Base-building in video games can be artistic, practical, and fun. It’s one of the most enjoyable and unique mechanics in gaming today. Although existing for many reasons, base-building at its core is a rare instance for gamers to express their individuality and creativity in the games they love.
However not every game uses its base-building for the same reason. It’s time to check out the best games featuring base-building.
10/10 Evil Genius
Have you ever sided with the bad guy? Evil Genius is a humor-driven game where you play out building a secret underground base and taking over the world. Part Dr. Evil’s lair part micro-manager, Evil Genius is an overhead, cartoon-style management strategy game. Here, you’ll dictate a growing number of minions as they hone specialized skills, kill enemies and/or die off, and help you amass power to your evil cause.
The unique base-building system is the entire game in Evil Genius. Yet it’s often hypnotic to comprehend how each building, item, minion, and tool all work together, like puzzle pieces. Evil Genius is also charming and hard not to fall in love with the style, characters, and overall silliness.
9/10 Don’t Starve
Don’t Starve is a single-player or co-op survival game with a unique cartoon style and escalating supernatural obstacles. Eating wild berries and carrots, it’s tough enough surviving a few days and getting your makeshift camp going. Then one night, the fire gets low, and you hear that barking sound…In Don’t Starve, even the darkness will kill you.
From trapping your first bunny to accidentally hunting Beefalo to extinction, this unique game makes the list because your base is the one safe in a world always trying to kill you. Vital for surviving nights as well, your base camp has everything you need. Some eggplants growing, tents, walls, crock pots, and meat effigies will reincarnate upon death. You know. All the essentials.
8/10 ARK: Survival Evolved
On the surface, ARK: Survival Evolved doesn’t seem like a base-builder. Most people see an open-world, action survival game where you battle, tame, and hunt awesome dinosaurs across a tropical landscape. The building is key to survival though. Getting your dino-pets safe and creating shelter from the teeth and claws all around you is your top priority.
Also, the building reflects your progress as you eventually upgrade from puny materials to strong, dino-resistant structures. With a surprisingly in-depth crafting and building system, ARK: Survival Evolved has also seen some incredible fan creations. If it’s in your nature to build bases, this classic game will, uh, find a way.
When you’re as small as an insect, finding something like a whole cookie means weeks of sustenance. Survival is all about perspective in Grounded. If Honey I Shrunk the Kids had a survival game, this is it in the best way. You’ll dodge ants, spiders, and other creatures as you construct walls from grass and boards from acorns.
In what ends up being a pretty advanced base-building system, Grounded’s survival means the quality of your self-made home is everything. Your base determines your chances of living another day here and having more than one is advised. Grounded also features some special enemies and events that are truly memorable, especially with tiny co-op friends.
6/10 No Man’s Sky
Focused on a relaxed approach to survival, exploration, crafting, and minimal combat, No Man’s Sky has become pretty amazing since its launch. The action-adventure, space exploration title has players exploring a huge universe for resources, wildlife, and alien species. Freedom is one of the best parts of No Man’s Sky as you can cruise your personalized ship as far as your fuel can take you.
The base building is surprisingly cool-looking and has awesome mechanics as well. You can make multiple bases on different planets based on where you find certain resources or economic hubs. Teleporters, storage, and customized living spaces are all executed wonderfully here and serve a purpose too.
Valheim is a base-builder, survival game that came out of nowhere and sold millions of copies. Valheim can be played solo or co-op, where your friends can become a whole construction crew of up to 4. Sporting some of the best base-constructing mechanics around, it’s perhaps the easiest game on this list to lose yourself in during building. Also, buildings must be maintained and smoke from indoor fires will kill you without proper ventilation.
Valheim is set in a beautifully rendered open world with a focus on natural resources, crafting, and problem-solving. Your in-game character is trying pass tests to get into Valhalla, the Norse afterlife. So be ready to defend your base from wood imps, giant trolls, and other extreme wildlife. There are periodically building-sized gods you’ll battle too, it’s a whole thing.
Experimentation, expansion, efficiency, and ultimate nerd strategy are all needed for a beast like Factorio. Get out your calculator. This game has you construct the ultimate factory, which involves meticulously planning each detail of how components get power, are collected and stored, and how each system operates within the larger system and how to improve it.
Factorio was created by programmers and has an overhead view where players control a little worker as they single-handedly build an environmental monstrosity. Biters, the native bug-like creatures, will attack in larger numbers based on the size of your factory’s pollution cloud. So you’ll have to build defenses. Keep an eye on that as you plow through wood and coal, decimating the land for glory and progress.
First off, Kenshi is a game with a style and art combination that is ugly, weird, and beautiful. Then you start playing. Assuming you avoid slavery, and the cannibals, and manage to keep all your limbs, you can get stabilized and start building a base. Where? That’s up to you. Starving bandits will attack it though. And unless you’re religious, maybe don’t build in the Holy Land either. Ditto with cannibal lands to the north. Build somewhere or don’t, expand your crew or not, and go mining for money if you feel like it. Whatever, no one’s going to stop you.
Discouraging linear gameplay, Kenshi is an overhead, open-world RPG game where the player constructs their story out of a detailed and connected world. There’s no mission. There’s no guide. Base-building in Kenshi provides a safe haven and spot to craft and advance skills. Like the rest of the game, you’ll have to improvise and discover how to use resources, advance your camp and characters, and do whatever the hell it is you decide to. This game is amazing. The world is truly your oyster in Kenshi.
Rimworld is another non-linear game where players control a growing colony of complicated people. Each character has a distinct personality, emotional baggage, preferences, and even addictions. Some are murderous. Some like the taste of human flesh. Overall, you’re trying to escape the planet, but that’s quickly forgotten as you try desperately to keep most of your people alive. Random events, attacks, nuclear fallout, and everything in between bombard your colony.
So base-building is essential and the complexity and depth of the system really show up here. The various tools, buildings, and setups allow players to choose from endless ways to facilitate their base. Morals too, are out the door with choices as you can have bases focused on harvesting human body parts or selling narcotics. You could just farm some cabbage though.
By any way you measure it, if you’re talking about the best base-building game, Minecraft doesn’t have much competition. A game where you mine the world to then craft stuff, this gem is one of the best-selling games of all time. The base game is a fun survival sandbox full of pigs, zombies, and endless amounts of surprises. Also, the creative mode gives players a chance to dig deep into building possibilities without the survival nonsense.
Part of the reason this is the best base-building game is due to its longevity. Through the decades, people have used Minecraft to make incredible, jaw-dropping content that has never been created in any other game. To this day, starting up a new game and building that first night’s shelter is just as rewarding and enduring as ever.
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