Table of Contents HIDE
- Minecraft (2011)
- The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
- ARK: Survival Evolved (2015)
- ARK: Survival Ascended (2023)
- Sons of the Forest (2023)
- Rust (2013)
- No Man’s Sky (2016)
- Executive Assault 2 (2023)
- Subnautica Series (2018)
- Valheim (2022)
- Fallout 4 (2015)
- Fallout 76 (2018)
- Medieval Dynasty (2021)
- Satisfactory (2020)
- Forever Skies (2023)
- The Forest (2018)
- Terraria (2011)
- Factorio (2020)
- State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition (2020)
- Raft (2022)
- ASTRONEER (2016)
- 7 Days to Die (2013)
- Conan Exiles (2018)
- Space Engineers (2013)
- Kenshi (2018)
- Empyrion – Galactic Survival (2015)
- Scrap Mechanic (2016)
- Green Hell (2019)
- How to Survive 2 (2016)
- SCUM (2018)
- Craftopia (2020)
- Eco (2018)
- Groundead (2020)
- V Rising (2022)
- Icarus (2021)
- Smalland: Survive the Wilds (2023)
- Wild Terra 2: New Lands (2020)
- Hydroneer (2020)
- Mist Survival (2018)
- Tribes of Midgard (2021)
- CryoFall (2021)
- Wurm Online (2006)
- Deadside (2020)
- The Infected (2020)
- Night of the Dead (2020)
- Hobo: Tough Life (2021)
- Above Snakes (2023)
- Occupy Mars: The Game (2023)
- Astro Colony (2021)
- Frozen Flame (2022)
- Force of Nature 2: Ghost Keeper (2021)
- Bum Simulator (2022)
- Wild West Dynasty (2021)
- Survival: Fountain of Youth (2023)
- The Planet Crafter (2022)
Survival games set in an open world, where players can build their own bases, are one of the most popular trends in modern game development. In the vast majority of cases, such games are based on complete (or nearly complete) player freedom. Roughly speaking, you are simply thrown into a hostile world and handed a virtual pickaxe. Everything that happens next depends solely on the player.
While compiling this selection of open-world games with base-building, I chose only the most popular games in this genre. YouTube, Steamcharts, and a range of AI services helped me quickly and efficiently structure the information. Some of the descriptions of the listed games were also generated with the help of AI, but they were verified and corrected by a human.
In my list, you will find many well-known games that you have probably already heard of. However, I also made an effort to include newer and intriguing sandbox games with mechanics for building houses, shelters, factories, and so on. If you know of any games that deserve a spot in this selection, feel free to write about them in the comments. I periodically update this post, so they will likely be added to the list as well.
Few people would dispute Minecraft’s dominance in the genre of open world base building games. Minecraft’s gameplay centers around two primary modes: survival and creative. In survival mode, players collect resources, manage their health and hunger, and fend off both daytime and nighttime threats. Mining and crafting are fundamental activities, with players digging into the terrain to gather materials like wood, stone, and ores, then using these resources to create tools, building materials, and other useful items. In creative mode, players are free to construct elaborate structures with unlimited resources, uninhibited by health or hunger concerns. This mode encourages artistic expression and design without the survival mechanics present in the other mode. The game also offers multiplayer options, where players can collaborate or compete in the same world.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (2011)
In Skyrim, you cannot construct a base in the traditional sense (except with modifications), but you can purchase homes in various parts of the map and furnish them in detail. Exploration forms a core part of gameplay, with a vast, dynamic world filled with distinct cities, rugged wilderness, and hidden dungeons. Players engage in combat with various creatures, including dragons, using a mix of weaponry, magic, and stealth. Character development revolves around an intricate system of skills, permitting players to customize their hero to match their preferred style of play. Interaction with non-player characters and undertaking quests also play significant roles, offering branching storylines and outcomes based on choices made. Additionally, crafting and enchanting provide opportunities for enhancing gear, promoting strategic approaches to challenges.
ARK: Survival Evolved (2015)
ARK: Survival Evolved is an open world game with base building that plunges players into a harsh, prehistoric environment teeming with dinosaurs and other ancient creatures. Survival is the central theme, requiring players to gather resources, construct shelters, and craft tools and weapons. Base building provides a strategic element, allowing players to create fortified structures for protection against the game’s many threats. Taming and riding dinosaurs is another unique feature, offering a means of transportation, combat, and resource gathering. The game includes both single player and multiplayer modes, with the latter encouraging alliances and competition among players. Furthermore, there’s an inherent progression system, with experience points earned through various activities used to unlock new recipes and improve character abilities.
ARK: Survival Ascended (2023)
When it comes to surviving in the world of dinosaurs, the ARK series stands unmatched. Here, you won’t just be building a base in an open world but also taming prehistoric monsters. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what ARK: Survival Ascended is since I haven’t had the chance to personally test it yet. However, as of now, the game seems like some kind of graphic remake, encompassing all the original mechanics but in a more beautiful “wrapper.”
In ARK: Survival Ascended, you’ll be surviving in multiplayer worlds filled with dinosaurs. You can develop your character, explore crafting recipes, build your home, acquire dangerous pets the size of a truck, and, of course, interact with other players in various ways. The game is quite pricey and demanding on hardware, but fans of previous ARK installments will undoubtedly enjoy it.
Sons of the Forest (2023)
Sons of the Forest, a much-anticipated sequel to The Forest, centers around open world survival gameplay. Players use crafted weapons and tools to survive against cannibal mutants, either in solo play or cooperative multiplayer sessions. The game introduces a dynamic seasonal system, altering survival strategies as the island’s visual design, food sources, and enemy behaviors change. A new AI system, ‘V.A.I.L., governs NPC behavior, with characters influenced by factors like hunger, thirst, and mental state. Players can also command companions to perform tasks, easing survival efforts. Crafting, cooking, and building systems are more robust, with a 3D printer to create complex items and a building mechanic for immersion.
In the multiplayer sandbox Rust, the sole objective is survival in an open world. A player starts with just a rock and a torch, requiring the gathering of resources such as wood, cloth, and food to craft tools, weapons, and other gear. These resources can be acquired by actions such as chopping down trees or mining. Survival also necessitates managing hunger, thirst, and health. The open world is primarily a threat due to other players, but also includes hostile animals like wolves and bears. Additionally, players can construct bases or join clans to enhance survival chances, with raiding being a significant component of gameplay. In this regard, Rust stands out among open world base building games. Certain areas of the map are radioactive, demanding appropriate clothing or armor for safe exploration. Rust also supports modded servers, adding a variety of content to the game experience.
No Man’s Sky (2016)
Base building in No Man’s Sky has a specific implementation, and not everyone will appreciate this system. The gameplay revolves around exploration, survival, combat, and trading. Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open world universe, which includes over 18 quintillion planets. In-game activities involve mining for resources, trading goods, piloting starships, and combat with hostile forces. Players are also able to upgrade their characters’ equipment for better resource gathering and survival rates. The base building aspect allows for creative expression and provides a home base for storage, crafting, and safety from planetary hazards.
Executive Assault 2 (2023)
If you’re accustomed to erecting rudimentary cabins in the dense forests of uninhabited islands, brace yourself, for in Executive Assault 2, your construction prowess extends beyond earthly confines to the vastness of asteroids. This fusion of real-time strategy and first-person shooter plunges players into an intergalactic odyssey. With a choice among three distinct factions, gamers delve into a realm where asteroid bases burgeon with over 70 diverse structures.
As CEOs, players navigate the intricacies of power management, engage in tactical battles with customizable starships, and confront rival corporations and protestors across multiplayer modes supporting up to four companies. Seamless transitions from real-time strategy to first-person shooter mode unveil manic combat scenarios, enabling players to defend their bases as robots or assume control in the cockpit of starships. Whether capturing outposts, exploring star systems, or raiding derelict outposts for upgrades, Executive Assault 2 unfolds a dynamic and immersive cosmic tapestry, where players craft galaxies and compete for intergalactic dominance.
Subnautica Series (2018)
The Subnautica series, while not cinematic, offers unforgettable experiences of oceanic depth exploration. As open world games with base building, they set players in alien underwater environments, where survival is the key theme. In Subnautica, players navigate a vast ocean after crash-landing, gathering resources, and crafting equipment to explore deeper and survive longer. Its sequel, Subnautica: Below Zero, introduces new biomes and creatures, including arctic conditions, making survival more challenging. Both games emphasize exploration, resource gathering, and base building while revealing intriguing narratives through environmental cues and logs. Players must manage health, hunger, thirst, and oxygen levels, introducing elements of danger and urgency to the otherwise serene aquatic ambience.
One of the most popular RPGs featuring base building, Valheim transports players into a Viking afterlife. Survival in this environment necessitates progress and resource gathering, including weaponry such as pickaxes. Optional cheats are available, but engagement with boss fights is a key part of the experience. Consuming food and crafting are integral aspects of the gameplay. Players are directed towards objectives, yet are granted freedom in determining their route to success. Mastery of the game entails not only understanding game mechanics but also the ability to locate necessary items and develop strategies to overcome each boss.
Fallout 4 (2015)
Games from the Fallout series by Bethesda are renowned for their open world base building elements, and Fallout 4 is no exception. This action role-playing game is set in an open world environment, with a camera that allows a first-person and third-person perspective. Notable features include a layered armor system, a dialogue system with 111,000 lines of dialogue, and a crafting system that implements every lootable object in the game. The player has the ability to freely roam, leave a conversation at any time, and fast travel to any discovered location.
One of the game’s unique features is the ability to craft and deconstruct settlements and buildings using materials obtained from breaking down in-game objects and structures. The Pip-Boy, a personal computing device strapped to the player character’s wrist, provides access to statistics, maps, data, and items. A returning gameplay feature is the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.), which slows down real-time combat, limiting the actions of each combatant during a period of time. Lastly, at the beginning of the game, players allocate points to a character progression system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L, unlocking abilities and improving the protagonist’s efficiency.
Fallout 76 (2018)
Fallout 76 is another popular RPG from Bethesda. In this multiplayer online game, players can interact, trade, and cooperate or compete with each other. Gameplay revolves around exploring the open world, quest completion, and survival against various enemies. An important aspect is the building and maintaining of personal camps, using resources and blueprints. The game also incorporates a special progression system, enabling the unlocking and upgrading of abilities as players level up. Additionally, the game features a unique mechanic called “nuclear options”, which allows players to access nuclear missile silos and fire a missile at any point on the map.
Medieval Dynasty (2021)
In Medieval Dynasty, the building system looks particularly robust. It’s not just about constructing houses, as in neighboring games; here, you build an entire village from scratch. From humble huts to majestic stone mansions – this architectural symphony is crafted through your hands. And it’s not just for aesthetics; it’s for survival. Harsh winters and unpredictable events force you to create not just beautiful structures but to ensure your survival and the prosperity of generations. You start as a cornered refugee but evolve into a leader, a master of various skills, and the founder of a dynasty capable of withstanding the challenges of time. From hunting and gathering resources to starting a family and managing an entire settlement – this life cocktail in the medieval era awaits you in Medieval Dynasty. In this world, enemies aren’t just among people – wolves and bears might disturb your peace, so be on guard when chopping wood or constructing a new home.
Building bases in an open world is fun indeed, but how about constructing a massive factory? Satisfactory offers this unique gameplay in an immersive first-person perspective. Players, embodying employees of FICSIT Inc., embark on a mission to contribute to Project Assembly. Pioneering for the corporation involves charting an alien planet, extracting resources, and combating extraterrestrial lifeforms. The main task is to erect complex machines which in turn manufacture necessary parts. As gameplay progresses, more sophisticated machines and parts become available, enabling the creation of tools, buildings, weapons, and vehicles. The overall experience delivers a blend of open world base building, exploration, and combat, with an emphasis on automation and technology research.
Forever Skies (2023)
The colorful survival game Forever Skies attracted my attention not so much for its graphics as for the unusualness of its gameplay. In this world where the Earth is covered in a colossal layer of toxic dust, players build and customize a high-tech airship that becomes their home, workshop, laboratory and much more. Controlling the ship, maintaining its integrity, extracting resources to improve it – all this creates a unique atmosphere of survival in the air. Scientific knowledge allows players to build and operate various machines, analyze scanned objects, and restore lost technologies. Exploration opens up new ways to obtain food and resources, helps discover new tools, and increases your chances of survival.
The Forest (2018)
In the open world base building game, The Forest, the player steps into the shoes of Eric LeBlanc, who is on a quest to find his son Timmy after surviving a plane crash on a forested peninsula. The game thrusts players into a struggle for survival, necessitating the creation of shelter, weapons, and other survival tools. The peninsula is inhabited by a tribe of cannibals, which may not always be hostile but typically exhibit aggressive behavior, particularly during the night. Players can encounter a variety of mutant creatures as they explore the peninsula and the caves beneath it.
The game incorporates a day-night cycle, requiring players to build shelter and traps, collect supplies, and hunt during the day, and defend against mutants at night. A survival guide book assists players in navigating the game, providing a to-do list and allowing them to plan structures in the open world. Items collected can be stored in the inventory, which includes a crafting system that encourages player experimentation. Health, energy, stamina, hunger, and thirst levels are displayed on the HUD, requiring the player to source water and food from the environment, and manage their sanity level, which influences the available building options.
It will hardly be a secret to anyone that among the 2D games there are also open-world sandboxes. But Terraria is not just another sandbox. It’s as if Minecraft and Metroid decided to join forces and create something unique. So, you’re thrown into a procedurally generated world with basic tools and an NPC guide. And there’s more to it than just digging and construction. It’s about exploration, battles with various creatures, crafting and survival. Terraria has a class system where you can be a mage, warrior, marksman, or summoner. Bosses that can drop rare items make the game even more interesting. Defeating them unlocks “hardmode” with new enemies and items.
Also, the NPCs you attract add life to your world. Terraria has something for everyone, from base builders to epic battle lovers. “Expert” and “Master” modes provide greater challenge, while “Journey” mode gives control over the world. The copious amount of mods for the game can blow your mind by adding new bosses and changing the mechanics of the game. It’s like building your world out of bricks and then protecting it from the monsters who dream of making it their home. And believe me, it won’t end quickly!..
The indie masterpiece Factorio will provide you with hundreds of hours of engrossing construction in a vast procedurally generated world. In this game, you take on the task of creating and managing factories, mining resources, and researching technologies. The early stages of gameplay involve manual labor such as chopping trees and mining ores, but with progress, you evolve into an industrial powerhouse with automated production lines. The game also includes a combat element where you have to defend your establishment against enemies. As you build and automate, your factories grow increasingly complex, highlighting the game’s core focus on intricate, large-scale factory design and management.
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition (2020)
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition offers players a new open world map to explore, set in the rugged logging town of Providence Ridge. This version of the game also introduces heavy melee weapons that test and reward player skill and timing. An array of graphical improvements enhance the player experience. Important changes have been made to the control scheme, with dodge and stealth now assigned to separate commands, giving players greater control over their in-game actions.
The post-tutorial experience has been thoroughly revamped to provide a comprehensive introduction to the key facets of the game. However, I regret that I have not been able to find explicit references to the RPG and base building elements of the gameplay at this time, due to technical difficulties with my search tool. Please note that these elements are integral to the open world RPG with base building genre and are likely to be significant aspects of the gameplay in State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition.
Building on land is common, but what about maritime construction? Raft is a survival game set in an endless ocean, where players start on a small 2×2 raft with only a hook to collect floating resources like barrels, wood, and plastic. The open world RPG with base building gameplay is conducted in first- or third-person perspective, and can be played in single-player or multiplayer mode. The player can expand the raft, create new tools and weapons using a crafting system, and must defend against sharks that frequently attack the raft. The player must manage hunger and thirst by catching food and purifying water. As the raft drifts, islands and coastal regions come into view, offering opportunities for exploration and collection of unique items.
For lovers of space sandbox construction, Astroneer offers an immersive third-person adventure. Players control an astronaut, named an Astroneer, to navigate on foot, by rover, or spacecraft across procedurally generated planets. The key objective involves colonizing planets, establishing structures, and gathering resources. Players can reshape the terrain and gather resources like organic material, quartz, and lithium using a Terrain Tool. Crafting is a major aspect, with items such as rovers, jets, and solar panels constructible using gathered materials. Further, Astroneers manage their oxygen levels using snails, portable oxygenators, or craftable tethers. While there’s no set storyline, optional tasks and missions can provide narrative elements and lore. To progress, players discover and activate alien Gateway Chambers and dig into the planet, unlocking new planets and challenges.
7 Days to Die (2013)
Despite the fact that the atmosphere of 7 Days to Die may not be for everyone, it can be considered one of the best zombie survival simulators with one of the finest base-building systems. The game’s objective is to survive as long as possible against both natural elements and hordes of zombies in a voxel-based, physics-simulated environment. The world, which can be either randomly generated or the preset Navezgane, Arizona, offers different biomes with unique resources, encouraging exploration. The player must manage constant needs such as food and water, craft tools, and construct buildings.
The primary threat comes from zombies, whose behavior changes with the day-night cycle and grow more aggressive over time, especially during the Blood Moon event every seventh in-game day. Players can use stealth and distractions to avoid conflict, and fortify their bases against zombie attacks. Multiplayer mode in this open world game with base building allows interactions on player-hosted servers, offering both survival and creative modes.
Conan Exiles (2018)
Let’s be clear: the graphics in Conan Exiles might raise some questions. However, the gameplay will please all enthusiasts. The fundamental premise of Conan Exiles is survival in the fictional prehistoric Hyborian Age. Player characters begin condemned to death and are rescued by Conan, navigating the Exiled Lands, a harsh desert terrain, as exiles. The addition of various biomes, such as the Frozen North and The Highlands, brings new elements and resources, encouraging exploration. Customization options abound, allowing players to modify physical attributes and choose from various races.
Religion holds significance, with players initially swearing allegiance to one of seven gods, each offering unique benefits and crafting recipes. Resource management is key, as players must maintain hunger and thirst gauges while confronting hostile enemies. The game features a thrall system, enabling the capture of human NPCs for various benefits, and as of a 2018 update, pets can also be included in the gameplay, enhancing travel and home defense.
Space Engineers (2013)
Space Engineers is a voxel-based sandbox game set in an asteroid field in space. Players can create and destroy various forms of structures and vehicles. The game employs a physics engine, which adds complexity to the construction and destruction processes. Survival mode requires players to mine resources, manage their character’s vital signs, and guard against threats such as cyberdogs and drones. Creative mode allows unrestricted access to all resources and tools, fostering free construction and experimentation. Multiplayer mode enables collaboration or competition with other players, enhancing the range of possible in-game experiences.
Few games in the world are as unforgiving to the player as Kenshi. This open world base building game places the player in a post-apocalyptic sandbox where survival is paramount. Players begin with minimal resources and must navigate a world filled with hostile creatures and factions. The gameplay is largely non-linear, allowing the player to engage in various activities such as trading, farming, and mining. Combat is real-time and squad-based, with the player able to recruit and manage a group of characters. The world of Kenshi is unyielding, with survival hinging on careful strategy and planning. Interactions with the game’s factions can lead to dynamic shifts in the game world’s power balance, adding to the overall complexity and depth of the gameplay.
Empyrion – Galactic Survival (2015)
If you are looking for a space sandbox, Empyrion is likely to pique your interest. This game is an intriguing 3D open world where you can fly through space and land on planets, a notable feature in open world base building games. It skillfully melds elements of space simulators, base building games, survival games, and first-person shooters. Players find themselves on an alien planet, aiming to survive in a hostile environment. The starting capsule provides basic resources, but the hunt for rare materials is necessary. Using the capsule’s builder, a variety of constructs can be made, including bases, terrestrial vehicles, and spaceships. In multiplayer mode, planets serve as persistent worlds where interactions including trade and combat can occur between players. It is a game designed to make exploration engaging, with the journey being the reward itself.
Scrap Mechanic (2016)
Scrap Mechanic is a simulator game, played from a third-person perspective, set in a futuristic theme. The game offers two modes, creative and survival. In the creative mode, players have the freedom to construct various mechanisms from available components and test their operation. In contrast, the survival mode necessitates resource gathering, combating robots, food cultivation, and base defense. Multiplayer support allows for up to four participants.
A unique feature is the game’s physics engine, which influences the behavior of mechanisms and objects. The interactive world can be destructed and altered, offering a crafting system that enables the creation of diverse items and tools. Scrap Mechanic incorporates an upgrade system to enhance the characteristics of mechanisms and items, a personalization system to adjust the character’s appearance and attire, an explorable open world containing various locations and secrets, and mod support adding new parts, items, functions, and capabilities.
Green Hell (2019)
Green Hell truly lives up to its striking title, as the player finds themselves in a survival simulator set within the Amazonian jungles. The game provides a story mode, requiring the player to unravel the mystery of their presence in the jungle, and a sandbox mode allowing game parameters customization for a personalized survival experience. Multiplayer support is available for up to four participants. The survival system takes into account both physical and mental conditions, urging players to monitor health, hunger, thirst, temperature, energy, sleep, hygiene, and wounds. Various afflictions like diseases, infections, poisonings, and hallucinations can affect the player, who can use different plants, medicines, and bandages for treatment.
The game’s crafting system lets players create items, tools, weapons, and shelters from found resources. Hunting and fishing systems allow for food and skin gathering, while a planting system enables crop cultivation. There are systems for building diverse structures, fire for cooking and warding off animals, navigation via compass, map, and GPS, and radio communication with other characters. The game features dynamic weather and a day-night cycle influencing gameplay, in a varied world consisting of diverse locations.
How to Survive 2 (2016)
While not the most visually attractive, How to Survive 2 offers intriguing gameplay as an action-RPG survival simulator set in a post-apocalyptic world. It includes both a story mode and a sandbox mode. In story mode, players must complete various tasks assigned by the Cowboy, who manages survivors in New Orleans. In sandbox mode, players can customize game parameters to survive in a world filled with zombies.
The game supports multiplayer for up to 16 people, with only four able to play online simultaneously, and local co-op supports up to four players on a single screen. It features a complex survival system, considering the character’s physical condition, needs for food, water, sleep, and protection from cold and heat. How to Survive 2 is an example of open world base building games, with a crafting system for creating items, tools, weapons, and armor from found resources, and a building system for constructing various structures and improving the camp. A skills system allows players to upgrade various survival aspects such as speed, strength, agility, endurance, and more.
SCUM is a multiplayer survival game set in an open world with a post-apocalyptic setting. Players can participate in a reality show in story mode, where survival on an island filled with zombies and other participants is the key objective. In sandbox mode, players have the freedom to adjust game parameters and survive in the world at their discretion. The game supports multiplayer mode with up to 64 individuals on a single server. A complex survival system is present, taking into account both the physical and mental state of the character, their needs for food, water, sleep, as well as metabolism, temperature, and bleeding. SCUM includes crafting and building systems that allow players to create various items, tools, weapons, armor from discovered resources, construct different structures, and enhance their camp. A skills system further allows players to improve various survival aspects like shooting, melee combat, stealth, endurance, and more.
Compared to the best open world games with base building, Craftopia may seem somewhat juvenile. This open world role-playing game engages players in resource gathering, item crafting, construction, exploration, and development. Players gather resources like wood, stone, and iron using tools created from initial resources, and construct homes and bases from various blocks and elements. The world, brimming with locations such as islands, jungles, deserts, and snow mountains, can be explored extensively.
Players can evolve and improve through experience acquisition, leveling up, learning skills, and enhancing characteristics. Alongside fighting various monsters, they can also interact with non-playable characters, manage different vehicles, and travel through time via time portals. Automation in crop cultivation and resource production is facilitated through the use of industrial and farming devices, adding a layer of complexity to the gameplay.
In the unusual sandbox construction game Eco, you will engage in building a civilization using ecosystem resources without harming nature. As an open world RPG with base building, players gather resources such as wood, stone, and metals using tools and machines, crafting items like weapons, armor, and food using various workbenches. Players construct their homes and bases from various blocks and elements while exploring the voxel-based world, responsive to player actions, featuring various biomes and animals. Players manage their civilization through mechanisms like laws, taxes, and elections, also affecting other civilizations, and cooperation with other players is encouraged through trade and resource exchange. It’s vital to consider the impact of actions on the ecosystem, striving not to disrupt its balance, while facing a global threat in the form of a meteor that can destroy the entire game world.
In Groundead, the player is set for an unusual experience, surviving in a world where children have been shrunk to insect size. The backdrop of the game is a house’s backyard, divided into various biomes filled with diverse flora and fauna. Gameplay involves gathering resources such as grass, stone, mushrooms, and cobwebs using tools and weapons, creating items like weapons, armor, clothing, food, and potions with different workbenches. Players can build their homes and bases from various blocks and elements, and explore various aspects of the game world. Battling various insect enemies like ants, spiders, and aphids is required, as well as cooperation with other players through trade, resource exchange, and task completion. Players must consider their needs for food, water, and oxygen, while keeping an eye on their health and stamina.
V Rising (2022)
One of the most unusual open world base building games, V Rising offers the player a chance to step into the role of a real vampire and battle dozens of unique bosses. The main goal is to awaken as a vampire, hunt for blood, build your own castle, and conquer the world of the living. Gameplay involves collecting various resources like wood, stone, metals using tools and weapons, and crafting items such as weapons, armor, clothes, food, potions with different workbenches. Players construct their castles and bases using diverse elements, and explore various aspects of the game world. Combat against various human enemies, including knights, vampire hunters, peasants, as well as other players is integral, as is cooperation through trade, resource exchange, and task completion. Players must account for their blood needs, and maintain health and stamina, while facing dangers such as sunlight, fatal to a vampire.
Icarus is a game of diverse views and will not appeal to everyone. However, it is yet another open world base building game where you can spend time exploring a vast alien planet. The gameplay comprises resource gathering, crafting of items using different tools, and constructing bases with varied elements. Players can explore different aspects of the game world, combat various animal enemies, and cooperate with other players through trade and task completion. Attention to oxygen needs, health, and stamina is crucial, as players must confront various dangers, including harsh weather conditions.
Smalland: Survive the Wilds (2023)
Smalland: Survive the Wilds is another game where the player is shrunk to the size of a bug, offering a unique perspective in open world base building games. The gameplay revolves around exploring a vast environment, known as “Land of the Small”, where players can navigate through large puddles and scale enormous trees. Survival is key, and this can be achieved by building encampments using scavenged or refined resources. Players can also craft various armor sets, which provide them with resistances and abilities. Additionally, the game allows for taming and riding different creatures, enhancing mobility and interaction with the environment. Cooperative play is supported, allowing up to 10 players to explore, fight, and build together.
Wild Terra 2: New Lands (2020)
If you prefer online sandboxes, Wild Terra 2: New Lands might captivate you. In this MMO, players find themselves in a medieval world, where they begin with nothing and must use the resources around them to survive. Tasks such as crafting, building, farming, and hunting are integral to progression. Players can also engage in combat with the wildlife and other players. There’s the ability to explore and settle in different biomes, each offering unique resources and challenges. The world changes with the seasons, requiring adaptive strategies for survival and growth.
Hydroneer is an open-world, sandbox game centered around mining for resources. The player can dig vast networks of tunnels, or mine on the surface to find resources that can be used to refine and sell. With the profits, the player has the option to purchase high tech washing tables and equipment to automate work. There’s a range of tools from buckets to advanced machinery to assist the player in their mining operations. The world is fully dynamic and can be manipulated by the player; rivers flow, trees grow, and the landscape can be shaped to the player’s liking. Various locations for base building are available, allowing the player to construct their base of operations. The game is solo but includes the ability to invite friends for a multiplayer experience.
Mist Survival (2018)
Mist Survival positions the player in a post-apocalyptic world, experiencing the struggles of a viral pandemic simulation. As a single-player survival genre with stealth and sandbox elements, players are tasked with overcoming challenges such as searching for shelter and food while dealing with threats from the environment and climate, including wildlife, bandits, infected beings, and a dense mist. Building a base for protection, crafting weapons and tools, and engaging in activities like farming, cooking, and fishing are among the key survival strategies. Diverse in-game systems such as medicine, bleeding, inventory, item transport, and resource mining, add complexity to the player experience.
Tribes of Midgard (2021)
The vibrant and dynamic Tribes of Midgard immerses players in a world steeped in Norse mythology. As a cooperative action-RPG with survival elements, the game tasks players with protecting the Seed of Yggdrasil from Ragnarok. Players can customize their character, choose from eight distinct classes, and engage in resource gathering, crafting, and base building in an open world RPG setting. The dynamic combat system features close and ranged weapons as well as class-specific abilities. Sessions last from one to three hours in Story mode or can be unlimited in Survival mode, both supporting up to ten players.
CryoFall is a sci-fi survival simulator set on a distant planet in the future. The primary objective is to survive and develop a civilization on the alien world. Players can cooperate or compete with others in PvE and PvP modes, with up to 200 players on a single server. Character customization, level advancement in 20 different skills, and the unlocking of new technologies and crafting recipes form the core of gameplay. Players engage in resource collection, crafting, and construction, while combat involves the use of close-ranged and ranged weapons, traps, and explosives. The environment features varying weather conditions and a day-night cycle, which impact visibility and player character temperature.
Wurm Online (2006)
Wurm Online, an old multiplayer sandbox, allows players to build bases in an open world and gather resources. The game offers a fantasy environment with diverse biomes and islands, accommodating up to 2000 players on a single server. The main goal is to survive and develop a civilization freely in this world, where gameplay involves both cooperation and competition in PvE and PvP modes. Customization options include the selection of gender, appearance, clothing, name, and religion for characters. Character advancement happens through improving in over 130 different skills without class restrictions, while crafting includes the creation of weaponry, armor, tools, furniture, utensils, and other items.
The theme of survival in a post-apocalypse is explored in Deadside, a hardcore multiplayer shooter with survival elements set in a large open world. Realistic weaponry, basic crafting, and the ability to construct bases from various materials form part of the gameplay. Missions in the game involve tasks such as loot searching, eliminating NPCs or other players, and survival necessitates managing hunger and thirst levels and healing wounds and infections. Combat with other players for resources, territory, and prestige forms the PvP aspect, while PvE includes battles against NPCs for loot, experience, and money. All these features position Deadside among the open world base building games with a dynamic, tough, and realistic gameplay approach.
The Infected (2020)
In The Infected, you will survive in a large, open-world survival simulator, set in a post-apocalyptic landscape dominated by zombie-vampires. The game involves using various types of firearms, cold weapons, bows, and crossbows, along with a complex and varied crafting system that allows for the creation of items, clothing, food, and medicine. Building bases from wood, stone, metal, and other materials is possible, as is utilizing various ground transport vehicles. Survival requires the management of hunger, thirst, temperature, health, and stamina, while PvE gameplay involves fighting zombie-vampires and wild animals for loot and survival. The game is single-player or cooperative, with server selection and parameter setting options.
Night of the Dead (2020)
In the colorful post-apocalyptic sandbox of Night of the Dead, you assume the role of a survivor in a world filled with zombies resulting from a scientific experiment gone awry. Weapons range from various firearms and cold weapons to bows, crossbows, bombs, and grenades, complemented by a complex crafting system allowing for the creation of items, clothing, food, medicine, and electricity. Constructing bases from various materials is possible, along with setting traps and defensive structures. Survival necessitates maintaining levels of hunger, thirst, temperature, health, and stamina, while certain tasks related to loot searching, zombie elimination, or rescuing survivors are available. The game offers both single-player and cooperative modes with server selection and parameter adjustments.
Hobo: Tough Life (2021)
Hobo: Tough Life offers a survival experience not in the wild, but in an urban setting, specifically in a cold Central European city, Praslav, recovering from the fall of communism. As a homeless protagonist, your primary tasks are to scavenge for food and items, beg, steal, and do whatever is necessary to survive the harsh winter. The game features realistic interaction of parameters like temperature, hunger, thirst, health, hygiene, mood, smell, and energy, all influencing the risk of sickness and death. It offers numerous plotlines inspired by real events and people, and you can complete tasks, meet unique NPCs, make allies or enemies, join factions, and find your place on Praslav’s streets. From the diverse streets, parks, and abandoned buildings, you can gather and use various items to improve your situation, engage in crafting, combat other homeless people or bandits, trade with other characters, and participate in mini-games.
Above Snakes (2023)
Among all open-world base-building games, Above Snakes is one of the most notable. It is an RPG featuring elements of survival and base construction in an isometric perspective. Set in a Wild West environment imbued with fantasy elements, players find themselves surviving in a world where humans transform into snakes. The key tasks revolve around piecing together one’s own world, collecting resources, building a base, crafting tools and weapons, hunting, fishing, farming, and fighting for survival. Players manage a range of parameters such as health, energy, hunger, thirst, temperature, and mood. Unique features of each biome, dynamic day-night cycles and weather conditions, and the risk of turning into a snake add layers of complexity to the gameplay.
Occupy Mars: The Game (2023)
Building bases in the wild can be fun, but constructing them on other planets is even more intriguing, as showcased in Occupy Mars: The Game, part of the open world base building games genre. It’s a technical sandbox survival game about Mars colonization. The player, an astronaut engineer working on Mars, has the task of constructing and upgrading a base, exploring new regions, conducting mining operations, extracting water, generating oxygen, cultivating crops, and fixing broken parts.
The gameplay involves managing parameters such as health, energy, oxygen, water, food, and temperature. A unique feature of this game is the realistic physics and chemistry, the intricate electricity and electronics system, dynamic weather and seasons, and randomized events and emergency situations. The game also offers a campaign mode that provides a narrative introduction.
Astro Colony (2021)
Astro Colony, another space sandbox, immerses you into the cosmic management simulator genre. The aim is to explore the vast, procedurally generated, and fully destructible universe, creating an efficient network of colonies. Essential resources such as oxygen, energy, water, food, metals, and crystals need to be managed using devices like conveyors, storage units, generators, filters, farms, factories, and laboratories. Astronauts and bots are key characters, with astronauts working on devices, satisfying their needs, and exploring space, while bots transport resources and maintain the devices.
The gameplay also involves movement via ships, shuttles, and rovers, resource extraction through drills, lasers, and asteroid catchers, and space exploration through radars, scanners, and probes. Colony expansion, founding new colonies, inter-colony communication, technology development, device improvement, and interaction with other players also constitute core gameplay aspects.
Frozen Flame (2022)
Frozen Flame is a role-playing game with survival elements, where the goal is to save the world from destruction and ascend to godhood. The dynamic weather, day-night cycles, and diverse locations and biomes provide a varied environment for players and NPCs. Resource gathering involves collecting wood, stone, ore, fabric, leather, food, and water. Key actions include gathering, mining, crafting, building, exploring, and combat.
Players strive to survive harsh conditions, develop skills and abilities, battle enemies and bosses, and complete quests and tasks. NPCs offer information, trade goods and services, and provide quests and rewards. Modes of travel vary from walking to riding horses or dragons, and resources can be extracted with manual tools or magical spells. Exploration is furthered by discovering new locations, uncovering secrets and artifacts, and studying history and legends.
Force of Nature 2: Ghost Keeper (2021)
Force of Nature 2: Ghost Keeper stands as one of the most appealing open world base building games, where you construct your haven. This role-playing title mixed with survival elements unfolds in a procedurally generated fantasy realm. The objective is to decipher the enigmas of the Force of Nature stone, reinstate balance, and pinpoint a route back home. Navigating this world, abundant in adventures and magic, demands survival in rigorous conditions, skill enhancement, and conflict with foes. Interaction with NPCs yields information, commerce opportunities, and quests. The world can be traversed on foot or horseback, while resources are procured through manual tools or magical spells, and the world’s intricacies are unveiled by exploring new locales and discovering artifacts.
Bum Simulator (2022)
Life as a homeless person is challenging, and Bum Simulator offers players a dive into these hardships. In the shoes of a bum, you engage in various activities: collecting and selling garbage, bottles, scrap metal, and scrounging for food in trash cans or pilfering from pedestrians. Finding a place to sleep becomes a survival game itself, with options including the streets, apartment entrances, parks, or abandoned buildings. Performing tasks can bring in some cash, with the reward varying based on time, speed, precision, or the amount of trash and scrap metal collected. However, health and hunger systems remind you of the stark realities faced by your character.
Wild West Dynasty (2021)
Despite garnering fairly negative reviews on Steam, Wild West Dynasty still earns a spot on the list of open world base building games. This title set in 19th-century America, allows you to build and manage your town, engage in farming, hunting, and player combat. Trading, fishing, and resource collection are also on the docket, along with crafting and local exploration. Systems for quests, achievements, character upgrades, item crafting, and various management mechanics add layers to the gameplay.
Survival: Fountain of Youth (2023)
Survival: Fountain of Youth, while not exactly a groundbreaking entrant in the sandbox genre, presents an engaging experience. Set on a Caribbean island, players are tasked with survival, finding sustenance, and constructing shelters. A bonfire serves multiple functions from cooking food to fending off wild creatures. The use of various tools, from bows and arrows to pickaxes, helps gather resources and ward off threats. A series of bosses must be defeated to unlock new areas, making this title a notable entry in the open world base building games.
The Planet Crafter (2022)
The Planet Crafter often draws comparisons to Subnautica due to similar gameplay concepts. Players are dispatched to a hostile planet with one mission: to make it habitable. Resource collection and object construction form the backbone of this mission. Different types of buildings can be built, such as homes, factories, and shopping centers. Tools, weaponry, and armor can be crafted to aid survival and counter enemies. The player’s survival also relies on managing oxygen levels and other resources, and navigating varying weather conditions and radiation levels, ensuring a dynamic and challenging gameplay experience.
There are still quite a few lesser-known open-world games with base building that, for various reasons, did not make it into this extensive list. You can always mention them in the comments if they are important to you. And, of course, as new games of this genre are released, the compilation will be updated and edited. Thank you for reading! 😉