12 Open World Games That Have No Combat

The open-world genre of gaming has had a sharp rise in prominence over the last decade. Games like SkyrimGrand Theft Auto Vand Minecraft were all released in the early 2010s, paving the way for open-world games to be pushed into the forefront of the gaming industry.

RELATED: The Biggest Open World Games Based On The Size Of Their Maps

Along with fetch quests, NPC interactions, and looting, one common theme of the open-world genre is combat, as most games task players with overcoming some type of enemy force. Though conquering evil is all well and good, it can get tiresome. Sometimes gamers just want to play at their own pace, without the threat of raiders, zombies, aliens, or whatever else popping up looking for a fight. Thankfully, there are a handful of open-world games that solely offer puzzle-solving, social interaction, or simple exploration.

Updated on July 22, 2021, by Jack Pursey: The open-world genre continues to thrive today, with developers all over the world trying to make the next Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto. Consequently, it can be tricky for players to find exactly what they want, as the genre is so crowded that many games fall through the cracks.

To help players find what they’re looking for, we’ve added a few key details to each entry, such as where to play them and how long they take to beat. We’ve also added a couple more entries that inherently have combat but offer modes that remove it.


12 Assassin’s Creed Origins (Discovery Tour Mode)

  • Available Platforms – Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia
  • Initial Release Date – October 27, 2017
  • Main Story Completion Time – 30 Hours
  • Best Feature – Discovery Tour mode offers an enjoyable way to learn about Egyptian history, with an impressive level of historical accuracy.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise originated in 2008 and has gone on to become a cornerstone of open-world gaming. The series began under the banner of stealth and action-adventure, but since the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, the franchise has started to transition into the action-RPG genre.

The influx of RPG elements weren’t the only interesting new feature in Origins, as the game also offered a Discovery Tour mode. The Discovery Tour mode removes combat, quests, and enemies from the game. Instead, it lets players explore Ancient Egypt from an educational standpoint, with an audio tour guide offering detailed information.

11 Minecraft (Creative Mode)

Minecraft-characters-underwater

  • Available Platforms – Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox 360, Raspberry Pi, Windows Phone, PlayStation 3, Fire OS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Universal Windows Platform, Wii U, tvOS, Nintendo Switch, New Nintendo 3DS
  • Initial Release Date – November 18, 2011
  • Main Story Completion Time – N/A
  • Best Feature – Creative mode lets players flex their creative muscles, and make almost anything that they can think of.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Minecraft first hit stores. The game is still going strong today thanks to continuous improvement and updates that make the game almost unrecognizable from its original state. The open-world game is filled with enemies to kill in Survival mode, but the popular Creative mode removes such hazards.

Along with the absence of enemies, Creative mode also gives players every item and piece of equipment in the game. This allows them to make some incredible creations — the only limitation is their own imagination.

10 Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

  • Available Platforms – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – July 18, 2017
  • Main Story Completion Time – 10 Hours
  • Best Feature – The beautiful open-world is a joy to explore.

Prideful Sloth’s open-world adventure Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles initially released on PlayStation 4 and PC in 2017, before coming to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in the years that followed.

After the player’s ship crashes onto an island, Yonder tasks players with helping the inhabitants by clearing a substance called Murk. The gameplay predominantly centers around fetch quests. Though this may sound tedious, exploring the Breath of the Wild-like game-world can provide hours of simplistic enjoyment.

9 Shape of the World

Shape of the World - walking through the woods

  • Available Platforms – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – June 5, 2018
  • Main Story Completion Time – 1 Hour
  • Best Feature – Offers a great way to wind down with some wonderful art designs.

Shape of the World was released in 2018 by the team of Hollow Tree Games and Plug In Digital. This first-person game puts players in a beautiful, artistic forest and simply lets them explore the surrounding environments.

The game’s world is procedurally generated, ensuring that players will always have a fresh experience each time they boot it up. Shape of the World simply wants its players to find peace and relaxation. The game’s Steam page exemplifies this philosophy, stating: “This is a place to get lost in, a relaxing world for you to spend 1 to 3 hours meandering at your own pace, observing and unwinding.”

8 Forza Horizon 4

forza horizon 4

  • Available Platforms – Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Initial Release Date – October 2, 2018
  • Main Story Completion Time – 12.5 Hours
  • Best Feature – This title boasts one of the most detailed and visually impressive open-worlds available in gaming today.

Truth be told, this list could have been filled by the numerous open-world racing games that have been released over the years. For the sake of variety, though, it made sense to just include the one.

RELATED: Biggest Open World MMORPGs (From Smallest To Largest)

Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 4 has become one of Microsoft Studios’ most highly esteemed releases. The beautiful British countrysides are a joy to drive through during any of the game’s four seasons. Forza Horizon 4 was one of the most critically acclaimed racing releases of the eighth generation of console, exemplified by its Metascore of 92 and its Golden Joystick award of Xbox Game of the Year in 2018.

7 The Sims 3

  • Available Platforms – Microsoft Windows, OS X, Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, N-Gage 2.0, Wii, Nintendo 3DS
  • Initial Release Date – June 2, 2009
  • Main Story Completion Time – 15.5 Hours
  • Best Feature – Exploring the game’s town and interacting with the locals

The first entry into The Sims franchise released in 2000 and played a fundamental part in the rise of casual games. Electronic Arts’ series has since become one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, likely due to how it appeals to such a wide audience.

2009’s The Sims 3 saw a significant shift in playstyle for the series. The game broke down its predecessor’s linear walls in favor of an open-world to explore. Exploring the game’s town is a joy, and is the main reason why The Sims 3 is the most beloved entry in the franchise.

6 Rime

Rime - walking towards oddly shaped structure

  • Available Platforms – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – May 26, 2017
  • Main Story Completion Time – 5.5 Hours
  • Best Feature – The game’s well-designed island begs to be explored.

Tequila Works’ puzzle game Rime was released on all major systems in 2017. The third-person adventure is the second, but certainly not the last game on this list to strand players on a mysterious island.

Rime tasks players with solving environmental puzzles by moving objects, shouting, or signing. The game received a mixed reception from critics, exemplified by the juxtaposing Metascores of 64 on Nintendo Switch and 82 on Xbox One. Praise from critics revolved around the art-style and visuals, though the lackluster puzzles received criticism.

5 A Short Hike

epic games store free games march 12 2020

• Available Platforms – Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, Macintosh operating systems

• Initial Release Date – April 5, 2019

• Main Story Completion Time – 1.5 Hours

• Best Feature – The sense of relaxation that the game provides

With an impressive Nintendo Switch Metascore of 88 and an All Reviews score of Overwhelmingly Positive on Steam, Adam Robinson-Yu’s A Short Hike was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2019.

The game’s main quest requires the player to jump, swim and glide through the open-world to find a collection of Golden Feathers. The main quest isn’t all that’s available to players, however, as they can also partake in numerous side activities such as fishing, finding treasure with the help of maps, and competing in the unique Beachstickball.

4 Myst

The island from Myst

  • Available Platforms – Mac OS, Saturn, PlayStation, 3DO, Microsoft Windows, Atari Jaguar CD, CD-i, AmigaOS, Pocket PC, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, Android, Oculus Quest, Oculus Quest 2, Nintendo Switch
  • Initial Release Date – September 24, 1993
  • Main Story Completion Time – 6 Hours
  • Best Feature – The game’s ingeniously designed puzzles still feel rewarding to solve today.

Along with Portal, Cyan World’s Myst is one of gaming’s most famous puzzle titles that isn’t named TetrisMyst is another game that stands players on a mysterious island. They must use their own initiative to explore the game-world and uncover its secrets without any in-game direction or help.

The game is particularly notable for the impressive variety in its puzzle-solving. It also carries the expectation that players will have a notebook full of hand-drawn maps and possible puzzle-solutions by the end of the adventure.

3 Obduction

Obduction - house in the distance

  • Available Platforms – Microsoft Windows, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, macOS, PlayStation 4, PSVR, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – August 24, 2016
  • Main Story Completion Time – 12 Hours
  • Best Feature – Classic Myst gameplay in a modern setting

Obduction was released in 2016 by Cyan Worlds, the same team behind the aforementioned Myst. The game begins with the playable character being abducted by aliens and putting them on a Myst-like game-world where they must solve puzzles to find their way home.

RELATED: Best Combat Systems In Open World RPGs, Ranked

Obduction was well-received by critics. It received praise for the game’s atmosphere, its constant unsettling sense of not-belonging, and well-designed collection of puzzles.

2 Eastshade

Eastshade - hot air baloon

  • Available Platforms – PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – February 13, 2019
  • Main Story Completion Time – 9.5 Hours
  • Best Feature – Medatitive gameplay on a beautiful island

Eastshade is a relaxing, visually impressive open-world game developed by the suitably named Eastshade Studios. The game starts with a bit of a bang. Once again the player is on the wrong end of a boat crash, but the game soon finds a far more meditative pace.

With an easel and canvas by their side, players travel the world of Eastshade and paint the scenery and environments around them. The game isn’t just a painting simulator, however. Players can also receive quests from NPCs, and brew a multitude of tea flavors.

1 The Witness

The Witness' map

  • Available Platforms – PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nvidia Shield TV, Classic Mac OS, Xbox One
  • Initial Release Date – January 26, 2016
  • Main Story Completion Time – 17.5 Hours
  • Best Feature – Of all the many beautiful island settings on this list, The Witness has the best

2016’s The Witness faced high expectations when the puzzle game was first announced, predominantly due to it being designed by Braid‘s Jonathan Blow. The game also turned heads when the first details started to release. It was clear that players were going to find themselves on a Myst-like island with beautiful modern visuals.

The Witness differentiates itself from Myst with its puzzle variety, as the game solely features line puzzles. Sticking to one style of puzzle may make the game sound one-dimensional, but there’s an excellent range of themes and solutions to the puzzles that ensure the game remains engrossing.

NEXT: Open World RPGs That Take The Longest To Complete


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10 Classic RPG Tropes That Aren’t Around Anymore


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