The best thing about survival games is the sheer variety that the genre contains when it comes to design. They can be cute, or scary, and they can be first-person, or isometric. They can have actions elements or strategy leanings. There is probably a survival game out there to suit just about everyone, regardless of your overall gaming preferences. In this guide, I am going to go through some of my favorite survival games, the ones I think just do things a little better than the rest.
The Best Survival Games On PC
Few games freak me out quite like The Forest. I love trying to survive in this game, especially when playing with friends, but the weird enemies in it completely freak me out. An absolutely terrifying game, especially at night time when a band of roaming enemies comes screaming out of the darkness to attack your makeshift camp. It all just looks so pretty on this island, and the juxtaposition with the intense violence you will need to dish out to survive here is really rather striking.
Probably the cutest, and most relaxing, game on the list, but a survival game nonetheless. The feeling of being in an alien world in Subnautica stems from the fact that we are trying to survive at the bottom of the sea. You can explore the beautiful depths in your tiny submarine, build a habitat to stay safe in, and engage in all sorts of crafting to help you survive. Definitely one of the most interest survival games you can play, and a hugely rewarding experience.
Rush makes it on to the list because it has stood the test of time. Establishing itself as more than just the game where everyone starts off naked, it now offers players an amazing multiplayer survival experience. You’ll need to hunt, craft, create weapons, and build bases to keep you safe from enemies. Bands of players can come together to fight, and sometimes entire servers go to war.
Frostpunk is survival but scaled up from the attempts of an individual to make it to another day, to a whole city trying to make it to another day instead. You will need to lead your people towards some semblance of prosperity in a frozen hellscape, simultaneously trying to provide them with the things they need to live, and the structure they need to prosper. A superb game that everyone should play, it provides challenge and reward in equal measure.
I both hate and love Darkwood. I adore the game; I really do, it just freaks me out on a level that is hard to explain. This top-down 2D game manages to put you right in the heart of it’s expertly woven tension, and often the scariest things are threats that are only ever hinted at. This is all about exploring the world by day, and doing your very best to hold onto your sanity, and your life, when the sun goes down. Dark and eldritch things are coming for you, and you might not survive the night.
It is honestly difficult to describe Sunless Sea, but if I was forced into a corner by a monster from the deep, I guess I would call it a Lovecraftian-infused, seafaring survival sim with RPG elements. You will be trying to safely make your way across the unterzee, an enormous ocean in the depths of a staggeringly large cavern. You need to balance the needs of ship and crew with the desire to explore and prove yourself in the hellish world of the unterzee. All kinds of monsters prowl the waves, some of them seeming surprisingly human until you get a glimpse of their dark hearts. A singular gaming experience, if you haven’t played it then you are missing out on something really special.
Don’t Starve is about as good a game as you can expect from developers Klei, which is to say that it is very good indeed. Klei just seems to have the magic touch, and their usual attention to detail is all over Don’t Starve. From the music to the weird world you play, the art style, and the punishing yet fun mechanics, Don’t Starve is polished to a high shine and pretty much the perfect cooperative survival game. Things can go so terribly, monstrously, laughably wrong that it is impossible not to start each run with a smile on your face.
The Long Dark
The Long Dark provides another exceptional experience. As you stumble through the dark woods, wolfs nipping at your heals, you can almost feel the deathly cold crawl inside your bones. There is no such thing as excess in The Long Dark, as you struggle from meal to meal and sleep to sleep, desperate to somehow survive the all-encompassing cold, and the harsh and unforgiving forest. Death comes quickly here, and it has sharp teeth, and sharper claws. Tread carefully.
It is a testament to the genre that we are this deep in the list and a game like Rimworld standout for its uniqueness. Rimworld sees you leading a group of colonists as you attempt to survive in an environment filled with disease, attackers, weird animals, and the most insane bad luck simulation ever seen. You need to build shelter, defend and feed your colony, all while wondering what kind of insane personality trait is going to bring your delicate house of cards tumbling down.
State of Decay 2
Another game that puts you in charge of a group, rather than an individual, finding new survivors in this zombie apocalypse is just as important as finding food. You always need to make a hard decision though, can you really take on another person to look after, another mouth to feed? Prepare for the ultimate post-apocalyptic road trip, but try not to get too attached to anyone; they might not be around for long.