What makes survival games great is how they manage to bring many of the best features of other genres in one single challenging attractive package. Whether it’s combat, strategy and planning, resource gathering, base building and much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The constant looming knowledge that you might die because resources are becoming scarce or you’re running out of money, gives these games a level of excitement that is just difficult to get anywhere else. Thus, we decided to compile the best underrated survival games we have played recently.
If you’re reading this list, though, you probably know all about the great excitement of fighting for your survival already. Survival games aren’t a new trend and between games like The Forest, Rust and Don’t Starve, there’s plenty of titles that many will no doubt have already played and enjoyed to death. That’s why we wanted to shed some light on some hidden gems and recent releases that we think you should give a try.
Here are the best underrated survival games that you might not know about that we think are worth a shot.
First released in 2013, Project Zomboid is an open-world isometric zombie survival game in which the player has to survive as long as possible, before their inevitable demise and death by zombie jaws. While it was already a pretty solid game on launch, a near-decade of updates has turned it into a must-play. Features like multiplayer, solid character building and skill system, base-building and more. With so much to learn, you’ll end up dying a lot, but every death teaches you something new, while the wealth of content and different ways to play the game will keep dragging you straight back in.
Project Zomboid is available on Steam
Sticking with the undead motif, we have V Rising, a game where you play as a resurrected vampire setting out to reclaim their lands. While combat is a core part of survival, with the player needing to feed on nearby humans and animals to stay alive, the driving force behind progression is base building. Early on, the player begins building a castle, which grows bigger and more elaborate over time, requiring the player to take on bosses, militia camps and undead to level up and find new crafting recipes and abilities. Playable solo, with friends, or on public servers if you’re brave enough, V Rising is a survival game that will keep you occupied for quite a long time.
V Rising is available on Steam
Heading to the high seas, Raft released in early access on Steam in 2018, but after the full release of the final chapter in 2022, there is no other time like the present to try out this oceanic survival title. Either solo or in multiplayer, you start on a small raft in the ocean with only a hook to fish things out of the water. Over time, the player will catch objects out of the water to build up their raft, all while surrounding sharks threaten to destroy it. Additionally, the now finished storyline provides a great backing to the game, and trying to see it through is another great reason to stay alive (not that you needed one).
Raft is available on Steam
The Wandering Vllage
Only recently released, The Wandering Village is half city builder, half survival game. You lead a small settlement atop the back of a huge lizard-like creature, expanding your village as you collect resources and discover new technologies. The cutesy village life stops there though, as parasites, poisonous spores, and lethal weather events threaten the life of your village, forcing you to do whatever you have to do to keep everyone safe. This is easier said than done, though, because the space is limited and we need to keep expanding the population. If you’re looking for a strategic survival experience, The Wandering Village might be the game for you.
The Wandering Village is available on Steam
The Planet Crafter
Subnautica in space, The Planet Crafter tasks you with making a hostile planet habitable for humans. Gathering resources to craft tools and machines, as well as expanding your base, you’ll also have to satisfy your character’s bodily needs for oxygen, heat, and keeping them healthy. Starting off slow, your end goal is to terraform the entire planet, turning it from a lifeless desert into a utopia – a challenging but highly rewarding task. Released earlier this year in early access, the game already has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, and future development promises to make it even better, so why not join the ride and see where the future of The Planet Crafter can take you?
The Planet Crafter is available on Steam
From brand new titles to some older titles with cult followings, these are some of the best underrated survival games that you might not have tried yet. Have you given one of these a go, or maybe you’ve got a recommendation of your own you’d like to share? Why not comment down below to let us know? And if JRPGs are more your sort of game, check out our 5 must play JRPGs on Steam.