Minecraft masterfully blends sandbox survival and crafty creativity, so there are many games like it. The gameplay is friendly and highly versatile, with a very cute art design and memorable little characters. Even after a decade, Minecraft continues to expand through spin-offs like Dungeons and Legends.
This list will focus on games with clever twists and refreshing experiences that borrow many of Minecraft’s winning qualities. That includes the fundamentals, such as open world exploration and crafting. However, our selections will also consider tone, flexibility, and other details.
7. No Man’s Sky
This spacefaring epic is a compelling alternative for older players in search of deeper layers in their sandbox survival. And although there are some shooting elements and space battles, No Man’s Sky doesn’t really emphasize combat. Instead, it encourages you to seek out new planets and create unique bases with a surprisingly robust building system.
While you initially build bases for simple survival, you can acquire many new elements to design and decorate with. Like Minecraft, No Man’s Sky is a game that thrives on discovery of the infinite, construction, and co-op. It lands at the bottom of the list because it’s less accessible, but the game has grown extensively since launch.
Indie hit Space Engineers also deserves an honorable mention, which offers similar gameplay, but its creativity is mainly hinged on crafting vehicles.
The team behind Goat Simulator infuses just a hint of their signature comedy in Satisfactory, mostly regarding nature exploitation. It also sets itself apart through factory construction and customization.
The system is complex enough that you’re encouraged to spend most of your time building and automating gigantic factories together. And although survival isn’t really an element here, players do get a truly massive open world to explore. It’s sillier and tamer than No Man’s Sky, with unique visuals and mechanics.
Stardew Valley is a frequent suggestion for fans of Minecraft, but Core Keeper is much closer in nature. It spends less time with life sim events, but also offers the same retro style. It also has many fun twists on the survival sandbox genre.
Core Keeper’s imaginative world feels like it began with Stardew Valley’s mines and elaborated in as many inventive ways as possible. Its RPG, crafting, and survival elements are top-notch. But it doesn’t have quite as much in the way of creative building compared to some other games like Minecraft.
This wacky survival game is like a blend between Minecraft and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Players must contend with nature as bug-sized heroes. While Smalland is a more recent example, Grounded is generally more forgiving, and cute. It also focuses more on crafting your bases than your armor.
You can easily spend more time relaxing with friends in Grounded. The open world is suitably large, with lots of familiar objects that have been comically scaled. The decorative options are broad and unique enough to create interesting bases, made with very unusual materials.
This unexpected spin-off from the hit game ARK: Survival Evolved blatantly borrows from Minecraft in all the best ways. This version merges the dinosaur action and taming of the original game with Minecraft’s voxel worlds and scope.
PixARK plays like an excellent mod, with an extraordinary volume of content that’s both faithful and much friendlier than before. In fact, those who didn’t care for ARK: Survival Evolved are more likely to enjoy PixARK. The balance between survival, building, and exploration is well-measured. So, you can more safely indulge your creativity in this one.
2. Portal Knights
This game is a hidden gem that has expansive voxel building flexibility like Minecraft, but also a great RPG adventure. You can happily spend all of your time building a dream fantasy mansion at the edge of the world. But exploring new worlds will only give you fresh canvases.
While survival isn’t a factor, there’s plenty of action. It has an adequately sized story that propels you forward, with exciting boss fights and well-defined environments. It’s a thrill to discover every new area for its varied lore, locals, and enemies. You’ll also have the same sandbox freedom, exploration, and co-op support as Minecraft, though it never feels redundant.
This remains the definitive Minecraft follow-up, even after so many years. All of the fresh ingredients that Terraria introduces feel like a natural evolution. The 2D aspects are a perfect fit, without losing any of the range and surprise that Minecraft had to offer.
Terraria is also an adaptable game that lets you enjoy it the way you’d like, just like Minecraft. It accomplishes this both in gameplay and tone. It can be as casual or challenging as you please. The sprawling crafting system is packed with more materials and items that you can imagine.
Starbound deserves an honorable mention at this spot too, for incorporating many of the same beneficial features and taking them to space.
Minecraft is a hugely successful IP that is so expansive it even offers educational value. It’s a terrific inspiration for creativity that lets you craft your own fun. Fans of all ages continue to enjoy it, so let us know about your favorite games that followed in Minecraft’s footsteps!