© Evan-Amos, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Nintendo 64 is one of the most iconic video game consoles. From its revolutionary controller to many of the best sandbox games ever made, it’s no wonder many people still hold a special place in their hearts for this classic system.

For those who don’t know, the sandbox is a game in which players can roam around freely and do whatever they want. There are no restrictions on what you can do, when you can do it, or how long you do it for. This freedom makes sandbox games appealing to players who enjoy exploring and experimenting with different ways of playing.

This list ranks the best popular Nintendo 64 sandbox games of all time. We’ve rated these titles based on their reviews from critics and gamers’ scores. Let’s get into it!

A Brief History of The Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 was released in Japan on June 23, 1996. It was the first Nintendo console to use the cartridge-based media format, which was used for all of its handheld systems and previous home consoles. The N64 was also one of the first consoles to support online gaming and online play.

The N64’s controller included a thumbstick, which allowed players to control characters or objects in 3D environments with greater precision than with a directional pad. The controller also featured two analog buttons and two digital shoulder buttons.

The console launched with three games: Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, and Mario Kart 64. It went on to sell more than 30 million units worldwide.

In 2000, Nintendo released an updated version of the N64 called the Nintendo 64DD. It had a built-in drive supporting proprietary 64MB magneto-optical disks, CDs, and DVDs. The device never caught on because it needed to be compatible with conventional game cartridges.

The 7 Best Nintendo 64 Sandbox Games

There are plenty of great sandbox titles today, but here are some of the best you can find on the Nintendo 64 based on user ratings from Metacritic.

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01/26/2023 10:21 pm GMT

emDonkey Kong 64/em is one of the first sandbox games to have introduced 3D and is considered one of the best sandbox games from that generation.

emDonkey Kong 6/em4 is an open-world game where you can explore every inch of it without restrictions. You’re playing as Donkey Kong, but you’ll also control your friends like Diddy, Lanky, Chunky, and Tiny.

The game can be played with up to four players at once, and some excellent mini-games can also be played with friends. emDonkey Kong 6/em4 is full of secrets and hidden areas to explore, and it’s one of the most expansive games on the Nintendo 64.

You can get it on Amazon for the N64 here.

Banjo-Kazooie (Renewed)
$69.95
  • Authentic Banjo-Kazooie for Nintendo 64
  • Does not come with original case or manuals. Cartridge only
  • Cartridge and label are in nice condition
  • Fully tested and guaranteed
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01/26/2023 07:51 pm GMT

emBanjo-Kazooie/em is one of the most beloved N64 games.

It’s a 3D platformer that lets you play as a bear and bird duo who must save the world from Gruntilda, a witch who wants to steal Banjo‘s sister. The game has colorful worlds, fun characters, and challenging puzzles.

emBanjo-Kazooie/em is a classic as it paved the way for future 3D platformers. It was made by Rare, which also made Golden Eye 007 and Perfect Dark — two other first-person shooters that were popular on the N64.

The game was also ahead of its time in terms of graphics and gameplay mechanics. For example, emBanjo-Kazooie/em featured many elements that would become standard in later games like Super Mario 64 and Ratchet & Clank, including an open world full of hidden areas to explore, a hub area where you could talk with other characters, and mini-games that gave players something else to do besides just playing through the main story.

Find it on Amazon here.

Banjo-Tooie
  • Divide and conquer! The bear and bird are back, and this time, they can split up and work alone.
  • Play as Mumbo! Now you'll get to take control of the bone headed shaman himself.
  • Meet Humba Wumba! She'll transform Banjo into a number of objects, such as a walking, talking statue or tightie white shootin washer.
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emBanjo-Tooie/em is the sequel to Rare’s classic 3D platformer, Banjo-Kazooie, and it’s arguably even better than its predecessor with more levels, more characters, and more fun. 

emBanjo-Tooie/em features similar gameplay to its predecessor. The game’s story revolves around Banjo and Kazooie rescuing Banjo‘s sister, Tooty, from Gruntilda. The game was released in 2000 and some believed it was an improvement over the first game, while others felt that it did not live up to its predecessor.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Body Harvest
  • nintendo 64 video game
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Nintendo 64 was the first console to have a built-in analog stick, and it’s a shame that so few games took advantage of it. Luckily, emBody Harvest/em was not one of those few games, and it’s still one of the best sandbox titles on the system.

The game takes place in an alternate reality where an alien race called Harvest has invaded Earth in order to harvest humans for food. emBody Harvest/em puts you in control of a character named Adam Drake, who finds himself fighting off an alien invasion on Earth.

Your job is to find survivors, gather resources, and fight aliens. The game has an open-world hub where you can explore freely.

Find it on Amazon here to take home.

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01/26/2023 12:37 am GMT

emSuper Mario 64/em is one of the most iconic games for the Nintendo 64, praised for its revolutionary 3D gameplay and controls.

The game is also considered one of the best sandbox games ever made for its gameplay, which lets you explore a large world and progress through levels by completing objectives in each area.

emSuper Mario 64/em introduced us to 3D gameplay, and the gameplay revolves around Mario exploring Princess Peach‘s castle and collecting stars by completing challenges. It is the first Super Mario game to feature 3D gameplay, combining traditional Super Mario gameplay, visual style, and characters in a large open world.

Find it on Amazon here.

Super Mario 64 nintendo 64
Super Mario 64 is one of the most beloved games — not just on the N64, but of all time!

©Brian P Hartnett Jr/Shutterstock.com

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Renewed)
$72.90
  • Authentic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64
  • Does not come with original case or manuals. Cartridge only
  • Cartridge and label are in nice condition
  • Fully tested and guaranteed
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2023 12:46 am GMT

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most beloved franchises in the history of video games, and for a good reason. emThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/em is an open-world adventure has everything you could want from a sandbox game: gorgeous graphics, a compelling story, great music, and an enormous world to explore.

This game is so good that it’s often considered one of the greatest ever made. It’s an open-world adventure with a vast world map that lets you explore dungeons and towns at your leisure. You’ll have to complete puzzles, talk to people, and fight monsters along the way.

Check it out on Amazon right here.

Zelda ocarina of time
Another Zelda fan-favorite is the Ocarina of Time, a classic for the N64.

©seeshooteatrepeat/Shutterstock.com

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - Nintendo 64 (Renewed)
$157.00
  • Solve the Mystery of Majora's Mask and Stop the Moon from Crashing into Termina
  • Thrown into a parallel world by the mischievous actions of a possessed Skull Kid, Link finds a land in grave danger
  • The dark power of a relic called Majora's Mask has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Termina, but their most urgent problem is a suicidal moon crashing toward the world
  • Link has only 72 hours to find a way to stop its descent.
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01/26/2023 12:46 am GMT

emThe Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask/em is a Nintendo 64 sandbox game released in 2000 and developed by Nintendo.

The game is a sequel to the Ocarina of Time and takes place in Termina, a parallel world to Hyrule. The game follows Link as he tries to save Termina from being destroyed by the Moon.

This game featured enhanced graphics and several gameplay changes from its predecessor, though it reused a number of elements and character models.

It’s been 20 years since emThe Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask/em first hit the Nintendo 64. While it was made for the system, this is one of those games that transcends its original platform. It has aged surprisingly well and is still a lot of fun to play today.

You can get it for yourself on Amazon here.

Summary

The Nintendo 64 is one of the most beloved consoles in history. Its library is full of classic titles that have stood the test of time.

The list of N64 sandbox games is lengthy and varied, but finding just what you’re looking for can be challenging. Thankfully, we’ve put together this guide to help you pick out the best N64 sandbox games of all time.

Up Next:

The 7 Absolute Best Nintendo 64 Sandbox Games of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a sandbox game?

A sandbox game allows players to explore and interact with their environment freely. There are no specific goals or objectives; instead, players are free to make their own decisions about what they want to do next. In addition to being open-ended and free-form, sandbox games usually feature limited resources, so players have to choose how best to use them.

The most notable example of a sandbox game is Minecraft, which was released in 2009 as an indie title for PC users but later became available for mobile devices. This game allows players to build structures out of blocks within a procedurally generated world that’s never quite the same from one day to the next due to its random generation system.

What is Nintendo's best sandbox game ever?

Nintendo’s best sandbox game is The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask, which takes everything that made its predecessor so special and expands upon it exponentially. It’s not just more significant; it’s better in every way imaginable.

When did the Nintendo 64 come out?

The Nintendo 64 was released on June 23, 1996, in Japan and September 29, 1996, in North America. It was Nintendo’s third home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

The Nintendo 64 was a significant success for Nintendo. The system sold 32 million units during its lifetime, making it one of the best-selling consoles ever made. It also helped pave the way for future games like Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, and Perfect Dark.

Where can you buy Nintendo 64 sandbox games?

The best places to buy your favorite N64 games is Amazon and eBay. Several different sellers offer these titles at competitive prices, so you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for without breaking the bank.

If you want to avoid paying for the shipping on a used game, try shopping at GameStop or another retail store that sells used games (like Best Buy). You can also check out local thrift stores; some of them have great deals on video games from time to time.

How much is the Nintendo 64 now?

The Nintendo 64 retailed at $199 when it was first released in 1996. However, prices have fluctuated over time and can now range from $50 to $200, depending on condition and other factors.

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  • Metacritic Available here: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/score/metascore/all/n64/filtered
  • Metacritic Available here: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/release-date/available/n64/date
  • Reddit Available here: https://www.reddit.com/r/n64/comments/i5ic1g/list_of_open_world_games_for_nintendo_64/
  • Fandomspot Available here: https://www.fandomspot.com/n64-open-world-games/
  • IGN Available here: https://www.ign.com/articles/best-n64-games