The best sandbox games on Nintendo Switch

When you were a kid, “sandbox” meant “small plastic box, usually full of sand and ants, that allows you to pretend you’re at the beach even though you’re in a daycare center near your parents’ workplace.” As an adult, “sandbox” means either “a game that lets you choose most of your targets” or “an ant-filled nightmare that drives your kid crazy,” depending on whether you have kids or not.

Don’t worry. Today we focus on the sandbox as in a video game, a genre of entertainment in which most of the enjoyment is derived from setting your own goals. Sandboxes range from the end of the spectrum with no direction at all, like Garry’s Mod (a PC-only asset toy box), through games of some direction like Minecraft and Astroneer, to games that hold your hand or guide much more. towards objectives, such as Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing.

Crucially though, these games will, at some points, allow you to roam free, doing what you want with the world (or your small portion of it, anyway). Do you want to plant bananas in someone else’s garden? Go for it. Interested in tunneling down to bedrock? Of course. Do you want to avoid all social norms and build a gigantic fortress right in the middle of the city? Hey, this is your power fantasy.

Here’s a selection of our favorite sandbox games (and games with sandboxy bits in them) for anyone looking for an experience out of the ordinary!

Two Point Campus (Switch)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: two point studies

Release date: August 9, 2022 (USA) / August 9, 2022 (UK/EU)
Terrariums (Switch)

Terrariums (Switch)

Editor: 505 games / Developer: Re-logic

Release date: June 27, 2019 (USA) / June 27, 2019 (UK/EU)
minecraft (change)

minecraft (change)

Editor: Mojang / Developer: Mojang

Release date: June 21, 2018 (USA) / June 21, 2018 (UK/EU)
Astroneer (Change eShop)

Astroneer (Change eShop)

Editor: System Age Software / Developer: System Age Software

Release date: January 13, 2022 (USA) / Jan 2022 (UK/EU)
Townscaper (Switch eShop)

Townscaper (Switch eShop)

Editor: raw fury / Developer: Oskar Stahlberg

Release date: August 26, 2021 (USA) / August 26, 2021 (UK/EU)
Little Hell (Switch eShop)

Little Hell (Switch eShop)

Editor: corporation of tomorrow / Developer: corporation of tomorrow

Release date: March 16, 2017 (USA) / March 23, 2017 (UK/EU)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch)

Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: July 12, 2019 (USA) / July 12, 2019 (UK/EU)
Don't Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition (Switch eShop)

Don't Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition (Switch eShop)

Editor: Clei Entertainment / Developer: Clei Entertainment

Release date: April 12, 2018 (USA) / April 12, 2018 (UK/EU)
Crashlands (Change eShop)

Crashlands (Change eShop)

Editor: candy shenanigans / Developer: candy shenanigans

Release date: November 8, 2018 (USA) / November 8, 2018 (UK/EU)
Subnautica (Change eShop)

Subnautica (Change eShop)

Editor: Unknown Worlds Entertainment / Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Release date: May 14, 2021 (USA) / May 14, 2021 (UK/EU)
Stardew Valley (Change eShop)

Stardew Valley (Change eShop)

Editor: Worried Monkey / Developer: Worried Monkey

Release date: October 5, 2017 (USA) / October 5, 2017 (UK/EU)

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