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As a seasoned video game journalist with six years in the field, I’ve seen firsthand how crafting in games has evolved from a simple pastime to a core gameplay mechanic that captivates players around the globe. In 2024, the gaming landscape brims with titles that transform crafting into an art form, offering players an array of worlds where creativity and survival intertwine seamlessly.
Crafting in video games isn’t just about putting pieces together; it’s about the thrill of creating something from nothing. Whether building a shelter to survive the night in a hostile environment or forging weapons to defend against looming threats, crafting adds depth and personalization to gameplay. It invites players to think strategically, plan resourcefully, and express themselves uniquely.
This year, the genre shines brighter than ever, with games like “No Man’s Sky,” “Minecraft,” and “Terraria” leading the charge. These titles exemplify the diverse approaches to crafting, ranging from the boundless exploration of outer space to the meticulous construction of pixelated worlds. They’re not just games but virtual canvases where imagination meets ingenuity.
The Best Games with Crafting
Whether you’re a long-time gamer or new to the scene, these games promise to offer something exciting, engaging, and uniquely challenging. These are the best games with crafting to play in 2024.
1. No Man’s Sky
“No Man’s Sky” stands as a testament to the marvels of intergalactic exploration and the intricate art of crafting. Players traverse endless star systems in this vast universe, each brimming with unique planets, alien lifeforms, and untold mysteries. But the heart of the game lies in its crafting and base-building mechanics, which are as limitless as the galaxies it encompasses.
At its core, “No Man’s Sky” is about survival and discovery in an ever-expanding universe. The crafting system plays a crucial role in this journey. Starting with basic tools essential for gathering resources on unfamiliar planets, players gradually unlock the potential to craft more complex and functional items. From essential life-support equipment to advanced technology for space exploration, the crafting possibilities are expansive.
The game truly shines in its base-building aspect. Here, players’ creativity and resourcefulness come to life. Whether it’s a simple outpost on a remote planet or a sprawling interstellar base, each structure reflects the player’s personal touch and strategic planning. These bases serve various purposes: farming, storage, research, or simply a tranquil home amidst the stars.
The complexity of the crafting system adds depth, encouraging players to explore and gather rare materials to bring their architectural visions to life. “No Man’s Sky” isn’t just a game; it’s a universe where crafting and exploration merge to create a truly personalized adventure.
2. Stardew Valley
In the charming world of “Stardew Valley,” crafting transcends beyond mere survival; it’s about building a life. This beloved farming simulator captivates players with its deep crafting mechanics, seamlessly integrated into the tranquil yet bustling farm life. Here, players escape to a simpler time, inheriting an overgrown plot of land, transforming into a flourishing farm.
Stardew Valley’s crafting system is as rich as its rural landscapes. Players start with basic tools and a modest plot, slowly expanding their farm through crafted upgrades like irrigation systems, farm buildings, and artisanal machines. The game rewards planning and foresight as players balance resource management with the farm’s daily needs.
But the crafting experience in “Stardew Valley” extends beyond the farm’s fences. Players explore nearby caves, where crafting takes a turn towards adventure and survival. Here, crafting various types of bombs and improved tools becomes essential for delving deeper into these mysterious caverns. The caves offer valuable resources and present challenges that test the player’s crafting and combat skills.
Both “No Man’s Sky” and “Stardew Valley” exemplify the diversity and depth of crafting in modern games. Whether it’s in the vastness of space or the quaintness of a rural farm, these games offer players a canvas to craft their unique experiences and stories.
“Rust” is a game that epitomizes the raw essence of survival, where crafting is not just a feature but a necessity for staying alive. Every tool, weapon, and shelter you craft can differentiate life and death in this unforgiving multiplayer environment. The game drops players into a harsh world with nothing but a rock and a torch, challenging them to survive against the elements, wildlife, and, most notably, other players.
Crafting in “Rust” is deeply tied to both protection and progression. Players gather resources to forge basic tools and weapons, and as they brave the world’s dangers, they learn to craft more advanced and durable equipment. Base building is a critical aspect of the game, offering a sense of security amidst the chaos. However, building a base also means making it defendable against other players, adding a strategic layer to the crafting system.
The multiplayer nature of “Rust” significantly influences crafting and base building. Players often have to contend with the threat of raids from others, making the design and fortification of bases a high priority. Alliances can be formed, leading to cooperative base building and resource sharing, but betrayal is always a risk. This dynamic creates a thrilling and unpredictable gameplay experience where crafting skills are as crucial as social strategies.
“Terraria” presents a captivating 2D world, rich in adventure and crafting opportunities. Often likened to a two-dimensional version of “Minecraft,” this game offers a unique blend of exploration, building, and combat, all tied together with an extensive crafting system. Players start in a procedurally generated world where every dig and every build leads to new discoveries.
The crafting system in “Terraria” is vast and varied, enabling players to create a wide array of items, from simple tools and building materials to complex weapons and magical artifacts. The game encourages experimentation, as combining different materials can lead to unexpected and powerful items. Crafting is essential for survival and progressing through the game’s many challenges and bosses.
Weapons crafting is particularly notable in “Terraria.” Players can craft a diverse arsenal, ranging from swords and bows to magical staves and summoning items. This variety allows players to tailor their combat style to their preferences, whether they enjoy close-quarters combat, ranged attacks, or using minions to do their bidding.
5. Ark: Survival Evolved
“Ark: Survival Evolved” takes the survival genre to prehistoric times, combining the thrill of crafting and base building with the unique aspect of taming and riding dinosaurs. In this game, players find themselves stranded on a mysterious island inhabited by various dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
Crafting in “Ark” is crucial for managing resources and constructing bases. Players start with basic tools and gradually gather resources to build more complex structures and craft advanced technology. Building a sturdy and efficient base is vital for survival, as it protects against the dangers of the island, including aggressive dinosaurs and other players in multiplayer modes.
The dinosaur-taming aspect adds a fascinating dimension to the crafting system. Players can craft items like saddles to ride their tamed dinosaurs, which can be used for transportation, resource gathering, or even combat. Crafting pens and enclosures to house and protect these creatures is also a key part of the game. This interaction between crafting and dinosaur management creates a unique and immersive survival experience, where players must balance their resource use between their own needs and those of their prehistoric companions.
In each game, crafting is more than just a side activity; it’s integral to the core gameplay experience. “Rust,” “Terraria,” and “Ark: Survival Evolved” all showcase different aspects of crafting, from survival and base defense to exploration and creature management, highlighting the versatility and importance of crafting in modern video games.
6. Road to Vostok
“Road to Vostok” elevates the survival game genre with its staunch commitment to realism, particularly in its survival and crafting mechanics. This game immerses players in a setting where every decision, every crafted item, and every scavenged resource can be the difference between life and death. The crafting system is designed to mirror real-world logic, requiring players to think critically and resourcefully.
In the world of “Road to Vostok,” scavenging is a vital skill. Players must explore their surroundings to gather essential supplies for survival. This may include food, water, medical supplies, and materials for shelter construction. Building a shelter is not just about having a place to rest; it’s about creating a safe haven from the environmental dangers and potential threats that lurk in the game’s world.
Crafting in “Road to Vostok” goes beyond simple item creation. It encompasses various survival skills, including treating injuries, managing health, and crafting tools and weapons that adhere to realistic functionalities. This crafting approach adds depth and authenticity to the survival experience, making “Road to Vostok” a standout title for players who relish a challenge rooted in realism.
7. Light No Fire
“Light No Fire” takes players to a fantasy world where cooperative building and crafting are central to the gameplay experience. In this game, the emphasis is on creating a life, not just surviving. Set in a beautifully crafted world with both familiar and fantastical elements, players work together to shape their environment and community.
The communal aspect of crafting and survival is what sets “Light No Fire” apart. Players are encouraged to collaborate, combining their skills and resources to build structures, craft items, and establish a thriving community. This cooperative approach extends to exploring the world, where players can discover new biomes, encounter unique creatures, and gather rare resources.
Crafting in “Light No Fire” is about more than just individual progression; it’s about contributing to the greater good of the community. Whether it’s constructing communal buildings, crafting tools for others, or working together to overcome challenges, the game fosters a sense of unity and teamwork. This focus on communal living and cooperative crafting offers a refreshing take on the genre, appealing to players who enjoy both the creative and social aspects of gaming.
8. ASCENT OF ASHES
“ASCENT OF ASHES” thrusts players into a harsh post-apocalyptic world infested with alien creatures and fraught with danger. The game’s setting is one where the remnants of humanity struggle to survive against all odds, and crafting is a key component of this struggle.
The survival tactics in “ASCENT OF ASHES” are diverse and demanding. Players must not only contend with the threat of alien creatures and hostile survivors but also manage their health and resources carefully. Crafting plays a crucial role in this, as players must create tools, weapons, and shelters to protect themselves from the dangers around them.
One of the unique features of “ASCENT OF ASHES” is the ability to repair and use vehicles, adding a dynamic layer to exploration and resource gathering. Vehicles can be a game-changer in traversing the desolate landscapes, but they require maintenance and fuel, which players must craft and scavenge for. This element of vehicle management integrates seamlessly with the game’s crafting system, offering a more complex and engaging survival experience.
In each of these titles, crafting is not just an afterthought but a fundamental aspect of the gameplay. “Road to Vostok,” “Light No Fire,” and “ASCENT OF ASHES” each offer unique perspectives on crafting and survival, showcasing the versatility and depth of this gameplay mechanic in different settings and scenarios.
“Wanderlost” introduces a fresh twist to the survival game genre by incorporating zombies into a world where crafting is essential for survival. In this game, players find themselves in a wilderness teeming with the undead, where the key to survival lies in their ability to craft and adapt. The crafting system in “Wanderlost” is integral to the gameplay, as players must gather resources to build shelters, create weapons, and secure food.
Constructing and expanding a safe home is a central aspect of “Wanderlost.” Players start with a basic shelter, which serves as a sanctuary from the zombie hordes. The shelter can be fortified and expanded as the game progresses, turning it into a stronghold that offers greater protection and storage capabilities. This need to continuously improve and adapt one’s living space adds a layer of strategy and planning to the game, making each player’s journey unique.
The presence of zombies adds a constant threat and urgency to the crafting and building process. Players must balance the need to explore and gather resources with the risk of encountering the undead. The game’s day-night cycle also plays a role, as zombies become more aggressive and numerous at night, making shelter and secure defenses all the more critical.
“Enshrouded” plunges players into a degraded world where they must start from scratch and use their crafting skills to survive. The game’s environment is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where resources are scarce, and dangers lurk around every corner. In this setting, players must scavenge for materials and learn to craft essential items for survival.
The game emphasizes exploration and the discovery of different biomes, each offering unique resources and challenges. Crafting in “Enshrouded” is not just about creating tools and shelter; it’s about understanding and adapting to the environment. Players must learn to craft items suited to each biome’s specific conditions, whether it’s protective gear for toxic areas or specialized tools for different types of resource gathering.
“Enshrouded” offers a deep crafting system that evolves as players explore more of the world. Starting with nothing, players slowly build up their inventory of tools, weapons, and other essential items. This gradual progression creates a sense of achievement and encourages exploration, as each new biome holds the key to new crafting recipes and materials.
“Minecraft” is more than just a game; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has redefined the concept of crafting in video games. With its limitless crafting possibilities, “Minecraft” offers a sandbox experience where creativity knows no bounds. The game’s blocky, pixelated world is a canvas for players to shape and mold as they see fit, whether it’s building grand structures, creating intricate redstone machines, or crafting simple tools.
The game features two main modes that greatly impact the crafting experience: Survival and Creative. In Survival mode, players must gather resources and craft items to survive against environmental hazards and hostile creatures. This mode emphasizes resource management and strategic planning, as players must balance their immediate needs with their long-term goals.
In Creative mode, the focus shifts to pure creation. With unlimited resources at their disposal, players are free to craft and build without the constraints of survival. This mode has given rise to some of the most impressive and imaginative creations in the gaming world, showcasing the incredible potential of “Minecraft’s” crafting system.
“Starbound” takes players on an interstellar adventure where crafting and exploration are seamlessly interwoven to create an expansive gaming experience. Set in the vast expanse of space, players embark on a journey across countless procedurally generated planets, each with its own unique environments, resources, and inhabitants. In this universe, crafting is the cornerstone of survival and advancement.
The crafting system in “Starbound” is extensive, catering to a variety of gameplay aspects. Players craft equipment essential for survival on different planets, each with its own set of challenges and hazards. The need to adapt to varying planetary conditions makes crafting a dynamic and ever-evolving process. Beyond personal equipment, players also upgrade and customize their spaceships, which serve as their primary means of traversing the cosmos. These upgrades are crucial for reaching more distant and dangerous planets, furthering the sense of progression and exploration.
Building colonies is another key facet of “Starbound’s” crafting system. Players can establish settlements on various planets, creating a network of colonies throughout the galaxy. Crafting in this context involves construction and managing resources and interactions with the game’s diverse NPCs. These colonies can become hubs for trade, quests, and interactions, adding depth and richness to the overall space-faring experience.
13. Sons of the Forest
“Sons of the Forest” is a survival horror game that builds upon the legacy of its predecessor, “The Forest.” This sequel enhances the experience with improved graphics and AI, immersing players in a more vivid and responsive world. Set in a remote, forested peninsula, players face the daunting task of surviving against a society of cannibalistic mutants.
Crafting in “Sons of the Forest” is essential for survival. Players must gather resources to construct shelters, which provide safety and respite from the lurking dangers. The shelter-building process is intuitive yet complex, allowing for various designs from simple structures to elaborate fortresses. Weapons crafting is equally vital, as players must defend themselves against the relentless mutants. The crafting system encourages creativity and strategic thinking, as players must use the resources at hand to devise effective means of defense and survival.
The enhanced graphics and AI in “Sons of the Forest” create a more immersive and challenging survival experience. The environment is more realistic, and the mutants display more sophisticated behaviors, making each encounter unpredictable and tense. This sequel maintains the eerie and suspenseful atmosphere of the original and elevates it to new heights.
14. The Long Dark
“The Long Dark” stands out in the survival game genre, emphasizing realism and the unforgiving nature of the Canadian wilderness. Players are pitted against the elements in this game, where the cold, hunger, and wildlife pose constant threats. Crafting is not just a feature; it’s a necessity for survival.
The crafting system in “The Long Dark” is designed to mimic real-world survival scenarios. Players must scavenge for resources, such as wood for fire, food for sustenance, and materials for clothing and tools. Crafting in this game is about resourcefulness and understanding the environment. For example, players can create snares to catch rabbits for food or fashion clothing from animal hides to stave off the cold.
Survival against the elements and wildlife is a relentless challenge in “The Long Dark.” The game’s realistic weather patterns and wildlife behaviors require players to be constantly vigilant and adaptive. Crafting plays a critical role in this, as properly crafted gear and supplies can mean the difference between life and death in the harsh Canadian wilderness.