Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has become legendary for its awesome survival and building aspects. However, it is far from the only one with satisfying experiences. There are some great games like Minecraft that even predate it!
Also released in 2011, Terraria became known initially as a Minecraft clone. However, the more it was played, the more gamers realized that it was more than just a soulless ripoff. In fact, Terraria gained fame for its many horror elements and deep combat mechanics. Such traits set it apart from Minecraft in the eyes of many.
However, the similarities between the two titles are some of Terraria‘s best selling points. There are tons of mobs to fight, items to craft, and various other things you can do. With a staggering number of crafting recipes, you’ll have plenty of creative freedom to survive and thrive as you see fit.
Equal parts farming, fighting, and flirting, Stardew Valley became a huge hit when it was released in 2016. Its biggest similarities to Minecraft are the many ways you can gather resources. There are crops you can grow, mobs to slay for loot, and much more—like fishing!
However, there is also a very popular dating element in the game as well. You can chat with NPCs, give them gifts, and spend time with them in a number of ways. You can even get married and have children with your favorite townsperson. Adding these social elements opened things up for many players new to the building and survival genres to get into Stardew Valley.
Long before blocky video games were mainstream, physical Lego blocks allowed people of all ages to build complex and fantastic sets. But in 2017, the titanic toy company decided to get in on the open world video game market by releasing Lego Worlds.
This game took a very Minecraft-like approach to game design. Players were given the freedom to roam a vast world and were given access to tons of different blocks and bricks to create anything they could imagine.
Unlike Minecraft, however, objects in Lego Worlds aren’t composed mostly of cubes. Just like with real-world Lego sets, players can find and use bricks and pieces of all different shapes and sizes.
As such, the building potential in Lego Worlds is arguably more expansive than in Minecraft. If you’re a fan of both Minecraft and IRL Lego sets, you should consider checking out Lego Worlds.
You can’t properly talk about games like Minecraft without mentioning Dwarf Fortress, as this 2006 game was heavily influential on its development. While working on the game that would later become Minecraft (RubyDung), Markus “Notch” Persson mentioned that he was partially inspired by a few different games—one of which being Dwarf Fortress.
What Notch took from Dwarf Fortress were many mining and storage-related elements. In Dwarf Fortress, players can excavate cavern-like rooms, build containers of various types, and hoard all manner of precious goods. What’s more, the world is procedurally generated and boasts many different types of landscapes and features to explore.
Where the game deviates from Minecraft‘s gameplay is when the player is tasked with taking care of a colony of dwarves. As such, Dwarf Fortress has some city builder elements that Minecraft does not possess.
Think of the Villagers in Minecraft, but you have to take care of a ton of them or you’ll get a game over. As such, you’ll need to balance expanding your base as well as looking after NPCs.
Like Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper is another one of the titles that influenced Notch as he was creating Minecraft. There are many aspects to manage, including the gathering and hoarding of resources.
Furthermore, there is a lot of building to be done in this 1997 title, as the expansion of your lair is crucial to your success in Dungeon Keeper. With that said, there is a far more sinister vibe to this game than in Minecraft—it’s almost like you’re controlling a Nether Fortress.
In that manner, you’ll see some clear differences between Dungeon Keeper and Minecraft. In the former, you take the role of a powerful demon who gets their minions to do all the work for them.
You act through a literal Hand of Evil to place objects, interact with your minions, and much more. Additionally, instead of delving into dungeons yourself, the roles are flipped in that you’re the one defending the dungeon from would-be heroes.
Out of all the games that influenced Notch while he was working on Minecraft, Infiniminer was definitely the title that inspired the former game’s visuals the most. This is due to the world of Infiniminer being composed of large, individual blocks.
The terrain and the cubic nature of the environment are some of what made Minecraft‘s aesthetics so iconic. However, there is a notable lack of pickaxes.
Instead of the low-tech tools players use to dig in Minecraft, Infiniminer players have access to a futuristic multi-tool. Furthermore, the latter game also gives players a radar in the top-left corner of the screen which helps you to keep track of your position.
Another difference is that the game was meant to be competitively played when it was released in 2009. Such a trait doesn’t appear in Minecraft and only becomes relevant when you play the game on dedicated competitive servers.
Coming out at around the same time as Minecraft did (2011), Dig-N-Rig offered another 2D mining experience, not unlike Terraria. In Dig-N-Rig, players are tasked with delving deep underground to gather resources in order to create items, upgrades, and expand their eponymous rig.
As such, the exploration, mining, and building aspects of this title are the core of its gameplay. Although, there is much more of a science fiction vibe than fantasy, which helps its stand out from the many Minecraft-like games out there.
As you dig deeper and deeper in Dig-N-Rig, you’ll need to expand your rig, which lets you travel vertically. You’ll need a robust rig if you want to both go deeper for rarer resources and return back to the surface.
While relatively simple compared to others in this genre, there is beauty in its pureness. Dig-N-Rig is very easy to get into and play for many hours on end. Time seems to pass by at a quicker rate as you blissfully harvest goods from the ground. As such, this title is arguably the most relaxing out of all the games like Minecraft out there.