One of the most popular genres in gaming over the past several years has certainly been the Survival games. They might differ from one another in minor or major details, but what they all have in common is that they look to challenge the players with harsh conditions and difficult choices.
Without a doubt, one of the first games that set the tone for the modernization of the genre was Rust, released all the way back in 2013 by Facepunch Studios. It had a rocky history and growing pains, but despite all of that has managed to garner a cult-like following that played a major part in what the multiplayer survival gaming landscape is today.
So in our quest to find more Rust-like games, let’s first take a look at a small checklist of what to expect and look for in such a game. For starters, it’s a no-brainer that the game should put emphasis on the survival elements. It should feature a crafting system of some kind to help facilitate your survival. Ideally, to be Rust-like, it should be a first-person game and also have a strong multiplayer component, featuring an open world.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and count down our picks for the Top 8 games to play if you like Rust and the survival genre in general.
8. The Forest
Developer: Endnight Games
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4
As the name suggests, this game takes place in a forest. Surviving a plane crash, you are stranded and harried by mysterious enemies who have kidnapped your child after the accident. You are tasked with surviving the ordeal and finding a way to reunite with your family. You have to craft, fight, and survive the thick woods — alone or with friends. And if you’re feeling extra brave, you can do so in VR.
First released in 2014, The Forest is still one of the best horror-survival games out there, and we’re excited for the Sons of the Forest sequel slated to release in late 2022.
7. Green Hell
Developer: Creepy Jar
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Released in 2018, Green Hell is a beautiful game. Set in the steaming jungles of Amazonia, you are challenged to survive using an array of fairly realistic techniques. You can play alone or in co-op with your friends, but either way, you will find yourself hard-pressed to survive and manage to eke out a living in the unforgiving green surroundings. Deadly wildlife, dangerous locals, temperature, and moisture, all conspire to kill you from the moment you start playing.
The game has rightfully garnered high scores and praise from critics and players alike and is a one-of-a-kind survival gaming experience. For extra immersion, you can play it in VR as well.
6. No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox, Android
Well known for its catastrophic start, No Man’s Sky has grown into quite a phenomenon and a redemption story for the ages. It has gone from strength to strength over the years and has grown in terms of both scope and the amount of content. What’s knocking off some points for it on our list though, is that it’s not considered strictly a survival game, with those aspects fairly muted shortly after you get your bearings in the game. It becomes more about exploration and crafting, but some survival elements still lurk close by if you’re not careful.
The game is still being regularly updated with massive chunks of content that dramatically expand upon the game, and has been nominated for the “Labor of Love” awards on Steam for the past several years.
5. Don’t Starve Together
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox, Linux
Slightly breaking the mold of first-person games, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together when talking about survival games. Though both games are great, we’re singling out Don’t Starve Together for its expanded scope, and more importantly, its multiplayer component. With a cast of wacky characters and a gorgeous, hand-drawn aesthetic, Don’t Starve Together is a must-play for all fans of the survival genre, even though it doesn’t quite look like Rust.
The replayability factor alone is more than enough to recommend this charming gem of a game, but to add to that, even though it was released in 2016, the developers have been regularly updating and reiterating the game, so it always feels fresh to start a new run.
Developer: Redbeet Interactive
Platforms: PC, Linux, Android
Though technically still in Early Access since 2018, Raft has been a huge hit among the survival aficionados. Playing alone or in co-op with your friends, you find yourself in the middle of a vast blue ocean, with just a plank of wood and a dream of finding land again. You have to scavenge and build a safe floating home, while the perils of exposure, hunger, thirst, and man-eating sharks prowl at your every waking moment.
Players have been able to survive and construct entire floating fortresses and pirate ships by gathering debris and scavenging the reefs, and the developers have been active with regular updates to the game’s crafting and building systems.
3. The Long Dark
Developer: Hinterland Studio
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Linux
Released in 2014 by the Canadian developer Hinterland Studio, The Long Dark is a methodical and introspective exploration-survival experience that challenges you to puzzle out a way to survive and explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a worldwide disaster. Though seemingly post-apocalyptic, it’s not as dystopian as Rust. Likewise, there are no cannibals, zombies, or aliens. You are alone — alone with the cold and harsh nature of the northern hemisphere.
Along with the default sandbox gameplay, the developers have, over time, added an episodic story-like mode to the game, allowing the players a more structured approach if they so choose.
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
If you weren’t afraid of deep oceans before, Subnautica will make sure that you are after diving into this amazing game. The game is set in the sci-fi future, where you’ve crash-landed on an ocean planet. You will struggle to survive the dangerous flora and fauna as you manage your hunger, thirst, and oxygen levels while building a shelter to allow you to explore what has happened in this strange new world. The game is a true feat in terms of both beauty and fun, challenging players with survival on all possible fronts while maintaining an engaging story for you to discover.
The game also released an expansion Subnautica: Below Zero, providing players with even more to explore, and even harsher conditions to survive in. And for those lucky enough to have the gear for it, Subnautica is a true marvel in VR mode.
1. ARK: Survival Evolved
Developer: Studio Wildcard, Instinct Games
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox, Linux, Nintendo Switch, Android
Rightfully described as “Rust, but with dinosaurs,” ARK has been the direct competitor to Rust in terms of similarity and in the way the two games are played. Over the years and countless updates, ARK has grown into a beast of a game, not unlike its trademark dinosaurs. ARK is equal parts a survival game and a persistent MMO, allowing players to build whole worlds together with its robust systems. While the main goal is to survive, you can also expect to build bases, craft items, explore the world, and eventually even tame dinosaurs to act as your mounts and pets.
While you can derive hundreds of hours of fun with ARK in single-player, the game truly shines when played as a multiplayer experience, complete with co-op and PVP gameplay on an ever-evolving server.
The library of survival games is vast, with many great games to choose from. Below, we’ve listed some games that are considered great survival games but aren’t really very much like Rust to garner an appearance in our countdown.
- 7 Days to Die
- Project Zomboid
- Stranded Deep
- V Rising