Survival games are plentiful in the marketplace today. However, if you’re looking for some solid video games that are still just as fun to play with an active community in 2021 then we have you covered. In this list, we’re going to be highlighting some of the best survival games you can enjoy right now. Rather than rank these in any order because there’s a lot of different ways you could rank survival games, we have just a nice collection of titles that currently available along with a few picks that we think you should keep an eye out for a release hopefully sometime later this year.
Minecraft is a pretty iconic video game that’s gained some worldwide attention. Chances are we don’t need to explain what this game is since how popular it has become over the years. With that said, Minecraft does offer a pretty simplistic and easy to grasp survival game that’s just as fun with young kids as it is with adults. Players are dropped down in this randomly generated world with no resources readily available. Instead, it’s up to players to start digging up dirt, punching down trees, making different tools or weapons to further acquire more resources. From there, players will need to manage their hunger and health as the characters will need to consume food along with battle against hostile enemies like skeletons or spiders that pop up in the dark.
#39 Don’t Starve Together
Don’t Starve came out in 2013 but thanks to its popularity the development team was able to bring out several expansions and updates into the marketplace. In this game, players are following Wilson, a scientist that gets transported into a dreary world full of hostile creatures while also having to explore the world to stay fed and mentally stable. It was a great game that allowed players to easily jump back into the title regularly since it starts players into a randomly generated world. As mentioned, this game sparked several different updates over the years with one of the more popular updates being Don’t Starve Together. This game can support up to six players together as they venture into the campaign together while fighting back enemies or scavenging for resources to keep everyone healthy.
Rust will force players into the wilderness with nothing more than a rock and a torch. From there, players are left on their own to meet other gamers online while crafting and gathering other precious resources. Most will find that the game works best if players join clans to help gather additional goods or raid other clans for their goods. Likewise, outside of gathering items and resources, players will need to keep an eye on their character to make sure they are not in danger of starvation, thirst, or being too cold. In a lot of ways, the game is similar to Ark: Survival Evolved, which we’ll be getting into a bit later in this list.
#37 The Forest
The Forest is a pretty popular game for its enemy AI system. In this game, players are traveling with their son when their plane crashes onto an island. With your son missing and seemingly no survivors among the wreckage, players venture out into the thick forest area only to be greeted with an unusual mutated tribal group. These individuals are more curious than anything at the start of this game, but as time goes on they continue to get more hostile. Some will follow you to see where you’re building a base, they may wreck your buildings, charge you only to back down, or see how strong your weapons are. You never know what you’re going to get with these creatures, but fortunately, you don’t have to survive and locate your son alone. Players can find support for up to eight players online in a co-op game mode.
#36 7 Days To Die
7 Days To Die is a game that revolves around waves of undead. In this game, players can work together as they venture out into the open in search of resources and gear to fortify their base. Players can build up defenses, traps, among other useful equipment that will hopefully deal enough damage against the undead or stand against their attempts to overthrow your base. As the name suggests, the game revolves around a weekly interval with players having six daysto prepare for a strong wave of undead to come through on the seventh day. This gives players ample enough time to fortify or repair their base. Within the game, players can join together and attempt to survive the waves which may help get your base a bit more built up.
#35 State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 is a bit like 7 Days To Die in some regards. Players here are building up a community and keeping them safe by again going out gathering resources. As players continue to gather resources they can improve and manage their community while seeking other survivors or battling against the undead located out in the open world. It’s proven to be a popular Microsoft exclusive. While this game has been around since 2018, we do know that a third installment is in the works which we’ll be covering a bit in the latter half of this list. As you can imagine, the co-op offers players to work together in search of loot and battling against enemies.
#34 Conan Exiles
In Conan Exiles players get to dive into the world of Conan the Barbarian. However, rather than being Conan, players are just another sad exiled human stuck onto a post in the wasteland to die. Fortunately, players find Conan wandering out and rescues you for a second chance at life. However, the world is harsh for exiles. Not only are there tough enemies to face against, but to survive in the world players will need to keep an eye on several attributes to keep in a fighting form such as ensuring you’re fed and have water in your system. Likewise, this is an online multiplayer survival game which means that players can link up and go through some PvE.
#33 No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky did a big turnaround after its release. While the development team made some big promises and hyped the game up, the launch was a bit of a letdown. Fans felt like there were plenty of missing elements and no real content to play through outside of endlessly exploring. However, as mentioned the developers made some significant updates to the game giving players some more content to enjoy. For instance, multiplayer was added in with players being able to create parties together as they explore the same star system. With that said, this is a game still heavily focused on exploration as you venture around to the different planets with your ship and see what resources are available. Still, the planet could prove to be pretty hostile with players having to ensure that they have enough resources to keep themselves cool, warm, or radiation-free. It all just depends on what the planet is like as you land on the surface and begin your initial scans.
Valheim is a pretty new survival video game that came out and sparked some major attention online. This game is currently available through early access which means that players can jump into a Viking-focused game where you need to prove your worth to Odin. Tasked by clearing out the Valheim land, players are going through the landmass building up their base, crafting weapons, and fighting off all kinds of monsters. There is support for co-op PvE with up to ten players total and it’s recommended that players join in together as they go through this title. With that said, because Valheim is an early access title players may see some changes made to the overall game as developers Iron Gate AB continues to develop this game.
Grounded is another early access title in our list but it comes from a pretty solid studio, Obsidian Entertainment. These are the folks that brought out the likes of Fallout New Vegas, The Outer Worlds, and Pillars of Eternity to just name a few of their past works. At any rate, Grounded is a game that puts players into young kids that are shrunk down to a size of an ant. Trapped outside, players are having to battle against all kinds of rodents and bugs to survive. However, it appears that there is something far more sinister at play here as players continue to progress in their exploration and survival. As you can expect, players can craft up different makeshift weapons and even build up a base to keep hostile bugs like giant spiders or ferocious ants out.
Keeping up with the early access trend we have Raft. This is a game that puts players into a world over flooded with a seemingly endless ocean and small little islands scattered about. Here, players are forced to scavenge items and craft up a gear to keep themselves healthy. As they reach a landmass, players can explore the area, search for goods like food or water, discover what may have happened to other past survivors, and of course battle against hostile enemies like hungry bears. Meanwhile, players are constantly making improvements to their raft which will allow them to easily make their way to the next island.
#29 The Wild Eight
The Wild Eight puts players into a survivor of a horrific plane crash in Alaska. With the tundra and wildlife proving to be a tough element for any one to survive, players will need to scavenge items and attempt to stay out of dangerous blizzards or away from deadly beasts. This game does support an eight-player co-op where a party of players can venture through the generated world to seek out useful items or fight off enemy beasts that may stumble upon the immediate area. Likewise, this area may be secluded by something far more secretive is going on here as players can stumble upon unusual laboratories and facilities that may feature loot that seems otherworldly.
#28 The Survivalists
The Survivalists is a cartoonish survival game with players taking the role of an island inhabitant. Here players are building up the island with bases and scavenging for resources or food. Not to mention, using those resources to further craft up useful items to make your resource mining even easier. However, there are plenty of hostile enemies on the island to battle against so seeking out some new useful weapons scattered around the island is well worth your time. Likewise, the monkeys on the island are great workers as you tame them to help partake in some of the mundane tasks. Furthermore, you’ll find that there is more than meets the eye on the island as players can stumble upon secrets just waiting to be unveiled.
#27 Project Zomboid
Project Zomboid is a game that’s been around for quite a few years now as it first came out in 2013 and since then it’s been available through early access. In this game, players are going through a zombie survival title where you not only have a big open world sandbox-style world to explore, but one that you will be able to build up, craft items, and fight off the undead within. There’s even the ability to farm and fish for food. Since this game doesn’t have the campaign to partake within, there’s no end goal in sight. Instead, it’s all about trying to survive as long as you can with even multiplayer support to make things a bit more interesting. While the game may not wow as many people with the visuals today, it’s a solid little roleplaying title that’s well worth playing today.
Terraria is a game that’s often compared to Minecraft as it’s a similar type of video game. It’s all about building up and surviving in a world. Where things significantly differ is the fact that Minecraft offers a 3D world whereas Terraria is a 2D side-scroller. Still, players can dig below the surface, gather resources, craft useful items, build up structures, and fight off all kinds of enemies along the way. Again, very similar to the likes of Minecraft, Terraria offers players the ability to join into a game together with up to eight-player support online. If you’re into Minecraft and want to try something a bit similar then you can’t go wrong with this game or vice versa.
#25 Ark Survival Evolved
Ark: Survival Evolved grew into a big hit when it launched into the marketplace back in 2017. We know that a sequel is in the works which is being developed with the help of actor Vin Diesel sitting in as an executive producer. With that said, the first game puts players as a protagonist washing up on an island shore. With other players and hostile creatures like dinosaurs, players are very quickly having to build up their inventory by grabbing up as many resources as possible. It’s a pretty stacked game in terms of survival. While you have to worry about different vitals such as food, stamina, water, health, etc, there’s also a ton of focus on just building your character up within the world. Players can craft up tribes, work together as they build up their base, till the land with crops, tame dinosaurs, or go raid others for useful gear.
GTFO is a bit of a different kind of survival game. This is an FPS horror title that has players taking the role of a four-player squad tasked with going deep underground in search of valuable artifacts left within an underground complex. However, you can’t just go in without a plan as there are dangerous mutated creatures that will flock at the players. It’s a title all about staying level-headed as you quietly search around the complex, gather the items, collect useful resources, and return to the surface. However, if these creatures wake up, then it’s a battle to fight back or heal each other when they are severely injured. There are some mental status and infection levels that show up after the game which may get built up upon since this is still an early access title so we’ll have to keep our eyes open on the development process.
#23 Dying Light
Dying Light is another FPS action survival game. In this title, players are within a quarantined city that is full of undead zombies that are hungry for flesh. This is from development team Techland who previously brought out Dead Island, another zombie game that was based on a tropical island. With Dying Light players are getting a parkour experience with the ability to quickly vault, climb up walls or leap across gaps with ease as they race against hostiles on their trail. Within the game, there is co-op support that gives up to four players the ability to go through the game together. It’s not one to really put a ton of focus around survival attributes but you can partake in the Nightmare Mode which does put players into thinking more about how to use your stamina. With that said, if you find any interest in this game then you may want to keep an eye out as there is an upcoming sequel set to launch into the marketplace sometime later this year.
#22 Green Hell
Green Hell throws players into the dense jungles of the Amazon. With no skills, players are forced into figuring out how to survive by gathering items, building up tools, crafting weapons, making a base, and keeping their body in a healthy shape. However, your mental stability is at play too with staying alone in a jungle can start to play tricks on you. Not to mention that players will slowly start to uncover just how the protagonist got in this strand predicament as well. Fortunately, you won’t have to embark on this psychological thriller survival game alone. Currently, Green Hell offers the ability of four-player cooperative gameplay support online.
DayZ is a big open world MMO title that forces players into surviving the zombie apocalypse. What makes this game a thrill is that not only are you stranded in this open-world full of overgrown cities, mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers, but you have the undead along with other players to worry about. Players start by scavenging items. Everything to keep your protagonist fed and items to heal, while also coming across gear to further protect yourself from enemies such as armor and weapons is pretty crucial. However, you can work with friends together as you attempt to overthrow other players in the open world. Furthermore, there’s always the chance you can come across another player that’s also alone or with a small group which may allow you to join in and continue on your search for resources or raiding.
Astroneer is a pretty lightweight survival game as you can find it more appealing as simply a title full of exploration. Players here are taking the role of astronauts that are exploring the different frontiers of outer space. From there, players can start to build up their custom bases while shifting the terrain to their liking thanks to a tool that can help shape, build and dig up the world. As mentioned, this is a title that’s mainly focused on exploring planets, building up bases, crafting up new vehicles, or connecting creations. However, there is the threat of losing oxygen, but once you got the oxygen figured out it’s a pretty fun exploration game. So maybe it’s a solid starter survival game to a friend that may not be as familiar with the genre.
Eco is a game based around building up a civilization that can sustain itself against a large meteor. As you build up and grow a colony, your goal becomes not only to expand and make a world that can destroy the global destruction threat when the time comes but also allow the natural ecosystem to thrive. Players can understand the effects certain industries may have on the world so it’s a balancing act to keep your colony in a healthy state but to allow nature to coexist. Much like every game on this list, there is a cooperative gameplay mode so you and your friends can work together and build up a unique ecosystem.
#18 Dead Frontier 2
Dead Frontier 2 is a game that you can play right now for free. It’s a zombie survival game that offers an MMO component and a player-driven economy. Overall, players can complete objectives or just explore as they continue to level up their character, improve their skills, gather items, and be able to trade with other players for items that they need. Being an MMO you can experience both PvP along with being able to join in with some friends and go through this game as a cooperative gameplay experience. Again, being a free-to-play video game title there’s nothing to lose here if you want to give the title a try.
Scum acts as a televised show that follows a group of prisoners who are forced into battling each other on an island for entertainment. For the most part, this is a battle royale video game where the last remaining player wins the game. With that said there is a big focus on survival outside of combat. Players will need to keep track of their character stat levels along with managing certain aspects such as nourishment and metabolic rate. Currently, the title is available for players to try out under early access so you may see some video game mechanics change up over the rest of the development course.
#16 Project Winter
Project Winter is a bit like Among Us as it’s a deception game with traitors among the group of players. Matches are set up with teams of eight players and the entirety of the group is stranded in the wilderness. To escape, players must work together and attempt to gather resources and complete tasks. However, among this team of eight are traitors. These traitors are known to each other but the group that is attempting to escape is oblivious. The role of a traitor, however, is to avoid being caught and foil the plans of escaping.
#15 Space Engineers
Those of you who enjoy space, exploration, and engineering may find Space Engineers to be a bit of fun. In this game, players are tasked with exploring different planets and outer space. It’s all about building up different buildings and vehicles to keep your journey going. The building is one of the main focuses here as well since hundreds of building blocks are already programmed and ready to be crafted.
However, there are also programmable blocks to give players the ability to write small programs to be used within the game. There are some survival elements found here as well such as the need for oxygen and having different makeshift devices built up to provide oxygen for the players. Meanwhile, you can connect with up to sixteen players and go through the game in either survival or creative mode.
Starbound is another science-fiction kind of video game. In Starbound, players find that they have wrecked their ship and have landed on a planet. To get home, players will need to build up their base and attempt to repair their ship. With that said, players can have a bit of fun by building up their bases and slowly colonize the planet. The survival element is a bit easy to manage as all that you need to keep in check is your hunger level. When it comes to the gameplay, it’s a 2D side-scroller that can be compared to the likes of Terraria.
#13 Dark and Light
Dark and Light is a bit of a supernatural game. In this game, players are an explorer wandering around this supernatural land full of mythical creatures and secrets to unlock. However, to survive, players will need to work hard in crafting, building, using weapons, and learning powerful spells. It’s a title that’s been in early access now for a few years and the reception has been a bit mixed, but again, being in early access the developers have the ability to make some adjustments to appease fans.
#12 TheHunter: Call of the Wild
While this game is not necessarily a survival title it’s one worth pointing out because of the community. TheHunter: Call of the Wild is a hunting simulation game and one that the developers made to be as realistic as possible. Those that enjoy the thrill of the hunt will likely find quite a bit to enjoy from this title alone. Players can even join in together online and compete in different hunts as they bring in different trophy-worthy prizes. However, as mentioned, players within the community have brought out a survival component to this game.
You can find a few different threads going over rules or of course the modding community, but fans have taken it upon themselves to participate in these rules as they play. For instance, the common rules that circulate online are turning off all the aids, starting with a basic weapon and bullets, along with going through some vital upkeep. To keep up vitals players may have to collect meat and water each day or sleep at an outpost regularly.
Craftopia is a pretty wacky survival game that throws a bunch of elements at players. You have building, hunting, crafting, farming, along with being a hack-and-slash title. Players can build up some automated systems to help aid them in different ways like gathering food or you could venture out to collect and tame animals. With that said, this is still an early access title so we’re really interested in seeing just what the developers end up bringing into this game down the road.
Note: Here are a few games that are upcoming and will hopefully see a launch or a release in early access at some point before 2021 officially wraps.
Icarus from developers RocketWerkz is slated for a release later this year. One of the attributes that may give this game some notoriety already is the fact that the developers behind DayZ are working on this game. This is a PvE game where players are dropped down into an alien planet to seek out valuable resources, but there could be dangers to face as well. Not to mention, players will need to keep their vitals in check so resources like oxygen and food are just as precious as the loot you’re searching for. Players can work together as well to cover more ground, but every second count. After so long, the ships that brought players down onto the planet will be flying back to the main ship so if you fail to board in time, your character is left on the planet for good which means the payload is worthless.
#9 Outpost Glacier
Outpost: Glacier is a pretty interesting game that’s only available right now through an alpha build on Itch. This is a title that has players working within the tundra for a company called ApolloCorp. Here the plan is to get the power running for outposts located in the northern region and that means crafting up the gear and trudging through the snow to connect the grid. It’s an interesting game that’s meant for multiplayer co-op, but for now, the alpha demo is only available for single-player gameplay. We’re hopeful that this game gets picked up and found through something like early access on Steam.
Smalland is an upcoming early access title that will look quite a bit like Grounded. Here players are once again taking the role of character shrunk down to the size of a small insect. Now living in a world that’s meant for someone significantly larger, players are forced into battle against small insects, rodents, to even birds. Again, like other games on this list, there’s the ability to craft items from weapons to armor and you can build up bases to make your survival a bit easier to manage. With planned PvP and co-op, we’re interested in seeing just how it stacks up against the already established Grounded video game.
#7 Little Devil Inside
Little Devil Inside is an upcoming action-adventure game with some slight survival elements. Players here are working with researchers as they attempt to learn more about the supernatural incidents that are happening around the world. We are then given a new mission as our protagonist is sent out in search of goods or taking out a monster that is roaming the area. As mentioned, there are some survival elements for when players such as starting a fire or collecting water, but the developers are making this an easier title for newcomers to the survival genre so don’t expect anything too deep here.
#6 Sons of the Forest
As mentioned earlier, a fun survival game included in the mix is The Forest, but we do know that a sequel is in the works with Sons of the Forest. Unfortunately, we don’t know a lot about this game quite yet, but it does look like there will be quite a bit more focus around survival against these mutated creatures. Quite a few fans out there enjoyed the building base aspect to the game and attempting to survive the waves of hostile enemies that came out so perhaps we’ll see more focus around that area of the game in this upcoming sequel, but for now only time will tell.
#5 Dead Matter
Dead Matter is an online MMO where the game will feature a large map that can hold not only a massive horde of zombies but up to eighty active players. In a sense, this is similar to DayZ, where the world is what you make of it and the goal is simply to survive through means of combat, joining up with players along gathering resources. Developers are hoping to make the game a bit more enduring to play with a more in-depth medical system that can help track players’ vitals from a variety of concerns that could range from a scratch to some major blood loss.
#4 The Day Before
The Day Before is probably one of the more anticipated video game titles in this upcoming section. This game looks quite a bit like Tom Clancy’s The Division, with players going around a seemingly abandoned city in search of goods. However, this is a title that focuses on a zombie apocalypse so players will find the undead lurking about. These deadly creatures will make things incredibly tense as players venture into buildings in search of useful items along with the potential to run into hostile players. As a result, having some friends join in and explore the city with you may help clear out buildings a bit easier.
#3 State of Decay 3
State of Decay 2 was mentioned in our list earlier, but we know that a new installment is being developed. State of Decay 3, at the time of writing this description, only has one trailer available. It’s a cinematic trailer so we don’t have anything to go off on in terms of the gameplay but we’re expecting the same overall mechanics from State of Decay 2 to make a return here. What does have us intrigued is the fact that there is a mutated zombie-like deer feasting on another animal which may indicate that not only will players have to worry about undead humans lurking around but undead animals as well.
Breakwaters is a bit like some of the past games we made mentioned. Here players are on a series of islands that can be explored and mined for resources as you attempt to build up bases or gather goods to help you survive. However, there is a bit of a supernatural element as well. Giant titans live under the water that will attempt to wreak havoc on players when spotted. This should make every journey to a new island or out in the oceans a bit tense as you never know when these giant beasts will rise.
#1 Dread Hunger
Dread Hunger is an upcoming deception game. In this title, players are members of a crew trying to navigate their ship across the arctic. While having to venture out to find food and build fires to keep warm, there are two traitors among the group that can taint the food, lure in animals to attack the group, perform blood magic, or even attempt to take out the group with their bare hands. It’s a brutal game and one that’s slated to hit the early access scene sometime in 2021.