly one of the most complex military simulations, Arma 3 offers an exciting multiplayer mode, a vast campaign, and a very extensive editor. The latter includes an extremely large number of assets and tools for creating your own missions, campaigns and worlds. Popular standalone titles such as DayZ have been created from this editor, which clearly speaks for its design potential that makes Arma 3 one of the most remarkable sandbox games.

Build your own campaign in one of the best sandbox games on Steam, as illustrated here in this screenshot of Arma 4: The player can be seen in the third-person view on the right of the image in the semi-close-up. He is on a grassy landscape at night and has a green camouflage combat suit on including a helmet. The player is approaching a green military vehicle, which we can see in the background in the profile on the left. Its bright headlights cast a cone of light to the right, illuminating large parts of the grass on the right side of the screen. In the distance to the left, we can see another vehicle of this type with its headlights also activated. In the background, a hilly landscape stretches horizontally and above it, we see a night sky with dark blue clouds.
Arma 3 screenshot (Source: Bohemia Interactive Studio)

 

You can get it for macOS & Linux. It can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

5. Ylands

In YLands, there are no limits to your creativity. Grab your partner, friends, or family and collect resources together to build anything you can think of. Explore the lands or waters by building vehicles or a ship and setting sail. A creative adventure awaits you, and you are the author of it! And the best part is that this title is playable completely for free.

Build and destroy castles in Ylands, as seen here on the screenshot: In the foreground, two catapults are standing on a hill, just firing at a castle we can see in the background, which is already partially on fire. Behind the castle, the wide blue sea can be seen. Around the castle are numerous fir trees.
Ylands (Source: Bohemia Interactive)

 

Get a free copy for PC via Steam.

 

4. Albion Online

This free 3D sandbox game has a high degree of freedom as well. Take possession of land, find and collect resources, and construct buildings and items of all kinds. Equip yourself with weapons and armor to fight against players in open-world PvP, or focus on collecting, trading, and selling resources to other players to expand your empire.

Albion Online is one of the best sandbox games and a free-to-play game where you have a lot of creative freedom. In this screenshot, we can see a constructed castle from above, with a stone path leading out of it to the right. A misty canyon can be seen at the top and some trees and grassy ground are shown at the top right.
Albion Online (Source: Sandbox Interactive)

 

Albion Online features cross-play and is available for Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. You can play the title for free on PC via Steam.

 

3. No Man’s Sky

Dive into a Sci-Fi adventure as a spaceship pilot and explore countless procedurally generated planets. There is always something new to see and discover: Collect valuable resources or carnivorous plants, build a base and upgrade your equipment or terraform planets. Just do whatever you feel like doing. The game has already received many updates, making it even more fascinating. Here you can both relax and engage in intense battles with alien creatures.

Here we see at the bottom right around the image a spaceship that has landed on a procedurally generated planet with turquoise grass growing on it. The spaceship is also made of turquoise and white paint. On the left and right edges of the image are orange-leafed palm trees. In the background, we see three launching spaceships, which are arranged in a triangle and drag a laser beam behind them. Even further in the background, other parts of the planet can be seen dimly in the nebula, as well as another planet far away.
No Man’s Sky (Source: Hello Games/505 Games)

 

You can get it for PS4, PS5, PlayStation VR, SteamVR, Oculus Rift, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. You can purchase it for PC via Steam.

 

2. Trove

If you want to play a free alternative to Minecraft, we can recommend Trove. In this game, you’ll have a lot of fun with numerous creations and inventions. Create items, dungeons, and classes, and build your own adventure. The entire environment is completely destructible, and you’ll be able to create your own dream buildings in it. What sets the game apart from other titles of its type is its sophisticated combat system, which can be very exciting.

Trove looks like Minecraft, but it's free. Play the title with friends and build your own realms and adventures in one of the best sandbox games on the PC. On this cover, we see a player on a dragon in pixel form in the left foreground and a pixel city in the background. The scene is characterized by a lot of colorfulness. The game can be downloaded via Steam.
Cover of Trove (Source: Trion Worlds)

 

The title is available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Mac. Play it for free on PC via Steam.

 

1. Valheim

Have you ever wanted to build impressive historical Viking settlements and appoint yourself Jarl? Although the world of Valheim isn’t made of blocks, it can still be modified to your liking. Thus, you’ll get numerous resources that you can use for tools and construction materials to build impressive bases. Besides, you’ll be able to fight against many huge mythological creatures and level up. Are you ready for Valhalla?

Go into battle as a Viking with a spear and shield, like here in this screenshot, where the player walks through a forest armed in the third-person. In the background, a small stone tower as the supposed dwelling of the player. As one of the best sandbox games, you can play the game on PC with friends via Steam.
A forest in Valheim (Source: Iron Gate Studios/Coffee Stain Publishing)

 

Valheim is available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Linux. You can buy it for PC via Steam.

 

Even more sandbox-like games that focus on freedom and exploration

Explore even more vast lands in these Open World Games for PC or get to know a very special 2D sandbox game and defeat the Core Keeper Bosses.

In case you feel like faster-paced action, check out our ranking for the Best Free FPS Games.

 

What is your favorite thing to do in Sandbox games? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.


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