Terraria, developed by Re-Logic, sits proudly on a 98% approval on Steam, and it’s a rating well-deserved.
It’s a 2D, side-scrolling game with a pixelated aesthetic, with gameplay built around three pillars. One is exploration of procedurally generated world in search of resources. The second is crafting equipment and building a home base for you and your allies. The final pillar is combat against regular enemies and bosses.
Terraria is great, and the three pillars work perfectly together, but perhaps you need something with a different vibe. A change of setting, perhaps, or more emphasis on a different aspect of the game. Some of these games might be Terraria clones, but they are not just rip offs, they are really fun titles in their own right.That’s why we’ve compiled this list of…
|Scrapnaut||2021-03-03||Indie & Action||7%|
|Craft The World||2014-11-24||Indie||68%|
|Grounded||2020-07-28||Survival & Adventure|
|It Lurks Below||2018-04-25||Action|
|Oxygen Not Included||2017-05-18||Action & Shooter|
|Minecraft Java Edition||2013-11-19||Action||32%|
|Minecraft Windows 10 Edition||2015-07-29||Adventure||19%|
Planet Centauri is a 2D game about exploration, building a home in a fairly hostile land, and protecting a local community from the forces of darkness.
If it sounds a lot like Terraria, you aren’t wrong, because the similarities are obvious, even though Planet Centauri does have some unique tricks up its sleeve to make it a great game in its own right.
One such trick is the ability to capture creatures and turn them into a Tamagotchi rising in power as you spend time training them. You can also craft enchantments for your gear and customize your spells. You also get to build a village for friendly NPCs and assign them duties, which oddly mostly revolve around them generating resources for you. There are even programmable robots!
|Genre:||Adventure & Strategy|
Our first detour into the third dimension, Scrapnaut is (at the time of writing) an Early Access game about a fella who gets to\has to build a base in a large open world with several biomes.
So it’s par for the course. Thanks to the 3D environment base-building allows a bit more freedom, and you’ll spend a lot of time setting up the infrastructure for your basic and fancy needs.
Scrapnaut uses a steampunk aesthetic, but in a fairly friendly variant. Even the enemies you’ll encounter look more fun than spooky. If you’d rather brave the challenges posed by the game in company, there’s a co-op multiplayer for up to four players, so you can divide duties or gang up on a dangerous enemy and take it down together.
Craft the World
Coming back into 2D, here’s Craft the World, a charming mix of a sandbox like Terraria and a colony sim like Dwarf Fortress.
Appropriately named, Craft the World focuses a lot of its energy on crafting, and the recipes range from weapons and food to everything you need to build and furnish a house. As your group of dwarves grows into a community, it opens new possibilities.
Craft the World is filled with enemies you have to defend your colony from, which introduces mild strategy elements, including various traps and automated defenses you can build. There’s a lot to love about Craft the World, and the friendly presentation style, including the somewhat cartoonish art style makes the game a fun, relaxing break from more intense productions.
|Developer:||Unknown Worlds Entertainment|
Subnautica can be a pretty chill game if you choose to play it that way. In a unique twist on the formula, Subnautica takes place fully in the ocean.
While the game features hunger and thirst systems, there’s also a creative mode which allows you to enjoy exploration and construction without worrying about pesky meters. And you can build awesome stuff in every mode!
You can create a sprawling underwater base plunging from the shallows into the depths of the ocean, and fill it with aquariums, growbeds for plants, and much more. Thanks to Subnautica’s gorgeous graphics your base will look incredible from outside, whether it’s lit by the sun or by artificial lighting systems. There’s even a cool plot revolving around the alien planet you’re on.
|Genre:||Survival & Adventure|
Grounded works on a very charming idea: you’re playing a person who got shrunk to the size of an ant and has to figure out how to survive in a very biodiverse backyard of their house.
This means collecting water gathered on leaves, crafting shelter out of grass, and turning small sticks into spears to defend against spiders and nosy ants.
There’s crafting, there’s exploration, there’s probably more combat than teenagers you play as should be exposed to, there’s even a mystery of how you got shrunk in the first place. The point it: Grounded is a fantastic game in a really well-designed environment and despite a very different presentation it does share a few of the core gameplay pillars with Terraria.
It Lurks Below
It Lurks Below looks even more retro than the already pixelated Terraria, but underneath the sharp corners ILB offer mechanical depth and plenty of RPG mechanics to bite into in addition to crafting.
For instance, you pick a class for your character, which defines the way they engage in It Lurks Below’s plentiful combat. After all, it was made by David Brevik of Diablo fame.
On top of combat, there’s also a fair share of survival mechanics to manage, recipes to unlock (unless you’re in Creative mode, where many already are), and building to be done. In a way, It Lurks Below is much like Terraria, but its balance is skewed more towards action than is the case with Re-Logic’s title. Now go and delve these dungeons in search of glory, gold, and new stuff to build!
Starbound is possibly the most Terraria-like game on this list, with the major difference being the change from a fantasy setting to light science fiction, complete with aliens and travelling to other planets.
Otherwise, it shares Terraria’s 2D, gently pixelated aesthetic and the focus on building a base on procedurally generated world.
Starbound also features a class system, based on your gear, and several species you can pick for your character. There’s even a story you could pursue if you need some direction, and it’ll pit you against bosses, and introduce you to allies. And on top of all that you get your own spaceship, which allows you to just up and leave to see what another planet has to offer. What’s not to love?
Oxygen Not Included
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
Oxygen Not Included is yet another creative game from Klei Entrertainment. This time, as you might guess, it’s a 2D game about building a colony.
It’s less freeform than you might have grown used to in Terraria, but where it lack granular control it more than makes up with ingenuity, specifically regarding the fluid mechanics and the ways you can exploit (or die because of) them.
Why would you need to care about fluid mechanics in an antifarm-style sim? It’s because the game takes place inside an asteroid and your toons’ various activities produce waste and gases. The game’s puzzle gameplay is based on manipulating where gases and liquids should go to not be dangerous…and finding a combination of contraptions which turns crap into gold, figuratively.
|Developer:||System Era Softworks|
Astroneer is a nice sandbox game about being a lone Astronaut equipped with a potent terraforming tool, many crafting blueprints, and a lot of space to work.
Specifically 7 different planets representing different biomes. While Astroneer is fully 3D it’s far from high-fidelity realism, opting instead for vibrant colors and stylized models.
By far the coolest toy in your space-backpack is the Deform Tool. It allows you to vacuum raw materials right from the environment and then shoot them back out to form platforms, ledges, or whatever else you need. Terraforming isn’t the only thing you’ll do, of course, base-building is very well-developed, and there are several vehicles you can use to enhance your exploration.
Gnomoria is first of all a sandbox colony sim, a gnome-oriented variation of the formula popularized by Dwarf Fortress. But it also looks very similar to Terraria, despite a different camera angle.
It has a similar retro aesthetic, and while the colony you’ll create requires more function than form, you are still able to design some nifty-looking places for your people to live in.
True to its roots, Gnomoria features a procedurally generated world to ensure no two playthroughs are the same. There are no specific goals to pursue beyond trying to make you little colony thrive despite resource shortages and enemy attacks, but isn’t that open-ended nature the main charm of games like these?
Minecraft and Terraria exist in pretty much the same space as far as core gameplay goes, and MC’s iconic blocky appearance isn’t conceptually far from Terraria’s pixelated style.
Minecraft also happens to be a game which offers seemingly infinite possibilities due to a huge selection of elements you can either use for crafting or cleverly arrange to exploit their unique properties.
Minecraft also popularized the idea of “survival with crafting”, since that is technically the default mode of playing the game. Of course, nothing stops you from playing the creative mode instead, where you can build castles and villages or experiment with block interactions to craft airplanes or functional computers. And then possibilities expand even more once you start installing mods.
|Developer:||Wube Software LTD.|
Factorio dumps you on an alien planet and tasks you with building the infrastructure necessary to build a rocket and get off that rock.
At least that’s the core motivation, but you can safely ignore this goal and instead work on your own projects. Whatever you decide, it’s probably smart to set up some defenses, because the alien beasts will eventually come to chew on your machinery.
With some ingenuity, it’s possible to turn the game’s various factories, conveyor belts, refineries, and many other pieces of infrastructure into self-sustaining processes generating untold resources while also looking incredibly satisfying to watch. Factorio is incredibly open-ended, and your PC will possibly run out of processing power before you encounter the limits of creative construction.
Raft is the second game on this list with a mostly aquatic setting, but unlike Subnautica, this time you’re building mostly above the water surface.
You begin with a small scrappy raft, but quickly you’ll start gathering flotsam and expanding your craft from a few boards nailed together into a vast floating mansion which can almost ignore massive sharks eager to chomp on it.
There’s also a story you can follow, but you don’t need to stress over it, it’s mostly to provide a sense of direction when you need it. Raft is a pretty friendly game, and while it mostly lacks combat (outside of fending off shark attacks), the satisfaction of seeing your watercraft grow enough to accommodate your co-op friends is very satisfying.
To take a quick break from all the whimsical or abstracted games on the list, let’s consider Rust: Terraria’s grittier, more realistic 3D gameplay cousin.
The combat is there, but mostly against other players and bears. The building is there as well, but in a more utilitarian capacity rather than a pure creative outlet. Rust is also multiplayer-only, so your access to a chill experience is limited.
Thankfully, if you find or found a clan your time with the game will get much less frustrating. Still challenging, just less frustrating. Realism is the name of the game, so you must adjust clothing to the weather, or learn ballistics, because you won’t encounter hitscan guns anytime soon. Rust definitely isn’t a game to relax with, but if you’d like something more demanding that Terraria, go for it.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
To end the list on a positive note, let’s talk about Dragon Quest Builders 2, a quirky spin-off from long running RPG series.
DQ Builders 2 is most an action RPG itself, but also features support for player to build and craft during the quiet section between one combat and another. Of course, a DQ game wouldn’t be compete without Akira Toriyama’s highly recognizable art style, too.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 also features four-player co-op, so you don’t need to be the only person working on the construction site. The story is set after the events of Dragon Quest II, and involves antagonists who are hunting down people capable of the act of creation. The plot features a few engaging twists, but while the characters are fun, it’s mostly a pretext to do craft some more.
Live, love, craft
This concludes our list of games similar to Terraria in some of its aspect, but approached in different way, or with a different presentation. Hopefully you’ve found something to continue your crafting and exploratory endeavors with.