The remote or abandoned island seems to be one of the most used — and most useful — settings for stories in any medium. From Daniel Defoe’s groundbreaking novel Robinson Crusoe to Ubisoft’s best-selling FPS Far Cry 3, humans have been using islands to explore various ideas and themes for centuries.
This is especially true in video games, where islands cut off from the rest of the world are the perfect places for mystical adventures, insane terrorists, and quiet puzzle solving. They can serve as places to escape to, or prisons for characters to get trapped on. Including both the serious and the silly, here are some of the best games with island settings. Also, make note that these games are not ranked in any particular order.
#24 Ghost of Tsushima
- Developer: Sucker Punch Studios
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Platforms: PS4
- Release: July 17, 2020
Ghost of Tsushima is the last big exclusive for the PlayStation 4 and it comes from the development team Sucker Punch Studios. These are the guys that did the Sly Cooper franchise along with Infamous, but it’s been several years since they brought anything out. That changed in July of 2020 where we got Ghost of Tsushima. It’s a samurai game that again not only has a big development team name behind it, but also looked incredibly fun for the title’s marketing. In this game, players take the role of Jin Sakai on the island of Tsushima.
A Mongol invasion occurs and the samurai puts up their best fight but with an outmatched enemy, which doesn’t really care about some of the traditions that the samurai hold. In the end of the first bout Jin ultimately becomes the last man standing against a seemingly unstoppable force. Left for dead during his first fight with the wave of Mongols, Jin is forced into recovering and learning some new techniques that the samurai way doesn’t necessarily teach. In fact, he becomes so strong as the game progresses that Jin becomes a legend known as the Ghost on this island.
It’s a sword combat type of game so you can expect plenty of blocking, dodges, and parrying to win battles. However, the way the sword slices through the enemy and the feeling of being just an ultimate badass when all the enemies you faced against lay around you ultimately feels satisfying. Of course, the island has plenty of quests to take on despite not having really all that much to explore. Without spoiling too much about this game, if you’re interested in finding out more that I suggest checking out our Before You Buy episode upload above. We offer some gameplay footage along with some more of our initial impressions on the title.
#23 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Developer: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Release: March 20, 2020
There’s a big fan base for Animal Crossing and with each new installment comes a flock of players looking to pick up a copy. Animal Crossing: New Horizons acts similar to the past installments, where players are building up a community and living day-to-day life. However, there are some new mechanics such as crafting your own tools through the resources you gather. Likewise, this game is set on an island that you’ll have to clean up and manage. Once you have everything in order you’ll slowly build up a community to interact with. This game series has mainly retained the same mechanics and goals. However, with the ability to connect with friends, visit other islands, and of course trade some goods, you’ll sink a ton of time within the game world.
#22 Path of Exile
- Developer: Grinding Gear Games
- Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
- Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
- Release: October 23, 2013
Path of Exile is a great alternative to the Diablo franchise. This is a free-to-play game that’s not only a solid action RPG but one that has been supported for years. Fans have been going through countless free expansions so if you’re just discovering this game, you’ll have plenty of content go through right now. In Path of Exile, players wash up on the shores of an island that houses criminals that prisons deemed to foul to keep. From here you’re on your own where an assortment of creatures freely roam. Take on quests from those that now dwell the island as their home, group up with friends, and embark on a grand adventure. Since this game has been around since 2013, there is news that a sequel is coming out. So we should see a Path of Exile 2 release in the near future.
#21 Dead Island
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO
- Release: September 6, 2011
Techland’s survival game may be most remembered for its fantastic first trailer, but the game is set in an open-world island. This island is struck with a pandemic after a disease spreads turning humans into mindless zombies. Four survivors wake up to find out that everyone else on the resort island has been infected.
Now in order to escape this island, players will have to find other survivors and work on a means to securing a way back to safety. While it can easily be argued that Dying Light is a better iteration on Dead Island, the tropical island resort setting definitely made Techland’s first major project interesting.
#20 The Suffering
- Developer: Surreal Software
- Publisher: Midway Games, Encore, Zoo Digital Publishing
- Platforms: PS2, Xbox, PC
- Release: March 8, 2004
If you enjoy horror titles then The Suffering may be worth checking out. Released back in 2004 and developed by Surreal Software, The Suffering is a third-person shooter psychological horror video game. Players take on the role of Torque who is a prisoner waiting on death row for his execution date after being found guilty of murdering his ex-wife and children.
Torque claims to be innocent, however, after an earthquake hits the prison located on an island, our protagonist may be able to escape, but, he may find himself facing against other inmates along with a slew of supernatural threats.
Find more great games set on an island on the next page!