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Get ready to fight off a doomsday cult rising in Montana, survive in a post-collapse New York with roving gangs and pick yourself up from a crash-landing in a freezing Canadian wilderness after a global crisis, because we are digging into the best 30 survival games that will test your wits and fill your apocalyptic thirst.
Prepping and survival has seen a huge growth recently, and coupled with that is the booming interest in survival games. Everyone these days wants to throw themselves into the roleplay of a post-apocalyptic world where they fight off gangs of raiders using whatever you can get your hands on or scaring off wolves with fire. We see it in books, we see it in movies and we are seeing it a lot more in games.
When it comes to a lot of these games, it’s not just about saving mankind, it’s about surviving every day and managing to get through the night. This differs from other games that focus on shooting or levelling with experience. In this survival and post-apocalyptic genre we go back to the basics of treading carefully, second-guessing everyone we meet, and getting our survival gear in order to stay fed, watered and warm. So get some wood, a lighter and a coffee, it’s time start a fire and make your way through this list of the top 30 survival games.
If you came here because you’re sick of bulk shooting games and want something that will really test your survival knowledge in a post-collapse world, then The Long Dark is one you should be looking at.
Published by Hinterland Studios and funded through a wildly successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, this game is said to be one of the hardest survival games you will ever play. Your role is to survive in a freezing Canadian wilderness as a pilot after you crash your plane in the middle of a regional area.
The developers designed the game to test the real elements of survival in a “simulation that accounts for body temperature, caloric intake, hunger, thirst, fatigue, wind-chill, wildlife, and a host of other environmental factors”. This is definitely for those of you who want to get your real survival hat on in your own living room.
The Division is one of the titles most people refer to as one of the tops in survival games, and for a good reason, this one is very realistic, action-packed and has a lot of what we want to see in a good post-apocalyptic survival game.
As far as storylines go, The Division wins hands down. It is based in New York City where the aftermath of a smallpox epidemic has turned the city into a no-go zone with contamination rife and where chaotic gangs pick off the remaining survivors and battle for strength.
The virus in this game was planted on banknotes, and was dubbed the ‘dollar flu’. Since its outbreak, Manhatten has lost the ability to maintain order, so sleeper agents, otherwise known as ‘The Divison’ are the task force designed to restore order to the crumbling city. The Division (Survival) is an added addition to the game which bases the player on the will to survive in the city and live long enough to find antiviral drugs. The aim of survival mode is to start players with no gear and no weapons on the outskirts of a chaotic city and let them survive.
Not only do you have the gangs of Manhattan trying to kill you, but you’ve also got your sickness, thirst, cold and hunger. If you fail to keep these in check, you’re dead.
Far Cry 5 is great. And as far as real sh-t hits the fan scenarios go, it doesn’t get any better than this. For this survival game, we are set in Hope County, Montana. What’s going on? A preacher with a convincing touch and crazy views has risen as a powerful leader with a huge follower base to protect the people of Hope County from inevitable collapse with his religion called Eden’s Gate. Anyone that doesn’t join his violent doomsday cult is met with violence and death.
Your role is as a sheriff’s deputy sent to Hope County to arrest the preacher. When you go from town to town battling the doomsday religion followers you’re also met with level-headed locals who think the religion is crazy and join your side to help you take out the Eden’s Gate cult following.
The backdrop of this game runs on a very political issue of religious fanaticism, doomsday cult religions and the extremity of patriotic beliefs and ideologies, so it’s generally awesome.
You should probably play this game if you want to see a hypothetical situation of a doomsday cult in a regional American area.
If you ever liked that movie I Am Legend, you would probably like the game Miscreated. It is another online open-world game that involves teamwork (and a lot of trust) from other players to survive against a super strong zombie race that seems to be able to pop out of nowhere. This game also has the great world of modifications, so you can build your own base, design the way your own redneck zombie killing character might look, and you can do it all with a team of others. What’s best is that if you don’t like other players, you kill them too.
This game also has the great world of modifications, so you can build your own base, design the way your own redneck zombie killing character might look, and you can do it all with a team of others. What’s best is that if you don’t like other players, you kill them too.
State of Decay 2 is the ultimate in the fantasy of zombie survival games. Its prequel in 2013 was a raging success as it went beyond just the usual zombie mowing with endless ammunition scenarios and delved more into zombie survival aspects such as team leadership, gathering resources, group trust, morale, your home base defenses and going on group scavenges.
It seems this is becoming the trend with zombie games and State of Decay was one of the first to really implement the micromanagement of what it would actually take to survive in a zombie apocalypse. If you are into The Walking Dead, then this is a pretty good game adaptation of the life of a leader in that scenario.
What a game. This is a messy game where a person in a suit with a welding mask can shoot a character with no pants. Welcome to PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This is basically an online battle royale which was initially developed out of modifications made for other games. The scene grew so big that it turned into a standalone game.
So what is it exactly? Picture this, at the start of a game, up to 100 players parachute onto a map which is eight square kilometres and has places to scavenge for weapons, explosives and armour. The last person left standing wins the game.
How To Survive is the story of how survivors meet Kovac, who is self-proclaimed master of zombie survival. Through his field manual of how to survive a zombie apocalypse, the survivors rely on Kovac’s Rules to live. Some of the rules the game is based on are pretty comedic, which is something that seems to go hand-in-hand with zombie survival games.
You can see all of Kovac’s Rules on the How To Survive site.
The Forest is one of those open-world survival games where you are the survivor of a plane crash on a deserted island. The survival is easy enough, you hunt, get food, collect wood and build your own shelter. The problem is the island is inhabited with a cannibal tribe and you are made aware of this by seeing your son dragged away from the plane crash by one of them.
The cannibals in this game are intelligent players, and react with inquisitive looks at first by trying to communicate with the survivor. They get hostile at night and are afraid of fire. Give this game a go as it is simple and survival based mode but adds a very interesting element of the outsider effect to a remote cannibal village.
This one is a little bit more of a different playing style to your regular smooth looking interfaces. While Cataclysm looks like a plain game it is far from it and has a huge underground following for its open source free-to-edit playability.
Cataclysm Dark Days Ahead, or DDA, follows a storyline with the backdrop of a near-future New England where a catastrophic event has wiped out most of mankind and has spawned various scenarios, dangers and of course zombies and monsters.
There is no end-all goal to this game, instead, the player is able to explore the generated map and work with NPCs, build shelters, vehicles and fight off hordes of monsters. This is of course, while keeping yourself alive through the elements of survival where your character will stay alive if you keep your thirst, hunger, temperature and health in check.
Survive The Nights is a highly detailed zombie survival game that was crowdfunded by thousands of backers to be the one of the top survival games. There are a lot of basics to this survival game, such as food, thirst, regulating your temperature, keeping your mental health and building your own skills through trial and error. All of this, and at night time you have a high zombie population that wants to eat you.
You should definitely check this game out as it was created with the purpose of being a real survival apocalypse game, and it has certainly hit that mark. It looks beautiful with its stunning graphics, interactions with other players and perfect day/night changes and weather pattern system.
Escape From Tarkov is a very realistic multi-online role-playing game set in a city where the local population has fled due to chaos and the locals who choose to stay in Tarkov are bloodthirsty gangs battling to control the city.
Tarkov is meant to be the gateway between Russia and Europe and as such there are various political and social themes at play. Not only does the background of the game have the sense of political realism, but the experience of this game gives a much more virtual sense of being involved. Weapons in this game can jam, overheat and need reloading. There are real-life ballistics and bullet physics. The customisations allow for no weapon to be the same which provides a much deeper level of gear and kits to be used by characters as everyone creates their version of ‘the perfect’ setup.
Next Day: Survival is a role-playing multiplayer survival game. The whole thing takes place in a post-Soviet state, most of whose territory is contaminated by toxic fog.
The main task of the player is to survive while improving their character using skills, interaction with the outside world, other players, and non-player characters (NPC). As the game progresses, the character earns a reputation, thanks to which he/she has the option to join various factions of survivors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Days Gone is an open-world zombie survival game set in the Pacific Northwest where you play a drifting bounty hunter who lives on the open road and avoids staying with the ‘safe’ encampments of survivors.
Your character was a former outlaw biker, but now he’s turned good as the rest of society crumbles and gangs take advantage of survivors amidst the walking dead.
This is one of the most exciting zombie survival games to get your hands on. It’s a Hollywood movie in a game.
Fallout 4 has been the winner of more than 200 “Best Of” awards – including the 2016 BAFTA and 2016 D.I.C.E. Game of the Year. I know we’ve mentioned a few of the Fallout series before but this is the developer’s most ambitious game yet.
As the sole survivor of Vault 111, you enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours. Only you can rebuild and determine the fate of the Wasteland.
NEO Scavenger is a role-playing where the player controls a character that awakes in a laboratory in a ruined, post-apocalyptic world. The immediate objective of the game is to keep the character alive by finding food, clothing, and shelter, and caring for any illnesses that may befall him. Ruined towns can be scavenged for supplies, but doing so may draw the attention of nearby looters and raiders. Fighting for survival includes fending off attackers, and other beasts that may be hiding in the wastes.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is a survival horror game set in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone after a widespread impact of radiation from nuclear disasters cause strange changes in the area around it. The player assumes the identity of an amnesiac “Stalker”, an illegal explorer/artefact scavenger in “The Zone”. “Stalker” in the context of the video game refers to the older meaning of the word as a tracker and hunter of game or guide.