Minecraft has long been considered the king of world-building games, but there are plenty of other options out there that offer unique gameplay experiences and detailed worlds to explore. From crafting your own civilization to managing a bustling metropolis, these games also have intriguing challenges that keep you on edge.
In this article, we’ll explore the best world-building games that are not Minecraft, each with its own unique features and mechanics that make them stand out from the crowd.
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1. Best City-Building and Management Simulation Game: Tropico 6
Tropico 6 lets you build a communist paradise where everyone lives in harmony or under a brutal military dictatorship. The game’s politicking, trade, and mission system will keep you engaged for hours without noticing. Besides this, you must keep the citizens happy with a stable food supply, health care services, entertainment, building homes, improving infrastructure, and keeping them safe from enemy attacks.
In fact, the most challenging part of Tropico 6 is keeping the economy stable. No matter how careful you are with trade and production, there are still a few uncontrollable factors, like the limited land size, enemy attacks, the sudden increase in demand, etc., that could tip your economy over.
2. Best Modern City-Building Game: Cities Skylines
If you love city-building games like Cities XXL and Sim City, then you are definitely going to love Cities Skylines. In this game, you can create huge detailed modern cities with powerful building tools and extensive mod support. From laying down roads to setting up utility services and managing the tax boon, there is just so much to do in this city-building simulation.
As your city grows and reaches new population milestones, you’ll unlock new buildings and resources to expand your urban landscape. But if you find Cities Skylines too complicated to play, you can benefit from its highly active workshop community.
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3. Best Sci-fi Building Game: Civilization: Beyond Earth
Civilization: Beyond Earth is a world-building game, but it is also so much more. As its name suggests, you have to create a civilization beyond the earth where you are at risk of being attacked by entities like aliens, insects, monsters, etc., from the beginning of the game. To survive all that, you need to tame the creatures, explore the world, build your city, and establish trade.
Apart from this, you also have to upgrade your equipment and build new technologies to survive in the unknown world. Though Civilization: Beyond Earth may not have the best graphics, its ideas, and mechanics will keep you entertained for hours. On top of that, the soundtracks really create a sense of exploring an unknown world beyond the earth.
4. Best Fantasy Building Game: Against the Storm
Against the Storm takes place in a fantasy world destroyed by an apocalyptic storm. The only place protected from it is the Citadel (Capital), where the imperial queen resides, and the remaining survivors of the kingdom have taken refuge. In this game, you serve as a viceroy who has to rebuild civilization, keep the citizens happy, and ensure their work efficiency is up to mark. Also, you have to fight against bosses that don’t let you build on land or deplete your resources.
New types of buildings get unlocked when you fulfill the assigned tasks by the queen. Overall, your task is to build and expand a great city to please the queen while continuously fighting with the dark creatures.
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5. Best Historical Building Game: Pharaoh: A New Era
Fly back in time to ancient Egypt with Pharaoh: A New Era, a captivating city-building game that immerses you in over four thousand years of rich history. As you explore and develop this ancient civilization, you’ll grow crops, mine gold, and construct and upgrade buildings to create a thriving society. But beware– you’ll also need to build a strong army to defend against potential invaders.
With stunning animations and historically accurate details, Pharaoh: A New Era delivers an unforgettable experience that’s both educational and entertaining.
6. Best Survival City Building Game: Frostpunk
Experience the ultimate combination of survival and city-building in the captivating game of Frostpunk. It features the story of a world ravaged by extreme climate change, with you leading the last surviving city. Your main task is to instruct the remaining survivors to gather the necessary resources to build new machinery and buildings. Despite all these hardships, you must fulfill the needs of your citizens and keep them happy.
As the game progresses further, you will come across multiple life-or-death scenarios where you will have to make the right decision for the survival of your people.
7. Best Open World Building Game: Farmer’s Dynasty
While most world-building games have an urban setting, Farmer’s Dynasty is set in the countryside. If you like countryside aesthetics and a low-paced rural lifestyle, you are in for a treat in this game. Farmer’s Dynasty is a unique blend of world-building, farming, and role-playing simulations. As you would expect, this game includes plowing and tilling your fields, planting seeds, and harvesting your crops once they are fully grown.
Besides this, you have to build a social status in your neighborhood to get cool farming tools, reconstruct your and others’ buildings, and buy new farming machinery to expand your farming skills and capabilities.
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8. Best Customizable City Building Game: Timberborn
Timberborn is a survival colony simulation where you will play as industrialized beavers and make arrangements to survive the harsh summers for as long as possible. The key idea behind this game is that during summer, most of the water on the land will dry up. So, before this happens, you need to build water tanks and dams for your colony’s survival.
However, even before you start building these structures, you need to plant your food, gather trees, build housing, process materials, research tech, and, most importantly, keep your beavers happy. Additionally, Timberborn stands out in the way that it lets you create your custom map and choose the game’s difficulty level to your liking.
9. Best Card-Based Building Game: Kingdoms Reborn
If you don’t like putting a lot of effort into building structures in a game and prefer quick progress, then this game would be the right choice. Kingdoms Reborn is a card-based game, and this feature sets it apart from all the other games on the list. In this game, you are offered multiple cards from which you can purchase resources to lay down structures and buildings. But to use these cards, you need to gather resources first. Or else, you can purchase them with the gold that you earn during the game.
Once you build the structure, you need to upgrade your buildings to expand your land. Moreover, if you are a historical politics freak, you are going to love its diplomacy and warfare elements.
10. Best Level-Based Building Game: Valhalla Hills
As the youngest son of Odin – Leko, you have to lead the outcast Vikings back home through the Valhalla Hills – that basically sums up the plot of the Valhalla Hills. It is a captivating game that combines building and survival elements across multiple levels. As a player, you will encounter various portals that are protected by dangerous monsters and wild creatures.
To progress, you must either use your fighting skills to defeat the enemies or negotiate by offering a portion of your resources to gain their favor and secure a passage. As you proceed to the next levels, you will unlock new achievements and buildings to help you survive and combat the monsters.
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11. Best Multiplayer Building and Survival Game: Raft
Remember the movie Cast Away? Raft is based on the same concept, albeit with twists and turns. It’s an open-world game, but ninety percent of the world is an ocean, except when you come across random islands. Your goal is to collect items floating in the ocean and use them to expand your raft or build new things.
However, you must protect your raft from shark attacks to keep the raft safe. You’ll also have to hunt various animals for food. The best part? You don’t have to play alone on your raft, as you can also invite your friends to play with you.
12. Best Open Universe Survival and Building Game: No Man’s Sky
If exploring and settling on lands doesn’t do it for you anymore, you can explore the infinite universe with its various planets in No Man’s Sky. Each planet is entirely unique, with its own ecosystems and life forms. Furthermore, you will face hostile creatures and spaceships. You must defeat all of them to progress and uncover more planets.
Another challenge is to gather materials with the help of the aliens, who will give you clues on how to find them. Once you find those resources, you can use them to build new equipment and make your base on those planets that you discover along the way. So basically, No Man’s Sky creates an exciting blend of world-building and survival simulations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any multiplayer world-building games available?
Yes, there are many multiplayer world-building games that allow you to collaborate, explore and build together. Some popular games that feature multiplayer modes include Civilization: Beyond Earth, Raft, No Man’s Sky, etc.
Which game has the best base building?
Frostpunk is easily one of the best base-building games due to its immersive settings, challenging gameplay, engaging storyline, and strategic depth. You have to manage a city in the frozen wasteland, building and expanding its base while balancing resources and researching new technologies. In fact, at some points in the game, you’ll have to make difficult moral choices that impact the fate of your society’s survival.
Are there free world-building games available for PC?
Yes! There are several free world-building games for PC. A few of the popular ones include:
- Roblox: A massively multiplayer game that lets you create your virtual worlds and games.
- WorldBox: A game where players can create and destroy worlds as they please.
- Dwarf Fortress: A complex world-building game where you have to create and manage a dwarf settlement.
Image credit: Alexander Kovalev
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