Survival games are an incredibly popular gaming genre due to their challenge level, replayability, creative gameplay, and diversity. One such game, Subnautica, took the world by storm with its unique underwater exploration. Subnautica thrives off of exploration, discovering new aquatic wildlife, and crafting, all the while, trying to stay alive.
For fans of Subnautica, fortunately, there are a massive amount of survival games to experience and enjoy across a diverse range of themes and styles. From more hardcore simulation-type gameplay to more cartoony and less punishing titles, this genre really offers up a fantastic selection.
10 Ark: Survival Evolved – Life Finds A Way (To Eat You)
Ark: Survival Evolved is a very challenging genre staple taking place across a remote and ever-changing tropical landscape. Releasing back in 2017 and now available on pretty much every platform, Ark: Survival Evolved offers a meaty experience for those players looking to challenge themselves.
Your character wakes up on a remote and seemingly deserted island before quickly realizing it’s actually teeming with dangerous wildlife, flora, and fauna. Aside from typical survival aspects such as cooking and staying warm, Ark offers up animal and dinosaur taming.
9 Don’t Starve – Together?
Don’t Starve is a top-down, more vibrant take on the survival genre, but one that will still push players out of their comfort zones. In a unique twist, Don’t Starve combines the use of magic and science, which courses through the gameplay loop. Set within a randomly generated wilderness area each time, Don’t Starve encourages players to craft, build a camp, and of course, survive.
This game simply drops you into the thick of it, starting with nothing. You must explore and encounter dangerous creatures, all the while, finding supplies to craft items in order to live a bit longer. There is a multiplayer version in the form of Don’t Starve Together, as well.
8 No Man’s Sky – Base Building In Space With Your Best Buds
No Man’s Sky, despite its struggles at launch, has easily become one of the biggest space exploration survival games around. Featuring a near-endless amount of planets to discover and land upon, No Man’s Sky offers up a similar survival style of play such as crafting and base-building, but in a sci-fi setting.
Another fantastic addition to No Man’s Sky is multiplayer. You don’t have to try and survive alone. By adding in multiple people, the game really sets itself apart from the competition. You can now land on a planet with your friends, research the wildlife, and build a base to continue your journey together.
7 Rust – If You Want A Game About Survival…
Rust has been around the survival gaming scene for quite some time now, offering up a raw and unfiltered take on the genre. The only real objective in Rust is simply to survive by any means necessary. This can mean taking on player opponents with the victor getting all of the spoils to hopefully survive another day.
A big gameplay aspect in Rust is hunting for survival. You can hunt for meat which can then be used back at your home base to cook and grow stronger. Rust does feature quite a bit of mature content that most certainly won’t appeal to all players, but, for survival fans looking for a raw experience, Rust just might fit the bill.
6 Windbound – Beautiful Art And Ambiance
Windbound is a bit different in terms of survival games in that you are shipwrecked off the coast of the forbidden islands. While the actual crafting, eating, building, and the like are here, this game also allows you to create a ship to sail from island to island in order to scavenge and survive.
The story here, where you play as Kara, is mostly told through the environment, leaving it up to you to piece together what is taking place in this world. The art style and presentation are much more vibrant and lush in comparison to other similar survival-type games.
5 The Survivalists – Only Mildly As Divisive As Mario Party
The Survivalists is a unique spin on the survival genre — one that features a colorful, isometric style with gameplay consisting of many different quests. Teamwork is in order here. You can play The Survivalists solo, but the game seems custom-made for co-op survival shenanigans.
With friends at tow, you can gain and share loot, trade with other players, and build the idyllic island base of your dreams. Don’t be fooled by the cartoony nature of this game though; survival will be punishing and you must adapt to the hunt or be hunted moniker.
4 Grounded – It’s Just Bugs Y’all
Grounded is essentially the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in game form. The game tasks you as a hapless group of kids to survive in the scariest place of all: the backyard. Replete with creepy crawlies in all shapes and sizes, Grounded features a truly unique world to explore and survive in.
One of the main objectives in Grounded is to build an ever-expanding home base where you will craft, grow stronger, and convene with fellow survivors. Teamwork is critical in this game as it was built from the ground up (pun intended) with multiplayer in mind. You will have to focus on a balance of survival combat, scavenging, and crafting.
3 Terraria – Discover Vs. Survival
While it might simply be easy to call Terraria a 2d Minecraft, to do so would be a massive underselling of this game. Terraria does feature open and free-spirited exploration and building, but it does so with a sense of calm and ease. Terraria doesn’t focus as heavily on the pure survival mechanics, but more so on discoverability.
The unique selling point to Terraria is the ability to dig, dig, and dig some more. Your customizable character can literally start from the surface and work through the earth, gathering all sorts of goodies along the way. Survival here mostly comes down to some basic combat as well as building a shelter. It’s simple yet endlessly engaging.
2 The Long Dark – Less Screaming, More Dreaming…Kind Of
The Long Dark tasks you as a solo player to survive the frozen wilderness tundra after a geomagnetic disaster keeps you stranded. You start with nothing and death comes swiftly and often. Interestingly though, The Long Dark seeks to create a more meditative and thoughtful approach to exploration and survival.
The genre staples are here such as crafting, scavenging, hunting, and building shelter, but due to this being a frozen wilderness, you must always be in search of a heat source. This might be from eating certain foods to finding clothing items to the best option, building a roaring fire.
1 Valheim – If Leviathans Were Viking Gods Instead
One of the newest entries into the survival genre is the juggernaut, Valheim. Taking place in a Viking world, Valheim tasks you with exploration and pure survival. This is a brutal game in which solo players and multiple players can enjoy at any given time. Focusing on Viking culture, exploration in Valheim will lead to narrative discoveries.
Along the way, expect to battle the wild as well as other players. You can freely craft and build a shelter to return to after a long day of survival in this massive and beautiful world. There is a steep learning curve to Valheim but the game will reward you for your patience and dedication.
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