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The best games like Minecraft from the past ten years

A plethora of games to scratch that same Minecraft itch

There have been a great many games like Minecraft over the past decade. Which is to be expected, because who wouldn't want to capitalise on the runaway mainstream success of the geometric giant, one of the best-selling video games of all time? Minecraft has many interesting facets about it beyond the block bashing mechanics, so we've compiled our list of the best games like it out there right now so you can scratch that familiar mining and crafting itch.

Games like Minecraft - what is it about Minecraft?

It's difficult to find a good way to classify "games like Minecraft". What is it about the game? Is it the blockiness? Is it the sense of wonder and discovery? Or survival and progression? Or the social online aspect? The games below each tick various criteria, and add their own spin. No matter what the reason is that you play Minecraft, you'll find a kindred game in this list!

Don't Starve

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer

While neither block-based nor particularly relaxing (in my experience, at least), Don't Starve is one of the other unassuming titans of the survival genre - and it shares a great many similarities with Minecraft. Procedurally generated worlds? Check. Starting off by chopping down trees? Check. Foraging for various types of food on your first few days to make sure you don't succumb to starvation? Check. The list goes on.

Developers Klei Entertainment have a hell of a track record for creating beautiful and stylish games that hook you right from the start. Just like Minecraft, there's just such an enormous amount to discover in Don't Starve, from the world and its inhabitants to interesting tools and machines, methods of travel, wormholes, caves, seasons, strange events, paranormal activities, and so much more. And, if you get Don't Starve Together, you'll be able to play in the same world with your friend(s), just like in Minecraft!

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.

Oxygen Not Included

How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Blocky (kinda)

Another game from Klei Entertainment (creators of Don't Starve), Oxygen Not Included is one of my favourite games ever. But that's not the only reason it's made this list (though it helps); it actually has a startling amount in common with Minecraft. While more of a colony-building game that incorporates survival elements (such as needing to eat, and inhale breathable air), Oxygen Not Included is another game that's all about building, and exploring the procedurally generated world you find yourself in.

Oxygen Not Included puts you in charge of a small group of simple-minded clones (called dupes), and you must give them orders to dig out the beginnings of your base, construct power generators and research stations and lavatories, and continue to progress and expand. Like Minecraft this sense of progression has no real end; it's really down to you to create your own objectives. And for those of you who are more into the technical aspects of Minecraft - redstone and the like - oh boy, you will love Oxygen Not Included.

Where can I buy it: Steam.


Eight Roblox characters representing various game genres standing in a line. Text reads "Roblox".

How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

What Roblox has in common with Minecraft that no other game on this list can claim to have (at least, not in the same way) is that they are both true platforms for imagination and construction. Roblox is all about giving players the tools to develop their own worlds and games. Like with the best minecraft servers, there are a ridiculous number of different Roblox servers and games available to play with your friends or with others online.

It's almost a cross between Minecraft and some sort of development platform, like a very approachable GameMaker or even Unity. Minecraft and Roblox together are creating a new wave of programmers and coders who will look back in ten years and say they started off by playing and programming in these games. But if you're not interested in that side of things, that's fine! There are still thousands upon thousands of different games to play on Roblox, and each of them offer a different experience, making Roblox (like Minecraft) a game for pretty much everyone.

Where can I buy it: the Roblox official website.


How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer

Riddled with bugs and glitches (like Minecraft!), CardLife has nonetheless supplied me with the best example of that old stepping-into-a-Minecraft-world-for-the-first-time nostalgic feeling out of pretty much anything else on this list. It was a truly inspired step to move from blocky worlds over to the far less saturated neighbourhood of cardboard worlds; everything in CardLife is cardboard, from your tools to your buildings to the enemies you face and the trees you chop down - and even you!

It's a game with huge potential that quite likely will remain untapped forever, seeing as the game was rushed out of Early Access as quickly as possible when everything thought it was just getting going. But I'm still including CardLife on this list because it supplied me with a solid 30 hours of intense enjoyment, whether I was digging down into caves guarded by ancient mechanical beings, or constructing my first cardboard mansion, or even creating my first character - which provides you, in its own way, with perhaps more scope for creativity than even Minecraft's venerable skins system.

Where can I buy it: Steam, Humble.

Ark: Survival Evolved

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer

The sense of progression you gain if you stick with ARK: Survival Evolved is just amazing. Like Minecraft, it's very firmly rooted in the open-world survival experience; you wake up naked on a beach, and must ponder your life choices from there. The twist here is that it's not pigs and zombies and endermen that populate your world. It's dinosaurs. Lots and lots of dinosaurs.

Besides this one huge difference, there is a wealth of similarities to Minecraft, along with other staples of the ever-expanding survival genre. After your basic needs are catered for, you'll progress through basic tools and hunting weapons, creating a makeshift shack to call your home, and doing a whole lot of exploring. But the real reason to play ARK: Survival Evolved is of course the dinosaurs and other beasts, and all that you can do with them - whether hunting them or domesticating them or riding them.

Where can I buy it: Steam.

Cube World

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

Remember Cube World? You should; it was one of the first big titles to jump on the Minecraft bandwagon back in the early 2010s. Offering a different but equally lovely take on the blocky-world-generation concept, Cube World differs from Minecraft in that it's very much more of an action adventure RPG than survival. There are classes, there's magic, there's character progression and enemies that drop sparkly loot and villagers that give you quests and tonnes more stuff to be getting on with.

This is another game that can really take the hours out of your day before you know what's happened. Everything about Cube World is fairly fast-paced, and when you die you simply respawn at the nearest checkpoint, which means it's a lot more action-packed than Minecraft is much of the time.

Where can I buy it: Steam.

Vintage Story

How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

If you're really honestly just here for more Minecraft but from a different game, then Vintage Story is your best bet. If you're big on Minecraft modding then you may have heard of the conversion mod Vintagecraft, which overhauled Minecraft's vanilla world generation to help inject some more colour and character into each world. Turns out, the creators of Vintagecraft essentially got tired of trying to work within the limitations of Minecraft to make it better, and decided to start from scratch with a new game: Vintage Story.

Currently in Early Access, Vintage Story prides itself on its ease of customization and modding, as well as providing a rich world that will be instantly familiar to Minecraft players. The whole thing plays like a very ambitious Minecraft mod, but it goes far enough with new animations, world generation, and various other features that this is definitely a game in its own right, and one worth playing if you're after more Minecraft from a different developer.

Where can I buy it: Humble.


How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

Calling Terraria "Minecraft but in 2D!" is a very popular refrain, but ultimately does not acknowledge just how much they differ in terms of the rich and enormous amount of content provided by both games. But in the end, the core gameplay loop is of course very similar. In Terraria you start in the middle of a brand new procedurally generated world, and must fell trees, craft tools, protect yourself from monsters of the night, dig down into caves and discover new beasts, ores, and resources to progress further, discover new biomes, defeat colossal boss monsters, and much more.

There are a great many players who swear by Terraria as the best survival game out there - and while I'll leave that sort of talk (and the subsequent debates) up to our 20 best survival games on PC curators, Terraria does get an awful lot right. The worlds are grand and enthralling, the combat is bouncy and satisfying, the sense of progression and exploration and bursts of intense "oh my god kill kill kill survive survive survive" are all present and correct. There's a reason Terraria has stood the test of time, just like Minecraft has.

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.


How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

Starbound is to Terraria what Vintage Story is to Minecraft. It's similar enough that you could almost think it were just a really, really good overhaul mod - but that does disservice to the game, which has packed inside it so much new content and so many reasons to play this game in particular above all others like it. For all the fun I've had in Terraria, I've had more fun in Starbound.

Starbound puts a new spin on things by blending the traditional survival experience with sci-fi; after a brief tutorial mission you crash-land on an alien planet with nothing but (thankfully) a Matter Manipulator, which doubles as all your tools in a traditional Minecraft-like. From this starting point, Starbound never lets up with its surge of fantastic ideas, user-friendliness, imaginative worlds and monsters and mechanics... Plus you've got a set path to follow, which may be good news to all the players out there who are just a bit tired of having to create their own objectives in these sorts of games.

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.

Fortnite: Save The World

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Building, Multiplayer

Fortnite? Like Minecraft? I know, but bear with me here. I'm not talking about the unbelievably popular household name Battle Royale (though it is admittedly pretty good); I'm talking about the original Fortnite: Save the World. The co-op zombie survival shoot-em-up that has since been mostly forgotten after Fortnite: Battle Royale hit the games industry jackpot.

Seriously, there are clear lines of comparison to draw. While not a sandbox game by any stretch of the imagination, it's a survival experience, it has an absolutely inspired building and editing system which makes the game far, far more than just about shooting enemies in the face; and it's a really great way to have some manic fun with your friends.

Where can I buy it: Epic Store.

Stardew Valley

Autumn in a Stardew Valley multiplayer screenshot.

How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Building, Multiplayer

Stardew Valley is far and away the most wholesome game on this list - and one of the most wholesome games ever made, full stop. It's a feel-good game with a fantastic sense of progression, of building something from nothing much at all, and making a bunch of friends along the way. Like Minecraft, this gentle but rewarding experience is a fantastic point of entry for those who don't really play games.

If you're unfamiliar, Stardew Valley is the spiritual successor to the much-beloved Harvest Moon series, and sees you moving from the urban grind to a life in the country and your dearly departed grandfather's farm - which is in dire need of some care and attention. You'll get to meet and forge relationships with the many inhabitants of the village, fight monsters in caves so you can get precious ores and resources to help build up your farm, and much more besides. It's a lovely and relaxing game - and it's multiplayer now too!

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.


How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

Okay, calling Factorio "blocky" is quite a stretch - it's more tile-based than blocky. But when it comes to the other five criteria, Factorio gets it spot on. Like Oxygen Not Included, this is a very technical game, and that may scare off players who steer clear of things like Redstone in Minecraft. But you don't get to be the second highest-rated game of all time on Steam for no reason. Factorio is my favourite game on this list, and a strong contender for my favourite game ever.

Why the strong words? Because not only is the sense of progression in Factorio absolutely unparalleled thanks to the constant natural drive onward towards automation and optimisation of your factory, but it's also an incredibly relaxing experience. There are enemies in the form of the indigenous life (who don't take kindly to you polluting their planet), but unlike other colony-builders such as ONI or Rimworld, in Factorio you're very capable of relaxing for long periods. Aside from the odd biter attack, the game really doesn't throw any spanners into the works; you're free to just expand, explore, and progress. If you've ever had fun with redstone in Minecraft, there's actually a pretty decent chance that Factorio will become one of your favourite ever games.

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.

No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky - Four space suit-wearing characters stand and sit together in tall, pink grass looking up into the sky.

How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Survival, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer

No Man's Sky takes much of what was so groundbreaking about Minecraft, with its beautiful endless procedural worlds and oodles of stuff to discover, and goes even bigger on it. Known far and wide for perhaps being the greatest ever disappointment in the history of gaming on release, Hello Games has since been gradually updating and upgrading No Man's Sky until now it's more or less resembling the game they had promised players way back in 2016.

No Man's Sky equips you with a ship and lets you explore an endless number of procedurally generated planets across an entire universe. Flora, fauna, aliens, and quests are all influenced by the game's powerful procedural generation system, making NMS one of the sandbox-iest of sandbox games out there to date. And now, with the recent release of No Man's Sky: Beyond, building and multiplayer has been greatly expanded upon, allowing you to have much the same kind of cooperative fun with your friends as you have always had in Minecraft.

Where can I buy it: Steam, GOG, Humble.

King Arthur's Gold

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Building, Multiplayer, Blocky

King Arthur's Gold is a hilarious, manic, and intensely enjoyable multiplayer experience. I wouldn't particularly call it relaxing, but it's certainly upbeat and a great way to have fun with friends. Your aim is to build a spectacular castle with your friends, jam-packed with all sorts of defences using clever building techniques and all manner of siege weaponry - all while your opponent is doing the same on the other side of the map. You must build a castle capable of withstanding all the assaults of the enemy, while simultaneously helping out however you can with the destruction of their castle.

It's certainly a game with a more limited scope for creativity than something like Minecraft, but King Arthur's Gold lets you go about your simple objective in a great many different ways. And you get to choose whether you want to focus on attack or defence - and they're both equally fun! Though I think loading yourself into a catapult and hurling yourself across the map to land on top of their castle might take the cake in terms of most enjoyable experience on offer with this game.

Where can I buy it: Steam.


How is this game like Minecraft? - Relaxing, Building, Exploration, Multiplayer

Eco is an ecosystem simulator which builds upon the same foundations as Minecraft to offer something with much more of a focus, and a message at its heart. The message? "Nature is good, and we should protect it" just about sums it up. Much like Minecraft, Eco has huge potential as an educational tool - in fact, before its release it received a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences in order to help expand on this potential to use Eco as a tool in schools to teach children about ecology, the environment, sustainability, and science in general.

More than that - it's just a really enjoyable game, with a great premise. You are given a small and vulnerable world to look after, to draw from and give back to, all with the aim of creating a colony capable of stopping a meteor from destroying everything that you have built. Putting a clock on a sandbox game in this way seems rather counterintuitive, but it works brilliantly, giving players a unifying goal to work towards at all times.

Where can I buy it: Steam.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Exploration, Very Blocky

Square Enix’s block based spin-offs of their popular JRPG series have carved out a good name for themselves over the years, and provide many hours of play time. Really, the only similarities it has with the main Dragon Quest series are the monsters that appear. Alongside the cube-y builds that require the most attention, there is a story-driven campaign to follow, filled with new friends and antics. The main ingredient of this game, as the name suggests, is the building. While there are bouts of combat like the original Dragon Quest Builders, it's the building that takes precedence in the second game.

Like Minecraft, this is a game that can be taken in any direction: wanna set up some mud huts for the townsfolk? Sure, you can do that. Everyone gets a mansion? Also acceptable. While the tasks are laid out for you, the designs give you lots of creative freedom. Oh, and there’s the free build area that you can mess around in too, building whatever and however you like. It does have some requests from your found friends, but generally the world is your oyster to place as few or as many blocks as you like - just like our favourite Minecraft.

Where can I buy it: Steam, Humble.


Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft Dungeons Echoing Void DLC - Three players in armor and wielding weapons come through an End portal surrounded by Endermen.

How is this game like Minecraft? - Survival, Exploration, Multiplayer, Blocky

Now, we're cheating a little with this because Minecraft Dungeons isn't actually out yet. It was announced earlier this year at Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference - and it's Minecraft as a dungeon crawling action RPG. Aiming for a release midway into 2020, Mojang are hoping to take Minecraft in a very fresh new direction with this game that seems, on first glance, more similar to something like Diablo or Gauntlet than Minecraft itself.

But hold up - this genre is still all about survival and exploration, not to mention having a great time with friends in multiplayer. And I'm all for a gaming experience that finally makes chopping away at Zombies and Creepers truly fun and rewarding. Hopefully Minecraft Dungeons will deliver on this.

Where can I buy it: Steam.