Top 10 Base Building Games You May Have Missed

When it comes to game genres, building games have to be near the top when it comes to diversity. While all of them will have you gathering resources, researching tech, and growing the size of your city or base, the setting and scope will vary from title to title. Some games mix building mechanics into another genre whereas other games will put building front and center. Even then, developers will branch even further, focusing on gathering, crafting, or caring for the little computer people working hard to achieve your goals. With so many titles vying for your time it’s easy for the lesser-known gems created by indie studios lacking a large marketing budget to slide by unnoticed. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a look though, and we have gathered up some building games you may have missed. This is our list of 10 building games you need to try out.

Factorio

  • Publisher: Wube Software
  • Release Date: 2/25/2016
  • Platform: PC

Factorio is a dream come true for anyone who just wants to build. There are a few creatures to wipe off the map, but they are nothing more than a minor inconvenience to overcome on your trek to build the biggest factory ever seen. Like most building games, you start off with limited resources and simplistic blueprints. In the beginning, keeping your production facilities supplied is simple, but as blueprints become more complex the logistical nightmare at the heart of the game will keep a true builder engaged for hours on end. Nothing is quite as satisfying as building in a new area and fine-tuning your input and output paths until you have maximized production and eliminated any bottlenecks in your supply chain. It’s much easier said than done in Factorio.

Note: for anyone looking for a Factorio type game with a little more exploration, be sure to check out Satisfactory. It’s still in the early stages but is progressing quite nicely.

Slime Rancher

  • Publisher: Monomi Park
  • Release Date: 8/1/2017
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Looking for a reprieve from all the battle royale and zombie survival games out there? You’ll find a more casual, and uniquely strange, experience in Slime Rancher. As the new owner of an abandoned ranch, in Slime Rancher it’s up to you to build the biggest, baddest slime ranch this side of the Milky Way. Yes, I said slime ranch. In this part builder, part genetics experiment, you will venture out to collect living, bouncing blobs of slime. Some are friendly, some are mean, but no matter how hard you try to wrangle them up they will find a way to escape their cages to create chaos on the range. Research new tech to keep them under control, then create hybrid offspring which you can sell off to improve your ranch. Slime Rancher already had a free stint on Xbox Game Pass as well as a free week on Epic Games Store, but if you haven’t had a chance to try it out it is worth the $19.99 price tag.

Banished

  • Publisher: 
  • Release Date: Shining Rock Software
  • Platform: PC

If you have ever wondered what life was like in a small settlement back in the olden days, Banished gives a fair representation of the trials and tribulations early you would have faced. Coming out before the survival genre craze, the gameplay of Banished is more akin to a real-time strategy game than more recent builders. You must find a balance between expanding your village and using resources for your day to day survival. You start with just a handful of families and birth, aging, and death are all modeled in the game. A simple mistake like not having enough firewood to heat your villagers homes can easily cause a couple of deaths, which in turn creates a cascading effect that can decimate your whole village. Do you have what it takes to survive?

Subnautica

  • Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • Release Date: 1/23/2018
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Thanks to being one of the first free titles featured on the Epic Games Store, Subnautica is a little less obscure than some of the other titles on this list. After crash landing on a mostly aquatic world, you must build up a base from nothing more than your escape pod. You must overcome and adapt to a world which evolution has left you ill-prepared to survive. Although Subnautica is set on an alien world it could just as easily been set on our own planet.

Astroneer

  • Publisher: System Era Softworks
  • Release Date: 2/6/2019
  • Platform: Xbox One, PC

Astroneer is a great example of what can be achieved in a voxel-based game. Gone are the square block worlds, replaced by a low count polygon surface. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a huge difference and still isn’t anywhere near the realistic landscapes a static environment affords, but it is a good compromise and a huge leap in the right direction. You will use a vacuum… um, terraforming tool, to gather resources and shape the surrounding lands. Need to get to the other side of a ravine? Just create a land bridge to get across. Like many exploration games, you will begin on foot with a limited range, but eventually you will build a spaceship to explore other planets in the solar system. And with the option for 4 player co-op, the cold expanse of space won’t be quite as lonely as it is in other games.

Oxygen Not Included

  • Publisher: Klei Entertainment
  • Release Date: 7/30/2019
  • Platform: PC

Base builders always have resource management as a core mechanic, but Oxygen Not Included takes it one step further by making clean, breathable air a commodity. Not only do you have to find an ample supply of air, just about everything else you do in the game is trying to contaminate it. Oxygen Not Included also requires you to manage the psychological and sociological aspects of each individual colonist, oftentimes to hilarious, though catastrophic, results. To keep your team happy and working at maximum efficiency you must keep your base tidy, your toilets in good working order, and avoid making any major mistakes like flooding the whole area with contaminated water.

Oxygen Not Included is not the only title on this list to ride the rollercoaster that is Steam Early Access, but it is the most recent to successfully move to full release just a couple of days ago. 

This War Of Mine

  • Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
  • Release Date: 11/14/2014
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Android

This War Of Mine uses a military conflict as it’s backdrop, but you won’t be building a military base. Instead, you are fighting for survival in a war-torn city, scavaging and stealing anything of value you can get your hands on to build makeshift equipment to improve your living conditions. This War Of Mine may be a little lighter on building when compared to other games on this list, but it fills that gap by adding weight to the resource gathering process. Do you barter with a trader, giving up surplus resources to get the last few pieces you need to build a new heater, just go out and take what you need  from a couple of innocent but unarmed victims, or risk life and limb in an all-out raid on another group’s well-defended, and fully stocked, stronghold? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a building game that throws so many moral and ethical choices in your path.

Space Engineer

  • Publisher: Keen Software House
  • Release Date: 2/28/2019
  • Platform: Xbox One, PC

Your first hour or two playing Space Engineers may feel like Minecraft in space, but it’s way more than that. Your first projects will probably revolve around building bigger and bigger mining vessels, but you will later find yourself trying your hand at constructing your favorite sci-fi movie spaceship. There’s also plenty of building to do planetside as well. The game initially entered Steam Early Access way back in 2013 and I had the fortune of watching this game grow from what was basically an asteroid mining simulator into the game it is today. Be sure to check it out!

Graveyard Keeper

  • Publisher: Lazy Bear Games
  • Release Date: 8/15/2018
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

For anyone who likes the gameplay of Stardew Valley but could do without all the cuteness, get ready to take a walk on the darker side of life in Graveyard Keeper. I mean, what other games have you harvesting corpses alongside the typical wood and stone to fuel your crafting needs? You’ll have to wear many hats in Graveyard Keeper, ranging from church custodian to mad scientist as you unravel the mysteries of a strange land and try to get back to your own realm.

Rimworld

  • Publisher: Ludeon Studios
  • Release Date: 10/17/2018
  • Platform: PC

Rimworld takes base building to the extreme all while showing that the genre doesn’t need to hide behind AAA graphics to be enjoyable. In Rimworld you control all aspects of your colony right from the get-go, starting with choosing the skills of your crew. Choose wisely, for even if you have the skills to quickly establish a semi-comfortable base you will quickly encounter raiders intent on taking all you have. If you survive them, there’s still the beasties that want to make a meal out of your group. Danger Will Robinson, danger!

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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