Ever since Minecraft first launched, gaming has accepted that it’s not a proper video game if it doesn’t have some form of crafting. Whether involved and detailed, or boiling down to plopping resources onto a workbench and choosing the recipe you want, crafting has become a staple of gaming over the past decade.
With that in mind let’s take a look as some game where crafting is helpful, crucial, or neither, but it’s fun anyway.
10. Stardew Valley
There has been a lot of praise towards the Western version of the Harvest Moon games, and with good reason. Stardew Valley is a charming game, which will make you work for every moment of happiness you get out of it and crafting is an integral part of the experience.
There is around 100 various recipes in SV, ranging from food and tools to furniture and bombs useful in mining.
Much like the game itself, the system is easily accessible to give the players as much time as possible to actually do stuff around the farm. All you need to do is click a recipe for which you have all the necessary ingredients and you’ll have your desired item in no time, ready to be put in the inventory or somewhere in the world.
Perhaps the most profitable things you can craft is classified as Artisan equipment, all of which allow you to convert certain resources into something you can sell at much better prices, like a loom, which lets you turn wool into a fine cloth.
9. Fortnite: Save the World and Battle Royale
Fortnite is a pretty cool game, all things considered. Aside from its upbeat visual style, it makes crafting much more exciting than it is in other games by the virtue of it being integral to the moment-to-moment gameplay, not just a planning phase or downtime.
Nowhere is this as visible as in Fortnite Battle Royale mode, where you can literally run around and build structures around you, either to get to higher ground or build a barrier between yourself and people who try to sacrifice you to the Battle Royale gods.
The only limits are imposed by the amount of resources in your disposal, and keeping things supported somehow. You can’t create floors floating mid-air as if Newton never existed.
The extremely dynamic crafting system can also be used to trap other players in a sandwich made of steel and stone, provided you have a team or are very fast yourself.
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition was a mixed bag of pretty cool stories and tons of faff keeping you from them. However one part of that faff is perhaps the most sensible crafting system in an RPG to date, and a good reason to go hunting or scavenging.
See, the crafting blueprints aren’t for the specific items as much a an “idea” of an item. Every recipe specifies several slots, like Armour and Defence for shields, as well the amount of a type of resource needed for these slots, like 6 Metal or 12 Leather. But exactly what specific kind of metal or leather you put there is up to you, and it changes the stats of the final item, and the bonuses scale with the amount allowed in a recipe, so a lot of effort goes to finding blueprints with the highest resource capacity.
Even better: the appearance of an item changes depending on the resources used, so a blade with from Blue Vitriol will have a different tint than one made of Bloodstone.
Overall this system is a far cry from most crafting in video games, and easily one that allows the most freedom.
7. Dead Rising
Some people would say that a photographer riding around in a laser-shooting golf cart with a front-mounter lawnmower is unrealistic and stupid. They would be right, of course, but it doesn’t mean it’s not fun!
The Dead Rising games from Capcom make zombie outbreak into an excuse to go on a fun rampage using a variety of ridiculous tools, and the games’ protagonists been through so much that they’re not above posing for cheerful selfies even as zombies rush him from behind.
Ever since Dead Rising 2 the players have been able to jury-rig two seemingly unrelated things to create something that makes no sense but works anyway, like an electric chair made from a wheelchair and a battery. Or a toy helicopter with a machete attached to it. Why? Because why not.
For a series that doesn’t really all that much cheer in it, the combo weapons and vehicles sure are a wacky addition, and very memorable.
6. Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2
The Original Sin games land a place mostly for one reason: they let you make a tomato sauce by smashing a tomato with a hammer.
Jokes aside, both games have a wealth of various crafting recipes, many of which can make your life a lot easier.
Most blueprints require two things and can be made anywhere, such as mounting arrowheads on arrow shafts, but others might require specialised equipment, such as an anvil or a cooking pot.
Some items require several steps to be taken. For instance the steps to make a pizza are the following:
1. Smash a Tomato with a Hammer to makes Tomato Sauce (we can’t stress this enough).
2. Grind Wheat with a Mortar and Pestle to make Flour.
3. Add Milk or Water to the Flour to make Dough.
4. Add Tomato Sauce to Dough to make Pizza Dough.
5. Put Pizza Dough in an Oven
Just like in real life, only there’s less cleaning up afterwards.
Warframe is either infuriating or motivating, depending on how much fun and luck you’re having farming for blueprints and resources.
Either way nearly everything that matters for your gameplay can, and should, be crafted. New weapons, consumables, ability-improving Arcanes, Warframe armours themselves, basically if you can equip something, it probably has a blueprint somewhere. The two notable exceptions are pets (Kubrow, Kavat, and Helminth Charger) and cosmetic attachments like pauldrons or cloaks (syandanas).
Of course every blueprint requires a number of resources for which you can farm or complete special missions, during which you might get a new blueprint… it never ends.
Like an ant farm
Terraria is a game that is just as good as a dungeon crawler with rogue-like features, and as a sandbox letting you just build.
Either way, crafting is an integral part of the experience, whether you’re working on a room for one of your castle’s visitors, or a new piece of equipment which would allow you to descend even further down the deep caverns.
Although it lacks the third dimension of, say, Minecraft the fortresses one can build can still be impressive, perhaps even more so, given the engine’s limitations.
What, you thought Minecraft wouldn’t be here? Nonsense.
Minecraft’s broad and deep crafting system is probably the most iconic of them all, has been with us for 9 years already, counting from the first release. Time flies, no?
Crafting in Notch’s magnum opus requires players to place required resources in a specific arrangement on a crafting grid. Often the arrangement makes sense and resembles the final product to a certain degree. There are two grids: 2x grid of your inventory, accessible at any time, and a 3×3 workbench, which usually isn’t just a click away.
Regardless of limitations, players prove time and again that with patience, dedication, and mods many different structures can be created, including logic gates.
2. Survival games
The lot of them
Although grouping them under one entry might seem absurdly unfair to the fans of this title or another, all the ARKs, Rusts, and Conans boil down to very similar ideas with their respective settings being responsible for the largest differences.
Craft a bedroll, build a fire, put a stone on a stick and go hunting for meat. Move through the more and more advanced recipes to create weapons, armour, and a place to safely hide when either of those breaks in a crucial moment. Oh, and don’t forget to stay hydrated and fed, because realism.
Dismissive though that might sound, these game make no secret that crafting is essential to survival, and they often add that it’s easier to be with friends, not only because it allows everyone to focus on a specific type of crafting and specific resources to collect.
To be fair, however, ARK’s dinosaur taming and riding is pretty rad.
Did you ever wonder what would happen in The Martian’s protagonist was an engineer rather than botanist? Factorio seems to answer that question. In Factorio you play a man who has crashed on an alien planet and needs to create the entire industry that would let him build a rocket and escape. Good luck, have fun.
Factorio’s entire shtick is crafting your way through progressively more complex blueprints to the point where nearly everything can be automated: mining for resources, transportation, assembly etc.
Although the end-goal is set, you can always ignore it and, say, make your factory play the video for Darude’s Sandstorm instead.
I’m still baffled that it’s possible.
Build your own conclusions
That concludes our list of top 10 video games with crafting systems enriching or even enabling the gameplay in the first place. As always, it’s not exhaustive, and we’re always open to seeing your own picks mentioned in the comments.