If I had to pick two games to play forever it would probably be Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, it's this reason that I got really attracted to Craft The World, a game that blends both games into one.
After purchasing the game on Steam ($15 during Early Access) I spent an entire weekend playing the game and quickly found myself in double digit and soon after triple digit hours. Don't be fooled by the Early Access on the store page either, the game is fully complete in my eyes apart from missing some of the later level options and one or two small AI issues this is a finished gaming experience.
To start your adventure you'll have to either select one of the game levels or generate your own random game world. With a huge list of options in the sandbox game mode you can generate a world to your liking which gives you particularly good control over the games difficultly so that you can start with easy terrains and work your way up.
Once you're happy with your game world (I like to roll mine a few times because I'm fussy) you'll be given the task of creating a thriving settlement of dwarves. In order to advance their technology and your population you'll need to gather materials, craft items and fight a variety of enemies.
Right from the start you can see the entire game surface but there are plenty of hidden dangers awaiting you in the depths that you'll have to explore for yourself which is where much of your exploration efforts will be focused on. Aside from exploration you'll also need to make a suitable home for your dwarves and even keep them properly equipped to stop them dying from the dangers that await them.
My favourite aspect of the game is the tech tree, it is absolutely huge and making your way through it from start to end is probably a 100 hour experience in itself. With so many different paths to take you'll have to decide if you want your dwarves to be well feed, armed to teeth, safe in their home or have better resource gathering technology, it is always a trade off.
Craft The World is one of those Minecraft games that capitalises on the new sandbox and survival trend but takes the gameplay in an entirely different direction and for that I love it.
Craft The World - Steam