The best games like Minecraft to play in 2021

Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the world, sitting among the bestselling games of all time with nearly 200 million copies shipped. Although wildly popular, Minecraft hasn’t changed much since launch. That’s why we’re here to give you a list of the best games like Minecraft if you need a change.

There aren’t many games quite like Minecraft, despite the fact that countless have tried to copy the formula. Below, we have options that differ in aesthetics and mechanics, but keep the idea of building and survival intact. If you’re looking to program Pokémon Red into the game, or delve deep into the modding scene, it’s best to stick with Minecraft.

Terraria

Terraria is the Minecraft clone, often pitched as “Minecraft in 2D.” The side-scrolling builder is so popular, in fact, that the Minecraft community has a mod that allows you to use the building components of Minecraft in Terraria. It isn’t just another builder, though. Terraria is more expansive with multiple bosses and much more content.

The most interesting aspect of Terraria is its change in perspective, though. Because the game is in 2D, you’re focused on building and digging up and down, rather than traversing a three-dimensional space. That limitation leads to greater exploration, believe it or not, as you’re forced to start on a path and stick to it.

Read our Terraria review

Dragon Quest Builders

Like Terraria, Dragon Quest Builders is a Minecraft clone that has a lot more going on than its source material. It’s a builder like Minecraft, fit with hundreds of recipes and block-based construction. The Dragon Quest moniker isn’t just for flair, though — Builders is a full-fledged RPG.

Much more so than other options on this list, Dragon Quest Builders justifies its $60 price tag with a 400-plus-hour campaign that’ll take you to a variety of locales, as well as greater emphasis on combat. There’s a sandbox mode, too, though the full feature set of Builders is only unlocked after you finish the main story. The story mode essentially serves as a tutorial, just one that’s extremely long and filled with excellent writing.

Roblox

Roblox isn’t really a Minecraft clone. Rather, Minecraft is somewhat of a Roblox clone. Released in 2005 and maintained ever since, Roblox is a massively multiplayer online builder focused on making games. Players can use the platform to design their own games and share them with the community using the object-oriented programming system and Lua programming language.

Roblox isn’t just a sandbox, though, but rather a simplistic platform for budding developers to get their start. As a creator, you can sell your game and items to the community for Robux, Roblox’s in-game currency. Unlike other in-game currencies, though, you can exchange your Robux for cold, hard cash.

Starbound

Starbound is basically Terraria in space, though it comes from a different developer. It’s the first title developed by Chucklefish, the studio that developed Wargroove and has published games like Stardew Valley and Risk of Rain. Despite sharing the same 2D perspective as Terraria, Starbound is, fittingly, much more expansive.

It’s a story-driven game, fit with a cinematic opening sequence, a tutorial, and multiple quests to complete. Starbound isn’t quite as large as Dragon Quest Builders, with the main story running just over 20 hours, but it’s hard to complain given how cheap the title is. Though shorter in length, Starbound is much larger in scope, allowing you to explore multiple galaxies and worlds.

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve tells you everything you need to know in the title. It’s a game about not starving, or, more accurately, surviving. Rather than giving you a blank slate like most other survival games, Don’t Starve is very overt in its tone. With a gothic, hand-drawn art style, Don’t Starve is bursting at the seams with personality.

That doesn’t mean the game is any easier, though. Don’t Starve is still a brutal survival game, dropping you in the middle of a dark forest without any instructions or guidance. Thankfully, everything is procedurally generated, so if RNG isn’t on your side, you can always regenerate your island.

Lego Worlds

Minecraft is often described as “virtual Lego,” so it’s only fitting that Lego has a sandbox title of its own. Lego Worlds gives you an open, procedurally generated environment to explore made up entirely of Lego. Although building brick-by-brick is the most familiar mode of construction, you can always reframe the world in large brush strokes using the game’s building tools.

Lego Worlds is a Minecraft clone, but even so, it has a lot going on. It’s much more vibrant, with multiple characters, vehicles, and unique brick-based structures to uncover. Lego Worlds also features a quest system, dungeons, and towns, bringing some RPG flair to the sandbox.

Rust

Rust is a multiplayer-only survival game where you not only need to worry about the threat of nature, but also of other players. You start with nothing more than a rock and torch, and from there, you’ll need to craft weapons and structures to protect yourself from other players and the beasts that roam the island.

Cruel in every way possible, Rust will test your patience and persistence. You likely won’t survive more than a few minutes when you first awaken, with seasoned players scouring the island for new prey. If you’re looking for an authentic survival experience, though, it doesn’t get much better than Rust.

The Forest

The Forest is another survival game, but it has a little more structure around it than other entries on this list. You play as the only survivor of a plane crash, which touched down in the middle of a dense forest. The environment isn’t all you need to worry about, though. Quickly after leaving your stranded air vessel, you learn about a society of mutant cannibals roaming the forest.

That doesn’t mean The Forest is a small game, however. Like any good survival title, it features deep caves to explore and countless materials to gather. Exploring isn’t without consequence, though, as you’ll encounter enemies looking for their next meal.

7 Days to Die

7 Days to Die is an Early Access survival game that’s been in development since 2013. Despite not being fully released yet, the game has already sold more than 10 million copies, and it’s easy to see why. It mixes survival and tower defense into one package. During the day, you’ll spend your time exploring a procedurally generated world. At night, however, the zombies come out.

Or, at least, you’ll notice them more. 7 Days to Die features an in-game day/night cycle. During the day, zombies are slow and pose little threat. At night, they become feral, forcing you back to your home base to defend it. In addition to the day/night cycle, there’s also a day tracker. Each seventh day, a horde of zombies will attack your base, far exceeding the level of any prior attack.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is the antithesis of 7 Days to Die, crossing Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon in terms of mechanics, and setting them in a beautiful 2D world. The game starts with you inheriting your grandfather’s old farm, with nothing but a few rusty tools to help you get on your feet.

Although the core of the game is farming, Stardew Valley has plenty of unique settings to explore, each offering unique resources, weapons, and enemies. Stardew Valley combines the best elements of a long list of games, but more impressive than that, it manages to do so while feeling like its own thing.

Astroneer

In Astroneer, you play as, well, an Astroneer. Set in the Intergalactic Age of Discovery — a fictional era taking place sometime in the 25th century — your job as an Astroneer is to explore outer space and the planets that make it up. There’s a full solar system to explore, fit with seven large and unique planets.

The goal of the game is survival, but that takes a backseat to simply having fun.

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