The 15 Best Sandbox Games – Kill, Craft, Build, and Survive!

Best Sandbox Games
Kill, craft, build, survive.

What Are The Best Sandbox Games?

Since early 1990s PC titles such as The Terminator and Hunter, sandbox games have come a long way.

They now regularly offer complex RPG systems, engaging base and party building mechanics, and immersive worlds with incredible variety.

There are so many visually stunning and challenging  options that it can be difficult to decide which to play next. 

15. SCUM

SCUM puts you in a world where entertainment has taken a bloodthirsty turn. Clash viciously with other televised prisoners through all kinds of terrain to win the favor of the insatiable audience and sponsors.

With the ability to control, manage, and customize your character however you want, plan the perfect battle tactics to survive the hellish, behind-the-screen landscape for as long as you can.

With intense simulation-strategy and a spoonful of brutal battle royale combat, SCUM will surely satisfy even the most primal gladiatorial desires.

Micromanage: Control every detail of your character’s condition including skills, metabolism, nutrition, weight, even how quickly clothes dry

Outdoorsman, naturalist, fighter: Navigate the hostile terrain and find resources to craft the essential gear and weapons for survival

14. Gloria Victis

Go back to the middle ages in a vibrant society with a breathtaking open world where you can be a jack of all trades — warrior, blacksmith, merchant, adventurer.

You can engage in skillful combat, buy and sell in a completely player-run economy, work through thrilling quests in dangerous open world dungeons, and leave your mark throughout the ages as a formidable feudal lord.

With an entirely create-your-own-character progression system and a beautiful medieval European landscape, Gloria Victis is your own personal time machine to the days of King Arthur and Excalibur.

To Arms: Master the skills and strategy of no-targeting combat 

Boundless Exploration: Quest, loot, or simply explore a vast medieval terrain 

13. Conan Exiles

Enter the universe of Conan the Barbarian in this survival sandbox game. Conan (the man himself) saved your life, but you must quickly learn the ropes of survival if you want to make it in a world full of relentless sandstorms and harsh` climates.

Forge your own household, grow your clan, and defeat  your enemies. A world that can be experienced on your own or with others, Conan Exiles gives you the chance to evolve a weak, small settlement into an unstoppable tour-de-force with powerful weapons at your disposal and giants following your every command.

Control Yourself: Keep yourself full, hydrated, and healthy with the various resources you find and items you craft

Bloody Satisfying: Master the intense, combo-critical combat to become the greatest in the Exiled Lands

12. Project Zomboid

Experience death. Not just once, but in more ways than you ever imagined possible. In Project Zomboid, you struggle desperately to defend your house against endless undead hordes.

You must loot abandoned buildings, prepare hardy defenses, and plan carefully  if you want to last through the apocalypse. Develop your skills in farming, hunting, trapping, cooking, crafting, and carpentry to prepare food, items, and defenses.

To defeat the never-ending zombies, you will need to use , use anything and everything you can to stand your ground. The game provides you with countless vehicles, tools, items, and locations to explore. In your quest against the zombies you are sure to have a unique, enjoyable experience. 

Stock Up: Loot houses and other buildings to get supplies, but keep your gun handy for the undead you’ll surely encounter along the way

Build or find a good base and ward off the incoming swarms with the help of your guns and upgrades for your fortress

11. The Forest

The only surviving passenger from a  plane crash, you’ve arrived in an unknown forest full of flesh-hungry, genetically-altered humanoids. Luckily, every plant around you can be harvested for resources.

However, when day turns to night, you must be ready to fight the enemies and defend your stronghold. Choose your fighting style: sneak around and avoid enemies or charge them headstrong with your prehistorically simple weapons.

The forest is a dangerous and unforgiving place: do you have what it takes to withstand it?

Ripe for Scavenging: Gather wood from trees for your camp, shelter or defenses, and find food to ward off the threat of starvation

The Clan Attacks: Use your crafted weapons and battle skills to defend yourself from horrific clan members that are frighteningly human

10. Don’t Starve Together

A multiplayer standalone expansion of a classic in the survival sandbox genre, Don’t Starve Together has you and your friends (or strangers) online cooperating to last in a world with unknowns around every corner.

Use the resources of this strange world to craft many helpful items and structures that suit many kinds of play styles.

With multitudes of bosses, biomes, companions, items, and mysteries, Don’t Starve Together will certainly fill your stomach with stressful, content-filled survival experiences.

Strange Beasts in a Strange Land: Encounter cute, wonderful, and occasionally terrifying creatures as you explore the odd landscape

It’s a party: Discover new playable characters for you and your friends, and play as whichever one you like the most

9. The Elder Scrolls Online

An MMORPG adaptation of the beloved, long-lasting RPG series The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online brings the magical continent of Tamriel to a massively-multiplayer world.

Bring friends along or embark alone  to create your own unique story and characte Explore deadly dungeons or duke it out with fellow adventurers in epic battles with hundreds of players.

True to Bethesda, the storyline that can be completed in whichever order you choose, with each choice  each impacting your legacy. TES Online brings the brilliant sandbox RPG gameplay of The Elder Scrolls to a vast multiplayer universe.

A Dangerous Quest: Team up or go solo to take on perilous beasts of all shapes and sizes

Get Equipped: With bountiful costumes, mounts, pets, and items, change the looks and playstyle of your adventurer to your heart’s content

8. ARK: Survival Evolved

As you teeter on the brink of death on the enigmatic island of ARK, do whatever you can to make it in this harsh mysterious climate. You must harvest, craft, farm, hunt, research, and build.

Tame over 100 powerful prehistoric creatures around the island and use them to dominate unfortunate players and conquer the land. Don’t go hungry though; all actions cost food and water  Adding to the complexity, plants and meat have unique nutritional profiles.

With boundless craftable items, character customizations, land to explore, and, of course, dinosaurs to command, ARK: Survival Evolved provides a hardcore, prehistoric sandbox-survival experience.

Astonishing Beasts: Over a hundred creatures are there for you to tame; will you fall before their indomitable might or master their tremendous strength?

A Prehistoric Island: Explore the dangerous environment full of strange structures, rare blueprints, and many more secrets for you to find

7. Prison Architect

Think real-life prisons could use an upgrade? Construct a maximum-security prison from which no one can escape. Make sure that your prisoners have their needs met; build a workout area, food court, infirmary, and other amenities  to keep the inmates happy.

Unhappy inmates cause serious problems: fights, riots, and even prison breaks can happen at any moment if your jail isn’t up to code. Be the boss over your own prison and allow justice to be served.

Control the Break: The game allows you to use extreme force and torture to control your prisoners. How far will you go?

Build your Alcatraz: Craft a small, stable jail or an entire city of prisoners and guards.

6. 7 Days to Die

Bringing limitless crafting and world-building to the survival genre, 7 Days to Die combines  elements of defense, role-playing, horror, and shooter games into a zombie-filled survival experience.

In any of the numerous massive environments available, build an  indomitable fortress by placing turrets, traps, fences, Craft over 500 different weapons, armor, utilities, and vehicles as you upgrade your own character with over 60 unique skill groups.

With plenty of defenses and upgrades but plenty more incoming zombies in the hordes, can you stand your ground for the whole week?

Zed Want You Dead: Over 50 different kinds of zombies want a taste of your brains

Forge Your Stronghold: Using existing buildings or from scratch, mold an undefeatable fortress

5. Kenshi

Probably the purest sandbox experience of any item on this list, Kenshi allows you to create a truly unique character with almost any trade or career imaginable.

Venture across the 870-square-kilometer desert map populated with warring, power-hungry factions. Command  a powerful squad that levels up with each battle won and quest completed.

Will you be a noble and friendly monk, or a despicable, war-mongering tribe with an unbreakable stronghold? In Kenshi, nearly endless possibilities await.

Tribal Mastery: Fight or ally with the world’s factions, and develop your own age-defining clan with strength, leadership, and diligence

Cities to Explore: Find numerous settlements across the desert, or even build your own buildings to use as businesses or safe havens

4. Rimworld

Three survivors have crash-landed on an unseen planet, and they need your help. Build farms and structures in the from wood, stone, and other materials to satisfy the colonists’ varying needs.

Defend your colony from dangers including pirates, rabid beasts, huge bugs, and more.

With clever events that regularly happen to your colony, your game session will be a unique story of hardy colonists battling starvation and hostility. With a new world with each playthrough and hundreds of mods to enhance the experience, Rimworld exemplifies wonderful management-survival loyal to Dwarf Fortress and the sci-fi genre.

Your Own Colony: Make a home for your colonists complete with housing, medical centers, farms, and much, much more

Danger’s Afoot: Protect your colonists from threats like pirates, starvation, riots, weather, and other dangers from inside and outside the colony

3. Rust

Naked, alone, and completely deserted, you must find food and water and craft your way to survival using only a rock at first to gather resources.

Band together with other players to create settlements and help each other survive. Overcome dehydration, hunger, and frostbite with what you find.

There are other dangers, though; non-friendly players are more than happy to kill you. Intense, brutal, and dangerous all around, Rust puts you on edge at every moment.

Face-to-Face: Craft weapons to prepare for deadly encounters with other players where only the strongest can survive

Don’t Go Alone: Team up with other players to withstand even the most brutal attacks

2. Mount & Blade: Warband

The land of Calradia is fragmented by endless war as the five factions each attempt to seize the throne. A newcomer to this land, you must assemble a band of troops and lead them into battle. Fight for the lord of a faction of your choice or lead your own army.

As you play you will gain strength, honor, and renown that will help you achieve the ultimate prize: lordship over the land. Upgrade troops and keep them satisfied so that they keep following your every command. Use your persuasive tongue to win the heart of a lady or the swords of vassals.

And if you ever feel that the single-player campaign isn’t enough of a challenge, you can join a multiplayer match supporting up to 64 players in several different game modes.

Sieze the Strongholds: Use your powerful, diverse army to capture castles and cities for your lord or for yourself

Diverse Troops: Carefully choose the best troops of each type and from each region to create the ideal army for both sieges and open combat.

1. Unturned

You’re one of the lucky few who remains alive, but it won’t be easy to keep it that way. Find weapons from your surroundings to fend off the incessant zombie hordes with a hankering for brains.

Scavenge  food from plants and animals to fend off the hunger of the endless night. If you want more excitement, raid encampments for precious loot or fight to the death in PvP arena mode.

Whatever your gameplay style, do whatever it takes to remain unturned.

Base Building: Make your own decked-out hideout with barricades, traps, machines, furniture, and everything else you need to make it through the apocalypse

Diversify: Use any weapon you can find (machines guns, swords, snipers, and more) against the dead

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Nurse, writer, dog whisperer. Real-life druid. Reading this article provides +2 constitution bonus for 24 hours.
Gamer Since: 2006
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Crypt of Hyrule, Celeste
Top 3 Favorite Games:Crypt of the NecroDancer, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Psychonauts
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