I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a bit of a hoarder, or whether it’s the fact that I’m terrible at doing it in real life (I once thought a sink was broken because bubbles came up out from underneath it – that’s the day I learned what U-bend is!), I love survival games. The challenge of expanding what starts as a small camp or hut into a fortress to be reckoned with is something that has appealed to me since my very first time playing some of the games on this list. These are MY Top 10 Survival Games.
Remember – while you may disagree with some of the titles on the list, it’s meant to come more from a personal opinion standpoint than an industry standpoint.
#10: I AM ALIVE
This title – developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, is a game I felt didn’t get anywhere near enough attention on release. You play as Carlo Mestroni and need to get back home in a post-apocalypse world to rescue your wife and daughter. While it wasn’t the most polished game ever released, its effort to display the desperation and hopelessness of a post-apocalyptic world combined with a fun, yet nerve-racking climbing mechanic sets this game apart from games of a similar ilk.
#9: ORGAN TRAIL
Oregon Trail was one of the first games I played as a kid, so this whacky parody by Men Who Wear Many Hats always gave me a nostalgic kick. It displays something I’m going to talk about a lot in this list as I feel it’s become a necessary part of all survival games; the ability to completely frustrate you not in a way that makes you want to stop playing. Every failure made you want to try again with a different plan of action (not before you swore you’d never play again, of course.) In my case, that would usually just end up in failure again, but it still never made the game any less fun.
Good god, does Rust frustrate me. Much like I mentioned earlier with Organ Trails “ability to completely frustrate you, not in a way that makes you want to stop playing,” and Rust pushes that ability to its very brink. Released by Facepunch Studios in 2013 – as far as I can tell, Rust is a game about running around naked with a rock while people in towers take potshots at me, which isn’t too dissimilar to a dream I had recently.
All joking aside though, while there is a pretty steep learning curve to how the game works (especially its building mechanics), once you have a grasp on things the game can be a lot of fun. That is, until you get halfway through a house and get mauled by some animal or player, then realise you had absolutely no idea where you were building! Good times.
#7: THIS WAR OF MINE
This War Of Mine is a game that is as heartbreaking as it is fun. Developed by 11 bit Studios and released in 2014, This War Of Mine flips the script on your average war game – rather than playing as those in the war, you play as a group of people hiding from the war. You have to scavenge, build and sometimes fight to keep your shelter, and those within it safe and healthy. You can be faced with a feeling of hopelessness as you watch one of your comrades dying with no medical supplies to help them, leading you to become more and more desperate.
In 2016, their addition of children added a whole new level of emotional stress and despair with The Little Ones just made the game even better. On a completely unrelated note, I probably shouldn’t be a Dad.
#6: DON’T STARVE
Klei Entertainment can do no wrong. Every game they’ve made has been an absolute joy to play, and 2013’s Don’t Starve is no exception. It’s very basic in its survival setup – get supplies, get food, build fort etc., but its beautiful art style, odd monsters, dangerous landscapes and more fantastical vibe than most survival games are what makes it one of the best of its kind.
The many DLC’s released since its launch have ensured the game has kept a very healthy community, especially 2014’s addition of Don’t Starve: Together – which let you play with your friends, adding a whole new layer of fun (or death, if you have my friends)