Best Free Sandbox Game

 
Introduction

Sandbox games are games that have no particular objective. It's up to you what to do, and you can be as creative as you want. No competition is needed between you and other players or the computer, nor are specific skills or speedy reactions needed. Therefore, this genre of game is suitable for all people. Just play around and have fun!

Build towers in Bontago; create and destroy things with many different ingredients in Powder Game; create villages with friends in WurnOnline; build a house for your 2D self in Haven & Hearth. All of the games are basically mouse/keyboard controlled.

Hope that you enjoy the games reviewed here, or give your suggestion below if you come across a better one.

 
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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

WurmOnlineWurm Online is a free to play Online Sandbox RPG. It includes huge worlds (similar to the 'plains of Oblivion') at a remarkably small size (around 250mb.)
It is very complex, but I felt it was very easy to 'get into'. It starts with showing a nice tutorial which is both informative and quite amusing. As you progress through the game you keep learning different things whiile being rewarded. You can do anything from build houses to explore nature or just talk to fellow players.
I found this game to be a very pleasant surprise and is great fun. You will spend hours playing this beauty.

Please note: This game is free to play, but to access some of it's features, you will have to buy an acccount. Without an account, it is very hard to progress in the game.
(Thanks to Lyr for recommending this game.)

 

Haven & Hearth (H&H) is an Indie game, which is known for its stunningly beautiful 2D graphics. The game is thought of as an out-of-the-box Sandbox (pathetic pun) MMORPG.
In H&H, what you see is developed by some guy who spends his entire career making maps.  You have the capability to alter the world around you. Individuals, and communities, can morph and craft a village, looting the land around them for resources.
Unlike most sandbox MMORPGs, you will become attached to your character. Death isn't measured in an EXP loss, but a loss of an entire portfolio.
Not to mention it is free forever.

 

Dwarf Fortress is so horrendously in depth. It's nearing insanity, everything from the dynamic flow of water in the moats to several dozen types of ore, gems and utility stones by the book. You can spend anything from minutes to hours playing this 'uber' creative game. Best of all it's only in alpha which is the infant stage of all computer games. It's so new that you're not even allowed to capitalize the 'a' in alpha! This means that they are initializing new features a lot.

For the first few hours there is a steep learning curve - you'll probably be unsure of what you're doing. However, the Dwarf Fortress Wiki or captnducks video tutorials may come in handy.

Another problem is that it doesn't look pretty at all. It definitely needs a GUI facelift which I hope may come as soon as the next release or as late as the Beta version. I would recommend this to any nerd who has fond memories of 1980s/1990s gaming. (Credit to Stickman for suggesting this game to be on the list.)

 

Powder ScreenshotPowder Game is an entertaining web game where you have over 30 different ingredients to create interesting things. Basically it's a little web based construction kit where you play around with chemicals and other objects. Powder, Water, Fire, Ice, Stone, Magma, Wind, Fan and Oil, etc.
Create crazy sculptures and machines, mix different stuff and watch the reactions.
You can also control a little player with the arrow keys, like in a classic platform game: Left-Right to move, Up to jump and Down to shoot the ingredient that you have touched before. (2nd player with WASD)
Even though it's a web game you can save your creative art to continue later or upload it to share it with other players. If you scroll down and click on weekly ranking you can view and play the creations by others too.

 

Bontago ScreenshotBontago is a 3D Real Time Strategy Game with Blocks which also comes with an additional Sandbox Game mode where you can just play around and do what you want. In the Strategy Mode your aim is to acquire as much room as possible on the playfield.
In Bontago it's up to you what you make. Just play around with Blocks. Stack them to a skyscraping tower and then throw a brick into it to see the construction going down, or create a domino effect by placing the blocks all in a row. It's up to you what you do.

Honorable Mentions

Minecraft Classic - Although Minecraft itself is not free, it has its own little game; built to play in a browser. This is played Single-Player or Multi-Player. However, the downside is that it is an extremely outdated version (for free) and for better game play you need to pay for the full Minecraft Beta. If you have not tried Minecraft then head over there now.

SandboxGameMaker - This is not actually a game; however, if you are interested in actually making your own Sandbox game then this is probably the site to do so.

BlockLand - Blockland is an online multi-player game where you build things with bricks. It's like playing with Lego albeit on the computer; free and actually fun.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Wurm Online
4
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Is a web service or web application
Great Graphics, Multiplayer, Good Community.
Controls Are A Bit Hard To Get Used To, Complex
http://www.wurmonline.com/
Unrestricted freeware
Web based
Haven & Hearth
4
 
Is a web service or web application
Multiplayer, Good Community, Simplistic
Some People dislike the 2D Graphics Style, Not Traditional Sandbox
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Web based
Dwarf Fortress
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Addictive, in alpha so a lot of updates&features on the way.
Looks pretty darned poor (visualy), complex.
0.34.11
9.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows, Linux or Mac
Powder Game
3.5
 
Is a web service or web application
Many ingredients and objects, great for coffee breaks.
Small playfield. Very Simplistic.
9.1
Unrestricted freeware
Web based

Online game, therefore playable on all systems with Java installed.

Bontago
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Towerbuilding fun, multiplayer mode.
Controls are a little hard to get used to.
1.1
23 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows

To make the program portable, see the instructions here.

 
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Tags

sandbox, sandbox games, free sandbox, free games, free pc games, best sandbox

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Comments

by Panzer on 4. April 2014 - 8:41  (115482)

Brick-Force is a sandbox shooter where you can build the worlds and maps you've always dreamed of, brick by brick:
http://www.brick-force.com/en

by Panzer on 29. May 2013 - 8:39  (108118)

Minetest is an infinite-world block sandbox game and a game engine, inspired by InfiniMiner, Minecraft and the like:
http://minetest.net/

by Panzer on 26. January 2013 - 8:40  (104832)

King Arthur's Gold Free Version (One option is to play in sandbox mode):
http://kag2d.com/en/

by Panzer on 22. January 2013 - 9:52  (104722)
by RandomShad0w on 20. January 2013 - 1:50  (104659)

This article is very good, though i have a few suggestions to help improve it :).

first of all, your list isn't diffinitive, and only touches on some great sandbox games. some others that would be great to add would be:

Epic Inventor: Epic inventor is a side scroller, terraria inspired game that involves RTS style gameplay as well. it starts off like lots of other sandox games, where you gather resourses and build buildings. this game, however, includes the ability to create pre-set buildings such as lumber mills and such that eventually replace the need to collect any reasourses yourself.

i also think that it would be a good idea for this page to include a most reccomended list of 2-3 games that are a must get and play. i think that would encourage people more than searching through a list of games that they might like to get.

it would be nice to include a section of the different types of sandbox games, such as first person, side scrolling, RTS and chemical construction.

by AngusJohnson (not verified) on 5. September 2012 - 13:35  (98818)

What about:(ALL legally free too!)

Incredibots 2 (another very popular 2d sandbox and contraption building game, very nice.)
http://incredibots.com/

There are some more here too:
(Yes I'm too lazy to list them all ;) )
http://freegameslist.weebly.com/physics-games.html

by Mattcloud (not verified) on 11. August 2012 - 10:49  (97542)

Are there more sandbox games? :(

by your name (not verified) on 27. March 2012 - 20:34  (91290)

roblox is a game like minecraft but free

by Silas (not verified) on 26. February 2012 - 21:43  (89545)

There is a new sandbox-building game that focuses on creativity and building in a 3D world. It's in an open alfa and it's called kogama.

Kogama is a platform from where users can create and share games.

It's free and if you register you can build and share your own creations and games.

http://www.kogama.com

/Silas

by Krull (not verified) on 8. February 2012 - 2:34  (88470)

Sadly as a veteran of many years of playing wurm I recently left it forever. Unless your willing to pay to play you have become more or less cannon fodder for those that do pay . There is no way to protect what you spend a very long time building and developing in this game from any 7 year old kid with access to a credit card from dropping or extending a deed over your property and your house which more or less deprives you of ownership. Paying players are able to bash through your fences and kill and steal you very hard earned pets and possessions openly and freely within the rules a great deal of the time.
I personally do not consider the act of being permitted to act as cannon fodder in a mmorpg to be a true definition of free to play, and respectfully suggest you look closer at the rules in place within Wurm for nonpremium players before reccomending it as such. As a pay to play I believe it to be a wonderful game with hours of potential entertainment and possibly without match but true free to play it is not.

by dom (not verified) on 21. December 2011 - 9:06  (85572)

powder game is better then powder toy

by stickman (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 16:16  (79904)

H&H is very slow on my laptop, though it's a very new laptop. you know a way to solve it?

by Joab on 19. September 2011 - 19:24  (79912)

Hello, that's strange could you post your laptop model (or your specs) so i can have a look.
Ive been using H&H on my average Win7 x64 fine.
Thanks,

by stickman (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 20:17  (79913)

elitebook 8560w

got it about 3 weeks ago

It's a HP

by Joab on 23. September 2011 - 19:49  (80221)

Hello, I've been having internet troubles and I'm really unsure (Impressive laptop though). Hopefully these few things should help

1st - Update your drivers. Hopefully this is the right link - http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Home.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&...

2nd - Update or download Java latest update - http://java.com/en/download/inc/windows_upgrade_xpi.jsp

If they don't work then:
3rd - Go to Control Panel Then go to \System and Security Then find the section \System. It should have info about RAM, etc. Post those here and I'll investigate.

Thanks,

by stickman (not verified) on 17. September 2011 - 17:15  (79798)

Just download a graphics pack if you can't get into the ASCII stuff, that's what I did. And in case it's far to difficult just use the play along tutorials, it explains most of the basics. Just playing it since a week still very difficult game.

by Joab on 17. September 2011 - 18:26  (79802)

Oh I didn't know that. Do you think you could provide me with a website to download these packs from?
Thanks for the input, Joab

by stickman (not verified) on 18. September 2011 - 11:06  (79844)

Just google for them I used the pack you got along with the utterly and complete newbie tutorials:
http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=31928.0
It's so much more fun after you know the basics.

But there are so many graphic packs on the web, just use google and you'll find enough.

by Joab on 18. September 2011 - 17:11  (79853)

Cheers, I'll put it in the article

by stickman (not verified) on 16. September 2011 - 14:32  (79726)

You forgot one of the most awesome games :O, dwarf fortress :D but I'm deffenitly gonna try H&H and wurm, thanks for this list I love sandboxish games.

respect dude

by Joab on 16. September 2011 - 18:43  (79731)

I just tried dwarf fortress.
I used to be a player. I'm not incredibly fond of the graphic style, however I got a friend to tell me about the good times of it :)
Thanks,

by Joab on 16. September 2011 - 16:01  (79728)

Hello, thanks for the comment!
I'll give dwarf fortress a try asap.

by Qbopper (not verified) on 1. September 2011 - 12:21  (78804)

In Minecraft classic you CAN save maps, just make a free account... it states that pretty clearly.

by Joab on 1. September 2011 - 21:32  (78834)

Thanks for the comment, a while back when I first made my account, a free account was unable to save. It obviously has changed now, and I will make the changes.

by keath (not verified) on 3. January 2011 - 8:14  (63732)

I have been looking for this site for ages, as i had played this game a few years ago.

by Lyr (not verified) on 3. December 2010 - 0:20  (61954)

Any of you tried Wurm Online yet?

It is 3D sandbox skill-based RPG survival MMO game, free to play (with some restrictions, but it still allows you to do all things, just in a lower qualities, simply said). Altought it is 3D, download is relatively small, especially when you choose to download only graphic pack, I think its only little bit over 100MB, considering those worlds are HUGE, it seems like a little bit to me.

It is most complex game I have ever played. It is also VERY hard to get into this game, and learn all the stuff, because there is incredible amount of things you can do, use and create, not a game for everyone for sure, but definitively challenging and rewarding - you will be proud of your hard work when it is done.

Community is very helpful, and trust me - you will need them, along with the comprehensive wi-ki. It is not you average sandbox game...

Every server started as island with mountains, forests and lakes. People actually BUILD those worlds from scratch, they terraform lands, build roads, houses, villages, shipyards, markets, cut down trees, plant new trees, build farms, fight with animals and against each other and many many other.

You can't really compare it to the games in the list above in terms of complexity and options for you to do. It is different class. If that is what you are looking for, I bet you won't find better game as of today.

Have fun, and cya in woods ;)

by Anonymousguy (not verified) on 26. July 2011 - 10:21  (76252)

That is NOT what I'm looking for, Complexity? Hah, people have made entire computers with wireworld(google it) even more have made incredibly clever machines and games in Incredibots, such as games made out of only 6 simple objects, the triangle, rectangle, circle, fixed joint, rotating joint, and the extending joint (I forgot the name, just think of it like a piston moving up and down)
I want sandbox games that the PLAYER gets to make the complexity. More options to do? The simple sandbox games above I mentioned and Powder game have a more than a billion possible things to do.
So yeah, you might say I'm a guy who wants everything to come out of his creativity.

by MidnightCowboy on 3. December 2010 - 6:03  (61965)

Just to clarify:

"Can I play for free?

Answer:
Of course, Wurm offers the option to have a free account which can be used for any length of time. Free accounts are, however, not able to travel to premium servers or gain skills above 20".

by Moii (not verified) on 27. September 2010 - 14:35  (58513)

is there a 3d sandbox game like bontago with no download??

by Anonymous101 (not verified) on 23. September 2010 - 8:44  (58301)

i found very good sandbox games. they are called platnium arts sandbox and sauerbraten.

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