Unwind with these creative games
Sandbox games are the ideal casual experience. They prioritize creativity and exploration, encouraging the player to find their own way through the game. They're also the perfect mobile game, as they are usually able to be picked up and put away without worrying about completing a level or finishing an online match. Even if you aren't big on mobile games it's worth giving some of these a shot; sandbox games are the ideal way to wind down at the end of the day.
In this list, we've collected games from various genres. There's a sandbox game for everyone, from the aesthetically pleasing city builder Townscaper, to the massively popular MMO, Old School RuneScape. But when you get that itch for a game that'll make your pulse rise rather than fall, check out our roundup of the best online multiplayer games for Android.
Godus puts you in charge of a tribe of humans as they grow a civilization. You have the power to bless your people with resources and technology to help them grow. However, you also can choose to smite them with a fire or flood. Godus stands out from the raft of other god games with beautiful terrain that you can shape at will to build the perfect environment.
While a sandbox game at heart, there is a distinct narrative that helps you progress even as you explore your world. It's a perfect game for those who wish to explore and create, but have a goal behind it all.
Minecraft ought to appear next to Sandbox in the dictionary due to its popularity. Players are given an infinite world where there are no restrictions on what they can create. Build towering fortresses, sprawling caves, or simply create the cottage of your dreams. While there is a Creative mode where players can build to their heart's content, Minecraft's Survival mode offers players the additional challenge of fending off monsters while they scrounge for resources.
It's a sandbox game for everyone, whether you like to relax and build the structure of your dreams, or if you prefer to explore and survive in a hostile world.
On the surface, Terraria might seem like a 2-D version of Minecraft. While its core mechanics of mining, crafting, building, and exploring are certainly reminiscent of the famous sandbox game, Terraria is a completely different experience. For starters, it's got a mind-boggling amount of content. Due to the random world generation, it's likely that you'll need to play through the game a few times to experience everything it has to offer.
Terraria is for people who prefer the exploration side of sandbox games above all else. There's always something new to discover, from bizarre bosses, to brand-new yo-yo upgrades. It was recently updated with the Journey update, which emphasizes the sandbox element of the game and minimizes the survival part.
WorldBox knows that sometimes you don't want to build something or explore a new world. Sometimes you just want to play God. WorldBox offers you a pixilated world where you can choose to nurture life as it grows or raze it all in a fiery apocalypse. Unlike Godus, the world requires minimal interaction from you to progress. While you will inevitably decide to destroy your budding civilization, observing your civilization grow is fascinating by itself.
While WorldBox is free, it is clear this is meant to be a trial for the premium version. At $7.99, it might seem pricey, but a massively expanded roster of creatures, god powers, and tools such as time control makes it an easy purchase.
Townscaper doesn't have missions, achievements, goals, or unlockable content. What it does have is the cleverest building mechanics in any building game. You interact with the game by placing colored blocks on an irregular grid. As you continue to place, Townscaper's algorithm combines the blocks into houses, bridges, towers, gardens, or stairways. It sounds simple, but it results in stunning towns every time.
While there isn't any more to Townscaper than placing blocks, its flawless execution makes it well worth the price. Play this if you're looking to relax with a beautiful building game.
Pocket City is a scaled down city builder. If you like the idea of a city builder, but often find them too challenging, Pocket City is ideal for you. It has zero micro transactions or long cooldown times on building features, and is playable offline. You won't find features like advanced traffic controls or spectacular civic events here, but you'll quickly find that Pocket City provides plenty of content. Trigger disasters, expand your city with recreational zones, and manage civic services to build a beautiful city.
Portal Knights is an RPG and sandbox in one. While there is a strong focus on leveling up your character and defeating bosses, its sandbox building mechanics will make any Minecraft fan feel at home. In Portal Knights, you'll explore a series of randomly generated islands, meeting characters and building structures as you adventure. Like Godus, it's a great choice for anyone looking for more structure to their sandbox experience.
SimCity BuildIt is the city builder for those looking for the biggest experience on mobile. Unlike Pocket City, SimCity BuildIt crams in as many features as possible, like unique geographical regions, and complex traffic and pollution systems. Unfortunately, SimCity BuildIt does rely heavily on micro transactions. If you plan on playing infrequently, you won't find this a problem, but heavy users will run into frustrating paywalls.
As we noted in our roundup of the best MMOs for Android, Old School RuneScape is hands down the best MMO on mobile. Based on the version of RuneScape from 2007, Old School RuneScape offers refreshingly straightforward gameplay. Interacting with the world is a simple matter of tapping on resources or monsters, gathering the loot, and then moving on to the next. Put that in the context of a sprawling open world full of quests, dungeons, and charming characters, and you've got an MMO that you'll sink hours and hours into.
Old School RuneScape is an MMO for those who like to take things at their own pace. You can even completely avoid combat and just work at becoming the best woodcutter in the land. It's ideal for those who want a casual sandbox game they'll still be playing years later.
Finding the perfect sandbox game to unwind to can be a chore, but we're sure this list has put you on the right track. Remember to check out our roundup of the best Android games for 2022 to see the best games the Play Store has to offer you.
Jon’s interest in tech includes everything from Android phones to Nintendo Switch games. When not writing for Android Police or MUO, he’s probably testing the limits of his laptop’s hardware or re-watching The Lord of the Rings.
Unwind with these creative games