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Which sandbox game is best?

The term “sandbox game” has become synonymous with open-world adventures and free-world roaming. As the name implies, sandbox games take place in vast, open worlds meticulously crafted by game developers.

You aren’t restricted to a linear storyline or game style and can usually walk, fly or drive wherever the map allows you to go. Like a giant real-life sandbox, you are free to explore and progress at your own pace. When thinking of sand, there is no better game to highlight the notion than the Minecraft Starter Collection.

What to know before you buy a sandbox game


Sandbox games can be extremely thrilling, but there is nothing more frustrating if you don’t understand some of the game’s mechanics or focus. Consider what type of games you enjoy playing, and look for something that will interest you the most. 


Video games are developed for every type of console out there, but not all games are developed for the same platforms. For console gaming, you have the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch (for handheld). Consider which gaming platform you want to play sandbox games on, keeping in mind that it is also available for Windows-based PCs.

Age restriction

The themes of sandbox games can be as vast as their created worlds themselves. Not all sandbox games are suitable for younger players, but there are some exceptions. A good thing to keep in mind is the age restriction of a particular sandbox game. It is always worth investigating what content is available in the game, and if you might find it offensive.

What to look for in a quality sandbox game

Freedom of movement

By nature of the category, sandbox games give you the freedom to move around the in-game world as you wish. A good quality sandbox game will have very few areas of the map that you can’t explore. It also won’t force you to follow a linear storyline until you choose to do so. In most games, you can also upgrade your weapons, clothing or skills whenever you like.

Visual quality

With a few exceptions, modern sandbox games thrive on their detailed scenery and intense graphics. This is necessary for the game to successfully convince you that you are in a living, breathing world. A good quality sandbox game will have highly detailed buildings, movement animations, intelligent non-playable characters and a rich backstory.


You might not get a lot of enjoyment out of a sandbox game if the theme doesn’t appeal to you. With that said, a quality sandbox game will try to make the theme as enjoyable for you as possible. Whether you don’t compete in street races or know nothing about pirates, sandbox games are developed with the broadest cross-section of gamers in mind.

How much you can expect to spend on a sandbox game

The price of a sandbox game will depend on the developer, the publisher of the title and what platform it is available on. If it is a highly anticipated game, the average price will be around $60. For games that are slightly older but still excellent, expect to pay $15-$30. 

Sandbox game FAQ

Do you need accessories for sandbox games?

A. To play the game as it launched, you won’t need any accessories. However, there are some games where accessories or extra peripherals can help. These can include steering wheels or flight sticks for games where you can drive a car or fly a plane.

Do sandbox games require an internet connection?

A. Most sandbox games don’t require an internet connection, but you will need a connection to play multiplayer. Additional updates and content can sometimes also be downloaded and for that, you need to connect to the internet.

What’s the best sandbox game to buy?

Top sandbox game

Minecraft Starter Collection - PlayStation 4

Minecraft Starter Collection – PlayStation 4

What you need to know: This is a starter collection where your imagination is the only limit

What you’ll love: Minecraft is one of the most successful and much-loved sandbox games of all time. The graphics won’t look very appealing at first, but that is part of the game’s charm. The randomly generated maps are made up of cubes, and it is up to you to craft whatever you can. There are different materials, like wood, iron and diamonds, that can be combined through recipes into other materials. There are also wildlife and night creatures that threaten your home.

What you should consider: The graphical style might not be to everyone’s liking, and the game’s mechanics take some getting used to.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top sandbox game for the money

Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition

Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition

What you need to know: An expansive, open-world game, it was voted one of the best western games ever made.

What you’ll love: The Red Dead franchise only kicked into high gear when the second title was released for consoles. Red Dead Redemption quickly became one of the most played western-themed games, and millions of players tried to carve out a cowboy living for themselves. The incredibly huge map has towns of various sizes, wildlife that can be hunted and bounty missions that can be completed for extra money.

What you should consider: To get the full experience, you’ll have to sink hundreds of hours into the game.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

What you need to know: This must-play game combines adventure with pirates.

What you’ll love: The fourth game in the hugely successful Assassin’s Creed franchise is widely regarded as being the best title. Black Flag puts you in the shoes of a pirate who is hot on the trail of a secret organization. With naval combat and high-seas exploration, it’s what every pirate-loving gamer wanted. The game also features several well-known pirate figures from the past.

What you should consider: The control scheme can be a bit tricky to master at first.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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