I’ve been there. You’ve figured out the difference between gravel blocks and regular stone blocks. You finally understand what a creeper is and what it does. You can recite the recipes for glow stones and wooden stairs in your sleep. Heck, you even understand how Redstone works. You’ve done it. You can have meaningful conversations with your kiddos about Minecraft.
Then, it happens. Your kids get tired of Minecraft. Sometimes for a few months, sometimes forever. Regardless, your kiddos are now looking for “the next thing” and you’re left scrambling, trying to catch up, and trying to help.
So… What do you do when your kiddo grows tired of Minecraft?
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to help out, once you know what, specifically, about Minecraft your kiddos enjoy.
I know. I know. Your kiddos like Minecraft — Or they did. They like the… Minecraft-i-ness of it. So, what does it even mean to look at what parts of the game they really enjoy? Is it even possible to break a game down like that?
The great thing is… it is. Minecraft, like all modern video games, has a small handful of core “gameplay pillars”. (This is game-developer speak for “the very important things the game is built around”) So, if you can identify which pillars your kiddo most enjoys it can help you guide them to a new game or help you understand some reasons why they gravitate to the games they, themselves, have chosen.
That’s enough theory and background, let’s jump into so some specific examples. Let’s look at Minecraft. While there is a lot going on in-game, you can view it as having three main pillars of gameplay. They are…
- Crafting & Building
- Survival & Exploration
What To Look For…
Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars, and identify some other titles that offer similar elements.
If Your Kiddo Loves Crafting & Building in Minecraft…
If your kiddo loves the building and crafting aspect of Minecraft, but is ready for something a little deeper or more sophisticated, you’re in luck, as there are a few really great options here.
The Sims 4
Minecraft offers an amazing set of tools to build with, it’s easy to see why your kids may grow tired of the blocky look. The latest incarnation of the Sims offers an immense amount of building and crafting, but it’s a step up from the voxel (fancy dev-term for “blocky”) look of Minecraft. There’s also a ton of available downloadable and community created content for the game to let you expand your options as you play it.
While The Sims stays “local” – homes and neighborhoods, City Skylines, on the other hand, expands on that scope. If your kiddos love building but looking for something on a larger scale than the typical Minecraft construction, City Skylines lets your kiddos build and expand entire cities. In this game, you can zone areas, build roads, plan bus & transportation routes, and explore a vast number of other options. The core game also requires balancing tax income with expenditures and other municipal activities, but if that’s not really what your kiddo’s excited about (but come’on… Taxes and Bonds? What’s not to love about that if you’re a kid?) it also offers a free-form construction mode.
Other Building and Crafting Centric Games
- Stardew Valley
- Kerbal Space Program
If your Kiddo loves Survival & Exploration in Minecraft…
If your kiddo’s favorite part of Minecraft involves exploring a new randomly generated world, or if your kiddo loves the intensity and excitement from the survival mechanics of the core game, but is tired of running from ghasts, creepers, and the enderman, there are a couple of options for you.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky had a rocky launch, but it’s come a long way since its release and is now a very solid and compelling survival based game. Similar to Minecraft, No Man’s Sky drops players into a hostile environment and they must immediately set about finding the materials and items needed to survive. The game features an immense number of planets to explore and gather resources, so it should keep your kiddo busy for quite a while.
Note For Parents: The Survival Game genre is a tricky one. While many are actually great games, most are geared for adults or older teens. A large selection of them also revolve around a multiplayer framework. This means players are in a world interacting with – and often competing with – others.
As a parent, you know best what is and is not appropriate for your kiddos, and to that end, if you’re looking for Survival games for your child, I highly recommend looking at the rating and checking out a few videos of the game on Youtube to see if you feel like a particular game is suitable.
Fortnite – Save The World
You’ve most assuredly heard of Fortnite if you’re a parent of gamer. Here’s something you may not know, though. There are actually 2 major “versions” of the game. The first, Battle Royale is the one you’re most likely familiar with – It’s also not the version I’m suggesting for this. The second mode (which, interestingly enough, actually came before the admittedly more popular Battle Royale mode)
The Save The World mode of Fortnite is a very different experience. It still has a building as a key component, but it’s primarily centered around Survival. Players (it’s a multiplayer game) scavenge and build up fortresses in order to defend against wave after wave of comedically animated zombies.
Other Survival and Exploration Centric Games
- They Are Billions
- Don’t Starve (is also a Rogue-Like)
If your Kiddo Loves Engineering In Minecraft….
A third major element of Minecraft’s gameplay revolves around engineering. Using redstone, players can create elaborate machines, minecart rides, openable doors, and a variety of other triggerable actions. If your kiddos love piecing together amazing machines within their Minecraft worlds but are tired of building the same things, here are several really good options available for players looking to dig into something a little more complex.
Bridge Constructor is a fantastic example of a simple concept that allows for incredible depth. The game requires players to use anchor points to construct bridges over land, chasms, and bridges. Those anchor points allow players to build and test a wide variety of bridge designs. The goal is to create a bridge strong enough to support the weight of the in-game construction equipment set to cross it. Later levels increase the challenge a bit. Additional elements such as lifts and hydraulic pieces allow your kiddos to create more complex bridges.
Infinifactory tasks the player with figuring out how to deliver objects to specific points in the level. Players must use component pieces like conveyor belts, sensors, pushers, triggers, and more to construct an assembly line that will successfully deliver the parcels.
Beyond the mechanics, Infinifactory shares several aspects with Minecraft. These similarities make it a really good transition game for kiddos looking for more of the engineering style of gameplay. It’s played in first-person perspective (like Minecraft) and the gameplay revolves around blocks and block placement (like Minecraft). You even get a jetpack which lets you fly around the levels, just like you can fly in the creative mode in Minecraft
Other Engineering Centric Games
- Talos Principle
- World of Goo
Wrapping It All Up…
There’s a good chance that even if your kiddos have put down Minecraft, they’ll go back to it from time to time. Also, as they continue to grow and play other games, their tastes will undoubtedly change. The great news is, what we’ve done here can be done for any game your kiddos fall in love with. If they love Super Mario Odyssey, there’s wide variety of other games they may enjoy based on what, specifically, liked about Odyssey itself. Same with something like Halo, or Super Smash Brothers, or Roblox. A combination of talking with your kids about what parts of the games they play they really enjoy as well as actually watching them play, looking at the activities in the game they seem to gravitate towards or repeat. These are all great clues to help you help them find the next “great thing”.
If you have a kiddo that was into Minecraft, or any game and has “graduated” to something similar – or even shifted gears entirely. I’d love to hear about in the comments below!