What are the best building games on PC? Building games are a great way to indulge some architectural creativity, but there are so many great building games on PC to choose from. Thankfully, we have the brick and mortar necessary to put together a list of the best building games on PC with the strongest of foundations.
From compulsive free PC games to fully-fledged triple-A titles, the best PC games incorporating free-range building allow us to stake our claim on another world and bend it to our will. Whether you need a base to defend against oncoming dinosaurs in Ark: Survival Evolved or are scrabbling together rusted scrap in post-apocalypse games like Fallout 4, there are nearly as many reasons to build as there are building games. Whatever kind of building game you’re after, we’ve got the right set of blueprints for you here.
The best building games on PC in 2023 are:
Minecraft is the building game that captured the imaginations of millions of gamers worldwide, and established itself as the first game that comes to mind when we think of the best building games. You can even get the game to construct amazing worlds for you with the best Minecraft seeds.
But, if you have been living under a landslide of blocks, Minecraft is a sandbox game with blocky graphics and an emphasis on creativity. In an almost endless world, you can build impenetrable fortresses and cool Minecraft houses to fend off hostile Minecraft mobs in survival mode or ramp up the danger in hardcore mode. The possibilities are limitless, and that is before you expand the game with Minecraft mods and Minecraft maps, just in case your creative juices are not quite flowing.
Creative mode is where Minecraft shines as one of the best building games on PC, though. Free from the constraints that face builders of the poxy real world, in creative mode you have access to an unlimited number of blocks and items. With all limits on your creativity lifted, you can have all the fun of making more elaborate creations than you ever could with Lego, without any of the clearing up – and if you have Game Pass, it’s free too.
Trove is a free building game and sandbox MMORPG featuring countless realms and biomes. It is an open-ended adventure from Trion Worlds that lets you build to your heart’s content.
First, you need to get your cornerstone – your home base that you take from world to world – up to scratch. You can craft new weapons, creatures, and environments when you are not tricking out your home with the help of the many Trove mods and Trove console commands.
If you are going to make your cornerstone the envy of all other Trove players, you need resources and loot. Thankfully, procedurally-generated dungeons keep loot collecting a fun experience as you scamper through unique worlds and complete quests with your pals. Trove is one of the best building games on PC to play with friends.
Roblox is still one of the most played games in the world, and that’s largely because of its mix of potential and accessibility. Rather than building objects within a pre-made game world, Roblox instead lets you build the objects, the game world, and even the game. Check out our list of the best Roblox games for some inspiration to get you started.
No Man’s Sky
Once the No Man’s Sky: Beyond Update landed, the game transformed into a fully-fledged house building game, in space. No Man’s Sky allows us to let loose our inner space architect – with help from some No Man’s Sky mods, of course.
Offered in all four game modes, you can have unlimited bases across the stars, which you can use for farming, storage, healing, shield recharge, and as a home for the NPCs you recruit across the galaxy. No Man’s Sky also received a free graphics update on PC to go along with the next-gen console upgrades.
Space is a dangerous place, so you need to ensure your home can support life. Do this by flying over the planet’s surface, using your ship’s scanner from space, or by building a signal booster. Once you have found a planet that can support your task force, you can start using your resources to build a home in a galaxy far, far away. You don’t have to be lonely in your space pad, though – get some help creating space castles from a friend in multiplayer. Just make sure you put the hoover round first.
Ark: Survival Evolved
Where base building is a bit of frivolous fun in other building games, in Ark: Survival Evolved it is all about one thing: cold, hard survival. If you are lucky enough to endure the first few moments amidst some dangerous dinos – as we did for our Ark: Survival Evolved PC review – you are going to need to whip something up sharpish to keep yourself safe. Unless you want to see only your freshly savaged corpse when you log back in.
Yes, when you log out of Ark, your body stays exactly where you left it in a perilous state of purgatory. If you have not used your survival building games know-how to put together a smartly designed base and protect yourself from the elements, prepare to see your progress swiftly eaten up. That counts for your food, farming supplies, and crafting equipment, too.
All bases require some core elements but, other than that, you can make them as ridiculous as you like. You can also get even more creative with the best Ark: Survival Evolved mods. So it is helpful if you opt for a location close to the materials you need. In ascending order of durability these materials are thatch, wood, stone, and metal. Metal, obviously, is going to be the best at staving off any would-be looters.
Like Ark, this is up there with some of the most punishing survival building games around, so make note of these Rust console commands so you’re not caught short. And, akin to Studio Wildcard’s effort, you start your adventure with nothing, cowering away from other potentially hostile players before you can find two sticks to rub together.
But once you have skilfully scavenged some supplies, you must defend them. First, you need a building plan to create a ‘twig tier’ foundation – there go your two sticks. This first tier is one of five, with the wood, stone, sheet metal, and armoured tiers increasing your protection from raiding. There are plenty of other ways to buff your base such as locks and strategic wall placement, but be wary that it will decay. Just like everything does in this kind of survival building game.
Few expected the follow-up from the studio behind Goat Simulator would be an early access building game about colonising a planet by constructing elaborate automated factories. Satisfactory is essentially conveyor belt porn, encouraging you to create increasingly beautiful assembly lines that hug the abstract landscape of the alien world you now call home.
While Satisfactory is a building game at its core, you can also indulge in light combat, explore the terrain with a range of vehicles, and – thanks to four-player multiplayer – tour the genius creations of your best pals. But the best thing about Satisfactory is that you can tour your creations in first-person, marvelling at every automated vehicle, production line, and monolithic processing facility in more detail than is ever afforded by the traditional top-down view.
If you like Minecraft, Fortnite is also one of the best building games you can play, and is also one of our favourite co-op games for if you’re looking to build with friends. In fact, Epic Games’ founder, Tim Sweeney described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead.” It is every bit as enticing as that sounds. And that is before we get onto this survival building game’s other form as one of the best battle royale games on PC which you can be triumphant in with our Fortnite tips.
In vanilla Fortnite – which you too can master with our Fortnite Save the World guide – you and three intrepid heroes fight to reclaim your homeland after it has been ravaged by the mysterious darkness known as ‘The Storm’. That’s where the building game element comes in: you will need to construct forts and traps to ward off the remaining monsters.
Building is essential in Battle Royale, too, but this time it is essential in your survival against 99 other players. As you scavenge for gear and attempt to stay within the shrinking safe place known as the ‘Eye of the Storm’, hastily constructing fortresses can be the difference between life and death. Whether you prefer Fortnite vs. PUBG is up to personal taste, but, either way, use our Fortnite building tips to explore the nuances the game has added to this exciting genre. And, with Fortnite Creative mode, you can make your own mini-games using Epic’s powerful tools, and share them via Fortnite Island codes.
In previous Fallout games, we had to be satisfied with having a great time collecting loot, collecting a cast of colourful companions, and blowing raider brains out with a massive laser. But, in Fallout 4, we have a house building game, too.
Once Preston Garvey has, once again, asked you to liberate an area on behalf of the Home Guard-esque Minutemen, you can start to use the junk burning a hole in your carry weight to give post-apocalyptic Boston a new lick of paint. You can choose prefabricated structures to get your base going tout suite, but the tools you have at your disposal can lead to some quite astonishing Fallout 4 settlements – with the help of some handy Fallout 4 console commands.
As the population of your burgeoning town grows it is easy to ignore the main quest and treat Fallout 4 as a de facto house building game. Inviting wandering entrepreneurs to set up shop and trade in your settlement is one of many perks you have access to as you attract more bodies; you can even set up supply lines between multiple settlements and establish yourself as a post-apocalypse property magnate. If that all sounds a bit overwhelming, have a read of our detailed Fallout 4 guides. But if you’re already a Fallout 4 building expert, check out our Fallout 76 tips to give you a head start on rebuilding the wastes of West Virginia.
The Sims 4
The Sims 4 is a game about taking a bunch of humans and performing horrific experiments on them – or, at least, it is for us once we’re done experimenting with all the Sims 4 sex mods. But, after you are done starving your Sims or maliciously locking them away until they pee their pants, The Sims 4 can be one of the most satisfying house building games on PC.
Perhaps your behaviour towards your much-maligned human pets – and, if you’re a true sadist, your Sims 4 Cats and Dogs, too – are making you feel guilty, so why not treat them to a tastefully designed pad with The Sims 4’s myriad building tools? Enter build mode to create anything from a trendy city pad to a resplendent mansion.
Building in The Sims 4 takes some getting used to, so it might be worth having a pen and paper to hand to properly realise your dream abode/torture chamber. Start simple by keeping your exterior to a square shape before you try something more complex. Once you have chosen a roof you can experiment with room layouts, decor, and furnishings. Then, once you have added a pool and a tricked-out sound system, even the cool kids might stop by.
Hopefully, we’ll just as much freedom – if not more – when the Sims 5 release date rolls around.
Theme parks are, obviously, great fun. We need only to picture Thorpe Park’s Nemesis Inferno for a moment to dampen our pants from nervous excitement. But Planet Coaster is a building game made with the faith that we virtual architects can do better, and one of our favourite management games, too.
Looking at the exquisite and intricate Planet Coaster creations that exist already, that faith seems to have been well placed. Using all the skills at their disposal, we have seen players create wonderful reimaginings of the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise – surrounded by g-force-boasting shenanigans.
Planet Coaster, along with the original Rollercoaster Tycoon series, make developers Frontier Developments building game stalwarts. With the endless tools that games such as this have to offer, you will be well on the way to producing roller coasters that leave your virtual park attendees shoving their way to the front of the queue.
Certainly one of the best city building games out there, Cities: Skylines will consume the life of any budding mayor. Whether you create a city replete with natural disasters or piles of corpses lining the street, or create a vegan utopia with the Green Cities expansion, you are bound to have fun in this city building game.
Cities: Skylines has all the tools to give building games experts everything they need to create wonderfully intricate cityscapes – and even more if you count the many Cities: Skylines mods. And they have done it without the always-online DRM nonsense of 2013’s SimCity.
As much a physics puzzler as it is a bridge building game, Poly Bridge makes the depths of its maths-based mechanics accessible, so you can at least have a decent stab at getting people where they need to go without plunging them into the river below.
Even if at first you do not succeed, the relaxing acoustic soundtrack and bright art style in this bridge building game will make you feel somewhat better about the watery graves you have just made for your poor passengers – as we found in our Poly Bridge review. With 24 challenges in the base version and hundreds more on Steam Workshop, Poly Bridge will keep you entertained for hours.
If you enjoy Planet Coaster’s intricately detailed building tools, but feel like your creations are wasted on ungrateful human guests, in Planet Zoo you can enjoy watching creatures great and small clambering around your thoughtfully built enclosures, albeit for the enjoyment of still ungrateful guests.
As long as you satisfy your animals’ habitat needs, avoid confronting them with plants from the wrong biome, and ensure they have a space to shelter from the weather and the public’s curious gaze, you’re free to create all sorts of magnificent palaces and immersive viewing stations to showcase your critters. You’ll even get to release the animals you’ve nurtured into the wild once they’ve grown big and strong, making this a truly satisfying building game.
The enclosures you create have a real impact on the behaviour of their inhabitants – building a pagoda too close to a fence enticed one of our little Red Pandas to make a brave leap for freedom, sending zoo visitors into a frenzy as they scrambled to get away from the menacing delinquent. As we discuss in our Planet Zoo review, there’s an incredible amount of detail to this zoo building game, and ample reward in admiring the Planet Zoo animals as they explore your creations.
Car Mechanic Simulator 2018
Real mechanics are liars: cars obviously run by magic and we will not hear anything to the contrary. Don’t tell us that that mind-boggling tangle of pipes, pistons, and cogs is anything other than sheer wizardry.
That said, Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is a car building game that makes the construction of a vehicle intelligible to non-wizards. Once you’ve got your skills up to snuff, you can expand your vehicle repair empire. Perhaps you’ll even be good enough to repair the cars from the very best racing games.
There’s a reason why Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is up there with the best car building games: the many, many paint jobs, sprays, and parts can turn your broken old bangers into a sexy, shining racer. What will be the first thing you do once you have a garage packed to the rafters will beautiful cars? Get snap happy in photo mode, of course.
You’re miles out at sea and all that separates you from a frenzy of sharks are a few slabs of wood. Not great, not terrible. Raft is a building game where crafting a ramshackle pontoon is your best shot at survival. Thanks to a handy hook, you’ll start by pulling in remains of barrels and other flotsam for crafting materials. If you manage to avoid getting guzzled up by a shark, your hodge-podge raft will slowly turn into a floating paradise – and our guides to areas like Varuna Point and Temperance can help you now Raft has launched out of early access.
Once you’re up and running, you can go diving for more materials to build your dream floating abode. In terms of what you can create, it may seem standard fare – shelves, rugs, chairs, and all that stuff. It’s the setting, however, and the looming sense of danger that makes it thrilling. Once your makeshift mansion is floating along the sea while the sun sets, you’ll come to admire the shark trophy plastered to your wall.
Unlike the other games on this list, Teardown allows you to spend time creating a scene specifically with the purpose of tearing it down afterwards. Featuring a campaign that takes players on an adventure involving insurance fraud, revenge, and betrayal, Teardown gives you the tools you need to destroy everything in sight.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when building things as the possibilities truly are endless, but the same can’t be said for blowing up buildings. If you enjoy destruction just as much as you do building, Teardown’s gameplay may be exactly what you’re looking for. While it might seem like a stretch, we’ve also included Teardown on our list of the best relaxing games, too, for the sheer satisfaction of knocking blocks down.
Though Valheim is a survival game at heart, you still need a sturdy base to call home and to keep you safe from troll attacks and hordes of greylings. Most of your time will be taken up by crafting, fighting, and exploring Valheim’s many biomes, but players with an eye for building can appreciate the unique materials and limitations the Viking game has to offer. Surviving in the cold Norse world is already a pain, and Valheim makes things trickier by forcing you to build with structural integrity and air ventilation in mind.
While it’s nice to exercise your creativity, even the material gathering process can be therapeutic. Kick back and relax as you collect different types of wood and ore to build your perfect home complete with chests to store treasure and trophies, a roaring fire and cooking station, and even your own boar farm. Though building constraints may be off-putting, experienced players haven’t let these issues get in the way of creating homes fit for hundreds of Vikings, from a Viking Longhouse to a pleasant meadow dwelling. This Redditor managed to recreate Skyrim’s High Hrothgar, while this one spent their time building Sauron’s tower from Lord of the Rings.
That’s construction completed on this list of the best building games on PC. Why not check out the best sandbox games if you’re looking for a slightly different type of creative freedom. With that over and done with you can down tools, put your feet up, and relax.