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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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

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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.

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