Surrounded by the comfort of civilization and modern technologies, we do not give too much thought to survival as of our prime goal. There’s no external threat in the face of local fauna, no need to hunt for food or look for resources, but we can’t help to long for this known feeling of danger. And this might be the reason why survival games are so popular. Such titles evoke strong feelings as we finally get the chance to act on our prime instincts.
And the gaming industry’s been generous with the titles in which we can practice our survival instinct. Here’s a second part of the 10 best survival games.
Release date: 16 December 2016
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Ever wanted to explore new planets in Minecraft style? Astroneer might be just for you. It is a colourful, stress-free open world survival that concentrates on exploration, building and crafting. As you find yourself on an inhabitant planet without a breathable atmosphere, your objective is setting up and improving the base to eventually explore other planets.
How you do it is entirely up to you. When advancing through the game, you discover numerous ways of building tech devices and several sources of energy to sustain them, which gives you that LEGO or Minecraft-like creative freedom. Of course, there’s always a restrain of oxygen tethers whenever you explore the planet. But throughout every stage Astroneer encourages you to be creative and efficient in how you handle this and other arising issues.
Release date: 28 July, 2020
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
This action survival game has managed to skyrocket to top 100 most played on Steam shortly after getting on Early Access. It doesn’t offer a post-apocalyptic setting, undiscovered planets or imaginary worlds full of weird monsters. Instead, Grounded is set in a suburban backyard, while the shrunk version of your character explores the world of gigantic leafs, tall blades of grass and massive insects that are trying to kill you. Unless you turn on the arachnophobe safe mode, you’re in for nightmares.
This 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' concept is brought to life and well-executed through beautiful graphics, thought-through base-building and crafting gameplay which resembles ARK's. Despite having a huge perk of up to 4 players co-op mode, Grounded is still addictive and entertaining in the single-player mode. The game is showing massive potential on early stages and being on early access means it’ll only get better.
Help Will Come Tomorrow
Release date: 21 April 2020
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Arclight Creations picked Siberian wilderness in times of October Revolution as a setting for their recent game. It’s a perfect setting for this genre as it successfully delivers the necessary atmosphere of danger and despair. Moreover, the fitting music, the well-written dialogues and character’s backstories immerse you even deeper in the tragedy and elevate the survival aspect of this story rich simulator.
As you start the game after the train accident in an inhabitant forest, you’re left with four characters with different disadvantages and personal stories. As you play further by managing resources, delegating daily tasks to the most fitting person, you’ll need to go on expeditions, where you have to be very cautious and recall the crucial details mentioned during one of many campfire chats. Because wrong choice of action may mean the members of your camp stay hungry, get injured or killed. If you hate finishing the game with the bad endings, you will certainly replay Help Will Come Tomorrow.
Release date: 15 December 2014
Platforms: PC, Android, iOS
Your relationships with NEO Scavenger can go only two ways. You’d either find the game extremely addictive or boring due to its shabby retro graphics, excessive amount of text and punishing difficulty. The gameplay of this point-and-click RPG survival is realistic in its difficulty. After you’re done adding personality traits and your character wakes up in a cryotube almost naked, don’t count on the government's help or human kindness. Because you find yourself in post-apocalyptic Michigan and other people are just as desperate as you are.
The fact that you’ll have to kill for a T-shirt, a decent pair of shoes or human flesh to feed on is not the only reason why NEO Scavenger is ruthless. The inevitable permadeath, despite being infuriating, encourages learning from your mistakes, trying out different traits and gaming approaches.
Oxygen Not Included
Release date: 30 July 2019
Klei Entertainment continues releasing highly addictive survival games and we have no objection about it. Unlike it’s best-seller Don’t Starve, Oxygen Not Included is an adorable single-player colony simulator, where you order around your amusing dupes in order to survive in harsh conditions of a meteorite. The game has everything that makes Klei Entertainment titles iconic: artstyle that’s full of character, fitting music and highly addictive in its complexity gameplay.
Numerous environmental factors need to be taken care of during the base building, meaning that there’s always something going wrong during your base building. Whether it's the high temperature in your base, lack of food and water supplies, disease outbreak in your colonies, air density issues, there’re always stress factors which ironically get you more fixated on the game. And, just like with Don’t Starve, you find yourself reading the tips at 1am, hoping that the next save will turn out decent. ^^’
Release date: 8 November 2013
There are no linear scenarios, guns and chainsaws at your disposal from the first minutes of the game. Unlike the majority of zombie post-apocalypse survival games, Project Zomboid kicks your protagonist syndrome with its harsh realism. Found a car? You better find petrol and spare parts if you don’t want to get stuck and die in the middle of nowhere. Got a scratch? Do put a clean bandage and change it often unless you wanna die of infection. You made a loud sound? A crowd of zombies will come for you. Eventual death is the only possible end of the game.
Each time you start as a regular customisable mortal, for whom you can choose everything from appearance to profession and set of positive and negative traits that will affect the gameplay. In an RPG matter you roam through open world, loot, craft and gradually increase stats and abilities. All that plus keeping your tamagotchi character healthy and relatively happy. Project Zomboid has a wagon and a trolly of secrets, features that make it an exceptionally complex zombie survival game for an indie developer.
Release date: 23 May 2018
Do the previous titles sound too complicated to put your hands on? In Raft you don’t have to stress out about seven status bars or look under every single rock on your 3 hour-long stroll, hoping to find necessary crafting material. As your tiny raft roams through a polluted ocean, everything is within the reach of your trusty hook. All you need to worry about are three basic needs (food, water and health), keeping the shark away and managing the resources.
If crafting and upgrading your base with the ocean’s sounds in the background sounds too tedious, you can share Robinson Crusoe’s routine with your pal, thanks to online co-op mode. Nonetheless, it’s a simpler approach to the survival game that attracted so much attention, making it a great option to try out with more casual gamer friends.
Release date: 28 March 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Life is tough when you suddenly become a link of the food chain in the broken post-apocalyptic ecosystem. In this 16-bit survival platformer you play an adorable half-slug half-cat who gets lost in a cruel post-apocalyptic world of a tumble-down, rusty city that is full of deadly rains and hungry monsters. You roam through the dark but charming locations in hopes of getting to the surface. Alas, just like with most survival games, it’s not that simple.
As you will not be spoon-fed the directions or even the world’s map, the confused yourself will have to search for hiding spots and study the local fauna to see which one is edible and which will most certainly nibble on you. And eating is a crucial part for this platformer. To process through the game you have to move around, devour food and sleep in order to gain enough karma to get access through the gates.
State of Decay 2
Release date: 22 May 2018
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Undead Labs, the developer, exploits the aesthetics of classical zombie apocalypse to such an extent, that you practically end up in Walking Dead. The zombie hype might be gone, but it’s still quite entertaining to dive deep into the familiar atmosphere and play the leader of the group. Supply and base management may sound tedious and grindy at this point. However, thanks to realistic graphics, detailed maps and crafting system the way the gameplay make the key elements of survival really addictive.
Moreover, while many large game developers pay attention to linear story, horror and action in zombie games, State of Decay 2 expands on the survival aspects of the sub-genre. There’s a lot to manage in this zombie-infested open world, including the survivor’s wellbeing. But with the huge update and consequent release of State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition in 2020, the game got an informative tutorial as well as included all of the DLCs.
Release date: 16 May 2011
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Android
We could have put Minecraft here, but we still kind of did. Just like in the mentioned best-seller, the point of Terraria is to manipulate the 2D pixel environment to get around. But this sandbox survival is so much more than just “2D Minecraft”. The format does not limit the gameplay in any way, giving the player not only a rich crafting mechanics, a freedom to your inner designer and architecture, but also the elements of RPG.
Having a large choice of gear and character customisation, looting and boss fights in sandbox encourages exploring the vast world in metrodivania style like nothing else. The game developer has been continuously adding new content and perks, meaning you are not going to get tired of Terraria for long hours.