The best building games on PC

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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, then, we cowboy builders of PCGamesN have our brick and mortar at the ready to put together a list of the best building games around. 

Related: Check out the best sandbox games on PC.

From compulsive free-to-plays to fully-fledged triple-A titles, building games 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 the post-apocalypse of Fallout 4, there is nearly as many reasons to build as there are building games. Here are the best building games on PC.

Minecraft | Ark: Survival Evolved | Fortnite | Trove | Rust | Fallout 4 | The Sims 4 | No Man's Sky | Planet Coaster | Cities: Skylines | Poly Bridge | Car Mechanic Simulator 2018

Minecraft

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What is the best building game like Minecraft? Well, Minecraft might be a good place to start. 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.

But, if you have been living under a landslide of blocks for some years now, Minecraft is a sandbox building game with blocky graphics and an emphasis on creativity. In a seemingly endless world, you can build impenetrable fortresses to fend off the creatures of the night - not that kind - in survival mode or ramp up the danger in hardcore mode. The possibilities in the building games like this are limitless, and that is before you expand the game with Minecraft mods and pre-made 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. All limits on your creativity are lifted, allowing you to have all the fun of making more elaborate creations than you ever could with Lego, without the clearing up.  

Ready to discover even more? Generate amazing new worlds with the best Minecraft seeds.

Ark: Survival Evolved

best building games 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, 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 supplies as well as farming and crafting equipment, too.

All bases in this building game require some core elements but, other than that, you can make them as ridiculous as you like, with the required resources. You can get even more creative with Ark’s wide range of 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.  

Want more? Here is our Ark: Survival Evolved review.

Fortnite

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Fortnite really is one of the best building games like Minecraft: In fact, Epic Games’ founder, Tim Sweeney, described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead.” And, it is every bit as enticing - and successful - as that sounds. And that is before we get onto this survival building game’s excellent battle royale mode.

It is up to you and three intrepid heroes to reclaim your homeland after it has been ravaged by the mysterious darkness known as ‘The Storm’. Then you will need to survive. That is where the building game element comes in: you will need to construct forts and traps to ward off the remaining monsters.

As you switch seamlessly between your character’s building and combat modes, you will gather resources, craft materials, construct insane weaponry, plant dastardly traps, and construct increasingly extravagant fortresses to stem the tide of the monster threat. Bright, accessible, and soon to be free-to-play, Fortnite is one of the best building games you can play on PC.

Looking for tips? Check out our introduction to Fortnite’s heroes, squads, quest, and skills with our guide.

Trove

best building games like Minecraft Trove

Trove is a free-to-play building game like Minecraft and a 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.

For those interested in building games free of charge, you need to get your cornerstone up to scratch in this one. A cornerstone is your home base that you take from world to world. You can craft new weapons, creatures, and environments when you are not tricking out your cornerstone with the help of the many Trove mods and 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.

In the mood for more voxel-based crafting games? Here are the best titles on Roblox.

Rust

best building games rust

Like Ark: Survival Evolved, Rust is up there with some of the most punishing survival building games around. 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 goes 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...

Mastered Rust? Check out some more great games that require your wits about you to survive.

Fallout 4

house building games Fallout 4

In previous Fallout games we had to be satisfied with having a great time collecting loot and blowing raider brains out with a massive laser and a collection of colourful companions. 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 settlements - with the help of some handy 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.

The bigger your ambitions become in this house building game, however, the more time and money you need spare to keep everything running smoothly. Your settlement’s denizens can not get into the agriculture game without the necessary resources and land after all. And the more built up your location becomes, the more attractive to bandits it will be.

Want more? Prepare for your sojourn throught the wasteland with our Fallout 4 guide.

The Sims 4

house building games The Sims 4

The Sims 4 is a house building game about taking a bunch of humans and performing horrific experiments on them - or, at least, it is for us. 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 is making you feel guilty, so why not treat them to a tastefully designed pad with The Sims 4’s myriad house building game tools? Enter build mode to create anything from a trendy place to crash in the city to a full-on 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 (or torture chamber). We recommend starting simple by keeping your exterior to a square shape to start with before you make your way to 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.

Want more? Check out our Sims 4 review.

No Man’s Sky

house building games No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky used to be more of a vanilla building game than the house building game it is now. At least it was until the Foundation Update allowed us to let loose our inner architect and build our own intergalactic abode - with help from some excellent mods, of course.

Offered in all four game modes, you can now have a single base at a time, which you can use for farming, storage, healing, shield recharge, and as a home for the NPCs you can recruit across the galaxy.

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 taskforce, you can start using your resources to build a home in a galaxy far, far away. You don’t want to get lonely in your space pad, though, so upload your base so it can be discovered by other players. Just make sure you have put the hoover round first.

The No Man’s Sky building games fun doesn’t stop there. Here is our look at the game’s racing and track building tools.

Planet Coaster

best building games planet coaster

Theme parks are, obviously, great fun. We need only to picture Thorpe Park’s Nemesis Inferno for a moment to dampen our pants out of nervous excitement. But Planet Coaster is a building game made with the faith that we virtual architects can do better than that.

Looking at the exquisite and intricate Planet Coaster creations that exist already, that faith seems to have been well placed. Using all their building games 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.

Want more? Read our Planet Coaster review. It is quite the, er, ride.

Cities: Skylines

best city building games Cities: Skylines

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 traffic jams, natural disasters, and 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 even building games experts everything they need to create wonderfully intricate cityscapes. And they have done it without the always-online DRM nonsense of 2013’s SimCity.

Interestingly, this city building game almost had another wrinkle to it: politics. Yep, Cities: Skylines was nearly a political sim, adding an extra layer of intrigue to one of the best city building games you can mess around in. Maybe one day we will see that idea return to a game that already has politics built into its mechanics. 

Want more? Transform your city building game with the best Cities: Skylines mods.

Poly Bridge

best bridge building game Poly Bridge

Building bridges is a surprisingly versatile pursuit. Whilst it is a worthwhile way to, metaphorically, make amends with an aggrieved friend, it can also be great fun as a bridge building game - as Poly Bridge succinctly proves.

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. With 24 challenges in the base version and hundreds more on Steam Workshop, Poly Bridge will keep you entertained for hours.

Want more? Check out our Poly Bridge review.

Car Mechanic Simulator 2018

best car building games car mechanic simulator 2018

Real mechanics are liars: cars obviously run by magic and we won’t hear anything to the contrary. Do not 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 understandable to non-wizards. Once you have got your skills up to snuff, it is up to you to build and expand your vehicle repair empire.

There is a reason why Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is up there with the best car building games: the many, many paint jobs, sprays, and parts to 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 with the photo mode, of course.

Want more? Take a handbrake turn over to the best racing titles on PC.

That is it for our favourite building games on PC. Let us know what games you would like to see on this list and all the totally family friendly creations you have come up with.

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2 Months ago

For me, the #1 architectural building game is Planet Coaster. With its piece-by-piece (as well as Steam Workshop integrated) building, you can make extremely-detailed rides, shops, scenery, paths, gardens, etc. Not only that, but you can experience the park as a guest, ride the rides, etc., as well as enjoy any other view with the camera. Some very talented players have made very impressive structures, combining pieces from many scene sets (and using "primitive" shapes) in ways that the publisher (Frontier) never imagined. Your scenery even affects the park guests as they experience it.

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