We live in a world where everything is switched on. Our worlds and entertainment all rely on an internet connection – but unfortunately, sometimes that can prevent people from accessing and playing games.
If the worst happens, and the internet cuts out, what are the best games to turn to for online play? Well, games that don’t rely on the internet, of course.
We’ve compiled a list of the five best games for offline play, and what makes them so good – both offline and online.
Read on to find out more.
That’s right, Mojang’s Minecraft, enduringly popular as it is, is on our top list of games that don’t require the internet to play.
The builder and sandbox game has been subject to a number of updates since its release in 2011, but the base game (known as vanilla) is visually very similar to the original. There are also a number of downloadable “mods” (modifications) that alter it visually or add different dimensions to the game.
Able to play on either “survival”, where you spawn and must survive from nothing, or “creative”, where you have all materials available from you and can let your creativity go wild, it gives players a lot of scope for pursuing their own favored course.
The freedom the game brings, and the potential for creative and engineering ingenuity, have made it one of the most popularly watched games on YouTube. One of the most successful of these is Mumbo Jumbo, which currently has nearly 7 million subscribers.
The game does, of course, require downloading, but once you have the files saved on your computer, you can create “local” worlds and play to your heart’s content, building great cities, or exploring the world with horses or boats.
Of course, by doing this you won’t have access to any online worlds, or the option to play virtually with friends, but you can’t have everything, and Minecraft is an excellently versatile game we heartily recommend, especially to anyone new to gaming.
Minecraft is available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher, based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, was recently released as a series on Netflix, reminding fans of its popularity.
Praised for its high graphics and engaging story, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a single-player game where you play as the Witcher (Geralt), taking on a series of quests to find Ciri and his long-lost love, Yennifer, and help your friends. It invokes a huge amount of lore, and the choices you make can have long-ranging consequences – pleasing some and infuriating others.
The main quest line is perhaps less exhilarating than its predecessor’s, but there’s so much potential to strike your own path through the game, exploring new areas and taking on the vast numbers of side-quests available. It becomes a hunt, bloodthirsty, thought-provoking, and utterly engaging.
As Geralt, gruff yet kind, you have the ability to save lives or take them, and the world will amaze you with its beautifully rendered mythical creatures you can hunt, or save.
The open-world nature of the game can at first be a little daunting, but it makes the reward of diving so much greater. It helps bring the characters and the world to life in a way not often seen in RPG games.
Although The Witcher 3 is better when played online, it’s possible to play it offline if you already have it downloaded. As it’s single-player, you won’t be missing out on any other human interaction, and there won’t be an area of the game you can’t access. Be aware, though: all save files are local.
Once again, this game is available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
3. Civilisation VI
Released in 2016 for PC, 2018 for Nintendo Switch, 2019 for Xbox and PlayStation, and 2020 for Android (!), Civilisation VI is the latest of Civilisation games. Perhaps the most popular is Civ V, which is the version that made it mainstream, we feel Civilisation VI has more to offer gamers.
The basic concept of the game has remained the same: it’s a turn-based strategy game where you play as the leader of a civilization and oversee its victory across the nation – or perhaps misjudge your expansion rate and get bashed by barbarians.
Civilization VI can be played with friends or against the AI, which has seen a reboot since V. The game offers plenty for veterans, who seek new challenges, or for a beginner; the game is easy to pick up thanks to the tutorial and clean interface.
The rework done to the AI, allowing for more balanced play, makes it ideal for offline play if you enjoy turn-based strategy games. Watch your empire rise and fall all without the need for another person – you’ll feel, as the other world leaders communicate, as though there are other players, and the difficulty modes allow you to choose how challenging you’d like the game to be.
There’s really no downside. Although all Civilisation games are often and easily played with others, pitting yourself against the game is rewarding in itself.
As above, this game is available on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
4. Fallout 4
Fallout 4 is set in the year 2277, where you wake up from your 200-year cryogenic stasis in Vault 111 to find a post-apocalyptic world.
To begin with, the story is about finding your son, but as time passes, and your choices impact more and more people, things begin to change. It’s a brutal look at what humanity can become, and what, perhaps, it already might be.
Although the graphics are at best mediocre (it was released in 2015, the same year as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and visually is much less prepossessing), the storyline and gameplay will immerse you until you almost don’t notice.
Combat within the game is a mix of shooting in real-time and carefully selecting your targets in a system known as V.A.T.S. It’s not as immediate as a first-person shooter (FPS), but it allows for careful strategy, which is the focal point of the game.
One of the best things about Fallout 4 is that it challenges you to choose the right answer, and there is rarely one to find. The game doesn’t shy away from difficult decisions, and it lets you take the responsibility for your character’s decisions. Don’t just think it’s an interesting, RPG-based game. This is going to make you think and hurt.
Once again, its single-player nature makes it ideal for offline gaming, and its fast-paced, immersive storyline engages you in a very different way from The Witcher 3, which has a fantasy setting. Just make sure the game is downloaded on your device, and you can play wherever you are.
Fallout 4 is available on all platforms except, currently, Nintendo Switch.
Released in 2011 yet still immensely popular, Skyrim is one of the best games to turn to if you find yourself without internet.
Like many single-player games, it doesn’t rely on the internet for any aspect of it, meaning a lack of internet doesn’t detract anything from the game.
A sequel to Oblivion, that enormously popular (amongst gamers), Skyrim introduces the province of Tamriel, which is suddenly overrun by dragons. In time, you discover you’re Dragonborn and can absorb the souls of dragons to power special spells called “shouts”.
Although this game doesn’t have the best graphics, especially by today’s standards, there’s a reason it’s so popular amongst gamers – and why it has introduced so many to gaming over the years. The story, magic system (and did I mention dragons?) stands the test of time and absorbs you into Bethesda’s world.
Available on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, this is the perfect game to try out and lose yourself in if you’re without internet. Just like Witcher 3, you can spend hours exploring the world, and getting too attached to your horse.
Simply download the game in advance and you will have it ready to play.
Final Thoughts – Games That Don’t Need Internet
Many of the more mainstream and popular games now require the internet to play – or at least the internet to reach its full potential. Some of the games on this list may even benefit from the online connection (looking at you, Civilisation VI). However, some games (sadly, often older ones) function wholly without the need for the internet.
Note most of the games on this list are not fast-paced FPS (first-person shooter) games. This is because those types of games rely heavily on online play.
There are other games out there, but we recommend these five as the best for online play, whether you prefer fantasy, post-apocalyptic, turn-based strategy, or open-world creativity.
Make sure you have these games downloaded. Just in case.