Minecraft has been one of the best indie games of the last few years and its unique style and gameplay has inspired many other developers to create similar experiences. In this short list I’ll include those games that encourage you to explore and discover fascinating worlds. Independent projects that feature sandbox-building elements aren’t that hard to come by these days, so here are a couple of recommendations for fans of this genre.
The most important thing you should know about this title is that it (as its name indicates) is strongly inspired in Minecraft and the developers of this game have been heavily criticized for that. Even Marcus “Notch” Persson has commented on the game’s obvious approach to clone the ideas of titles like Minecraft and Infiniminer. But apart from criticisms, this Xbox Live arcade Title has been quite well received by the community. As any game in this genre, this title allows the modification of the landscape by using cubes, the only difference being that Fortresscraft uses players’ Avatars. A multiplayer mode is also available and an OnLive port has been announced but hasn’t come out yet. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that as Minecraft, this game has no objectives or main quests.
This is simply one of the best free games based on Minecraft. Cubelands has been described as an “online building game” as players have to register in the official site before playing this title. The game’s 3D graphics are actually quite impressive as the engine allows you to create some unique marvels like castles, turrets, churches, spaceships and whatever you can think of. The main mode provides you with an unlimited number of cubes that you may use to create the aforementioned masterpieces, which is great considering that it stimulates players’ imagination and creation skills.
3) King Arthur’s Gold
King Arthur’s Gold draws inspiration from both Minecraft and Terraria and the result is simply amazing. This free game features both building and crafting elements but in a medieval setting. Its 2D graphics are quite suiting but what sets it apart from others is that the game features user-created maps, various modes and much more. Probably, the most appealing thing about this title is that it’s completely free and that it supports PC, Mac and Linux. For more information about King Arthur’s Gold visit the game’s official site.
2) Ace of Spades
I must admit that this game is my personal favorite of the list. Although I haven’t played it extensively, I’m more than familiar with some of the game’s basics. What I really like about Ace of Spaces is that it manages to combine two quite dissimilar genres and make something enthralling with them. This classed-based first-person shooter is quite similar to Minecraft and Team Fortress; it allows up to 32 to players to play in the same server and includes modes such as capture-the-flag, team deathmatch and territorial control, among others. At the beginning of each match players need to choose a weapon (semi-automatic rifle, submachine gun or shotgun) and then they are required to attack the opposing team. There are multiple approaches to doing this as snipers can construct towers to kill enemies more effectively and players with submachines guns can build trenches if they prefer to. The game is still in Beta so some things don’t work as they should (like head shots,) still those who like Minecraft’s aesthetics and would like to try something different should give this game a chance.
Although I’m one of those people who think that Minecraft and Terraria are two completely different games, they belong to the same genre and there will always be comparisons. In fact, apart from sandbox-building this title incorporates elements from role-playing and adventure games, making it something quite unique. Terraria is different in the sense that it actually has clear objectives and goals, players can attract NPCs to their constructions, each map has exclusive monsters that only appear there, random events occur at different points in the game and finally, the title has 2D graphics very reminiscent of old 16-bit titles. Those who are very passionate about Minecraft may not actually like Terraria, but they should definitely try it as this is one of the most original independent titles ever created.
These are some of the names that came up while I was doing this feature but unfortunately didn’t make to the final cut: Infiniminer, Block Yard, Epic Inventor, Minetest C55 and Manic Digger. If you feel like these games should have been included in the list or if you know any other titles, please share it in the comments.