[Top 25] Best Survival Games To Play Right Now

Best Survival Games
Don't Starve Together is definitely fun, dynamic, heart pounding, and a great survival game!

[Top 25] Best Survival Games To Play Right Now

25. RUST (MacOS/Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS4)

Rust is a multiplayer-only survival video game developed by Facepunch Studios. Rust was first released in early access in December 2013 and received its full release in February 2018. Rust is available on Microsoft Windows and macOS. Console versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been announced for release in 2021. Rust was initially created as a clone of DayZ, a popular mod for ARMA 2, with crafting elements akin to those in Minecraft.

The objective of Rust is to survive in the wilderness using gathered or stolen materials. Players must successfully manage their hunger, thirst, and health, or risk dying. Despite the presence of hostile animals such as bears and wolves, the primary threat to the player is other players due to the game being solely multiplayer. Combat is accomplished through firearms and various weapons, such as bows. In addition, vehicles controlled by non-player characters will occasionally roam, attacking armed players. Rust features crafting, though initially limited until the discovery of specific items in the game's open world. To stay protected, players must build bases or join clans to improve their chance of survival. 

After being fully released, Rust garnered "mixed or average" reviews on review aggregator website Metacritic.Critics praised the PvP combat, difficulty, and survival aspects, while grinding and the experience had by new players came under some criticism.Many critics held the opinion that while starting anew was frustrating, the combat was rewarding. Nonetheless, some critics praised the game's difficulty, mentioning the satisfaction they felt after managing to survive successfully. Porreca recommended the game to those willing to dedicate time, saying the game offers "a social sandbox and a deep, functioning crafting system".

Winkie expressed interest in the necessity of managing hunger, thirst, and health while learning more and discovering better items. He also expressed a sense of appreciation for those dedicated to the game, mentioning the YouTube videos of large, multi-clan raids. He closed the review saying everyone should try Rust due to its difference from other games.

24. Valheim (Microsoft Windows)

Valheim is an upcoming survival and sandbox video game by the Swedish developer Iron Gate Studio. Published by Coffee Stain Studios, it was released in early access on 2 February 2021 for Windows and Linux on Steam. The premise of the game is that players are Vikings in an afterlife where they have to craft tools, build shelters and fight enemies to survive. The game uses stylized 3D graphics with a third-person perspective and a combat system inspired by action games. Co-operative gameplay with up to nine people and optional PvP gameplay are also supported.

There are multiple biomes available for the player as they progress throughout the game, ranging from meadows, black forest, swamp, mountains, plains, ocean, mistlands, deep north and ashlands. Each biome is unique and has its own difficulty level with different enemies, bosses and items. Combat ranges between close combat with both one and two-handed weapons, shields, and long range bows. Players can travel through the different biomes by either foot or boat, where the boats ranges from rafts to full Viking longships.

Valheim has received positive reviews from both critics and users. As of 3 March 2021, the game is ranked as number 39 in the best user reviewed games on Steam of all time. IGN gave the game a rating of 9/10, stating that the game has "excellent art and music highlighting a world that generates endless exciting stories". A month after its release, it had sold five million copies and was one of the most-played games on Steam. By March 2021, the game sold more than 5.7 million copies.

23. The Forest (Microsoft Windows/PS4)

The Forest is a survival horror video game developed and published by Endnight Games. The game takes place on a remote, heavily forested peninsula where the player character Eric Leblanc and his son Timmy are survivors of a plane crash. The game features nonlinear gameplay in an open world environment played from a first-person perspective, with no set missions or quests, empowering the player to make their own decisions for survival. Following a four-year long early access beta phase, the game was released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018, and for the PlayStation 4 in November 2018.

The player possesses a survival guide book that the playable character authors, which contains many useful tips and general information about wilderness survival. The survival guide is also crucial because it allows for the player to build blueprints for various different structures that can aid the player in their survival. The player can choose to build a specific structure and then select a specific place where to place that structure in the world. Once the blueprint is placed, the player then needs to gather the necessary resources, such as sticks, rocks, logs, etc. in order to complete the particular structure. The player can choose from various structures and buildings in the survival guide. These include basic survival shelters, wooden cabins, treehouses, tree platforms, as well as custom-designed structures, which the player can modify in terms of size, shape, and position. 

The game received positive reception during its early access period.The game sold over 5.3 million copies on Windows by November 2018.The game's success spawned a sequel, titled Sons of the Forest, which is under development.

22. Raft (Microsoft Windows)

By yourself or with friends, your mission is to survive an epic oceanic adventure across a perilous sea! Gather debris to survive, expand your raft and be wary of the dangers of the ocean!

Trapped on a small raft with nothing but a hook made of old plastic, players awake on a vast, blue ocean totally alone and with no land in sight! With a dry throat and an empty stomach, survival will not be easy!

Raft throws you and your friends into an epic adventure out on the big open sea, with the objective to stay alive, gather resources and build yourself a floating home worthy of survival.

Resources are tough to come at sea: Players will have to make sure to catch whatever debris floats by using their trusty hook and when possible, scavenge the reefs beneath the waves. However, thirst and hunger is not the only danger in the ocean… watch out for the man-eating shark determined to end your voyage!

21. SCUM (Microsoft Windows)

Scum is an upcoming multiplayer online survival game, developed by Croatian studio Gamepires, available under the Steam Early Access program. The game is described as a "prison riot survival game" and will feature an open world. It entered Steam's early access program on 29 August 2018, with a full release scheduled for sometime in 2021.

The gameplay takes place in Croatia where up to 100 players per server will attempt to survive and get off the island by first removing the implant which prevents them from leaving. The player will earn fame points through participation in various action-driven events or simply by surviving in a hostile environment. These fame points allow the player to be cloned back in case of death, and used as currency to purchase or trade in various safe zones. Players will be able to fortify existing structures and points in order to secure positions or store items when needed.

The player character will possess four main attributes: strength, dexterity, constitution and intelligence. These will let players create characters to suit their playing style of preference. It promises to simulate the human body, and as such uses a special interface connected to the player's "BCU monitor" which tracks character's calories, vitamins, health and other stats. Players can choose to ignore these elements of the game, or can delve deep into these systems in order to improve the character's performance (speed, stamina, weight to carry etc.). 

Another aspect is digestion; for instance, if a character gets all of their teeth knocked out, they will have to find a way to liquify food in order to digest it. Defecating and urinating will leave physical evidence of activities on the island, which could be used to track another player. Things like combat will depend on the player's skill level, but also on things like stamina, health and so on. Wetness, smell, medicine, cooking, hacking, crafting, hunting and poison will also play a major role in the gameplay. The game will offer both third and first-person perspectives, from which the player can alternate, but will prevent third-person peeking by hiding anything a character cannot see. SCUM also offers a realistic night vision that simulates photons hitting the lenses and the infrared light emitting from the goggles.

The game was named as one of the best indie games of PAX East 2018 by Game Informer. It received similar attention from GameSpot, listing it as among the most noteworthy games of PAX East 2018. The game sold over 250,000 copies within its first 24 hours in early access, 700,000 in its first week, and over one million sales by the third week

20. DayZ (Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS4)

DayZ is a survival video game developed and published by Bohemia Interactive. It is the standalone successor of the mod of the same name for the game ARMA 2. Following a five-year long early access period for Windows, the game was officially released in December 2018, and was released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2019.

The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet Republic of Chernarus, where a mysterious plague has turned most of the population into violent "infected". As a survivor, the player must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding the infected, and killing, avoiding, or cooperating with other players in an effort to survive the outbreak.

DayZ began development in 2012 when the mod's creator, Dean Hall, joined Bohemia Interactive to commence work on the standalone version of the game. The development has been focused on altering the engine to suit the game's needs, developing a working client-server architecture, and introducing new features like diseases and a better inventory system. The game sold over three million copies during its early access phase.

The goal of DayZ is to stay alive and healthy during the conditions of the zombie outbreak that have befallen the in-game world. The player begins equipped with only simple clothes, a glow stick and 4 rags, and must begin exploring the large 225 km landscape of the fictional former Soviet Republic of Chernarus to investigate locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the player's life. Beyond the basics of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allow them to customize their characters, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies and warmth. Also scattered around the map are a variety of weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies and other players, if necessary.

These are largely focused on a range of melee weapons, but a small number of firearms are present, as well as various attachments such as bipods and telescopic sights. Player interaction is a major part of DayZ gameplay. The game provides in-game voice chat which allows players to communicate with each other within a certain distance. Text chat is also provided. DayZ also provides in-game actions such as the ability to wave to other players and allowing players to put their hands up in order to show that they surrender.

The alpha release sold over 172,500 copies in the first 24 hours, totaling over US$5 million in sales. During peak sales, over 200 copies were being purchased per minute and after one week over 400,000 copies had been sold. The game reached a total of more than a million sales while remaining at the top of Steam's sales charts for two weeks in a row. In an alpha review of DayZ, Rick Lane of Eurogamer commented positively on the new additions but said that the game may not be worth the current price until more features have been added. On the other hand, Craig Pearson of PC Gamer said that he had good experiences in DayZ and that it was already worth the price. By May 2014, the game had sold over two million copies. increasing to over four million by November 2018

19. RimWorld (Microsoft Windows/MacOS)

The game has a small variety of scenarios to choose from, although the core gameplay is the same. The player characters (referred to as "pawns" in game documentation) are stranded on a planet located in the frontiers of known space (a "rim world"). The characters have a randomly generated set of traits which affect how they can contribute to the colony, the decisions they make, and how their existence affects the other characters. As time goes on, more characters will join the colony. Characters can be rescued after crash-landing on the player map, they can wander in, or they can be captured after a raid.

The game can end when at least one character has escaped the planet on a spaceship, or when they are all dead. With the Royalty DLC, the game can also end by hosting the High Stellarch, leader of one of the factions that inhabit the Rim, and leaving the colony with them.

The objective of the game is to ensure the survival of a colony of people, fighting against various environmental and/or internal events. Much of the difficulty as well as the critical acclaim for the game come from its unpredictability, through randomly generated events, and its extensively designed and customizable world. As the game progresses events become progressively harder and the player can unlock more advanced technology through research. The game has a top-down, two-dimensional view.

RimWorld has received generally positive reviews from critics. Nomura Hikaru of IGN rated the game 9/10, describing it as "an all-in-one package for management simulation", and writing positively of the way it handled the player failing and its ability to tell a story. Sam Greer of PC Gamer gave a generally positive review, declaring that it was "a rich colony sim" and finding that its mid and late games were entertaining, while criticising its early game as somewhat tedious. Brendan Caldwell of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote positively of the game, praising it as a "wonderful fiasco", and writing positively of its ability to create drama. RimWorld has been favourably compared to other management-survival games such as Dwarf Fortress.

18. Grounded (Windows/Xbox One/Xbox Series XS)

Grounded is a survival game that can be played either in first-person or a third-person. In the game, the protagonist is shrunk to the size of an ant and must strive to survive in a backyard. In the game, the player character needs to consume an adequate amount of food and water, or they will lose health due to starvation or dehydration respectively. The backyard is filled with various bugs and insects, such as spiders, bees, dust mites, and ladybugs. Different insects serve different purposes in the game. For instance, spiders are one of the game's apex predators that will hunt down the players, ladybugs can lead players to food sources, and aphids can be cooked and consumed for food. Players can also cut down grass to collect dewdrops. The game has an accessibility option for players who have arachnophobia, which allows players to decide how scary spiders are going to be in the game.

As players progress in the game, they will visit new areas in the backyard. The game's difficulty would slowly increase and enemies that are more dangerous would be introduced. Throughout the game, players need to scavenge resources in the world in order to construct a base so as to defend themselves from hostile enemies, in particular during nighttime as some of the insects become more aggressive. The resources can also be used to craft different tools, traps and weapons, such as axes, spears and bows and arrows, to defeat enemies. Players also need to manage their stamina as the playable character may become exhausted in sustained combat. The game can be played solo, though it also has a four-player cooperative multiplayer mode.

The team chose the backyard as the game's setting as the team felt that it is a recognizable and approachable location. Also, they believed that a backyard can also be "larger-than-life" and have a "real sense of danger". The game's director, Adam Brennecke, compared the setting to a "theme park", as the team added numerous landmarks into the world in an attempt to make it more interesting.

The team envisioned a game world that was interactable, and that players' actions would change the state of the world. Brennecke added that the game would feature a "memorable" story like other Obsidian's games. The team worked extensively on the artificial intelligence of insects, which govern their behaviors. For instance, ants are curious about the player character and initially do not attack. However, if the player builds a base around their food, or the player character becomes stronger and the ants begin to see them as a threat, they will attack the players.

17. Hunt: Showdown (Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS4)

Hunt: Showdown is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by Crytek. It was launched on Steam in early access on 22 February 2018, and for Xbox Game Preview on 29 May 2019. The full release of the game launched on 27 August 2019 for Microsoft Windows, it was also released on Xbox One on 19 September 2019  and PlayStation 4 on 18 February 2020. In the game, the player assumes the role of a bounty hunter who must kill a mythical monster in order to claim the bounty and survive long enough to reach an exfiltration point.

Hunt: Showdown is a multiplayer first-person shooter with two gameplay modes. In "Bounty Hunt'', the player plays as a bounty hunter who hunts down mythical monsters to claim a bounty. Players can work on their own or with up to two other players to find clues about the monster's location in several maps. Each map functions as a medium-sized open world filled with other environmental dangers and enemies such as zombified townspeople. As the player collects more clues, the location of the monster's lair is narrowed down. There are three monsters, including a butcher, a giant spider, and an assassin, at launch. 

Players can use a variety of weapons ranging from shotguns to crossbows to defeat their enemies, though the amount of ammo is scarce in this game, forcing players to rely on melee weapons such as knives and machetes when they are facing the lesser enemies. They also have access to a large variety of tools such as traps and decoys. Upon killing the monster, players will collect the bounty and need to survive until they can reach one of the exfiltration points. 

The locations of these exits are randomly placed in a map. Collecting a bounty gives the player limited ability to see the approximate location of other nearby players, but also reveals the bounty-holder's location to all other players in the in-game map. Players can steal a bounty by killing a current bounty-holder, which is a core strategic component of the game. Each match supports up to 12 players. The game's second mode, "Quickplay", is a battle royale mode that lasts for 15 minutes. In each match, the player is tasked to activate all four energy wellsprings in a map and fend off hostile attacks.

The game received generally positive reviews upon release according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics praised the game for its innovative gameplay loop and noted that the game offered a very unique experience when compared with other multiplayer games in the market, though some critics were disappointed by the game's lack of content at launch.

16. Green Hell (Microsoft Windows/Nintendo Switch)

The game is played in first-person perspective in single player mode or in co-op multiplayer. It is an open world simulation in which the player has to ensure their survival by collecting raw materials and food as well as crafting objects and cabins. The player starts in a lone jungle camp without any further context. The environment of the game changes dynamically and influences the physical and psychological state of the character, e.g. in the form of hallucinations. Furthermore, the player must pay attention to a balanced diet, which is explained by a smartwatch. 

The player must sleep enough and must maintain their health by e.g. avoiding contact with poisonous animals or unsavory food and avoid injuries. To restore health, the player can make medicine and bandages. A compass and GPS serve as navigation aids.In the optional story mode, the player follows a frame story that revolves around the search for their missing lover.

The story revolves around anthropologist and rainforest researcher Jake Higgins, who wakes up in the jungle on the edge of the Amazon River. He tries to familiarize himself with the surroundings to ensure his survival and to find his lover Mia again. She is a linguist and wants to make first contact with the indigenous people of Yabahuca. The story is told from the first-person perspective by Jake, who notices that his wife is in danger. His only connection to her is through a radio.

The title was well received by critics. On Metacritic it holds an approval rating of 77/100, based on twelve reviews. On 24 June 2020 Creepy Jar announced that the game sold over 1 million copies. The game was nominated for Central & Eastern European Game Awards 2019 in the categories Best Game and Best Design.

15. Frostpunk (Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS4/Mac OS)

Frostpunk is a city-building survival game developed and published by 11 bit studios. Players take on the role of a leader in an alternate-history late 19th century, in which they must build and maintain a city during a worldwide volcanic winter, managing resources, making choices on how to survive, and exploring the area outside their city for survivors, resources, or other useful items. The game features several scenarios to undertake, each with their own stories and different challenges.

The player, known simply as "the Captain", starts out with a small group of survivors that consists of workers, engineers, and children, and several small caches of supplies with which to build a city. From there players harvest coal, wood, steel and food in order to keep their society warm and healthy in the midst of constantly fluctuating temperatures. Weather conditions and political turmoil can cause citizens to not want to work as hard. In most scenarios save for "On the Edge" the entire city is centered around the generator, a coal-reliant steam engine that produces heat in a circular radius, which can be extended and intensified throughout the game, requiring greater coal input. The game emphasizes the need to prioritize buildings depending on the heat they require; houses and medical facilities will require close placement to the reactor, lest the player face outbreaks of frostbite and illness. While houses can be insulated better throughout the game, medical facilities will need to be kept above -20°C, or face being inoperable. Workplaces will also need to be insulated, which can be achieved through gathering posts or steam turbines, or completely circumvented with the introduction of machine labor, or "Automatons".

The player has the option to use laws to regulate the productivity of their society at the cost of possibly raising discontent, e.g. allowing child labour or forcing temporary 24-hour shifts, but also laws to develop better healthcare like prosthetics or extra rations to the sick. In most scenarios, the player also has the option to increase the citizens' support either by "Order" which includes buildings and laws to enforce security, or by "Faith", which includes buildings and laws that implement a religion. These two paths can be continued to the point of fanaticism, with the "Order" path leading to a militaristic autocracy, while the "Faith" path leads to a total theocracy.

The game is set in an alternate 1886 where the eruptions of Krakatoa and Mount Tambora, the dimming of the Sun, and other unknown factors caused a worldwide volcanic winter. This in turn led to widespread crop failure and the death of millions. This event roughly lines up with the historical 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, a volcanic event that led to global cooling.

In response to this, several installations called "generators" were built by the British Empire and the United States in the coal-rich North, designed to be city centers in the event that dropping temperatures force mass migration from the south. In all scenarios, the player is the leader of a city around a generator, and will have to manage resources to ensure the city's survival.

Frostpunk received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic. It was nominated for "Best Strategy Game" at the Game Critics Awards, for "Best Visual Design" and "PC Game of the Year" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, and for "Best Strategy Game" at The Game Awards 2018. It won the award for "Strategy Title of the Year" at the Australian Game Awards 2018, and was nominated for "Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year" at the D.I.C.E. Awards for "Game, Simulation" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards, for "Music of the Year", "Best Original Soundtrack Album", and "Best Music for an Indie Game" at the 2019 G.A.N.G. Awards, and for "Narrative" at the 15th British Academy Games Awards.

As with many other titles by 11 Bit Studios, Frostpunk places more emphasis on its story than sandbox features. While the plot and soundtrack have been greatly praised, some have criticised the lack of replayability, citing the predictability of the story upon repeat. Frostpunk does have endless game modes, where the player can build and expand their city with dynamic challenges, however many still feel there is a missed opportunity in sandbox features.

14. Starbound (Microsoft Windows/OS X/Linux/PS4/PS Vita/Xbox One)

Starbound is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Chucklefish. Starbound takes place in a two-dimensional, procedurally generated universe which the player is able to explore in order to obtain new weapons, armor, and items, and to visit towns and villages inhabited by various intelligent lifeforms. 

Starbound begins with the player inside a spacecraft after the destruction of Earth, home of an intergalactic peacekeeping organization known as the Terrene Protectorate, while just having graduated from its ranks. With nothing to guide it, the shuttle shoots into space without direction, becoming lost in a sea of stars. The space shuttle orbits a habitable planet and an adventure begins that takes the player hurtling across the universe. Starbound contains both quests and story driven missions, buried inside its vast sandbox universe. The space shuttle acts as the player's vehicle while exploring the galaxy, containing a teleport pad the player can use to teleport down to the planets the shuttle is visiting, a ship locker for storing items, a fuel panel for refueling the ship and a cockpit for piloting the ship. The interior of the ship is also fully customizable, with items and blocks able to be freely placed within the ship.

Many gameplay elements and features, such as items, enemies, and planets, use procedural generation in order to provide a variety of content. The game features story-based missions, quests, free world exploration, enemies to fight, and the ability to interact with and terraform the environment. Player class is defined by items that the player is wearing. The player also has the ability to farm and sell crops, build buildings, and charge rent to traveling NPCs.

Starbound received favourable reviews upon its release, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. IGN praised Starbound's crafting, exploration, and combat mechanics, comparing it to Terraria. Christopher Livingston of PC Gamer stated that Starbound was a charming space sandbox that would keep players entertained for hours. Nathan Grayson of Kotaku praised its exploration elements, calling the universe "strange and unpredictable" enough that players would never quite grow tired of it.

13. Unturned (Microsoft Windows/MacOS/Xbox One/PS4/Xbox Series XS)

Unturned features several different game modes, all of which consist of the same basic concept of zombie survival. The game also has multiple difficulty settings.

In the survival game mode, the player's character is spawned on a game map with clothes depending on their skill set. Players must find weapons and supplies to survive against the zombies. As the player progresses through the game, they gain experience points which can then be used for upgrades. Survival mode is also available in multiplayer. The greater aim is to survive, but the players may team-up or fight each other. Players must keep up their health, food and water, and radiation levels. Radiation damage can be obtained from getting hit by zombies or entering "dead zones" without proper hazmat protection. 

The game's multiplayer option has created a platform for multiple kinds of gameplay, such as survival, roleplay, creative, paintball and a battle royale like arena style arena matches where Nelson first started his development career. The game has a chance to give players a cosmetic item, like clothing or effects for their character, or camouflage or skins for weapons. Players can purchase keys, cases, and other items from the Steam Market. The game supports the use of the steam workshop to add custom items, vehicles, armor, and weapons to either enhance or change the basic experience. Many popular user-created maps are curated, and many custom skins for items in the base game are added with updates. However, although the game supports mods, the game's files are closed source and players cannot add new categories of assets, they instead must place their creations in an already existing category.

The game has several maps available. Arena game mode is for multiplayer only. Players are spawned in the middle of a map with supplies and weapons scattered around. The winner is the last person, or the last team, alive. Players may die due to being slain by other players or by crossing the boundaries of the map. The game will also spawn helpful items like armor, attachments for guns, and the 3 types of health items. These items are essential, as the game has an intense bleeding out mechanic that can finish a player without medical supplies.

According to gaming website Kotaku, Unturned was one of the most-popular games on Steam in mid-2014. Both Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun characterized the game's popularity as unexpected, since the game is mainly developed by a single person without a major studio's resources. PC Gamer said that while Unturned had few real ideas on its own, it was a "simple, accessible survival-simulator" that players may enjoy provided they could "stomach the low production values".

12. No Man’s Sky (PS4/Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS5/Xbox Series XS)

No Man's Sky is an exploration survival game developed and published by Hello Games. It was released worldwide for the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows in August 2016, for Xbox One in July 2018, and for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S consoles in November 2020. The game is built around four pillars: exploration, survival, combat, and trading. Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open world universe, which includes over 18 quintillion planets. Through the game's procedural generation system, planets have their own ecosystems with unique forms of flora and fauna, and various sentient alien species may engage the player in combat or trade within planetary systems. Players advance in the game by mining for resources to power and improve their equipment, buying and selling resources using credits earned by documenting flora and fauna, or otherwise seeking out the mystery around the Atlas, an entity at the center of the galaxy which serves the game's overarching plot.

No Man's Sky is an action-adventure survival game played from a first or third person perspective that allows players to engage in four principal activities: exploration, survival, combat, and trading The player takes the role of a specimen of alien humanoid planetary explorer, known in-game as the Traveller, in an uncharted universe. They start on a random planet near a crashed spacecraft at the edge of the galaxy, and are equipped with a survival exosuit with a jetpack, and a "multitool" that can be used to scan, mine and collect resources as well as to attack or defend oneself from creatures and hostile forces. The player can collect, repair, and refuel the craft, allowing them to travel about the planet, between other planets and space stations in the local planetary system, engage in space combat with alien factions, or make hyperspace jumps to other star systems. While the game is open ended, the player may follow the guidance of the entity known as the Atlas to head towards the centre of the galaxy.

The defining feature of No Man's Sky is that nearly all parts of the galaxy, including stars, planets, flora and fauna on these planets, and sentient alien encounters, are created through procedural generation using deterministic algorithms and random number generators from a single seed number. This 64-bit value leads to there being over 18 quintillion (1.8×1019) planets to explore within the game. Very little data is stored on the game's servers, as all elements of the game are created through deterministic calculations when the player is near them, assuring that other players will see the same elements as another player by travelling to the same location in the galaxy. The player may make temporary changes on planets, such as mining resources, but these changes are not tracked once the player leaves that vicinity. Only some "significant" changes, such as destroying a space station, are tracked for all players on the game's servers. The game uses different servers for the PlayStation 4 and Windows versions.

Through exploration, the player is credited with "units", the in-game currency, by observing not-yet-seen planets, alien bases, flora and fauna in their travels. If the player is first to discover one of these, they can earn additional units by uploading this information to the Atlas, as well as having their name credited with the discovery to be seen by other players through the game's servers. Players also have the opportunity to rename these features at this point within limits set by a content filter. No Man's Sky can be played offline, but interaction with the Atlas requires online connectivity.

The player must assure the survival of the Traveller, as many planets have dangerous atmospheres such as extreme temperatures, toxic gases, and dangerous storms. Though the player can seek shelter at alien bases or caves, these environments will wear away at the exosuit's shielding and armour and can kill the Traveller, thus the player must collect resources necessary for survival. By collecting blueprints, the player can use resources to craft upgrades to their exosuit, multitool, and spacecraft to make survival easier, with several of these upgrades working in synergistic manners to improve the survivability and capabilities of the Traveller.

No Man's Sky received mixed reviews at its 2016 launch, with some critics praising the technical achievements of the procedurally generated universe, while others considered the gameplay lackluster and repetitive. However, the critical response was marred by the lack of several features that had been reported to be in the game, particularly multiplayer capabilities, though Murray had tried to downplay expectations prior to release. The game was further criticised due to Hello Games' lack of communication in the months following the launch, creating a hostile backlash from some of its player base. Murray stated later that Hello Games had failed to control the exaggerated expectations of the game from the media and the larger-than-expected player count at launch, and since have taken an approach of remaining quiet about updates to the game until they are nearly ready to ship to avoid miscommunication. The promotion and marketing for No Man's Sky became a subject of debate, and the video game industry has used it as an example of missteps to avoid in marketing.

11. State Of Decay 2 (Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/Xbox Series XS)

State of Decay 2 is an open world zombie survival video game developed by Undead Labs and published by Xbox Game Studios. It is a sequel to the 2013 video game State of Decay. The game was released on May 22, 2018 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. An optimized version was also released for Xbox Series X/S on December 2, 2020. Like its predecessor, players are required to build a community, manage resources and survive against the horde of zombies. The game received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its difficulty, musical score and combat, but criticized the technical issues and the lack of depth in the survival and management mechanics.

State of Decay 2 is a zombie survival game, with an emphasis on scavenging for items, in which gameplay is experienced from a third-person view. The game is set in an open world environment and features cooperative gameplay with up to three other players.

State of Decay 2 received "mixed or average" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.

Alessandro Barbosa of GameSpot gave State of Decay 2 a 5/10, enjoying the satisfying combat but taking issue with the lack of depth in its survival systems and the amount of bugs; he felt that "State of Decay 2 sometimes feels like a far-too-real representation of the mundane reality that comes with surviving a zombie apocalypse." Dan Stapleton of IGN also disliked the game's bugs and lack of depth, particularly with the board-game-style management. However, he praised the combat, calling it "simple but satisfying", and the variety of zombies and the persistent fear of permanent death; he awarded it a 7.5/10

10. Oxygen Not Included (Microsoft Windows/Mac OS)

Oxygen Not Included is a simulation survival game. At the start of a new game, three colonists (referred to as duplicants) find themselves in an asteroid with isolated pockets of breathable atmosphere, with no memory of how they got there. The player is tasked with managing and taking care of these duplicates as they try to survive and create a sustainable makeshift space colony. The player must monitor the duplicants' hunger, waste, and oxygen levels to keep them alive. Each game's world is procedurally generated. The world is then subdivided into various regions or "biomes'' that contain different and often biome specific materials and critters. While initial areas have a breathable atmosphere, subsequent areas are in a vacuum or lack oxygen, requiring proper preparation by the duplicants before they explore these areas. The world also contains several hazards such as diseases and extreme temperatures. The game simulates the diffusion of gases and equalization of atmospheres when a new natural chamber is opened, which can cause oxygen levels to drop in existing chambers, as well as the draining of liquids by gravity.

To help establish the colony, the player directs the duplicants to perform certain tasks, such as mining for resources, growing food, crafting equipment, researching new technologies, and maintaining their own health through nourishment, rest, and hygiene.The player does not control the duplicants directly, and instead provides prioritized instructions, from which the duplicates will then follow to the best of their abilities. For example, the player can order a conduit of wire to be built; which will have the duplicants collect the materials to make the wire, clear away any materials around the conduit's path, and then construct the wire. If the duplicants cannot access a source of copper for the wire, the task will remain incomplete as the duplicants go to complete other tasks they can do.

The game was nominated for "Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year" at the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, and for "Strategy/Simulation" at the 2020 Webby Awards. Nate Crowley, writing for Rock Paper Shotgun praised the game's design and progression, but questioned the ever-growing complexity as a deterrent to more casual gamers, especially those without backgrounds in science and engineering. GameCentral also gave the game positive reviews, with a total 8/10, praising the scientific accuracy as well as the design, but raising concerns about the difficulty, especially with the lack of in-game learning tools.

9. Kenshi (Windows)

Kenshi is an open world role-playing video game with real-time strategy elements that has no linear narrative. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting, where it is incredibly difficult for life to survive. The player starts out with no skills and struggles to survive in the early stages of the game. Skills are leveled up through doing actions, such as leveling up thievery by stealing items, and the player can recruit other units to grow their squad. The player can recruit characters from numerous different factions and species to join their squad, and can eventually build a town themselves. 

As part of the damage system, limbs can be severed or damaged individually as well. Kenshi has many non-player locations, of sizes ranging from a single building to large cities. The game includes a world states system which creates reactions to deaths of notable people. These reactions to power vacuums can result in new locations spawning or in towns being taken over by new factions. Zones in Kenshi are not just aesthetic, as they have specific soil types, resource availability, and seasons. These factors come into play when players are constructing outposts. Even without building anything, weather can give players pause as harmful weather effects can occur all across the map.

Kenshi received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic. PC Gamer's Robert Zak praised the game's giant size and scope, but noted that the game could get "grindy" and that the game's UI "can get cumbersome as your group's numbers grow." Rock, Paper, Shotgun noted the game's depth and compared Kenshi positively to Dwarf Fortress.

8. Fallout 76 (Microsoft Windows/Xbox One/PS4)

Fallout 76 is Bethesda Game Studios' first online multiplayer game. Players may play individually or with a party of up to three others. The servers for the game are public dedicated servers, with the player automatically allocated to one of them. While the game was expected to launch with public servers only, executive producer Todd Howard revealed plans for private servers to be introduced some time after the game's launch. These private servers allow players to invite friends and to prevent undesirable aspects of player versus player gameplay such as grief from affecting an individual player's experience of the game. Howard described the delay as being necessary to allow Bethesda time to assure the stability of public servers. Elements of previous Fallout games are present and are modified to work with the real-time game. The V.A.T.S. system—a mechanic introduced in Fallout 3 that allows players to pause the game to target specific locations on an enemy's body to attack—is used in Fallout 76 as a real-time system, though it still allows players to specify targets on an enemy's body.

The game includes revisions to the SPECIAL progression system. Character attributes fall into one of seven categories: strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck. As the player levels up, they are able to spend skill points to boost their attributes on a scale of one to fifteen. Players are able to choose perks, or passive abilities that offer gameplay bonuses. These perks fall into each of the SPECIAL categories and take the form of trading cards. Each card has a value and the player can adopt perks equal to their respective value; for example, if the player has a strength rating of five, then they may equip strength perks worth five points. The player can merge similar cards together to create more powerful—albeit more expensive—perks. The system is designed to encourage the player to recognise the situation they are in and choose perks that aid them rather than passively selecting them and having them for the duration of the game.

Players are able to use nuclear weapons to temporarily change the areas of the game world. After acquiring launch codes, the player can access missile silos and fire a missile at almost any point on the map. This irradiates the area, which the player can explore to find rare weapons, gear and items. However, it also attracts powerful enemies and the player needs to be sufficiently strong to survive. The game includes a photo mode; the player has the ability to pose their character and choose from a variety of facial expressions and filters.

A battle royale gamemode, known as Nuclear Winter, uses many base features of the game, but expands upon them following the battle royale genre. Players start off in Vault 51, which is set on a timer or until the maximum player count is achieved, which will prompt an on-screen map to appear where teams can choose where they spawn. Nuclear Winter features parts from the base game such as building using collected blueprints and the ability to launch nuclear payloads via collecting multiple launch codes and a briefcase.

The game was also criticized for its initial complete absence of interactive human NPCs. GameSpot said that "without having any of those people present to tell their stories personally, [Fallout 76]'s world is limited to being little more than just an environmental exhibit with things to kill", and that "there are no strong emotional anchors to help you become truly invested...". They also wrote that quests simply exist of "long monologues and one-way directives from a person who no longer exists and you can't interact with ... your actions ultimately won't affect anyone, or the rest of the world for that matter". PC World similarly took issue, writing "robots aren't really NPCs as much as quest dispensers ... they don't talk with you, they talk at you". Additionally, they disliked the readable terminals and holotapes: "none of it feels important or even particularly interesting" as they were "no substitute for an actual conversation".

Many reviewers noted a large number of bugs and glitches present in Fallout 76, affecting numerous aspects of the game, as well as stability, performance and graphical issues. In response, Bethesda issued several patches, the size of the first being 50GB, which nearly eclipsed the size of the game itself. However, many of the attempted fixes garnered player disgruntlement for failing to resolve some of the more notable technical issues, removing features previously thought intentional, and inadvertently resulting in further bugs, some of which had been fixed previously. A number of fans subsequently expressed their desire for Bethesda to use a public test server for new patches before their release.

The game's controversial subscription service also received further negative attention upon its launch in October 2019 due to a range of issues. In particular, players reported that private servers used to present a newly created version of the game's world contained dead NPCs and looted areas, implying that the servers were recycled instances that people had already used. Additionally, players found that they were not able to go "invisible" and restrict their private server to a few select friends; instead, anyone on their friends list could see and join the server. Another technical issue with the subscription model concerned a box that allowed for an unlimited depositing of crafting materials, with players storing their items accordingly and then returning later to find that the contents of the box had disappeared

7. 7 Days To Die (Microsoft Windows/Mac OS X/PS4/Xbox One)

The game's events happen during the aftermath of a nuclear Third World War that destroyed an extremely large part of the world, except for some areas such as the fictional county of Navezgane, Arizona. The player is a survivor of the war who must survive by finding shelter, food and water, as well as scavenging supplies to fend off the numerous zombies (hinted to be the consequence of nuclear fallout) that populate Navezgane. Though there is no real objective except surviving at this moment, the developers promised a dynamic storyline in the Kickstarter and stretch goals. The video with more explanation has since been removed by the developer.

In 7 Days to Die, the player spawns into a randomly-generated world or the preset world of Navezgame, Arizona, with the objective of surviving for as long as possible against the elements and the zombie hordes. As a survival game, the player character is in constant need of water and food for sustenance, as well as being vulnerable to injury and illness. The game is voxel-based (similar in some aspects to Minecraft, but with smooth terrain), allowing for simple building, and destruction of objects in a physics-simulated environment (for example, building a structure with no support such as pillars and walls can lead to its collapse). Objects in the world degrade through use, so the player has to search for or make new tools as the game progresses. The player can also gather and create materials—from nature and the remnants of human civilization—to construct these necessary items.

While the game includes wildlife that can be hunted for food or will hunt the player, the main hazard is zombies, which are affected by the game's day/night cycle—during the day they are relatively slow-moving and easy targets that can only detect the player at relatively close ranges, but at night they become feral, which makes them move much faster and thus greatly increases their threat. As the in-game days progress, tougher and more aggressive variants begin to appear. Stealth and distraction can be used to avoid unnecessary conflict, while carrying foods that have a smell (such as raw meat) will attract zombies. They are also drawn to areas of human (i.e. player) activity, and will relentlessly attack anything that impedes their movement until they are killed or the obstacle is destroyed—this includes player fortifications. Should they detect the player, zombies will apply the same single-minded pursuit until the player is either dead, or leaves the immediate area.

The game's title is a reference to an important Blood Moon event that occurs every seventh day of in-game time, whereby hordes of zombies and wild infected animals attack the player's current location en masse—unless sufficient preparation has been made and defenses constructed, the player will quickly be overwhelmed. The world of Navezgame is composed of multiple biomes, or geographic areas. These include dry deserts, temperate forests, snowy fields, as well as a scorched wasteland. Each biome has unique resources that can be obtained, thus encouraging exploration across the map by players.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of 7 Days to Die received "unfavorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.

As of June 2018, the game scored a "very positive" review by over 46,000 reviews on Steam, and was one of the "Top 100 Selling games of 2017" on Steam, despite still being in alpha stage development.

One reviewer, however, criticised the length of time that the game had spent in an alpha state.

6. They Are Billions (Microsoft Windows/PS4/Xbox One)

They Are Billions pits the player in a randomly generated steampunk themed, zombie-infested world. The player's goal is to build a base to protect themselves, by planning the layout and defenses, exploring the map, collecting resources and expanding while fighting the local zombie population at the same time. Infected villages, called Villages of Doom, can be pillaged for resources, although a backlash of zombie swarms can result. There are eight resources that the player must manage: gold, food, workers, wood, stone, iron, oil, and energy. 

Structures and units, many of different variations and following a tech-tree, will require different materials to be made. Though zombies will attack at erratic, but slow times, at certain intervals throughout the game, large hordes of zombies will attack, focusing on one side of the base until a final wave coming from all directions (and in massive numbers). The player must keep zombies from breaching base defenses and infecting non-defensive structures, especially in tight or overdeveloped areas where a domino effect outbreak can occur. Much like the player has access to different unit types, zombie types are also varied, ranging between slow, decrepit ones, extremely fast zombies called "Harpies", highly-resistant ones known as "Butchers" and others, including a massive "infected giant" that has high health, speed, and damage that is also highlighted on a minimap, requiring the player to not only have a strong defensive perimeter (with walls, turrets, towers and traps), but also adapt tactics accordingly. While it is a real-time strategy game, players can pause at any time in order to plan future actions and give simultaneous orders.

They Are Billions is set in North America, in the late 22nd century, following a world-wide rabies-like pandemic caused by a mutated strain of rabies called Rabies Z, which has triggered a zombie apocalypse, especially in the world's megacities. While initially the survivors attempted to establish villages and even fortresses to stave off the zombie hordes, eventually these fell with their technology failing them. However, a few thousand humans survive, united under the leadership of General-turned-Emperor Quintus Crane, and build and shelter themselves in Empire City, built within a crater that the zombies cannot reach. The apocalypse, on the other hand, has caused a severe technological regression, so technology is now at a 19th century level.

The campaign begins 13 years after Quintus announces his intent to expand beyond the crater and create a new human empire. Here, the player is a colony administrator and military commander under Quintus, who aspires to conquer new territory and build well-managed fortified colonies, all connected by a railway network. Across the campaign, which extends from the northern Western Seaboard to the fallen megacity of Mega York (former New York City), the player builds a personal army composed of mercenaries, renegades, and even convicted criminals to handle the zombie swarms.

The PlayStation 4 version of They Are Billions was the twentieth best selling retail game during its first week of release in Japan, with 3,046 copies being sold. The game was nominated for "Best Spanish Development" at the 2019 Titanium Awards.

5. ARK: Survival Evolved (Windows/MacOS/PS4/Xbox One/Android/IOS/Nintendo Switch)

Ark: Survival Evolved (stylized as ΛRK) is a 2017 action-adventure survival video game developed by Studio Wildcard, in collaboration with Instinct Games, Efecto Studios, and Virtual Basement. In the game, players must survive being stranded on an island filled with roaming dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, natural hazards, and potentially hostile human players.

The game is played from either a third-person or first-person perspective and its open world is navigated on foot or by riding a prehistoric animal. Players can use firearms and improvised weapons to defend against hostile humans and creatures, with the ability to build bases as defense on the ground and on some creatures. The game has both single-player and multiplayer options. Multiplayer allows the option to form tribes of members in a server. The max number of tribe mates varies from each server. In this mode all tamed dinosaurs and building structures are usually shared between the members. There is a PvE mode where players cannot fight each other.

There are currently 176 creatures that populate the world of Ark. In the early versions of the game, nearly all creatures were real dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, however, as the storyline progressed, mythical creatures such as the wyvern, griffin, and phoenix were added. As expansions were released, completely original creatures, such as the Karkinos and the Velonasaur also made their way into the game as well as original robotic creatures such as the Enforcer and Scout.

One of the primary game mechanics of the game is taming creatures. The majority of creatures can be tamed by the player, though some, such as Meganeura or Titanomyrma, cannot. The taming method varies creature by creature. Most creatures are "violent" tames, meaning the players must knock the creature out using tranquilizer projectiles like tranq darts or by using blunt weapons, such as a club. Oftentimes players will need to keep the dinosaur sedated for the duration of the tame. 

Some dinosaurs take longer than others to tame, therefore require more narcotics. Players are able to use narcoberries, or craft narcotics from narcoberries and spoiled meat. Once knocked out, the player must feed the creature their preferred food, such as berries for herbivores or raw meat for carnivores. Different foods help tame animals at varying speeds. Most creatures tame most effectively — and quickest — with a food called Kibble, which is an item crafted using eggs from another creature. Some creatures can also be tamed passively, by approaching them and carefully giving them food. 

Once a creature is tamed, it will follow the commands of the player who tamed them. As well, most creatures can be ridden, and therefore allow the player to utilize the creature's abilities, such as flight or fast underwater movement. When riding atop certain creatures, players may still be able to use weapons. They can also be used to carry items, and players can issue offensive and defensive commands to them; for example, a pack of Utahraptors can be assigned to defend the base, or a group of Triceratops can be ordered to attack an enemy's base.

Players must keep track of various meters, such as health, stamina, oxygen, hunger, thirst, and "weight", or how much they can carry. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate if they have consumed the necessary food, or if they craft items that regenerate the health meter at a faster pace. Otherwise, a player's health meter will gradually regenerate slowly over time. Players can gain experience through harvesting materials, crafting, killing, or discovering explorer notes. Once the player has obtained enough experience, they will gain a level point, which can be spent improving one of the player's stats, which include max health, max stamina, max oxygen, max food meter, max water meter, max carry weight, melee damage, movement speed, and crafting speed. 

Players can build structures throughout the world. To build a base, players must acquire structure components—such as floors, doors and windows built with the resources littered throughout the world—which are earned as they progress and gain levels, then collect the necessary materials to make them. These components can then be crafted and placed in the world. Players can create any structure, as long as they have the logistics and resources; the structural integrity of the building is compromised when the pillars and foundations are destroyed.

Ark: Survival Evolved received "mixed or average" reviews for the Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One versions, while the Switch version received "generally unfavourable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

TJ Hafer's 7.7/10 review on IGN stated that "When I'm having a good time in Ark, I'm having a really good time. The problem is that those moments are usually one part to every nine parts menial grinding and crafting – especially at the later tech tiers. Having to repeat so much work after failing an attempt at a boss feels far too punishing, and some really dumb dinosaurs can take a lot of the challenge and sense of danger out of the many primal locations. Even with all of those quirks, however, I'm still hungry to play more after the 60 hours I've spent so far. There aren't a lot of survival games that have legitimately held my attention that long."

GameSpot gave the game a 6/10, saying: "This outstanding sense of place and mood is offset by the sheer difficulty of everything that you have to do, the spectacular amounts of time necessary to experience even a tenth of what the game has to offer, and the randomness of death constantly destroying everything that you have built." Ian Birnbaum of PC Gamer gave the game a score of 72/100, stating it to be "a bloated, grindy mess, but so packed with options that a better game is hidden inside it."

The Switch version was panned by critics for being notably downgraded in order for it to adequately run on the console, being criticized for its low resolution and frame rate, minimal level of detail, blurry texturing, low poly models, stability issues, and loading times. Eurogamer likened the port to a "poorly compressed JPEG version of an impressionist painting"

4. Project Zomboid (Microsoft Windows/OS X/Java)

Project Zomboid is an open world survival horror video game in alpha stage development by British and Canadian independent developer, The Indie Stone. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested world where the player is challenged to survive for as long as possible before inevitably dying. It was also one of the first five games released on the alpha funding section of the gaming portal Desura.

The aim of Project Zomboid is to survive in the fictional, zombie-ridden Knox County, which has been quarantined by the government.] The player has to manage such things as hunger, tiredness, pain and mental stability to stay alive. To do this, players must scavenge for supplies to keep themselves alive for another day, while avoiding the roaming zombies. The game uses the traditional Romero style slow-moving zombies, though certain zombies are faster than others.

The game itself features two gameplay modes: Survival mode and sandbox. In survival mode, the player is first tasked with creating a character and then surviving as long as possible after the character spawns in one of four cities in Knox County. Alongside other towns and points of interest, the player has the choice to begin the character in Muldraugh, Riverside, Rosewood, or West Point. The sandbox mode allows players to change various gameplay mechanics of the game such as the speed and numbers of zombies inhabiting the world, weather conditions, and item availability within the world.

Additionally, the game features a set of 'challenge' scenarios, which are unique compared to the traditional gameplay of survival. This includes last stand mode, where the player must survive against either waves of zombies or a steady flow of zombies, earning cash for killing zombies that they can spend on ammunition and weapons.

In June 2011, soon after the game's release as a paid pre-alpha tech demo, the game was leaked, and unauthorized copies spread to many other websites.The unauthorized version of the game enabled downloading from the Project Zomboid's servers with the press of an 'update now' button, regardless of whether the user already had the latest version. In order to avoid paying for these downloads, The Indie Stone took the customer-only paid version offline, and instead, released a free "public tech-demo" for download the next day. On October 15, 2011, the flat of two developers of the game was broken into. Two laptops were stolen from the flat, containing large amounts of the initial game code which had not been backed up externally. This resulted in severe delays to the game development. Due to this setback, they gave a presentation at Rezzed entitled "How (not) to make a video game", going over some of the lessons they have learned since starting the project.

3. The Long Dark (Microsoft Windows/MacOS/Xbox One/PS4/Nintendo Switch)

The Long Dark is a survival game set in an open world environment and played from a first-person perspective. The game takes place in the frigid Canadian wilderness where the player assumes the role of a crash-landed pilot struggling to survive after a geomagnetic storm. The gameplay is stated by the developers to be a "survival simulation that accounts for body temperature, caloric intake, hunger/thirst, fatigue, wind-chill, wildlife, and a host of other environmental factors." There are three game modes available to the player, "Story mode", "Survival mode", and "Challenge mode". During the game's alpha release, the player had access to Sandbox (Survival) mode, with an option to spawn in one of the six regions: "Mystery Lake", "Coastal Highway", "Pleasant Valley", "Forlorn Muskeg", "Desolation Point", and "Timberwolf Mountain", all of which are connected together through transition zones. There are currently 11 regions in the game, as 5 have since been introduced. These are named: “Mountain Town”, “Broken Railroad”, “Hushed River Valley”, “Bleak Inlet” and "Ash Canyon".

The objective is for the player to survive as long as possible by scavenging and utilizing whatever resources they may find within the world. This includes commodities such as food, water, firewood, medicine, and tools such as weapons, axes, knives, and a myriad of other items. Wildlife is also present, such as deer which can be hunted for food, and wolves and bears which are a constant threat to the player as they venture outside. 

All items and wildlife are randomly spawned for every new game, so no two games will be alike for the player. Tools and items degrade over time, forcing the player to make careful decisions regarding their condition and their eventual need for repair. Fire, being a primary component, is necessary for warmth and cooking. The player has to forage for wood and fuel on a regular basis to stay alive. The player can also get sick from food poisoning and disease. 

The Long Dark simulates a full day/night cycle which is a fundamental part of the game. The game also simulates temperature and windchill, both of which are random during every playthrough, encouraging the player to monitor the weather carefully at all times to prevent death from exposure. Initially, the game did not feature varied experience modes, but due to player demand, Hinterland added three experience modes to accommodate a range of playstyles, and a fourth mode added later. The easiest mode, "Pilgrim", is for players looking for a more exploratory experience, "Voyageur" is a middle ground and the most well rounded with regard to exploration and survival, "Stalker" offers a more hardcore survival experience, and "Interloper" is for players looking for a punishing, difficult experience.

Early impressions from critics were generally favorable, but noted the incomplete nature of the game.

Leif Johnson, writing for PC Gamer in June 2014 felt that the game's small unchanging map rewarded rote memorisation whereas the game was most engaging when allowing the player to discover its systems. Andy Kelly, writing for the same publication a month later, praised the atmosphere, highlighting the art style, sound design and lighting. Kelly felt that the game's "focus on atmosphere and environmental survival" made it "[stand] out in an increasingly crowded genre". Also at PC Gamer Martin Musgrave wrote that The Long Dark made for one of the greatest survival games to date.

At GameSpot, Shaun McInnis had similar thoughts, seeing that while the survival genre was becoming ever more crowded, The Long Dark was "one of the few games in this genre focused on capturing the solitary wonder of fighting to staying alive in the brutal wilderness". John Walker, writing at Rock, Paper, Shotgun in August 2014, enjoyed the game and found it "impressively full of things to do", but felt that the accelerated passage of time detracted from the realism. In an early access review for GameSpot in October 2014, Nick Capozzoli too criticised unrealistic systems, noting that one should not need "a dozen energy bars and a pound of venison to sustain yourself day-to-day" and that "a crowbar [shouldn't] lose half its integrity after being used to pry open a couple lockers". Instead of stretching his resources as a survivalist would, he felt "like an insatiable force that roves through the environment, picking it clean." 

2. Terraria (Microsoft Windows)

Terraria is a 2D sandbox game with gameplay that revolves around exploration, building, crafting, combat, survival, and mining, playable in both single-player and multiplayer modes. The game has a 2D sprite tile-based graphical style reminiscent of the 16-bit sprites found on the Super NES. The game is noted for its classic exploration-adventure style of gameplay, similar to games such as the Metroid series and Minecraft.

The game starts in a procedurally generated world, with players starting out with a few basic tools to get them started. The game's world is made up of several layers of tiles that the player can interact with and modify. Many resources, such as metal ores, can be found while exploring caves. The player begins with low health and mana, which can be increased by finding certain items. Some resources may only be found in certain areas of the map, stored in common and rare containers, or dropped by certain enemies. The player uses resources to craft new items and equipment at an appropriate crafting station for that recipe. For example, tables or other items can be crafted at a workbench, bars can be smelted from ore at a furnace, and armor can be crafted at an anvil. Several advanced items in Terraria require multiple crafting operations where the product of one recipe is used as an ingredient for another.

The player can encounter many different types of enemies in Terraria, the occurrence of which depends on several factors including time, location, and random events. The player can fight against enemies with swords, bows, guns, magic spells, and summoned minions. The player may also battle bosses that utilize a number of different combat mechanics and can drop rare items. Bosses are summoned by using certain items or when certain criteria are met. The defeat of these bosses is directly tied to in-game progression. Defeating a certain one advances the game into "hardmode", which adds many new enemies throughout the world, as well as new NPCs and items.

By completing specific goals, such as defeating a boss or obtaining a certain item, players can attract non-player characters (NPCs) to occupy structures or rooms they have built, such as a merchant, nurse, or wizard. Some NPCs can be acquired by finding them throughout the world and will then reside in player-created houses after being rescued. Players may then buy or sell items and certain services from NPCs with coins found in the world. The game features many different biomes and areas, which are each home to a unique set of enemies and challenges. Biomes such as the Corruption, Crimson, and the hardmode exclusive Hollow will naturally expand by slowly overtaking and converting blocks in adjacent ones.

"Expert" and "Master mode" are difficulty modes that increase the challenge of the game in exchange for some exclusive items. "Journey" mode allows players to duplicate items, adjust the world's difficulty, and control weather and time at will while playing.

Terraria received generally favorable reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. A review for Destructoid included praise for Terraria as "full of depth". Another reviewer praised Terraria's integration of some of Minecraft's concepts into two dimensions. GameSpot praised Terraria's exploration and feeling of accomplishment but criticized its lack of tutorial or explicit directions. IGN praised the game, claiming that Terraria: "expands on the familiar sandbox gameplay with a greater emphasis on combat and adventure."] Terraria received the #1 of 2011 Indie of the Year Player Choice on IndieDB. Terraria has been described as a Minecraft clone by various video gaming media outlets.

Top Survival Game: Don’t Starve Together (Android/IOS/Windows/PS 3/PS 4/Wii U/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch)

Don't Starve is an action-adventure game with a randomly generated open world and elements of survival and roguelike gameplay. Combat is handled by pointing and clicking with the mouse, while other activities are controlled by the keyboard, or using the inbuilt gamepad support to play using a controller, giving it a console-like gameplay feel. The goal is to survive as long as possible, and a count of the number of days the player has survived is shown on screen. The game keeps few records of player progress besides the total number of experience points and the playable characters unlocked. Wilson is the default playable character, unlocked upon purchase of the game, but the next character, Willow, can be unlocked with 160 experience points. Woodie, the last character unlockable with experience, requires the game's limit of 1,600. The player earns 20 experience points each in-game day and receives them after dying. As is common among roguelikes, death is permanent, barring the use of several rare or expensive items like the Meat Effigy, TouchStone, and Life-Giving Amulet.

The game relies on a day/night cycle that causes meaningful fluctuations in gameplay style. During the day, the player spends most of their time exploring the world: gathering food, firewood, and other resources, discovering crafting recipes to combine available items, and avoiding enemies. With nightfall comes dangerous monsters and an invisible menace, Charlie, who attacks the player when the screen is dark. A player must have a light source or night vision to prevent Charlie from attacking. 

Crafting from recipes allows the player to build shelter, weapons, and tools like axes. Players can forage and farm plants as well as hunt animals for sustenance, with several characters having dietary perks or restrictions. Food can spoil, however, so the player cannot keep it for too long. Eating spoiled food results in a loss of health, sanity, and an increase in hunger. Each in-game day takes 8 minutes of real time.

Don't Starve received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. The game sold one million copies by the end of 2013. Don't Starve was a finalist for the grand prize and "Excellence in Design" subcategory at the 2014 Independent Games Festival awards ceremony. It also received honorable mentions for "Excellence in Visual Art" and "Excellence in Audio."

The game's art style was critically acclaimed. Summarizing that the "distinct art style and atmosphere set a cool vibe," GameSpot's Nathan Meunier commended the atmosphere and visual design. Marty Sliva of IGN claimed an "immense appreciation for the paper-cutout graphical style and whimsical presentation", going on to praise the threatening qualities bestowed upon mundane objects by the "gothic-inspired look." 

Game Informer writer Jeff Marchiafava stated that "the cartoony art style makes exploring your massive, randomized world a joy." Writing for the newspaper Toronto Sun, Steve Tilley called the art "whimsical and wonderful" and the presentation in general "captivating." Reviewing the PlayStation 4 version specifically, Jordan Devore of Destructoid said that it looked and played very well on the console, though he did note some pixelation effects when the screen zooms in on the inventory. He also found that the gamepad controls, while less efficient than a keyboard, were similarly enjoyable.

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I carry my pen like I carry my broadsword; with confidence and experience. My entire life has been devoted to creative writing and gaming, and always will be.
Gamer Since: 2012
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Shadowverse
Top 3 Favorite Games:Costume Quest, Star Wars: Battlefront, The Elder Scrolls Online