Minecraft is one of the most popular indie games ever made. We’ve discussed the PC and Android version here at TechNorms, so it shouldn’t be too new to our readers. Anybody who’s spent a good amount of time on the internet knows just how widespread Minecraft mania really is. The game is so popular, in fact, that it has inspired several other titles that are quite similar. Some merely claim to be “inspired” by Mojang’s smash hit, and others are shameless ripoffs.
It’s not really fair to call all Minecraft-like games such a negative name, though. Some of them are creative and valid alternatives to the classic wilderness gameplay pioneered by Notch and his crew. If you’re interested in Minecraft’s style of gameplay but perhaps feel that it’s not worth $26.95, there are plenty of other games that will get you a wilderness fix for a much lower price. Regardless of the reason, here are a few games that stand as decent Minecraft alternatives.
In case you missed the announcement, Minecraft is coming to Xbox Live. Eventually. Until then, Xbox 360 owners who’d like to join the Minecraft party can turn to FortressCraft. The indie title is an unapologetic copy of its inspiration, but the copy job is decent.
FortressCraft adds a few extra features that make it noteworthy. The graphics have all been slightly raised (especially the water) and the controls are much improved. I’ve tried playing Minecraft on PC with a controller, and it’s not easy.
FortressCraft, however, reworks the controls just enough so that the game is a little easier to play. Props for taking a gameplay style built for mouse and keyboard and remaking it into something that plays well with a controller.
The lack of Minecraft on Xbox 360 and FortressCraft’s super low price of $1 make it a viable choice for gamers who don’t have a PC.
Terraria is most definitely not a direct clone of Minecraft. While the game takes a great deal of inspiration from its predecessors, as a whole it feels and plays completely differently. That’s a good thing, especially in this case.
Terraria takes the wilderness exploration vibe of Minecraft and sets in in a flat two dimensional world drawn in classic 8-bit graphics. Everything is purposefully portrayed in a slightly more cartoony way that adds real charm to the game.
Terraria’s free roaming gameplay and unique 2D world make it a game that definitely deserves your attention. Terraria is an excellent game that feels a bit like Minecraft but different enough to warrant praise.
Cubelands is interesting in that it feels a lot like half of Minecraft. The same block-placing wilderness gameplay is there, but it’s a bit limited. At least the revamped graphics look nice.
The game drops you into a small world that comes preloaded with a couple structures to demonstrate what’s possible with a little creativity. The best part of Minecraft (building awesome structures) is definitely there in Cubelands.
The problem is that that’s all there is. Cubelands lacks the variety and items of Minecraft, leaving only the building aspect. Regardless, the building engine works just fine and is a whole lot of fun to use. Plus, Cubelands is free.
This was one of the more odd games I tried. Blockland is somewhat about building things and more about doing things, if that makes sense. The game comes loaded with a bevy of minigames that are the real center of the show.
Good thing, too. Blockland easily had the worst block-building gameplay of all the Minecraft lookalikes I played. Placing blocks is unnecessarily complicated and difficult. However, the minigames are pretty fun so there’s that.
If you like Minecraft-style gameplay but not necessarily the building aspect (not that I’m judging you for that), the Blockland should do fine. The clever environments and solid games are definitely entertaining. Be sure to try the demo before playing, though.
Detonate sets itself apart in one very special way. Where other games are about building structures, Detonate prides itself on blowing them up. After all, what good is a building if you can’t destroy it?
It’s a neat twist on the traditional building gameplay. The decent graphics make it even easier to watch as your beautiful creations burn down in a blaze of flames. There’s not much complexity here, but who doesn’t like seeing explosions?
This is one game that directly depends on how much you are in touch with your inner five year old. Those of us who still and really anybody who appreciates a good explosion will get their money’s worth from Detonate.
Chalk up another Minecraft alternative for Xbox 360. This one’s a little more expensive than FortressCraft ($3), but it does come with a special extra feature.
Everything I said in relation to FortressCraft also applies to Total Miner. Both games do a good job of adapting Minecraftian gameplay to the Xbox gamepad. Total Miner takes advantage of the superior online capabilities of Xbox Live to support easy 24-player multiplayer.
Minecraft multiplayer is normally a mess to set up and operate. The Total Miner version is a much easier way to play with 23 of your closest friends. If you want the multiplayer, get Total Miner.
Download Total Miner
All in all, there are plenty of great alternatives to Minecraft. A lot of them really stand out as original works, especially Terraria. If you like playing a version of Minecraft for free or a game similar to it in spirit, there are plenty of alternatives. Some of them will cost you, but there’s still Cubelands for free.
Either way, there’s a lot of good Minecraft gameplay to go around.