Sandbox games are enormously popular. Also known as Open World games because of the way players can explore a virtual world at their leisure (or complete missions and objectives if preferred), sandbox games appeal to children and grownups alike. Unlike a traditional platform game where you have to complete a level before you can progress through the game, sandbox games are a lot more random. The game environment is unrestricted, so creativity and imagination rule. Some are more abstract than others, but all are great fun to play. So what the most popular sandbox games across all platforms?

Minecraft

Minecraft has taken the gaming world by storm. It allows players to create amazingly imaginative worlds using simple tools. Everything on Minecraft servers is pixelated, but that is part of its charm and even very young kids can have fun being creative in the crazy Minecraft universe. Minecraft is available on multiple platforms, so you can play it on your PC or tablet seamlessly.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto, whichever version you play, is very much an adult game with bad language, shameless violence and sex. The characters are highly exaggerated stereotypes, but if you fancy the idea of going on a criminal rampage without having to face any tiresome consequences, this game is for you. The missions are crazy and the world is anarchic, but GTA provides an exhilarating escape from real life.

Skyrim

Skyrim is a truly amazing game. The fantasy world locations within Skyrim are beautifully rendered. There is a story, but it is secondary to the pleasure of exploring this amazing world, and with so many different places to discover, you will never be bored. It’s a game you can play again and again; and one where the surprises keep on coming.

Red Dead Redemption

The original version of Red Dead Redemption featured a Wild West frontier world and a flaky anti-hero. Desolation and space is the name of the game and there sure is a lot of it to explore. Sometimes nothing happens; other times it descends into crazy chaos. There are quests, puzzles and missions to complete, but whatever you get up to in Red Dead Redemption you’ll soon be utterly hooked. The later version of this hit sandbox game includes undead zombies. There are even undead horses!

Fallout

Fallout is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of tortured metal, jettisoned junk, and lots of cool robots. At first glance, the world of Fallout appears a bit grim, but the gameplay is tremendous fun in a schlocky kind of way, and if you love sci-fi movies with a nihilistic feel, you will feel right at home in this game.

Metal Gear Solid 5

The original Metal Gear Solid games were in a linear format, but the latest version has made the leap into the sandbox spectacularly well. The game is less creative and more violent than others on the list, but strangely compulsive nevertheless. And who ever gets bored of using guns, grenades and destructive gadgets?

Terraria

Terraria is very similar to Minecraft in that you are tasked with exploring the world, harvesting resources and creating tools. Crafting is easy to do and players can interact freely with other players. The rules are simple and if you love Minecraft, you’ll love Terraria, too.

Batman: Arkham Knight

This title was supposed to be released in 2014, but was delayed until 2015. However, the new Batman game is well worth the wait and you will have a ball exploring the dark world of Gotham City, riding in the Batmobile and fighting unmanned drones.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is quite similar to Minecraft in that you have a vast universe to explore. However, unlike Minecraft, No Man’s Sky does have some semblance of plot and the graphics are a thousand times better. Most of the time you can do your own thing, discover new wildlife and look for items to upgrade your space ship, but you might run into other players in this brave new world – so be prepared!

Assassin’s Creed

The Assassin’s Creed Franchise has been enormously successful. It offers a mixture of amazing graphics, sharp detail, and interesting historical-themed storylines. The latest versions of this iconic sandbox game have been plagued by bugs and other issues, but don’t let this put you off because the franchise as a whole is well worth playing.

Sandbox games are highly addictive, so make sure you set a limit on gameplay or you could end up pulling an all-nighter.

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