Minecraft: A Force to be Reckoned With
Minecraft has always enjoyed a substantial fanbase, even prior to the game’s full release. The deep game mechanics paired with the simplicity and child-like appeal of Minecraft sets it apart from other survival games.
The game plays as an open sandbox where you get to fully explore the capabilities of the game and challenge yourself to build intricate machinery and glorious architecture.
Its procedurally generated world gets bigger the further you explore, making for a unique experience for every player and adding to the game’s replayability.
During Minecraft’s 11 years of existence, it has managed to sustain a consistent number of active players, with several peaks during certain periods. This is due to the ease of creating custom servers that completely overhaul the game and significantly increase its lifespan.
There is a lot to love about Minecraft, but there are many games with similar aspirations, with the addition of unique game mechanics, visuals, storylines, and game worlds. Here are some games like Minecraft to sink your time into.
Games Similar to Minecraft
- Stardew Valley
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- No Man's Sky
- Don't Starve
- Lego Worlds
Roblox always springs to mind when discussing Minecraft, as it shares the same childish aesthetic and blocky assets. It also shares the creative aspect of Minecraft, where you can manufacture and erect anything you want. The editing tools on this game are on par with Minecraft’s. Albeit, they are unique in their own right, as it allows for more freedom to program and mod.
Minecraft thrives when it comes to online features, and Roblox is no different, allowing players to host their own servers for other people to join and play. If there’s a popular game or TV show out there, you can bet that Roblox hosts a server that mimics it.
Additionally, the game features an online store riddled with custom items for your online avatar, built by the community and sold for Robux, the game’s virtual currency. The game is also free-to-play and has been so since its release, a welcome bonus for a premium game that can be an easy foray into programming for many young aspiring game developers.
In essence, Roblox is centered around its online features and the community, carried on by a highly motivated and talented player base-something that’s only going to improve with time.
Developed by Re-Logic, Terraria is more akin to a 2D version of Minecraft. It shares the same aspects and game logic as Minecraft, effectively mimicking the broad appeal of its blocky precursor.
Just like Minecraft, this 2D side-scroller also focuses on survival. It is survival via building and creating sustainable food-generating land plots and erecting safe houses to keep your character out of harm’s way.
In spite of being a 2D side scroller, Terraria is immersive, featuring hardcore survival mechanics. Try not to get bogged down by its numerous systems. Terraria might be a little overwhelming in the beginning, but everything makes sense when you sink some time into it.
Like Minecraft, Terraria is procedurally generated, using the same concept of randomly generated seeds, which makes for a unique experience on each playthrough.
Terraria encapsulates every aspect of gameplay that makes Minecraft so appealing whilst maintaining its own unique charm and appeal through subtle differences like the added emphasis on combat and the ability to recruit NPCs.
Ultimately, regardless of whether you’ve played Minecraft before or not, Terraria is the closest you can get to in your quest to find a Minecraft alternative.
3. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is an amalgamation of different game genres, sharing the same gene as Minecraft and Terraria. You start with a piece of land bequeathed to you by your late grandfather, with the ultimate goal being to turn it into a thriving home.
Story-driven with well-written characters, each equipped with individual backstories, Stardew Valley has a different feel to it than other games of the same domain. You interact with these characters, aid them on their quests, and work together to solve the mysteries of the world.
While the game is focused on farming, for the most part, you’re often encouraged to engage in other activities like fishing, mining, and even sparking romance with one of your fellow residents and potentially tying the knot.
Stardew Valley is available on all modern platforms, macOS, Linux, and mobile devices. Plus, it sells for a very affordable price with frequent promotional discounts. Not to mention the recently added multiplayer, which allows you to play alongside your friends.
To sum up, Stardew Valley is a take on many different game genres, making it part of a one-of-a-kind hybrid genre of its own making. It’s definitely worth a purchase.
4. Ark: Survival Evolved
Ark: Survival Evolved has been the butt of many internet jokes, frequently touted as “Minecraft with dinosaurs”, but despite the jokey nature of the statement, it isn’t far from the truth. After all, the game shares the same genre as Minecraft and even adopts some game mechanics from it.
The first striking similarity is the lack of backstory about your character and how it all came to be. The game instantly demonstrates to you the dangers of the environment you’re in by spawning you near hostile prehistoric creatures. The only goal is to stay alive for as long as you can.
You achieve your aim of staying alive by erecting your home to protect you from the harsh climate and any creatures looking to do you harm and by establishing food sustainability from the comforts of your own home.
Where Ark: Survival Evolved differs from Minecraft, however, is in the intense feel of the game, with little to no downtime and never-ending conflicts reminding you of the dangers around you.
This game mimics human evolution like no other, allowing for a slow and steady progression that grants you more power as you garner more knowledge about the game world. You will eventually transition from being near the bottom of the food chain to topping it.
Whilst Minecraft allows you to have pets, all non-rideable ones serve no real purpose or aid you in your quest for survival in any way. Ark: Survival Evolved, however, is a different story. You can domesticate nearly every animal and have them protect and transport you wherever you want.
If you grow weary of skulking around solo, try Ark’s bustling multiplayer. It’s essentially the same game with the same mechanics. However, you now have to fend off other hostile player, whilst trying to stay alive.
Fundamentally, Ark: Survival Evolved captures all the aspects of Minecraft that make it a fun, challenging, and enjoyable experience whilst adding its own twists and unique chaos to it.
This online-only game has gradually soared in popularity, mainly due to many streamers picking up on the brilliance of the game and starting their community role-playing servers. You could argue the game’s sudden rise in the player base was directly related to Minecraft’s own recent rise.
The map, much like Minecraft, is procedurally generated, with the exception of some built-in maps. While survival in its treacherous open-world environment is the main objective, the real threat comes in the form of other players who will look to attack and scavenge you for all your possessions.
Alternatively, you can create alliances with other players and survive together, but that’s easier said than done.
Like many of the entries on this list, Rust lets you fend off for yourself with nothing more than a rock, allowing you to work your way upbya collecting resources and building tools to aid you on your journeys. You can also erect habitats to protect yourself from the outside world.
Battle the harsh climates, thirst, and hunger to stay alive. If push comes to shove, cannibalism is always an option. But if cannibalism is not to your liking, wild animals work just as well; you’ll just have to be a bit cautious on approach.
You can craft some fairly modern weaponry, should you already have the blueprints for them, leading to interesting combat scenarios, often between people with differing weaponry.
In short, this game encapsulates the core gameplay components of games like Minecraf, but with a mature and gritty feel to it that sets it apart from many other entries in this list.
6. No Man’s Sky
Despite the game’s rough launch, No Man’s Sky’s developer, Hello Games, slowly refined the game with consistent updates that overhauled and fixed many of the gripes gamers had with the initial release.
The lead-up to the game’s release was massive, as it had everyone talking about how great and innovative it was going to be. Eventually, the game did achieve that potential as it now finds itself as one of the best exploration/survival games out there.
No Man’s Sky uses the same procedural world generation as Minecraft. However, it goes above and beyond, with limitless galaxies, planets, and star systems. Each planet and galaxy is unique in its own right, with differing climates, resources, and species.
It sports the same basic premise of survival via exploring and building tools and architectures using the resources you find while venturing through the universe. The game also directs you toward solving a mystery that spans nearly the entire universe, ensuring that you never run out of things to do whilst playing the game.
Each planet and space station plays host to alien creatures that you can interact and trade with. Some encounters are less pleasant, however, as you may run into pirate spaceships or hostiles that will look to do harm on your way to your destination.
With the new addition of multiplayer, you can now trek through the galaxies with your friends and craft your very own habitats, weapons, and spacecraft. And it’s available on all modern platforms with the recent addition of virtual reality support.
No Man’s Sky is a fun and challenging game with uniquely innovative features that truly set it apart from the rest on this list.
While we’re talking about space exploration, 2018’s PC Game of The Year, Subnautica, needs a mention. Developed by Unkown’s World Entertainment, Subnautica is a survival game that sets you stranded on an ocean-filled planet, swarming with hostile creatures and adversities that you have to overcome.
Unlike Minecraft, Subnautica has an actual plot and storyline, one that is paramount for the game’s progression. For you to even progress through the story, you have to survive. You do that by exploiting the resources available to you and using them to manufacture tools and habitats with the aid of blueprints that you find in wrecks or scattered across the ocean bed. Unlike Minecraft, you have to also manage your vitals while keeping your character fed and healthy.
In summary, Subnautica is a great survival game with a well-written story to add to the immersion and give reason to your actions. It’s well worth a purchase, especially if you love Minecraft, as Ian Birnbaum of PC Gamer went on to describe it as an “underwater Minecraft”.
Eco is an ambitious online-only experience where you get to live in an ecosystem that tries to mimic real life as much as possible and work towards preserving that ecosystem. Whilst the game is still technically in beta as of the time of writing, it does provide great value.
The look of the game is reminiscent of Minecraft along with its survival elements. Players gather resources afforded to them via the continuous simulation of plants and animals that roam the game world.
Speaking of the game world, it’s procedurally generated for each server. So, the longer a server is around, the bigger the map will be. Each map could theoretically keep expanding perpetually to no end. The players can also add in their own game elements or game logic via developer-supported community mods.
One game-defining aspect of Eco is its player-run government, where players band together to initiate a leadership system, complete with all formalities necessary to run a government. Though it runs as a democracy by default, dictatorship (autocracy), oligarchy, monarchy, and technocracy are available as well.
Since the depth of this game is genuinely unrivaled, my advice would be to go through all of the tutorials and documentation explaining the fundamentals—from the economy, taxes, and architecture to laws and even housing.
Starbound plays like a 2D No Man’s Sky, dumping you on an alien planet with limited resources. Go out and explore to collect resources and use them to ensure your survival.
So far, it’s a fairly common concept, but where its 3-dimensional precursor excels, Starbound also excels equally as much. Space exploration is well-developed, with a procedurally generated universe that expands the more you branch out. Like No Man’s Sky, every planet and galaxy in Starbound has its characteristics and unique elements that segregate it from the rest.
The game offers a side story with quests to keep you engaged and give you a goal to work towards. Unlike Minecraft’s narrative-free ‘story’, Starbound’s quests and adventures do give the player contextual purpose for their actions and deep lore to discover. Alongside that, you’ll encounter other creatures on space stations and planets and interact or trade with them.
The game allows for the same level of creativity as Minecraft, as it offers intricate crafting mechanics that permit the player to fully test their creativity and genius.
Perhaps one gripe with Starbound is that it’s a PC-only game. Also, Starbound is online-oriented, with a heavy focus on online features and community-made game modes via modded servers. So if you’re looking to play solo, there is not much to do here. All in all, Starbound is an excellent game that encapsulates every riveting aspect of Minecraft and No Man’s Sky and implements it perfectly into a 2D world.
10. Don’t Starve
If you thought nighttime and cave-dwelling creepers were unsettling in Minecraft, you’ve not played Don’t Starve. Its creepy atmosphere and spine-chilling creatures rival the menacing presence of the Minecraft creeper.
Don’t Starve is a 2D survival game that shares many of its game mechanics with Minecraft, even down to its childish look. But don’t let the innocuous art style deceive you. The game is a balance between survival and psychological horror, where fear stems from the dreadful atmosphere and your own anxiety.
Hunting for resources, one of the game’s main components, is a painstaking task to go through as you’re always on edge—a task you’ll have to repeat several times due to the game’s unforgiving crafting system.
The aim of the game is simple; survive. You achieve that by crafting habitats that keep you from harm’s way and resource-generating farms that discard the need to venture into the dreaded forests and ruins.
If only it were that simple. Don’t Starve features a fully-fledged story with several characters, each with its own lore. The storyline is immersive and captivating, with twists and turns that keep you speculating about the following events.
Development-wise, Don’t Starve enjoys frequent updates and expansions that add new features and, most importantly, new story elements to keep its huge player base engaged for a long time.
Much like most entries on this list, the game world is procedurally generated, so no playthrough will be like the one before. Additionally, the game has been available on all platforms since its release, including mobile devices, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, macOS, and Linux.
11. Lego Worlds
On the surface, Lego Worlds seems like a fairly chilled-out affair. A light-hearted aesthetic and characters only add to that notion. However, it’s much deeper than that.
The game, as you’ve probably guessed, is Lego licensed. Initially teased as a playable construction manual for Lego sets, the eventual release turned out to be a vast sandbox experience, allowing the player to build and create to their heart’s content with no unprovoked risk of harm and limited outside threats.
While Lego Worlds host a plethora of creatures, none of them attack you. If you want., however, you can domesticate them and later use them for traversing Lego World’s behemoth of a map. With over 30 different biomes, a ride is certainly needed to travel from one place to another.
Coming to the NPCs, they usually fall into one of the five categories: friendly, neutral, aggressive, hostile, and skittish. Though, they won’t attack unless you provoke them.
Unlike Minecraft, you don’t have to worry about vitals or staying alive in Lego Worlds. However, with the complex crafting system, paired with the endless possibility for creation, it’s no wonder that Lego Worlds has made it into this list. While it might not be a hardcore survival sim, it’s still fun and challenging.
Any Other Games?
Did I miss out on any other games like Minecraft? Let me know in the comments section.
© 2022 Rahul Pandey