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Best Open World Games

Video games create space in which to play. Open World games offer a space that is very large, and possibly unlimited. As opposed to games that funnel your movement in a particular direction to create a directed experience, Open World games let you wander in any direction.

These games populate their open worlds with architecture, characters, quests, items and discoveries. The appeal of these games is that when a particularly exciting moment of play occurs it hasn't been pre-ordained by the developer but has emerged from the interactions of the player with the game world.

Open World games come in many forms. Adventures and Role-Playing in large open spaces invite exploration and create a sense of grandeur. Simulation games that offer large explorable worlds offer a chance to experiment with how the games physics, political, economic or even religious models work at scale. Strategy games played in Open Worlds are a chance to innovate techniques that take advantage of the landscape and terrain in which you find yourself.

DetailsGenre Details

Era: 1991 - 2023
Total Games: 382
Total Likes: 10,231
 

 

Flower

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Control the breeze blowing across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle to control the breeze soon turns into a...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

In this game you play monster-hunter Geralt in a vast open world as he searches for his missing adopted daughter. The game responds to your actions and has dynamic environments, weather and day–night cycles that affect the creatures you hunt. It’s a...

Fable (Series)

Release Date: 14/09/2004

Platforms: Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

This is an adventure role-playing game set in a fantasy world where your interactions with the world and villagers, and decisions about your use of magical power, substantially alter the story and the environment.

Super Mario Odyssey

Release Date: 27/10/2017

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Mario has stared in running and jumping Super Mario games on Nintendo hardware since the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80's. The formula remains unchanged. Explore a level, jump on enemies, collect coins and get to the flag at the end to inch...

Lego (Series)

Release Date: 01/02/2005, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, GameCube, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

The combination of Lego, a popular film franchise and a video game is a rich recipe for gaming fun. The series of Lego games has developed since the first release on Nintendo DS. Not only do these games offer a chance to explore, destroy and fight in a...

Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 20/03/2018

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you are a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Journey

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

Subnautica (Series)

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Marvel's Spider-Man (Series)

Release Date: 07/09/2018

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Marvel's Spider-Man is a series of superhero adventures where you swing through an open-world city fighting crime and advancing a film-like story. There are also many side quests and missions you can take along the way.

Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an action-adventure game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Miles Morales. It is similar to the first Marvel's Spider-Man game in mechanics although Miles Morales extends this...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

This game departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and the passage of the sun and moon...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Spiritfarer

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Spiritfarer is a boat building exploration game. Unusually though, you play Stella, ferry master to the deceased and the boat you manage takes them to the next life.

Minecraft

Release Date: 23/11/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Although Minecraft – where players place blocks to build structures, sculpt the landscape and create adventures – is the best-selling game of all time, some of the best aspects of it are little known. Along with the exploration, building and...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Release Date: 14/07/2017

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Adopt Me is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

A Short Hike

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

In A Short Hike you play penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to explore the park, help other animals, find...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

Sneaky Sasquatch

Release Date: 30/07/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Sneaky Sasquatch is an adventure game where you sneak around in campsites and try to find food from coolers and picnic baskets without getting caught. There's a large variety of things to do. For example you can race, play golf, ski, find buried...

MeepCity (Roblox)

Release Date: 23/02/2016

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

MeepCity is a popular Roblox Game. It's a social game where you role-play a character to interact with other people and customise their look. Like Toontown Online or the now defunct Club Penguin, MeepCity is an evolving virtual space for players to...

Toca Life: World (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

The Toca Boca, Toca Life, series of games comprise what are essentially toys in electronic form. They build on the Sago Mini games for 6-10-year-old children. Recreating interactive everyday settings like shopping, hospital,...

Biomutant

Release Date: 25/05/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Biomutant is an open world role-play adventure game where you play a Raccoon warrior in a large world filled with mutated animals. Exploring this living breathing ecosystem has the feel of Zelda Breath of the Wild, but in a broken down steampunk...

Impostor (Roblox)

Release Date: 17/09/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Impostor is a space survival game like Among Us. It is a community created version of that official game on Roblox as Impostor, but also on Minecraft as a couple of minigames called Among Us and Impostor. The Roblox game is a version of Among Us for...

Welcome to Bloxburg (Roblox)

Release Date: 01/11/2014

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Welcome to Bloxburg is a simulation Roblox game where you take on daily activities in a fictional city. Drawing on gameplay from The Sims, you care for your character and keep their mood positive, by building and customizing your house, learning skills...

Tracks The Train Set Game

Release Date: 11/10/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

This is a digital version of wooden toy train sets, without the costs of buying more and more track pieces. You build your toy train set and towns and then jump into the driver's seat and drive the train, seeing your toy world to scale. It's a very...

Fortnite

Release Date: 25/07/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Fortnite (sometimes misspelled Fortnight) rose to popularity via its Battle Royale mode where 100 players fight against each other in online battles to the death. While they play, using shooting, evasion and building skills to survive, a storm is...

Firewatch

Release Date: 20/09/2016

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Trailmakers

Release Date: 28/02/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

In Trailmakers, you explore an open world in vehicles you have made from Lego-like blocks. Build a car, a plane, a boat or a combination of these, a carplaneboat. The game's physics encourage players to imaginatively combine propulsion, floatation,...

Blankos Block Party

Release Date: 17/11/2020

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Blankos Block Party is an online game where you collect and create custom characters based on toy figurines. Along with the built-in modes of racing, platforming and shooting, you can also plug and play your own levels in a similar fashion how [link to...

BedWars

Release Date: 19/01/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Bed Wars is a game played on Minecraft servers. It's a game similar to the official Minecraft minigames but created by independent developers.

Ark: Survival Evolved

Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

This game offers hunting-and-harvesting gameplay in a primal setting. Although not as polished or streamlined as a game like Horizon Zero Dawn, this is a more ambitiously open world where you can choose your own way to survive. With crafting and...

Hot Lava

Release Date: 19/09/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and iPhone, iPad

Hot Lava is a running and jumping game where you mustn't touch the floor because it's covered in lava. It takes the childhood playground game online as you work to cross nostalgia-filled maps on your own or with other players

Islanders

Release Date: 04/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Islanders is city-building game where you carefully place structures to earn points from their geographic location and relation to other features and buildings on your islands. Earn enough points and you unlock new buildings and eventually the chance to...

Slime Rancher (Series)

Release Date: 14/10/2016

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Slime Rancher is a farming simulation with a difference. Rather than chickens, sheep or cows, you farm slimes. You explore the open world from a first-person perspective to find and collect slimes. As you develop your farm in numerous ways you generate...

Astroneer

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Genshin Impact

Release Date: 27/09/2020

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Genshin Impact is a role-playing adventure set in a fantastical open world you explore by walking, climbing, swimming and gliding as necessary. Like the Zelda games, you can collect items, and craft new weapons. However, in this game to create a party...

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Release Date: 10/11/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the twelfth game in the Assassins Creed Series, an open world action-adventure that takes place over several main story quests as well as many optional side missions.

Stranded Deep

Release Date: 21/04/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Stranded Deep is a survival game set in the Pacific Ocean. Taking a cue from films like Cast Away, you survive a plane crash and face life-threatening scenarios in a large open world. As the weather and time of day changes with the hours, you explore...

Rust

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Rust (also, Rust: Console Edition) is an online survival game set the wilderness. You explore, gather and craft materials to manage hunger, thirst, health and protection. The preparation is to ward off the threat of bears, wolves and (more commonly)...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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