Best Sandbox Games on Nintendo Switch

When you were a kid, “sandbox” meant “little plastic box, usually full of sand and ants, that lets you pretend you’re at the beach even if you’re in a nursery down the road from the your parents’ workplace. As an adult, “sandbox” means either “a game that lets you choose most of your goals” or “an ant-filled nightmare that makes your child all gritty”, depending on whether or not you have kids. .

Do not worry. Today we’re focusing on the sandbox as a video game, a genre of entertainment in which most of the fun comes from setting your own goals. Sandboxes range from the directionless end of the spectrum, like Garry’s Mod (a PC-only toy chest), to directionless games like Minecraft and Astroneer, to games that hold your hand or guide you much more towards objectives, like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing.

Fundamentally, though, these games will, at times, allow you to roam freely, do whatever you want with the world (or your little slice, anyway). Want to plant bananas in someone else’s garden? Dark. Interested in tunneling to bedrock? Sure. Do you want to escape all social norms and build a gigantic fortress in the middle of the city? Hey, it’s your power fantasy.

Here’s a selection of our favorite sandbox games (and games with sandbox bits) for anyone looking for an out-of-this-world experience!

Two-point campus (switch)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: Two Point Studios

Release date: August 9, 2022 (UNITED STATES) / August 9, 2022 (UK/EU)

Two Point Campus is the continuation of Two Point Hospital, except that instead of treating the sick population, you will educate them.

The main challenge at Two Point Campus is to improve and truly excel rather than simply achieve one, two or three stars. If this still isn’t enough to satiate your masochistic tendencies, Sandbox Mode’s “Challenge” option will leave you crying yourself to sleep. Still not enough? The “Custom” option will allow you to adjust every detail to your crazy idea of ​​fun. Want to earn just a tenth of what you normally earn and start with barely enough to build a conference room? Have it.

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Terraria (switch)

Terraria (switch)

Editor: 505 games / Developer: Re-Logic

Release date: June 27, 2019 (UNITED STATES) / June 27, 2019 (UK/EU)

There’s no story (at least not overtly) in Terraria – you’re simply a person who’s fallen into a strange new world and tasked with surviving it to the best of your ability. Upon booting up and tapping through the impressively deep character creation screen, you’re transported to a randomly generated world that’s full of monsters, dungeons, caves, jungles, and all kinds of fascinating lives blending together. in an impressive ecosystem. What you do in this ecosystem is completely at your discretion, but what is certain is that when night falls and the zombies come looking for you, you will be die if you are not prepared.

Minecraft (switch)

Minecraft (switch)

Editor: Mojang / Developer: Mojang

Release date: June 21, 2018 (UNITED STATES) / June 21, 2018 (UK/EU)

It’s hard to describe the appeal of a game like Minecraft. Although there is technically an “end”, the whole experience is not really about anything. You can explore the caves. You can build houses. You can fight mobs at night. You can grow crops and animals. At first glance, Minecraft seems like a simple game that would get bored quickly, but the loose nature of its gameplay structure makes it an extremely compelling experience that’s hard to put down.

Astroneer (Switch eShop)

Astroneer (Switch eShop)

Editor: System era software / Developer: System era software

Release date: January 13, 2022 (UNITED STATES) / Jan 2022 (UK/EU)

Astroneer’s story is simple: you are a very cute little astronaut, who landed on an Earth-like planet called Sylva. Although there are no real objectives – you can do whatever you want, really – a mission log will gently guide you through the game’s larger story, which involves activating mysterious purple structures around the planet, and possibly to venture on the other planets in your small solar. system. Or you can just build a giant statue of yourself.

Cityscape (Switch eShop)

Cityscape (Switch eShop)

Editor: raw fury / Developer: Oskar Stalberg

Release date: August 26, 2021 (UNITED STATES) / August 26, 2021 (UK/EU)

With the Townscaper sandbox house builder, Oskar Stålberg has created a charming and fascinating toy for imaginative play. Anyone willing to project themselves into their universes and tell stories as they are built will have a great time. Townscaper will take the slightest of disposable entrees and interpret it as a clever instruction to craft a delicious little village scene, like a waiter congratulating you on your menu choice as if the gastronomic talent is yours and not the chef’s.

Little Hell (Switch eShop)

Little Hell (Switch eShop)

Editor: Society Tomorrow / Developer: Society Tomorrow

Release date: March 16, 2017 (UNITED STATES) / March 23, 2017 (UK/EU)

What do you call a sandbox where all the sand is on fire? Well, that’s what Little Inferno is, anyway. Little Inferno has you sitting in front of a fireplace with one goal: to burn whatever you want. Each time you burn something you will be rewarded with money, this money can then be used to buy items to burn more. It’s very simple, but we found it — in a way — almost relaxing.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch)

Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch)

Editor: Square-Enix / Developer: Square-Enix

Release date: July 12, 2019 (UNITED STATES) / July 12, 2019 (UK/EU)

Although the Minecraft formula has been iterated through hell and back, Square Enix has managed to deliver an interesting take on the sandbox classic with Dragon Quest Builders, a blocky, open-ended crafting RPG. Then Square decided to take the idea back with Dragon Quest Builders 2. As many sequels should strive to be, this build proved to be a more polished experience than its predecessor, fixing many of its flaws, adding a host of quality-of-life improvements, and generally providing an argument. stronger for its own brand of sandbox style. playability.

Don't Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition (Switch eShop)

Don't Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition (Switch eShop)

Editor: Klei Entertainment / Developer: Klei Entertainment

Release date: April 12, 2018 (UNITED STATES) / April 12, 2018 (UK/EU)

Don’t Starve’s gameplay is very similar to Minecraft’s survival mode, with a few notable changes. Your character appears in the center of a huge procedurally generated world and the goal is simply to survive as long as possible. You have health, hunger, and sanity meters to fill, with disastrous consequences if you let any of them drop too low. Through clever manipulation of the materials you find, you must build tools, hunt and forage for food, and figure out how to survive events like the onset of winter or an attack by Deerclops. It’s brutal and unforgiving, but there’s something immensely satisfying about beating such high odds.

Crashlands (Switch eShop)

Crashlands (Switch eShop)

Editor: Butterscotch shenanigans / Developer: Butterscotch shenanigans

Release date: November 8, 2018 (UNITED STATES) / November 8, 2018 (UK/EU)

If you’ve played Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders, or Don’t Starve, you’ll immediately be familiar with the crafting mechanics at the heart of Crashlands. In terms of its top-down aesthetic and barren landscape of its opening hours, it might seem like Crashlands has a lot in common with Klei Entertainment’s survival hit, but rather than forcing you to fight hunger and thirst, you’ll spend most of your time in a much more relaxed clip, exploring the map, collecting resources, and crafting new armor as you go. It’s more suited to short bursts of play, but we still like it.

Subnautica (Switch eShop)

Subnautica (Switch eShop)

Editor: Unknown Worlds Entertainment / Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Release date: May 14, 2021 (UNITED STATES) / May 14, 2021 (UK/EU)

Subnautical is truly one of the great success stories of indie Early Access: a game honed almost to perfection over a long gestation period on PC, with many contributions from passionate fans helping to shape the core experience such that it exists today. As a result, what we have here is a confident and consistently thrilling marriage of addictive gameplay loops, with hugely satisfying crafting and base-building elements, well-implemented survival mechanics, and an absolutely breathing world and story. wonder, mystery and full on existential dread in equal measure.

Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)

Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)

Editor: ConcernedApe / Developer: ConcernedApe

Release date: October 5, 2017 (UNITED STATES) / October 5, 2017 (UK/EU)

While Stardew Valley is full of goals (running a thriving farm, appeasing your dead grandfather, making sure Shane doesn’t run into the sea), how you achieve those goals is up to you. The game might just be a farming simulator on the surface, but there’s actually so much more to it than meets the eye. Your activities go far beyond simple farming thanks to a great sense of community that is at the heart of the adventure. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the amount of things available to see and do.

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