What is it:
From the creator’s page:
One of the last human survivors, you find yourself stranded on an uninhabited island. With a few other victims of the crash, can you craft, mine, and build your way to survival?
Survival is only the beginning. The only way for humanity to have a future is to return to the stars and confront them. But, it will require a lot of ingenuity and help to recover everything that was lost, and even that might not be enough…
Aground is a Mining/Crafting RPG, where there is an overarching goal, story and reason to craft and build. As you progress, you will meet new NPCs, unlock new technology, and maybe magic too. Will you be able to raise dragons? Launch into space? The sky is literally not the limit. Beneath its simple exterior, Aground hides a lot of depth and surprises that will keep you wondering “what’s next?”
Who is it for:
Anyone who likes Minecraft would probably enjoy Aground as well. The interface is 2D in Aground, so is not as immersive as Minecraft’s 3D environment, but the story and continual questing makes Aground less of a sandbox game and more of an interactive narrative.
You need to be able to read to understand what’s happening, so that is a lower limit. But older kids and even adults would enjoy the game.
What Kids Like:
Aground has continual chance to level up, gather items, combine them, and continue the story. If some parts of the ‘grinding’ of resources (e.g., gathering wheat) get tedious, there are other characters (e.g., the farmer) who will do that for you.
The game is not boring, but it’s not overly complex. That’s a difficult balance that the creators have achieved, meaning the kids aren’t bored but aren’t frustrated either.
They like the 8-bit graphics as well.
What Parents Like:
The game is not an educational game, per se, but it rewards curiosity and cleverness.
In many games, the momentum and motivation ultimately comes from the threat of violence, of preparing to attack something. But in Aground, the story and the information the player gets from other characters are what motivates action.
There is some fighting (little 8-bit wild boars or dragon larva), but it’s very simplified and not very violent.
I like that the game is free, with no ads. The free version is a demo for the paid version, but kids can have many hours of fun with the demo.
What the Critics Think:
Aground is a superb game of survival. You are stranded in an uninhabited land and you must try to survive against the elements and the heavy storm that approaches. You must collect resources such as wood and stone and then use this material to construct a shelter. You can also mine underground and forage for berries and food. Be careful as the land is full of wild animals that may attack you – create weapons to defend yourself with!
Watch your stamina bar and do not let it deplete otherwise you will not be able to complete any actions. As you play you will meet other survivors who you can interact with and form alliances with to help you prosper. The game is a lot of fun but it is also challenging – you must take care of many aspects of your survival and juggle your resources to stay alive. Can you survive in nowhere land and build a thriving community?
There is a slight bit of violence, when fighting the boars or the dragon things.
The game is a free demo. The demo is huge, and much more expansive than other game demos, but at some point the kid would have to pay the $10 or $15 for the full version.
Who Made it / History:
David Maletz released the first version in August 2018, with art by Aaron Norell and music by Chase Bethea
After a couple of years of developing the demo, with lots of player feedback, the full version was released for consoles in early 2021
More about the development history at the developer page
Where Can I Get it:
The full version is on consoles (PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One)
And you can download for desktop from
And the free demo is available on many web game aggregator sites such as Crazy Games