Sandbox games are typically one of the most entertaining titles to play. Due to their extremely high interactive values, you can replay the same game over and over for months on end and would probably still be able to find fun times out of it. The genre started off with simple, classic game titles, such as the 1998’s Body Harvest on the Nintendo 64 (N64), or the 1996’s The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall on MS-DOS for PC.

Much has changed since then, and in 2019, the landscape of the gaming industry has become more sophisticated than ever. Especially the landscape of sandbox games with vast open world, vibrant graphics, branching storylines, and expansive questing systems. The genre has matured into a highly coveted section of the video game industry.

But with so many great open world games out there, where should you start (If you haven’t started already)? Well, here’s a list of some of the best sandbox games currently on the market. Pick and play whatever you think sound most interesting: This list is not ranked. All of them, I think, should be played through at least once.

Grand Theft Auto V

A monument. These are two words that one can use to describe any instalments of the infamous Grand Theft Auto series. The studio behind the game, Rockstar, created GTA V with the intention of not having to make another game for a decade or more: The world is too impressive and massive. Even if you were to remove the main missions and the Online mode out of the game, there would still exist hundreds - if not thousands - of hours worth in side quests to complete. That’s not even counting all of the hours you could spend exploring Los Santos and the hinterlands.


But the best thing about GTA V (And probably every GTA games) is that you can add user-created mods to change drastically from the way you play, to the way the world operates. People have been pumping out ridiculous mods since the game’s release six years ago in 2013. Quite literally, just name the mod, and you’d probably be able to find it floating somewhere on the Internet. The ability to play online only adds more playability to the rather old, yet ageless game.

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Assassins’ Creed Origins

This was quite of a nice add-on to the popular yet antique Assassins’ Creed series. When it came out, its depiction of Ancient Egypt was very expressive and most gamers would have to spend more than just a couple of hours to explore a small portion of the map. All in all, you could spend hundreds of hours into the game and wouldn’t even be able to unearth half of the contents hidden within. Among the sandy dunes of Ancient Egypt was a literal sandbox for you to play in.

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There are no complains at all about the side missions: Not only are they plenty, they are also quite rich in term of variety. Customisation options are also extensive and you can glam up your character - Bayek of Siwa - in appearance and also arm him up with new, more lethal weaponry. With so many different sights to see and so many new environments to explore, the world seems larger than it actually is and ultimately, that should be the gold standard of a sandbox game.

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Before the advent of Grand Theft Auto V, there was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA: SA). This game leaves quite a big imprint in the mind of older gamers.


When the game first came out, modding hasn’t become quite as commonplace as today. GTA: SA is among the first titles to allow you to actually tamper with the world and create your own brand of fun. There’s quite literally no aspect of the game that you cannot fix it up by yourself. It’s not at all uncommon to change the skin of Carl Johnson (CJ) - the main character to something ridiculous like Batman or Superman.


But if talking about GTA: SA and you forgot to mention all of the cheats, then you will have missed out the quintessence of the game. You can go anywhere, have any vehicles, and any weaponry just by typing out a string of text. When the game was released, there was no other game like it that willingly handed over the creative freedom to the players like GTA: SA did. Perhaps that’s why it has gone down in history as one of the few games where you could dress up as Superman and make a drive-by in a flying car.


Assassins’ Creed II

Yet another monument in the gaming world. Assassins’ Creed II and all of the following sequels (Assassins’ Creed: Brotherhood and Assassins’ Creed: Revelation) are all amazing games with a cult following up to today. Many consider them the apex of the series.

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While the game doesn’t give a lot of freedom to the players similar to GTA: SA or GTA V, it does have a resonating impact in all of us as a free-roaming game. It’s one of the few games in the series and in the entire industry that is capable of actually delivering us to the past.

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Aside from leaping from roofs to roofs of Renaissance Italy, you can renovate your headquarters and build up the city based on the earnings you make. And something like this all the way back in 2009 was mind-blowing.


Hitman isn’t actually a sandbox game per se. The game restricts the player taking up the imposing and quietly lethal form of Agent 47 in missions. Yet, within each of these missions is a mind-bogglingly detailed and large map that can take quite some time to explore every nooks and crannies of. The player is given the chance to go anywhere and do anything within the map, and create hundreds of creative ways to finish off the designated target.

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The sandbox element is enhanced further when you consider how there are dozens of weapons laying around within the map that the player can modify as they see fit. Furthermore, the disguise feature can allow the player to steal people’s identities and open up completely new ways to play the game altogether.

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Marvel’s Spider-Man

Granted that Spider-Man has seen many games before this 2018’s release, and most of them have also been sand-box games. Yet, none of them actually offer the kind of rich experience that one could totally expect from this game. You actually do feel as if you are Spider-Man in this game. And the several mods available to add more flavours into the game only serves to enhance it.

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In addition to that, you have the entirety of the city to explore. There is no shortage of something to do in the game. And the large arsenal of abilities that Spider-Man has brings up the diversity in your play through and allows you complete freedom over gameplay.

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Assassins’ Creed IV: Black Flag

While it is not recommended that you try out the real, pirate life. You can actually get a taste of what it feels like by picking up Assassins’ Creed IV: Black Flag. This is probably the most interactive game in the entire series, allowing the players to make quite a lot of decisions that could affect the gameplay and the plot.

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You can set sails to hunt for deep sea creatures, to finding the mystical Animus fragments scattered throughout the map. Not only is the map extremely large and spirited, there really is nowhere that you don’t want to set foot upon in this world … or dive into.

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With a major portion of the map being made out of pure, oceanic salt water, you will most likely find a good fraction of your time playing the game either sailing or swimming. There is no shortage of things to do while you’re underway, from raiding merchant ships, capturing British warships and more. With extra options to outfit your ship, the game portrayed excellently the complete freedom of the life of a pirate back in the Golden Age of Piracy.

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Red Dead Redemption

Frankly, sometimes the life of a superhero is boring. If you’re bored from being a violent thug in GTA, or a merciless pirate in Assassins’ Creed: Black Flag, come over to Red Dead Redemption to be an outlaw on the American Frontier. Red Dead Redemption is a story of John Marston as he brewed chaos in the Old West on horseback with a revolver.

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The game has plenty of uniqueness and mostly, all of the excellences of the game just comes up to you naturally. As you explore the Old West, there would be plenty of NPCs and situations that you’d be entangled in: From a duel to the death, exploratory trips into the wilderness, or a mad dash for safety while you’re being chased by a pack of wolves. It’s an experience that you definitely could not find elsewhere.

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Before all of the 3D graphics, the gaming world revolves simply around 2D. Terraria delivers us back to the olden days with the nostalgic 2D art style. The whole world is for you to build from scratch. With primitive beginner tools like ax, sword, and word-cutters, you will build up your great legacy within the game’s world one step at a time. There are many things for you to do, and many enemies and bosses for you to defeat. Nonetheless, at times you will find the combat fade into the backseat and the more imaginative aspects of the game take hold.



When it comes to open world gaming, Minecraft is quite literally the King. Not only the world itself is virtually endless, there’s actually zero ‘mission’ to the game: Everything is up to you to decide. No matter if it’s to create a castle made out of TNT or build a makeshift calculator with redstone. The actual challenge of the game is to create something legendary: Something you can tell the big community surrounding Minecraft of and be proud of it.

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You can craft everything that your imagination could conjure. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself just yet, the game is difficult to describe in words. And once you have started, it would not be possible to put the game down even if it means spending thousands of hours into it. Just up until you have created something truly amazing with your skills and hands.