What are the best building games on PC? Build a city, car, and home with these city building games and house building games.
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-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 are nearly as many reasons to build as there are building games.
Related: Check out the best sandbox games on PC.
Building games on PC come in all shapes and sizes. Construction in Fortnite Battle Royale is essential for victory, if you know how best to do it. On the other hand, building and Minecraft are inseparable, whether you're scrabbling together a base to defend, or crafting a creative structure. Whatever the blueprint of building game you're after, there will be something for you here.
The best building games on PC are:
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- Fallout 4
- The Sims 4
- No Man's Sky
- Planet Coaster
- Cities: Skylines
- Poly Bridge
- Car Mechanic Simulator 2018
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 building game with blocky graphics and an emphasis on creativity. In an almost endless world, you can build impenetrable fortresses to fend off creatures of the night - not that kind - 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 the clearing up.
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: Survival Evolved, this is up there with some of the most punishing survival building games around, so make note of these Rust console commands. 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.
Free building games
If you like Minecraft, Fortnite is also one of the best building games you can play. 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 Battle Royale 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 is where the building game element comes in: you will need to construct forts and traps to ward off the remaining monsters.
In Fortnite Battle Royale you will be building, 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.
Trove is a free-to-play 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.
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. Trove is one of the best building games on PC to play with friends.
House building games
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.
The bigger your ambitions become, 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.
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 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 The 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.
Once the No Man's Sky Foundation Update landed, the game transformed into a fully-fledged house building game. With excellent mod support, No Man’s Sky allowed 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 now have a single base at any one time, which you can use for farming, storage, healing, shield recharge, and as a home for the NPCs you 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 do not 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 put the hoover round first.
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.
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.
City building games
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 Cities: Skylines natural disasters or piles of corpses lining the street, or create a vegan utopia with the Cities: Skylines 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.
Interestingly, this city building game almost had another wrinkle to it: Cities: Skylines politics. Yep, the game was nearly a political sim, adding an extra layer of intrigue to one of the best city building games in which to mess around. Maybe one day we will see that idea return to a game that already has politics built into its mechanics.
Bridge building games
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 we found in our Poly Bridge review 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.
Car building games
Real mechanics are liars: cars obviously run by magic and we will not 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 intelligible to non-wizards. Once you have got your skills up to snuff, you can commence the expansion your vehicle repair empire. Perhaps you'll even be good enough to repair the cars from the very best racing games.
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.