The best crafting games on PC

From taming dinosaurs to collecting plants in space, here are the PC’s finest craft ‘em ups

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What are the best crafting games on PC? It’s easy to mix these up with building games – though don’t worry, we have a list of the best building games, too – as they both involve an element of construction. The critical difference here, though, is that the best crafting games are all about making things to help you survive in a harsh world, or thrive in a charming one.

Crafting games can be set in practically any type of environment, whether that’s taming massive dinos or developing a cute farm. No Man’s Sky sends you hurtling across a vast and vibrant galaxy with an unlimited number of planets to explore. Don’t Starve, on the other hand, traps you in a hand-drawn forest with Lovecraftian beasts on the prowl. Some of these games take the sting out of survival and offer more relaxing experiences. Stardew Valley, for example, wants to teach you to look after yourself without scaring the living heck out of you.

Throughout this list we’ll go over our favourite crafting games to play right now, with something to suit everyone. So, without further ado, here are the best crafting games on PC.

The best crafting games on PC are:

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Trove

Trove is similar to Minecraft, it’s a sandbox MMORPG with endless places to explore including different biomes and realms – and even dungeons. As well as exploring and collecting resources, there’s a whole lot of building and crafting that goes into making Trove a magical place for both you and your online buddies.

When you start out in Trove, you’ll be given a little piece of the world – your cornerstone – that you can fill with weapons, creatures, and fresh environments. Procedurally generated realms and dungeons keep Trove feeling fresh and exciting as you venture out to take on new quests to earn resources and loot to build up and craft new items for your little part of the Trove world.

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best open world games no man's sky

NO MAN’S SKY

No Man’s Sky got off to a rocky launch, but it has landed on its feet wonderfully following a number of substantial content updates from developer Hello Games. Now you can build a single base to call home no matter where you travel to in the Galaxy, explore the universe in multiplayer, and voyage underwater in eerie, monster-filled alien oceans. If you’re looking for something different, you can also try any of these stellar No Man’s Sky mods.

With the release of No Man’s Sky 2.0 – the ‘Beyond’ update – the multiplayer experience has improved extensively, making teaming up to craft weird and wonderful technology in one of the best space games on PC far more satisfying.

Despite all the change, crafting is still key to No Man’s Sky, especially when it comes to growing your home base. These abodes do more than provide a fuzzy sense of belonging, and can be used for farming, storage, healing, shield recharge, and as a home for the various NPCs you’ll meet along your travels. To craft and develop your shelter you’ll need to do a lot of intergalactic foraging. A circuit board, for example, requires poly fibre and a heat capacitor, and to forge those items you’ll need cactus flesh, star bulbs, frost crystals, and solanium. The hunt for these items drives you to constantly explore new worlds: you find a planet, explore and hunt for materials, and then move on.

An autumnal looking farm, complete with pumpkins, in Stardew Valley, one of the best crafting games

Stardew Valley

You know what kind of gaming experience you’re in for straight off the bat with Stardew Valley. As you load in, a fantasy of leaving behind a busy and soulless city job to go and work on your Grandfather’s farm greets you.

Armed with basic farming tools and almost no money, you stock up on crafting recipes as you turn a weary and overgrown plot of land into a bustling farm teaming with food and animals. You’ll be crafting for functionality to start, as you cobble paths and put up fences to keep your animals in one place. Once you’ve nailed the basics, you can craft more artisanal equipment like beehives and kegs. You won’t just be crafting for your farm, though, as eventually you’ll be able to craft various types of bombs to help you clear out and explore nearby caves.

There’s no rush to do all of this, either. Your progress on the farm can be as fast or slow as you feel comfortable with. Crafting new tools and tending to your farm never gets dull either, as Stardew Valley’s world changes with the seasons, determining what food you can grow. And outside of the farm you can also get to know the inhabitants of a local village through idle conversation and the odd festival. On top of all this, you can also invite up to three friends to help out on your farm or just generally keep you company in one of the best farming games. If you’re looking to spice up the experience in weird and wonderful ways you can also download one of the many Stardew Valley mods.

A huge ship looms behind a player in a small boat in Rust, one of the best crafting games

Rust

Everything is out to kill you in Rust. If you aren’t hacked to bits by a rogue raider, then chances are the radiation and weather hazards will get you instead. Even meeting other players poses a risk, as there’s every chance they’ll beat you to death with a rock the second your back is turned.

To make matters worse, you’re dropped into the world of Rust without any direction or instruction, forcing you to adapt to the harsh environment. So, best have a list of handy Rust console commands at the ready. As you die and die again, you’ll learn how to craft new weapons, gear, and hodgepodge shelters, starting with rudimentary axes and wooden shacks, and eventually working your way up to assault rifles and brick fortresses.

With so many other players out to murder you and steal everything you’ve worked hard for, your best bet is often to create a clan of like-minded players so you can create bigger and better settlements that you can patrol together. Rust is a challenge, but it’s one worth overcoming, especially with a group.

A very cool steampunk castle high up on a cliff in Minecraft, one of the best crafting games

Minecraft

One of Minecraft’s greatest strengths is its versatility. You’re free to craft practically anything, from the equipment needed to embark on whatever adventure you desire, to rigging your base with TNT to trap invaders. Are you feeling less mischievous? Why not create a rollercoaster with heaps of redstone.

You can also shape how difficult it is to craft Minecraft’s giant backlog of items. Play it in Survival mode, and you’ll need to balance creativity with staying alive. If you want pure freedom then hop into Creative mode to build whatever your heart desires.

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, you can show it off online, where you’ll find a community of players keen to show you their Minecraft builds in return. And if you somehow run out of things to do in the base game, then you can install everything from Minecraft mods and Minecraft texture packs, to whole new Minecraft seeds and adventure maps to explore.

A wintry world in Terraria, one of the best crafting games

Terraria

Re-logic’s take on the humble crafting genre transports the block-by-block resource gathering of Minecraft to a 2D world replete with caverns and forest to explore, fight though, and harvest. Once you craft your very first base, you’re free to venture out and tackle whatever objectives you please, be it spelunking for treasure or slaying terrifying monsters.

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There are plenty of weapons to craft, too. You can create ranged weapons like bows and guns, or melee weapons such as swords and even yo-yos. You can then witness your weapons destructive capability first hand as damage numbers pop out of the enemies you attack.

While you’re out on your travels, you can also add various NPCs to your base to catch a buff. The Dryad, for example, provides a bonus eight points to your defence. Doing so is essential, too, as it’ll help you progress further into the Underworld where you’ll snag more loot and even unlock new modes.

Players riding dinosaurs in one of the best crafting games, Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved is a crafting game with one crucial difference: massive dinosaurs you can tame and eventually ride into battle. There are over 176 creatures in the game right now, and they range from real dinosaurs like the t-rex to mythical creatures like a phoenix.

The main thrust of Ark may be the collection of those Dinosaurs, but crafting is how you manage everything and bring it all together. Alongside the usual items of craft – like stone tools and ramshackle buildings – you’ll also craft accessories for your dinos like saddles and pens to contain them.

Crafting a sturdy base is critical, too, as your character remains in-game even after you have logged off. It’s high stakes, as you can quickly lose all your food, farming supplies, and crafting supplies if you slip up just once. Much like Rust, though, this difficulty makes up the charm of the game. Also, Dinosaurs. DI-NO-SAURS. If you want to swap up how play this crafting game, you can also check out some of the best Ark: Survival Evolved mods.

Wolfgang in one of the best crafting games, Don't Starve

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve isn’t just a good crafting title, but it’s one of the best survival games, too. Being left in the wilderness to fend for yourself is a scary concept, and no crafting game on this list leans into that fact as hard as Don’t Starve. You’ll find yourself trapped by a demon on an island that oozes Lovecraftian horror, and where every day is spent preparing to battle the monsters that come out at night.

You’ll need to craft dozens of bizarre Victorian and steampunk-inspired contraptions to survive in Don’t Starve. The Science Machine, for example, allows you to tinker with recipe ideas but looks like a tree stump with random levers and cogs bolted onto it. While there are plenty of objects, tools, and structures to craft in Don’t Starve, developer Klei Entertainment has managed to strike a delicate balance between giving you plenty of new goals to chase while not needing a recipe cheat sheet open in another window just to figure out the basics.

It’s a good thing, too, as there’s no tutorial to Don’t Starve and the map is randomly generated, so you’ll need to learn to survive and craft on the fly. If you’ve got a friend to help you craft these magnificent inventions, the standalone multiplayer version of the game, Don’t Starve Together, is one of the best co-op games on PC.

A mechanic hard at work in one of the best crafting games, Scrap Mechanic

Scrap Mechanic

This crafting game puts you in the role of a mechanic who has crash-landed on a planet full of disorderly robots. Fortunately, you can strip those malfunctioning bots down for parts and use them to survive on this alien world.

Crafting and creating, in general, requires a lot of engineering. So if you’re looking for a crafting game that lets you create elaborate contraptions ranging from buggies and monster trucks to full-scale factory production lines, then Scrap Mechanic may be what you’re after.

If you think about how redstone works in Minecraft, then Scrap Mechanic has a similar vibe. You wire together machinery with complex circuitry and watch your creation come to life. There are over 100 building parts at your disposal, so you can craft anything from a transforming vehicles to moving houses. The game’s in early access so at the time of writing you can only play the creative mode, but a survival mode is on the horizon.

Swimming towards an underground base in Subnautica

Subnautica

Mysterious things lurk in the inky depths of the ocean, and after crash-landing in open waters, you must use the alien fauna and flora of planet 4546B to stay alive. The eerie, mysterious void that hangs in the depths beneath makes Subnautica one of the most disconcerting, yet atmospheric, first-person survival games. Safe to say, we don’t recommend this game to anyone thalassophobic, unless you enjoy feeling an overwhelming sense of dread.

On your expeditions under the sea gathering materials for your base, you come across blueprints which allow you to craft various high-tech items to help you survive and build. Using a Fabricator, you can create all sorts of resources and gadgets; you can even cook the strange fish you find swimming around.

A lady aims her arrow at an unseen threat in one of the best crafting games, 7 Days to Die

7 Days to Die 

A post-apocalyptic open-world game where zombies litter the landscape, 7 Days to Die makes you scramble and scavenge for your life to survive waves of aggressive undead that hunt you down every seven in-game days. To bolster your fortress against a horde that grows ever stronger, you’ll need to craft guns, traps, and armour by collecting resources to reinforce the walls between you and the shambling corpses that seek you.

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Out in the world, you’ll be exploring dilapidated buildings, collecting materials, and searching for schematics to learn the more powerful of the 500 available recipes. You’ll definitely need to craft a splint for when you plummet through a rotten floorboard into the basement below, breaking your leg and disturbing a conference of zombies.

A book of knowledge concerning the treatment of venom wounds in one of the best crafting games, Green Hell

Green Hell

Green Hell is a name that readily evokes both the terror of being lost in a dense jungle and the aftermath of a disagreeable spinach-based meal. Appropriately, in this unforgiving survival game you must navigate the sweltering cacophony of the Amazon rainforest without being struck down by tropical disease and/or food poisoning.

Praised for its realism and brutal difficulty, Green Hell requires you to constantly forage for resources and scrape together weapons, medicine, tools, and armour to survive. Recipes make practical sense – you can use a banana leaf for fashioning bandages, dry it, and use it as kindling, or gather an armful to make a water collector or meat smoker. There’s also a complex food and nutrition system, where the food you consume affects you based on its macronutrient profile (that’s carbs, fats, protein), hydration level, and sanity value – you’ll take a big hit from wolfing down a raw tarantula, but if you chase it with a bite of honeycomb it’ll even out. Yum.

A crafting station in Valheim

Valheim

In Valheim, you play a Viking warrior who has arrived in purgatory, and must prove their worth in order to please Odin and make it to Valhalla. The procedurally generated wilderness contains various treacherous biomes from dark swamps to snowy mountains, each containing fearsome Valheim bosses. You must defeat them in order to progress and unlock crafting materials to survive in the next area.

You perish quickly if you’re underprepared, so you need to build a Viking homestead to keep the baddies out, and set up a workbench where you can craft Valheim weapons and Valheim armor. Up to nine other Vikings can join you at once, which is excellent as you need someone to use as troll bait while you run around gathering resources.

And there you have it, the best crafting games on PC. Some of these will no doubt appeal to more hardcore players – Rust and Ark are particularly punishing. If you’re more into the tranquil aspect of crafting, though, and don’t want the fuss of your life being in peril, then Minecraft and Stardew Valley are relaxing alternatives where you can opt to create in peace.

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