There’s something about sandbox MMO games that inspires a certain level of imaginative play. Look to titles like Roblox or Minecraft if you need proof of this or any of the other 10 titles that we’re going to discuss below. They all stand out against the backdrop of expensive, graphics-driven AAA games. They’re not meant to be blockbuster cinematic experiences, so much as they deliver a level of freedom that many gamers just aren’t used to encountering. If you’re sick and tired of linear experiences that begin at point A and end at point B, then you owe it to yourself to give more open games a chance.
Games like Roblox aren’t just expansive and rewarding; they’re practically endless, in terms of sheer replayability. So if you want to milk hours out of your investment and feel rewarded for every second of it, read on!
As is the case with many games in the same genre as Roblox, it’s ultimately the accessibility that draws in millions of players. We’ll talk a blue streak about all of the other excellent features embodied by this game, but making sure that players can enjoy themselves no matter what type of device they’re playing on is extremely important.
PC. Mac. Android. iOS. Xbox. Hell, it’s even on the Oculus Rift, which is an experience in and of itself. The point is, as long as you own one of those devices (or even a few) you’ll be able to play Roblox in all of its glory.
It can be a little bit hard, sometimes, to compare Roblox to other games in the MMO genre. We typically think of these titles as persistently online, with limited ability for people to enjoy themselves alone. The social experience is often what makes MMO games fun, and without that, there just isn’t much game to be had.
That’s not necessarily true with Roblox, and it’s not true for every one of the titles that we’ve listed below. Not all MMOs are sandbox games, and not all sandbox games are MMOs. Occasionally, those two genres overlap in interesting ways, but even when they don’t, there are still plenty of games out there like Roblox that you’ll enjoy for many of the same reasons.
Before going any further, we have to give the top spot on our list of recommendations to the king on the hill. Minecraft is far and away the most landmark sandbox MMO game that we’ve ever seen. It’s more popular and innovative than Roblox, which is, surprisingly, something of a double-edged sword.
Minecraft can be played alone, but some of the most fun you’ll have from the game involves using open and shared servers so that you can turn it into a full MMO experience. However, the sheer breadth of what’s available in Minecraft can be incredibly intimidating. This game has been around for years, and in that time, many Minecraft fans have built up amazing creations on their own, personal servers. If you can look past the intimidating prospects of this legendary game, it’s well worth your time to check out.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
We’re going to get this one out of the way, too, because it’s a rather unconventional recommendation. However, because it’s one of the most important “sandbox” style games that we’ve seen in many years, we’d be remiss in not giving it special mention. Even if it has no multiplayer features, whatsoever.
Breath of the Wild is currently only available on two Nintendo consoles–the Wii U and the recently released Nintendo Switch. You won’t find any ways to play with other people, here, but what you will find is a massive open world that’s ripe for exploration. You can go anywhere, do anything. Tackle the games stories and myriad other objectives in any order that you want. Ride deer, bears, horses, and other animals. Hunt, cook, fight, and more. For a game series that has a history of linearity, Breath of the Wild is an incredible new Zelda experience that anyone who likes sandbox games should experience.
On the surface, Terasology looks like a Minecraft clone. It’s designed in a very similar way and offers many similar experiences. It’s a “voxel” sandbox game, which refers to the destructible elements that can be freely manipulated by players. However, unlike Minecraft, Terasology is an entirely open-source experience, designed from the ground up by people who want to create an interesting game–not a dedicated development studio.
Because of that, there are quite a few interesting development trends happening in Terasology. If you’re a fan of Roblox or Minecraft, do check it out!
One of the easiest ways to describe the experience of playing Trove is this–it’s like Minecraft, but safer. There are plentiful MMO gameplay elements, but the progress that you make in the game, the things that you build, and the corner of land that you choose to set up for your home base can’t be harmed by other players.
Sometimes, this is one of the most intimidating things about Minecraft gameplay. Players who’ve been invested in it for a longer period of time seem to have a distinct advantage over everyone else. Not so, in Trove. You’ll pick a character class when you begin and be ready to rock and roll!
If you haven’t heard of Garry’s Mod, specifically, you’ve probably heard of GMod. It’s commonly abbreviated and has been around long enough that it’s practically part of gamers’ cultural lexicon. However, in spite of how very long it’s been around, it’s shown no signs of disappearing anytime soon.
This is largely because it’s an open-source game, developed by dedicated individuals rather than a specific development studio. Like Terasology, above, this makes Garry’s Mod free from the constraints of development woes and shareholder profits–two very limiting things that tend to change the direction and scope of games as they’re being developed. It’s another “go anywhere, do anything” type of game that doesn’t have the voxel type graphics of Minecraft and Roblox.
This game is missing some of the widespread accessibility that Roblox is known for, but we won’t hold that against it. That’s primarily because Castle Miner is an immensely popular game on the Xbox Live Network, where players can use their own avatars to interact with this Minecraft-like game world.
Much like Minecraft, the MMO parts of Castle Miner are somewhat optional. You can welcome, kick, or ban other players from your server, to ensure that you’re only playing with people that you’re comfortable with. You can use over 200 different types of voxel blocks to build whatever you’d like, and…you can see where we’re going. Castle Miner is essentially Minecraft for your Xbox console, and for Xbox owners, it’s a welcome thing.
Block ‘n Load
If you’re a fan of the Roblox aesthetic, you’re probably going to enjoy Block ‘n Load. You’ll especially dig it if you’ve been wanting something with a little bit more relevant action involved in the gameplay, which is exactly what this game is all about.
Block ‘n Load is a healthy mix of voxel sandbox and team-based first-person shooter. That might seem like an odd mix up of genres, but it’s surprisingly fun. Since voxels are the perfect medium for destructible environments, players tend to have a blast not just blasting each other, but also taking chunks of their surroundings down with them.
Cubic Castles is another title that’s almost as purely accessible as Roblox. That’s a welcome thing, too, since many sandbox games require the computing hardware of PCs and dedicated game consoles (as you can probably surmise from several of the games on this list.)
It’s not too dissimilar from Minecraft, in that it allows you to build, explore, fight, and…do pretty much anything else that you want to within a comfortable, persistent world. You’ll share those experiences with other players in true MMO fashion, and almost every element of the game is customizable.
Many sandbox style games are designed in full 3D worlds. This serves games like Minecraft particularly well, but it has resulted in quite a few similar games that are all trying to do the same thing.
How do you disrupt the trend? By trying to do many of the same things in a 2D game environment. Terraria does just that, all while switching up the formula in new and interesting ways. There are enemies to fight, recipes to craft, and structures to build (and deconstruct.) It’s compelling stuff, and the game has won several awards for the ways that it’s innovated in a space previously considered to be all dried up.
Like what you see in Terraria? As long as you don’t mind your gaming experience taking place in a 2D space, you should try out Starbound. It’s a sci-fi game, in which players uncover cosmic mysteries while also exploring procedurally generated, alien worlds. You are given many of the same freedoms as you’d enjoy in other sandbox style games, but there’s also a certain linearity to the story being told in the game.
It’s a story that you can ultimately ignore if you’d rather just play around in the space sandbox. But it’s nevertheless there, for players to enjoy.
If you’re a fan of Roblox, then you owe it to yourself to try any one of these 10 imaginative MMO-styled games. Not all of them have the same degrees of multiplayer features (some of them have few, or none!) but there’s plenty to enjoy and quite a lot that will feel familiar to fans of sandbox games. And if you have any questions about our recommendations (or a few suggestions of your own) let us know in the comments below!