How do you compete against a game like Minecraft, with its endless exploration, hundreds craftable items, charming retro art style, and ability to run smoothly on a wide range of devices? The Googlemore
How do you compete against a game like Minecraft, with its endless exploration, hundreds craftable items, charming retro art style, and ability to run smoothly on a wide range of devices? The Google Play store offers a pile of alternatives with blocks, building, family friendliness, and vibrant presentation. We've dug deep and unearthed five gems that shine like a freshly crafted pickaxe.
In the Bridge Constructor series, you solve physics-based puzzles to get cars across otherwise impassable gulfs. It's simple on the surface, but there's enough variety in the challenges to require a different approach every time. Now, imagine this combined with the Portal universe, created by the same people who made the Half-Life games. Adding Portal's teleportation mechanism is a great new wrinkle, and Portal's trademark humor -- and companion cubes and talking sentry turrets -- is a welcome touch. Despite a whopping 60 scenarios to play with, you get the whole thing for five bucks. No ads, no in-app purchases.
Minecraft is partly about surviving in a dangerous wilderness, and Don't Starve cranks this to 11 while delivering a genuine story -- assuming you can survive long enough to piece it together. Monsters are more frequent, defenses and crafting materials are more scarce, and staying fed is more challenging. Despite that, it's not a grim setting -- more of a Tim Burton spooky fantasy world than a Stephen King gauntlet of terrors. The highly stylized 2D art and animation adds a lot of personality and encourages a humorous outlook. The whole game is five bucks, with no ads or in-app transactions.
Hollywood makes bank heists look stylish and cool, followed closely by prison breakouts. Neither scenarios are considered kid-friendly, so The Escapists makes breaking out of prison entertaining with a retro pixel art art style that can even sanitize a prison riot -- one of the many options you'll have to make your escape, as long as you can dodge the guards and keep your gear stashed until the time is right. Other situations include getting out of Santa's sweatshop and navigating through an evil lair right out of a vintage James Bond movie. The Escapists is just $4, with no ads or in-app transactions.
Potato farming and cattle ranching may not be high on the list for most gamers, but the Farming Simulator series has developed a rep for making it fun. Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon have done it before, but this one takes a less fanciful approach. The tradeoff is that you get to drive real tractors made by real farming equipment companies. If you play your cards right, you can even conduct a train. And if you need help with your farm, your friends can play with you over a local Wi-Fi connection or even via Bluetooth. Farming Simulator 18 is $5 and has no ads. There are in-app purchases to buy in-game currency, but they're not necessary to enjoy the game.
Terraria is the most Minecrafty game on this list, though it takes a side-scrolling 2D approach, rather than first-person 3D. There's also more emphasis on exploring caves and fighting monsters, versus digging mining shafts and staying fed. Exploring is aided by crafting things like rocket boots, grappling boots, and diving helmets -- you can basically become Batman. And like Minecraft, you can randomly generate a new game world every time, for maximum freshness. Terraria is just five bucks, with no ads or in-app purchases.