Top 10 Survival Games

The survival genre has been growing at an incredible rate lately, thanks to games like Minecraft, Fallout,  DayZ and State of Decay, the genre is thriving. Below is a list of what I think are the 10 greatest survival games. Of course I probably left out many other great games, let me know in the comments section what you think should or should not be on this list! I would like to thank Nihilism for helping with this list.


#10: Stranded Series - (Stranded 1 and 2) "The main goal of the robinson-esque game is to survive on a dangerous island and to find a way to return home. Its design and gameplay are influenced by the relatively unknown German freeware game Schiffbruch." Both of these games are first person "Cast Away" type situations.

Dated graphics, but incredible to immerse yourself in your own "island survival". Got addicted because its survival aspect is so pure. Can not recommend these highly enough. (Google and download the phyrire mod to add more features.)

Official site

#9: Under the Ocean - "Overcome the weather, vicious animals, injuries, disease, dehydration and famine to build your home on a deserted island. You start out shipwrecked, thirsty and alone. Start your campfire, find weapons and forage for food before the night sets in."

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#8: Don't Starve - "The game's goal is surviving for the longest time, while avoiding starvation, insanity, and hostile enemies. The player can collect and craft a variety of tools and items as well as build various structures to aid in surviving. An "adventure mode" is also included in the game (accessed while playing in sandbox mode by finding a doorway that leads to the adventure challenges), which presents increasingly difficult levels for the player to complete.

Don't Starve=When the character dies, an amount of experience is received proportional to the number of days survived, eventually unlocking other characters to use in future games in addition to the standard Gentlemen Scientist. Each has its own perks. Some characters are only unlocked in "adventure mode", unattainable by gaining experience through survival."

This game is a bit like Minecraft but its main goal is survival instead of building things. You craft tools and weapons out of resources you find, and during the night scary monsters spawn just like in Minecraft.

Official site

#7: The Oregon Trail - I don't think a description of this game is needed...everyone knows The Oregon Trail! But in case you don't, The Oregon Trail is a game where you assume the role of a wagon leader guiding his party of settlers from Independence, Missouri to Oregon's Willamette Valley over the Oregon trail using a covered wagon in 1848.

The game has been re-released many times but the original is still the best to this day. If you want to play it, check out out the following link:

#6: Dead Island - (Original and RiptideYeah yeah, a lot of people will question why this is even on the list, but stay with me for a second, Dead Island is fun. Sure it gets a bit repetitive, and it has bugs, but overall, it's a solid and fun game where you get to fight hordes of zombies and try to survive in a large open world.

The focus is on melee weapons but later in the game you do get access to some guns. There are a lot of side quests, places to explore, and weapons to upgrade. If you overlook some of the issues the game has with pacing and some bugs, you will have a lot of fun.

#5: Alan Wake - Alan Wake is a psychological horror video game that follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake, as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife's disappearance during a vacation in the small fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, all while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life. Alan Wake has flawless pacing, which ensures a compulsive experience.

The game is fun from start to finish but the biggest problem I had with it is that it was a bit linear, although the environments were beautiful and the gameplay was fun, one can't shake the need for an open world when it comes to games like this.

#4: The Fallout Series - Another giant that helped to fuel the rise of the survival genre, the fallout series is loved by many. The original Fallout 1 came out in 1997, set in the aftermath of global nuclear war in the mid-22nd century, it had gamers hooked. Fallout 2 continued the series and it wasn't until Fallout 3 that the series got a 3D reboot and provided an epic adventure across a vast wasteland with many different interesting locations to discover, quests to complete and NPCS to meet.

Fallout: New Vegas continued the series by allowing a lot more choices and adding a ton of new things for players to do and discover in a new game world. New Vegas also added a "hardcore" mode to the series where you have to eat and drink to survive. Overall, the series is epic and is highly recommended to anyone who likes the survival genre.

#3: DayZ - DayZ is an open world online zombie survival mod for Arma 2, a stand alone version is currently in Alpha on Steam, and is a very barebones version of what will be available in the future. The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the population into undead, violent zombies. As a survivor with limited supplies, the player must scavenge the world for supplies such as food, water, weapons and medicine, while killing or avoiding both zombies and other players and sometimes non-player characters - in an effort to survive the zombie apocalypse.

DayZ is really fun because there is always a chance you will encounter other hostile players who will want to kill you and take your items. (And you can do the same to them of course, hiding, waiting for the perfect ambush kill.) This game is a rush. The zombies in the game are no pushovers either, if you catch enough attention from them, you will be dead within seconds. You really have to sneak around and be aware of your surroundings as you move about and explore the world.

Also, the thing about death in DayZ is, you lose everything, you have to start over with a new character and a fresh inventory. This one is more for the hardcore gamers who love a challenge, it helps to have friends who play too, because then you increase your chances of survival if you get ambushed by bandits, and generally it's best to explore the world with a group of people..

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#2: State of Decay - State of Decay is a mix between DayZ and GTA with RPG elements. If that last line didn't get you to go and buy the game for $20 on the Xbox arcade, I don't know what will. But seriously, this game is just really fun. It takes everything you love about zombie survival games and does it even better.

There are vehicles you can drive (And run over zombies with), bases you can build and improve, rare items and weapons you can find, companions you can recruit, and a huge detailed open world to explore (where you can enter ANY building in the world), State of Decay is THE zombie survival game we have all been waiting for.

A note on the's not easy. If you're not careful, you WILL die in this game. Unlike many other games, it doesn't hold your hand, and if you get yourself in a bad situation, like getting lost somewhere with no ride, no meds, no hp, no stamina, and you attract some zombies, well then you're screwed. Game over. (An aspect I love in DayZ as well).

All hope is not lost though as the sneaking  in this game works well, and if you're in trouble, you can run away and hide in some bushes, and those dumb zombies will have a tough time finding you!

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the game world in State of Decay keeps running even when the game is off, so it adds a whole new interesting mechanic because crazy things can happen while you're not playing the game. For example you could play for a few hours, go do something else for a while, come back, and people in the game could be dead, and your morale lowered, as well as other random events. It keeps things interesting!

The only problem is there is currently no multiplayer. There are leaderboards for how many zombies killed though, which is a plus. Even though I hope the multiplayer is added some day, I gotta admit I am having a lot of fun with this game regardless. If you want more information, check out our comprehensive State of Decay section that includes tips, guides and many other helpful articles and links.

Official site

#1: Minecraft - It's Minecraft. Of course it's going to be #1. In case you have been living inside a cave in the last few years, Minecraft is an epic survival / building game that has since its launch become the fastest selling and most popular indie game of all time. The reason I don't put a description of the game here is because it would take me an eternity to list all the possibilities in Minecraft.

You can do pretty much anything. And with mods on the PC version, you can add countless awesome gameplay features to the game, ranging from adding a bunch of new strong monsters to make the game harder, to a mod that adds a bunch of new biomes to make the world more diverse and interesting to explore. Basically with modding and texture packs, Minecraft has infinite replay value. Also, the worlds in Minecraft are, according to the creator Notch, 8 times the surface of the Earth.

The PVP survival is my favorite thing about Minecraft though, there are so many fun and interesting servers out there, it's almost impossible to stop playing...

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P.S. I just realized I left out Dwarf Fortress... Note: This game is extremely complicated, but once you figure it out, it's a lot of fun.

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I also just realized that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. deserves to be on this list as well! Another great open world survival game series, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are brutal and unforgiving and perhaps one of the most hardcore (and difficult) ones out there..especially if you download some of the fan made difficulty mods.

Update: This list was made before The Last of Us was released, but it would definitely make it in the top 5.


Another Update: Also check out Rust, a new survival game that is a mix of Minecraft + DayZ + S.T.A.L.K.E.R. made by the creator of Garry's Mod. It's incredibly fun, you have to collect resources and then build a home to protect yourself from other players and zombies. You also get access to a lot of cool guns that you can craft. Everything in the game is crafted as well. Update: Rust is now available through Steam for $20.


Found another one: Fortnite is an upcoming online zombie survival and building game, and is centered on scavenging by day and fighting by night, and will include co-op, base building (fort), loot finding, fighting waves of encroaching monsters, exploration, and more. Noted to be a mix of Minecraft and Left 4 Dead, the game will be the first from Epic (creator of Gears of War) to utilize the Unreal Engine 4 and is currently scheduled to be released later in 2013.

7 Days To Die

And another one: 7 Days To Die. A mix between Minecraft + DayZ. Open world, voxel-based sandbox game on the PC.

H1Z1: H1Z1 is much like DayZ but a bit more simplified and easier to get into. Currently one of the most popular survival games.

There's also Project Zomboid. A zombie survival RPG that is available on PC, Mac and Linux. The game is a top down RPG that has thousands of zombies that roam the street. You can scavenge for food, craft items, construct barricades and fight against inevitable death. This game is very difficult, so be prepared.

Official site


And check out one of my favorites, Terraria. A survival + crafting + building + RPG game in 2D. Terraria  features exploration in a random generated world. At night monsters roam and you need to build a house to protect yourself. Then you have to dig underground and search for ores, treasures, items, etc. You can also fight bosses and find rare weapons, items and armor. I personally recommend this to anyone who likes Minecraft and 2D games. The game is on PC, but a console version has also been recently released.

Official site

Other survival games: Well I hope you enjoyed this list...please let me know in the comments what you think and what your favorite survival games are, or if you think a game deserves to be on this list. Thanks for reading.

Note: I will try to update this page in the future if I find any other cool survival games.

Written by George.