While Triple A titles may dominate the spotlight, the survival genre holds its own as one of the most popular in video games. From Minecraft to Valheim, there are plenty of different experiences to choose among the best survival games out there. Driven by challenging gameplay, abundant content, and the sheer satisfaction of progression, players start with just an axe and campfire and evolve into builders of towns, settlements, and even entire cities.
Each survival game stands out with its unique elements, but they all share the common theme of challenging players to craft their survival in a hostile world, whether it’s filled with monsters, dinosaurs, or giant ants. After meticulously assessing the communities, mechanics, and worlds, we’ve compiled our list of the top 10 survival games on both mobile, PC, and console platforms that captivate players with their vibrant communities, intriguing mechanics, and immersive worlds. Here it is, our curated selection of the best survival games.
Best Survival Games on Mobile
Survival games have gained immense popularity because survival is an intrinsic part of human nature. These games allow us to tap into that primal aspect of ourselves and experience a thrilling adventure. Playing survival games allows us to assess how we would respond in various life-threatening scenarios and test our abilities to survive.
On mobile devices, there are numerous survival games to choose from, but only a select few truly stand out. These chosen games present a significant challenge, pushing players to their limits, while also offering diverse and engaging settings for the ultimate survival experience.
10. The Last Fortress: Underground
In Last Fortress: Underground, you’ll join a group of survivors as they rebuild a fortress to protect themselves from the zombie-infested outside world. Each survivor possesses unique skills, ranging from doctors to miners to soldiers, essential for sustaining life within the stronghold. As you encounter more survivors, you can add them to your community, forming a diverse and effective team to tackle various challenges.
Amidst the chaos, Last Fortress: Underground skillfully injects humorous dialogues at critical moments, providing relief from the tension of living in a zombie-infested world. Laughter becomes a valuable coping mechanism in such a stressful environment. Your goal is establishing and managing a thriving community, eliminating the zombie threat, and saving humanity from extinction. Embrace the challenges and embrace the humor as you navigate through this post-apocalyptic survival adventure.
9. Westland Survival
In Westland Survival, step into the shoes of a cowboy in a small western town infested with bandits. Starting with nothing, you’ll gather resources to build a shelter and sustain yourself, paving the way for progress. Once prepared and equipped, you can explore the vast land on horseback and take on bounties issued by the local sheriff.
The online multiplayer feature in Westland Survival allows you to team up with friends for exciting adventures along dusty roads, face off against violent bandits, and prove your mettle as a true cowboy. Forge a reputation as a legendary figure of the wild west and show the world you have what it takes to survive and thrive in this rugged frontier.
8. Minecraft: Pocket Edition
No list of survival games would be complete without mentioning Minecraft. Love it or not, we’ve all experienced the thrill of punching trees, mining ore, and interacting with the blocky world. Minecraft offers a unique blend of testing your resilience and providing a chill atmosphere to vibe along with. There’s no pressure to rush; you can enjoy the cool air and farm animals until nightfall arrives, bringing forth zombies, spiders, and creepers.
It’s a game that allows you to exist without the need for constant thinking or strategizing. Sometimes, all you want is to immerse yourself in a world and Minecraft delivers just that. If you need some guidance, there are helpful guides available for various aspects of the game, like finding diamonds and building houses.
7. Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition brings the beloved PC survival game to your mobile device, immersing you in a captivating hand-drawn 2D gothic art style that sets the stage for an extraordinary adventure game filled with science and magic. It offers a survival experience unlike any other.
True to its name, your primary objective is to avoid dying of starvation. However, as you explore the strange and magical world, you’ll quickly realize that staying fed is no simple task. Numerous obstacles and surprises will challenge your progress and make it increasingly difficult to achieve your goals while managing your hunger. To survive, you must strategically utilize your skills and intelligence to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and find a way to escape the dangers that await you.
6. Stormfall: Saga of Survival
Survival games don’t always have to revolve around post-apocalyptic settings and zombies. In Stormfall, you’ll experience a different kind of survival challenge where you are cast out into exile by a group of angry people. While it’s still a tough scenario, at least there are no zombies to deal with.
In this game, your main goal is to do whatever it takes to survive and create a new life for yourself in exile. You’ll face the challenges of fighting off starvation, enduring harsh weather conditions, and mastering the art of crafting weapons and gear. It’s a true test of your survival skills as you learn what it means to be a survivor in this harsh world.
5. Raft Survival: Ocean Nomad
After a plane crash leaves you stranded in the middle of the ocean, your only hope of survival is a raft that becomes your makeshift home. In this challenging scenario, you’ll quickly learn that surviving in the open sea requires more than just finding food and water. The scorching heat of the sun, stormy weather, and the constant threat of shark attacks all add to the dangers you’ll face.
To stay alive and secure on your raft, you must gather various resources and debris from the ocean. Crafting essential items and equipment enhances your safety and increase your chances of survival. Raft Survival offers a realistic experience of being stranded in the vast ocean, challenging your abilities as an ocean nomad. Discover just how far you can go in this immersive survival adventure.
4. Ark: Survival Evolved
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live alongside alpha-predators in the Jurassic era? Find out if you have what it takes to survive among dinosaurs.
Immerse yourself in Ark’s open world, where you can explore stunning prehistoric landscapes. Construct a base, craft tools and gear, and tame the formidable dinosaurs that roam the area, all while ensuring your health remains intact. Whether you choose to go solo or team up with friends, you can engage in battles with other players or hunt down a variety of creatures. Venture across the map and uncover the secrets of this enigmatic Jurassic island.
3. Raft Survival – Ocean Nomad
Surviving the night on dry land is one challenge, but Raft Survival – Ocean Nomad takes it to a whole new level by throwing the vastness of the deep blue sea at you. You’ll have to catch fish to stay alive, avoid sharks that pose a threat, and navigate through each day.
For fans of crafting in survival games, Raft Survival offers ample opportunities to get involved. From crafting weapons to building a makeshift island that floats across the ocean, you have the freedom to design your shelter and tools. Who knows, you might even find a way to escape to freedom.
Frostborn stands out from typical survival games, as it incorporates co-op and MMORPG elements. The game is set in Midgard, a formerly peaceful medieval land of Vikings, now engulfed in darkness due to the goddess Hel.
To reclaim Midgard, you must gather ample food and resources, and craft weapons and equipment to combat the army of the undead. Additionally, you’ll need to defend your resources and base from other players, adding to the intensity of the experience. Embrace the numerous challenges ahead, showcase your strength, and rule like a formidable Viking.
1. Days After
Days After is a zombie survival game with a strangely familiar name. In this post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, your ultimate goal is simple: stay alive. The undead relentlessly seek your blood and brains, leaving little room for anything else.
Thankfully, you’re not alone in this terrifying apocalypse. There are other survivors out there, and you can join forces with them to navigate through this nightmare. By teaming up, you can explore various locations, complete quests, hunt zombies, and uncover the truth behind the catastrophic events that led to the apocalypse.
Best Survival Games on PC
Survival games have seen a tremendous surge in popularity in recent years. The Steam charts are brimming with diverse examples, ranging from classic survival horror titles to challenging hardcore survival simulations. We have compiled a list of the best survival games to assist intrepid adventurers in their quest. This collection will enable you to select and embark on emergent stories and unexpected adventures of your choice.
Whether you enjoy surviving the terrors of war or prefer the unique trials of managing hunger and disease, brace yourself for the anguish and hardship that await you in these gripping survival games.
10. Don’t Starve
Don’t Starve offers a chilling vision of survival, forcing you to brave the wilderness alone. The solo experience is filled with terror, but the charming Tim Burton-style 2D art and the bizarre creatures inhabiting the sepia-tone world provide some respite. Among them are Werepigs, Beargers, Deerclopses, and numerous other absurd monsters, all eager to complicate your journey.
Crafting plays a crucial role in Don’t Starve, as you spend much of your time gathering raw materials to create various tools and contraptions. Unlike games like Rust and Minecraft that focus on building houses, this indie gem emphasizes the creation of essential equipment. The Science Machine and Alchemy Engine become invaluable assets before giving way to ancient wonders and magical arts. Embracing the whimsical and mystical, much like Minecraft, Don’t Starve offers a wonderfully engaging experience.
If the idea of this unique survival adventure appeals to you but you prefer not to tackle it alone, Don’t Starve Together allows you to team up with a friend, offering one of the best co-op gaming experiences on PC.
9. Crsed: FOAD
Darkflow Software initially launched this battle royale game as Cuisine Royale, a playful parody of PUBG. However, as players continued returning, it became evident that the developers had stumbled upon something missing in the battle royale genre: lighthearted amusement.
Crsed: FOAD still centers on the classic battle royale concept of surviving until the end, besting numerous opponents. However, unlike other games in the genre that focus on armored protection, this game takes a more comical approach. Players scavenge for colanders and baking trays to shield their vulnerable body parts from incoming bullets.
Recent updates have fully embraced the humorous elements, introducing new champions, a fresh map, flamethrowers, mortars, and motorboats. The melee combat has also been rebalanced, and players can now fire weapons from vehicles. Additionally, the game offers opportunities to unlock and enhance champions through secret missions or daily challenges.
Starbound offers the perfect platform to fulfill your space-explorer dreams. With seven diverse races at your disposal, you’ll embark on a galactic journey aboard your personalized spaceship, exploring populated planets, assembling a crew, and establishing your own colony.
While traversing the cosmos, you have the option to follow the game’s campaign and conquer dungeons. However, the beauty of Starbound lies in the freedom it grants you. If the main storyline doesn’t capture your interest, you can easily find yourself engrossed in creating a sprawling underground mega-colony. The universe is yours to shape and explore as you see fit.
7. Sons of the Forest
Sons of the Forest serves as the sequel to Endnight Games’ sleeper survival hit, The Forest, both of which are contenders for the best survival games list. For this article, we’ll focus solely on the sequel, which can be enjoyed whether you’ve played the first game or not. As you navigate the harsh climate and challenging terrain of the Sons of the Forest map, you’ll also have to contend with the menacing mutants and cannibals lurking around every corner.
Sons of the Forest sequel remains true to its predecessor, featuring familiar tools like the modern axe, as well as introducing new weapons like the powerful Sons of the Forest shotgun. However, don’t be deceived into thinking survival becomes easier; ammunition is scarce, and the enemies are notably more formidable this time around.
6. This War of Mine
This War of Mine is a survival game that leaves a lasting impact long after completing its campaign. Its gritty, wartorn setting, well-developed characters, and uncompromising story contribute to one of the most emotionally powerful portrayals of civilian survival amidst a brutal civil war.
The intuitive gameplay immerses players in a morally ambiguous narrative, presenting tough decisions crucial to the party’s survival. Whether you adopt the role of an empathetic leader or a ruthless survivor, This War of Mine offers a compelling experience that invites multiple playthroughs with fresh discoveries each time.
Look no further than Minecraft for the ultimate crafting survival game. In a time when survival games leaned towards punishing difficulty and slow progression, Minecraft stood out as a fun, colorful, and creative sandbox experience. Despite facing zombies, spiders, skeletons, and dragons, the game’s charming blocky graphics give even the monsters a cute appeal.
The beauty of Minecraft lies in the freedom it offers players to survive in their own unique way. Whether constructing elaborate fortresses to defend against nighttime creatures or crafting powerful weapons to explore dangerous territories, the possibilities are endless in the game’s vast world filled with captivating natural wonders waiting to be discovered. Just remember to eat regularly, and your survival will be assured.
While Minecraft is known for its creative aspects, including mods, maps, and seeds, the vanilla Survival Mode is equally exhilarating. For those with an appetite for automated mining production lines, go ahead and delve into the possibilities. Just beware of creepers disrupting your plans along the way.
4. The Long Dark
If you seek an adventure sans science fiction or magic, brace yourself for a journey through the Canadian wilderness. The Long Dark debuted in 2017, but continuous updates have kept it engaging for both new and returning players.
While Wintermute offers a story mode (with the final episode still pending), the true gem lies in the endless survival mode and the various challenges available. Although lacking multiplayer, the game provides endless enjoyment as you challenge friends to see who can survive the longest against the unforgiving winter storms and the threat of wolves, bears, and moose.
For a more relaxed experience, opt for Pilgrim difficulty in Survival Mode and delight in exploring the map and discovering various items along the way. Even after all these years, the Long Dark continues to be a delightful snowy adventure.
DayZ, the game that initiated it all. This captivating undead experience remains at the pinnacle of zombie and survival games. In simple terms, it reigns as the king of zombie survival games. By today’s standards, DayZ could even be considered one of the most straightforward virtual survival experiences, with minimal crafting and no objectives beyond staying alive. Vital considerations such as food, water, and monitoring symptoms to avoid falling victim to illness add to the challenge. Walking without shoes can result in cuts and infections, while incorrect blood transfusions spell a swift demise.
For those content with combating diseases, bodily functions, and occasionally glitchy zombies that phase through walls, DayZ offers a notable feature: exploration. The Chernarus world exudes a Soviet wasteland atmosphere, skillfully captured by Bohemia in the design of towns and villages throughout the map. DayZ’s forests feel authentically lifelike rather than artificial replicas, and a genuine sense of isolation awaits in the wilderness.
The game is best enjoyed with a friend or two, akin to a camping trip where unforeseen perils loom. And by “horribly wrong,” we mean encounters with gangs of bandits who might force feed you bleach and steal your can-opener. Proceed with utmost caution.
Astroneer emerged as one of the standout games from Steam’s Early Access platform, exhibiting a solid foundation at launch and subsequently evolving into something truly remarkable through two years of continuous content updates and refinements. In this game, players crash-land on an alien planet and embark on a journey of survival, transforming their life support pod into a fully-equipped base featuring vehicles, power sources, and laboratories.
As with all the finest survival games, gathering abundant resources becomes crucial for constructing top-tier base modules, necessitating exploration of the planet to collect rare crafting materials and shaping the terrain to reveal resource-rich caverns.
Unlike many other survival games, Astroneer maintains a captivating low-poly art style that soothes players as they explore new horizons. Additionally, the game offers drop-in/drop-out co-op, allowing friends to join the adventure at any time. There’s also a sense of progression in Astroneer, as players can eventually venture to other six planets in their solar system and establish colonies, providing tangible objectives to work toward beyond mere existence.
In Valheim, you find yourself stranded in the Norse wilderness with only a loincloth and your wits. Together with up to nine other Vikings, you must construct shelters, scavenge for food, and steadily grow stronger before embarking on epic battles. The journey begins in relatively safe meadows, but the procedurally generated wilderness contains various biomes of increasing difficulty – stepping into the plains prematurely can be perilous.
Each of Valheim’s biomes houses a magnificent boss. Upon discovering and defeating these bosses, you gain valuable resources and powers that aid in progressing to the next region. However, be prepared for increasingly powerful raids on your home base, necessitating a well-fortified homestead, complete with a chimney to avoid smoke inhalation. The game also offers LAN play, allowing you to enjoy Valheim offline without an internet connection.
Best Survival Games on Consoles
Over the years, survival games have grown in scale, quality, and intensity, offering players immersive experiences like never before.
The best survival games often share key features, such as well-designed crafting systems, realistic character needs like food and shelter, the ability to hunt and fight, and captivating, often eerie, environments to explore.
For Xbox and Sony gamers seeking a solid survival challenge, the options are plentiful. Whether you crave a hardcore and unforgiving experience, something unique and unsettling, or an adventure in a jungle or alien planet, we’ve carefully curated a list of the finest survival games available.
10. Surviving the Aftermath
Surviving the Aftermath shares similarities with Surviving Mars as it revolves around a survival city-building concept, but with the twist of being set in a post-apocalyptic Earth.
In this harsh environment, your group of survivors must navigate through electromagnetic storms, fallout, and actual plagues while striving to construct a better future.
To secure vital resources, you’ll have to deploy specialists to explore the ruins scattered across the wasteland. Additionally, you’ll have to combat bandits outside your city’s protective walls and venture into their territory, completing quests that grant valuable rewards.
Surviving the Aftermath blends the traditional elements of a survival game with city-building appeal, making it an attractive choice for fans of both genres.
9. Conan Exiles
Conan Exiles presents an MMO survival game set in the realm of Conan the Barbarian, infused with an ancient twist.
This open world adventure heavily revolves around combat, providing a fitting experience for a warrior like a barbarian warlord.
To thrive in this world, you must forge weapons and tools, cope with the ever-changing weather, and master the arts of hunting and farming for sustenance. Conan Exiles introduces the ability to tame and ride mounts into battle, along with an array of expansive options for constructing fortified bases.
Forming a clan allows you to dominate the Exile lands, offering opportunities to make offerings to powerful deities and harness their divine might. Featuring single-player, co-op, and online PvP modes, Conan Exiles caters to a diverse range of players.
Frostpunk blends survival elements with city-building mechanics and strategy games, forming a challenging, immersive experience that ranks among the best survival games. As the leader of an alternative history late 19th-century community, your mission is to construct and sustain a city amid a global volcanic winter.
The crucial task involves managing resources and making critical decisions for the community’s survival, often leading to grim and tough choices where not everyone may endure. While exploring can yield valuable resources, fellow survivors, and useful items, it also carries inherent risks. Frostpunk is a masterfully balanced game that demands time and skill to truly conquer its complexities.
7. The Forest
In The Forest, survival and survival horror converge in a haunting experience. As the lone survivor of a plane crash, you find yourself stranded in a sinister forest infested with flesh-eating cannibal mutants, hungry for your flesh. The game boasts a significant day/night cycle, requiring you to spend daylight hours repairing the camp, setting traps, and scavenging for food in preparation for the nightly onslaught of creepy cannibal hordes.
These ferocious and intelligent enemies work together, but you can venture into their settlements and launch a counter-attack. The Forest is an unnerving and genuinely frightening experience in solo play and remains equally nerve-wracking in co-op mode. Its sequel, Sons of the Forest, is now available, but the original game has undoubtedly earned its place on this list.
If you possess a high pain tolerance, then Rust might be the perfect fit for you! However, if you seek a survival game that keeps you constantly on edge, Rust offers an exhilarating yet highly challenging experience. Emphasizing its difficulty, Rust’s primary objective revolves around survival in a perilous environment where everything, including the terrain, wildlife, weather, and other players, poses a threat.
Being a multiplayer-only game, don’t expect to build your shelter in peace. Though it shares some similarities with Ark: Survival Evolved at first glance, Rust stands apart with its unique combination of open-world exploration and FPS gameplay. Featuring factions, raids, an electricity system, a diverse range of vehicles like hot air balloons and an extensive network of trains, numerous moddable servers, an active player base, and frequent updates, Rust transcends the typical “waking up naked and alone in a deserted area” premise. To make the most of it, bring along friends to join the intense adventure. Be prepared to invest significant time in Rust, as it will challenge you and push your survival skills to the limit.
5. 7 Days to Die
7 Days to Die boldly claims itself as the ultimate modern zombie survival game. Featuring a vast and immersive world, a wide range of crafting and base building possibilities, and a finely-tuned fighting system, the developers might indeed be justified in their assertion.
Offering an impressive selection of 800 items and 1300 blocks for building, 7 Days to Die empowers players to construct forts or fortify existing ruins.
With the option for LAN or online PvP play, players can either raid other players’ forts or team up in co-op mode to create a new world together.
Presenting a rich and intricate world filled with diverse enemies to combat, 7 Days to Die delivers one of the most exceptional survival experiences on the Xbox.
Limiting the play space to just a few square feet might initially appear to be a questionable decision for a game. What activities can players engage in to pass the time? However, Raft takes a different approach, suggesting that if players desire more expansive areas to explore, they must construct them.
Redbeet Interactive’s survival game is primarily set on the makeshift watercraft from which it derives its name. Raft challenges players to enhance their vessel, explore enigmatic islands, defend against sea-dwelling predators, and ideally find a way back home before it becomes too late. Imagine a blend of Fortnite and Subnautica, and you’ll understand why it rightfully earns a place on this list of the best survival games.
Upon its Early Access release in 2020, Grounded’s concept amazed us as it explored the idea of a miniature world we had only seen in movies like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” This video game takes that notion and fully develops it into a survival experience. If you were suddenly shrunk to insect size and placed in a backyard, survival would be your utmost priority.
Obsidian crafted Grounded on the typical yet reliable foundations of a survival game. The game features an array of creepy crawling creatures as enemies, while every available resource is utilized to ensure your survival. Crafting clubs from sticks, constructing bases with blades of grass, and fashioning armor from fallen adversaries are just some of the gameplay elements. Currently in early access, Grounded shows great promise, and we eagerly await Obsidian’s further developments for its full release.
2. ARK: Survival Evolved
Ark stands out not only as the best dinosaur survival game but also as one of the finest dinosaur-themed games ever created. The game embraces the core elements of survival: gathering resources, building shelter, hunting for food, and grappling with thirst, resulting in a familiar yet captivating gameplay experience. However, Ark goes beyond the conventional survival game formula by introducing colossal prehistoric creatures that can either hunt you down or be tamed and ridden with determination.
In addition to the standard survival mechanics, Ark offers RPG-like character stats, and players can embark on quests to uncover sci-fi secrets, providing more depth and motivation beyond mere survival. The game’s success lies in its ability to set long-term goals, such as taming and riding a T-Rex, which gives players a true sense of progression and purpose.
Unlike many other survival games, Ark ensures that players’ efforts are valuable and meaningful, making the gameplay experience truly worthwhile. Studio Wildcard’s creation has solid foundations and an active modding community, adding to its enduring appeal and making it an exceptional survival adventure in gaming.
Subnautica stands out among survival games for its exceptional ability to convey the terror and isolation of its alien environment. The game follows the journey of a lone survivor stranded on an unknown planet, where the depths of its extraterrestrial waters harbor creatures, some small, but mostly large and even enormous, posing constant threats. As players explore this aquatic world, they will construct submarines, undersea bases, and other tools to uncover the planet’s secrets.
Originally released in 2016, Subnautica is now available on various major platforms, including VR headsets. Despite its age, the haunting underwater visuals continue to impress, immersing players in an atmosphere of anxiety as they monitor their depleting food and oxygen levels while exploring deep trenches and underwater caves. The relief felt upon returning to the safety of the Cyclops, the in-game vessel, is a quintessential survival game experience, making Subnautica a standout title in the genre.