What to play on Game Pass: sandbox/building games

Not sure what to play on Game Pass? We’ve got you covered with these Game Pass recommendations for those who just want to craft stuff. These sandbox/building games are the perfect answer for gamers who just want the freedom to shape their own gaming experiences. The game pass offers many such games. So let’s take a look at some of the best things the service has to offer right now.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

It is the second installment in the sandbox/building spin-off of Square Enix’s legendary Dragon Quest JRPG series. Dragon Quest Builders 2 mixes things up with real-time combat and the ability to construct buildings etc.

New to this second installment is an optional first-person viewpoint, fast travel, and online cooperative multiplayer for up to 4 players.

Forager

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

Developed by Argentinian studio HopFrog and published by Humble Bundle, Forager is a farming and crafting game in the same vein as games like Stardew Valley.

Forager, however, has a personality of his own. It also stands out not only for its colorful pixel art style, but also as “a crafting game stripped to its bones”, as one reviewer put it. Forager eschews some of the fluff found in other games of its ilk. Is it tedious sometimes? Sure. Is it also addictively enjoyable? Absolutely.

Minecraft

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

What’s really left to say about the best-selling video game phenomenon that hasn’t already been said? Explore an unlimited world where the only limit is your imagination. Create, build, explore and shape the game based on your own unique experience. If you have a creative bone in your body, then you owe it to yourself to give Minecraft a try if somehow you’re one of the few gamers who haven’t yet.

My time at Portia

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

“Start a new life in the charming town of Portia!”

In this game from Chinese studio Pathea Games, players work to make the fledgling city-state of Portia a proud city. Take over the abandoned workshop of your father, a great builder in his time. With her manual and workbench, you’ll gather materials and craft them into new items, and grow crops, raise animals, befriend the people of Portia…and maybe even find yourself a romance when you have free time.

Starbound (PC Game Pass)

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

Chucklefish’s procedurally generated 2D sandbox adventure can draw immediate comparisons to Terraria. Some might even call it “Terraria in Space,” but to do so would be selling Starbound very short.

The game has you exploring the universe as the pilot of a capricious spaceship. In the open world of Starbound, you are free to take on story-driven missions and quests, or simply explore at your leisure. Along the way, you can gather materials, farm, build items, craft items, and more as you discover unexplored planets.

Stardew Valley

What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

Incredibly, this amazing title was created by a single developer – known in gaming circles as ConcernedApe. It was heavily inspired by the Harvest Moon series, and its creation is obviously a labor of love.

It is also one of the greatest farming simulations ever made. Stardew Valley has also been called one of the greatest video games ever made, of any genre. It has sold 20 million copies on a multitude of platforms. It’s a very open-ended game, with a seemingly limitless number of things to do: fishing, cooking, crafting, mining, exploring, scavenging, socializing (and maybe even romance) with the locals of Pelican Town, and more. Again.

terrariums

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

Terraria is one of the forerunners of the modern sandbox building game. It is also one of the best examples of its kind. Rarely have disparate gameplay elements such as building, crafting, mining, combat, survival, and exploration come together so seamlessly in a single gaming experience.

In Terraria, players can even reshape the world itself, and there’s a bit more combat in Terraria than in some of the other games on this list, with several bosses thrown into the mix. In some cases, defeating one of these bosses can have unpredictable ramifications on the game world.

The Sims 4

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

The Sims is traditionally more of a social simulation game. But this fourth installment in the mainline series introduces more building elements into the game. It seems like a natural fit, and The Sims 4 takes the Build mode of its predecessor and expands it with a completely revamped iteration of the functionality based on the room. Obviously, this game puts more emphasis on the social aspect of its gameplay, which serves to differentiate it from the other games here.

Urban landscape

What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

This independently developed city-building game takes a decidedly different approach to the genre than most. And by different, we mean streamlined. Creator Oskar Stålberg described Townscaper as more of a toy than a game. It uses a minimalist interface and low poly graphics that appear with bright, vivid colors.

Townscaper is more of a city generation than a city builder. There’s no real aim here, and the gameplay flow is freeform to the extreme. The result is a more relaxing city-building experience that takes most of the detail out of players’ hands and presents a very unique city-building game.

Tropic 6

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What to play on Game Pass: Sandbox/Building Games - OnMSFT.com - July 19, 2022

This construction/management/politics sim is considered the strongest entry to date in the long-running Tropico franchise. As “El Presidente”, the leader of the Caribbean island nation of Tropico, the player will be tasked with guiding the archipelago through 4 eras of history: the Colonial Era, the World Wars Era, the Cold War era and the modern era.

Build the country’s infrastructure and make Tropico the envy of the Western Hemisphere. Or focus on customizing the Presidential Palace if you prefer. For the first time in the franchise, the virtual dictators will face a “fully simulated” population that can choose to revolt if things go too badly on the island.

And now for the cornerstone

So, what do you think of these sandbox building games? Among them are some of the most played and acclaimed video games of all time. There’s just something about this freeform, sandbox gaming experience that keeps people coming back to these games again and again. And it’s great to see so many on Game Pass – it’s one of the things that makes it the best value in gaming right now.

If you don’t already have an Xbox Game Pass subscription and would like to sign up, you can do so here. You can also read more about Game Pass on its FAQ page. And be sure to check out our other “What to Play on Game Pass” articles for more Game Pass recommendations.

Image courtesy of store.steampowered.com.

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