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The best building games on PC 2024

These best building games involve building cities, cars, and zoos, but all come with that sense of achievement gained from making something by your own hand.

The roof of a house that is made with a copper roof. Several blocks are oxidising.

What are the best building games on PC? Building games are a great way to indulge architectural creativity, but there are many great building games on PC to choose from. Thankfully, we have the brick-and-mortar necessary to assemble a list of the best building games on PC with the strongest 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 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 blueprints for you here on PCGamesN.

The best building games on PC in 2024 are:

A Pal sleeps in front of a Palworld base in one of the best building games right now.

Palworld

Palworld stunned the world when it was released in January 2024, as the Pokemon-style monster-catching game broke player records and was engulfed in the negative discourse surrounding its creators, all at the same time. While part of Palworld’s appeal is the host of cute creatures you can collect, level up, and send into battle – just like in the Pokemon games, an additional building element is not present in the Nintendo RPG series. It’s more akin to Ark or Valheim. Put your Pals to good use, mining and gathering from resources around you, and turn your wood, metal, and stone into an ever-growing base of operations.

Some people have built some truly beautiful bases in the RPG game, like this Palworld waterfall base and this huge, industrial Anubis base, so there is plenty of inspiration out there for your own Palworld builds.

The best city building games on PC, Cities Skylines management screen of building a road

Cities Skylines 2

Certainly one of the best city building games out there, Cities Skylines 2 will consume the life of any budding mayor. It has all the tools to give building game experts everything they need to create wonderfully intricate cityscapes. If you’re just getting started, here’s a guide to all the Cities Skylines 2 maps and Cities Skylines 2 taxes.

A colorful port town built vertically in Townscaper, one of the best building games.

Townscaper

Many building games incorporate city management or survival mechanics to keep players occupied, but if you’re not a huge fan of either, then Townscaper is the perfect, relaxing alternative. This diorama sandbox game from solo developer Oskar Stålberg has no challenges to overcome or objectives to meet. Instead, you’re free to construct your very own settlement, from ramshackle seaside hamlets to elaborate cities. With just a few mouse clicks, winding streets or wide promenades appear before your eyes, snapping together like Legos and expanding into new configurations depending on your preference.

Townscaper is a perfect way to pass the time, from your lunch break to your daily commute – in the same spirit as idle games but far more creative. It’s also an excellent tool to craft towns or cities for D&D campaigns and can even help budding artists study perspective. Whatever you plan to use it for, this experimental “toy” captures the simple joy of building in its purest form.

Best building games: A building is blown up on the distance on a destruction zone full of torn down building

Teardown

Unlike the other games on this list, Teardown allows you to spend time creating a scene specifically to tear it down afterward. 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 for the sheer satisfaction of knocking blocks down.

Best building games: A player builds a wooden structure in a meadow in Valheim

Valheim

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 spent crafting, fighting, and exploring Valheim’s many biomes. Still, 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 exercising your creativity is nice, 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, with chests to store treasure and trophies, a roaring fire and cooking station, and even your 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 recreated Skyrim’s High Hrothgar, while this one spent their time building Sauron’s tower from Lord of the Rings.

Best building games - Planet Zoo: A lush, green zoo with natural habitats and horses roaming a large enclosure

Planet Zoo

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 watch 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 behavior 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.

A sprawling factory complex in Satisfactory, one of the best building games

Satisfactory

Few expected the follow-up from the studio behind Goat Simulator would be an early access building game about colonizing a planet by constructing elaborate automated factories. Satisfactory encourages 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, marveling at every automated vehicle, production line, and monolithic processing facility in more detail than is ever afforded by the traditional top-down view.

A colony of beavers gather around campfires in a lumber city in Timberborn, one of the best building games.

Timberborn

What’s better than building the city of your dreams? Building the city of your dreams using an army of beavers. Timberborn is a self-professed “lumberpunk” building game where you take control of a small colony of enterprising beavers to create the ideal city for them to live in. These industrial little critters do more than chew through trees; now that humans have finally gone extinct, beavers have evolved and adapted to the harsh wasteland their hairless predecessors left behind to become skilled engineers in their own right.

Dams and water wheels are the key to flourishing agriculture, but these structures are just the beginning. To ensure the long-term survival of your beaverfolk, you have to get creative with your lumber and design a city with the infrastructure to support their production and wellbeing. You must also be mindful of the changing landscape of post-apocalyptic Earth, and protect your population from drought, floods, and even toxic waste. Timberborn is an adorable building game that’s as challenging as it is satisfying – but let’s be honest, the beavers steal the show.

A raft with a tree on top, sailing the seas in one of the best building games, Raft

Raft

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 dive 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. The setting, however, and the looming sense of danger are what make Raft 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.

An attack is launched on a shielded base in one of the best building games, Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved

While 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 assemble a smartly designed base and protect yourself from the elements, prepare to see your progress swiftly eaten up. That also counts for your food, farming supplies, and crafting equipment.

All bases require some core elements, but other than that, you can make them as ridiculous as you like. You can 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. Obviously, Metal will be the best at staving off any would-be looters.

Car Mechanic Simulator 2021

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 2021 is a car-building game that makes vehicle construction intelligible to non-wizards. Once your mechanic skills are up to snuff, you can expand your vehicle repair empire. Perhaps you’ll even be good enough to repair the cars from the best racing games.

There’s a reason why Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 is up there with the best car-building games: the many, many paint jobs, sprays, and parts can turn your broken old bangers into sexy, shining racers. What will be the first thing you do once you have a garage packed to the rafters with beautiful cars? Get snap happy in photo mode, of course.

A towering structure of mixed materials in one of the best building games on PC, Fortnite

Fortnite

If you like Minecraft, Fortnite is also one of the best building games you can play. It’s also one of our favorite co-op games for if you’re looking to build with friends, whether it’s fending off the hordes in the much-forgotten Save The World game mode, during the competitive matches, or one of the many LTMs. 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 triumph in with our Fortnite tips.

A flashy firework display in one of the best building games, Planet Coaster

Planet Coaster

Theme parks are great fun. We need only 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 it’s one of our favorite 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 like 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.

No Man's Sky: The main protagonist stares at the sky in one of the best building games

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.

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 accompany the next-gen console upgrades.

Space is dangerous, so you must ensure your home can support life. Do this by flying over the planet’s surface, using your ship’s scanner from space, or 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.

A creatively implemented Vault Boy using the building tools in Fallout 4

Fallout 4

In previous Fallout games, we had to be satisfied with having a great time collecting loot, collecting a cast of colorful companions, and blowing a Raider’s 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 using 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’s 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 can access 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.

A series of triangles make for a hopefully sturdy bridge in Poly Bridge, one of the best building games on PC

Poly Bridge

As much a physics puzzler as it is a bridge-building game, Poly Bridge makes the depths of its math-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 you do not succeed initially, 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.

A modern house in one of the best building games, The Sims 4

The Sims 4

Building in The Sims 4 takes some getting used to, so it might be worth having a pen and paper to hand to realize your dream home properly. We suggest starting 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 have just as much freedom – if not more – when the Sims 5 release date rolls around.

Architechtural marvels made with blocks in one of the best building games, Trove

Trove

Trove is a free PC game with building, sandbox, and MMORPG mechanics. Featuring countless realms and biomes, it’s 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. When you are not tricking out your home, you can craft new weapons, creatures, and environments with the help of the many Trove mods and Trove console commands.

If you want to make your cornerstone the envy of all other Trove players, you need resources and loot. Thankfully, procedurally generated dungeons keep loot-collecting fun as you scamper through unique worlds and complete quests with your pals. Trove is one of the best building games on PC for playing with friends.

A shack with several friendly signs in one of the best building games, Rust

Rust

Like Ark, this is up there with the most punishing survival-building games around, so make a 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 skillfully 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 armored 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.

Minecraft

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. Free from the constraints that face builders of the poxy real world, Creative grants you access to unlimited 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.

Best building games: An array of colourful and outlandish Roblox characters, like a unicorn with a sword and a flying, one-eyed demon

Roblox

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 lets you build the objects, the game world, and even the game itself.

Check out our list of the best Roblox games for some inspiration to get you started. We’ve also got a host of guides on Anime Last Stand codesBlox Fruits codes, and Grimoires Era codes if you’re trying to gain an advantage in one of these amazing Roblox titles.

That’s construction completed on this list of the best building games on PC. Why not check out the best sandbox games or crafting games if you’re looking for a slightly different type of creative freedom.