Online sandbox survival games are currently quite popular. They let human players thrive in a digital playground where everyone can do what they want without the constraints placed by other genres. That sounds a lot more hopeful on paper, but in reality, it's "Lord of the Flies" out there in online survival games. As expected, people frequently act on their primal instincts, albeit virtually.
They often resort to killing other players for resources and forming tribes to survive and bully "weaker" players. Still, there are rare instances of altruism or post-stone age morals - that's what makes these survival games so thrilling. Oh, and you also get to ride and breed dinosaurs, particularly in ARK: Survival Evolved. If you're a bit burned out on dinos and crazy sci-fi island survival, then you can always look to other games in the genre; there are many of them, but here are 10 games like ARK: Survival Evolved worth checking out.
10 CONAN EXILES
Not only do you need to survive in this sandbox game, but you also need to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women. Conan Exiles lets you do that and more. It's also quite sexy and mature, full frontal nudity is allowed and not dependent on an unofficial mod. The game lets you capture (by chaining and dragging them) other players or non-player characters (NPCs) if you defeat and catch them.
To that end, Conan Exiles is pretty hardcore and more graphic than most other survival games in this list. It still has the basics you expect in a survival game such as base building, weapons, armor, foraging, farming, exploration, and etc. What sets Conan Exiles apart is that it gives you the capability to perform ritual sacrifices to summon avatars of your chosen god in the game world to exact your wrath upon others. Give it a try. Who knows? You might learn what is best in life.
Underwater survival. That's pretty much Subnautica in a nutshell. It plunges your character deep into an alien underwater world, one which you must explore and survive. You could say that the setting is the biggest star in Subnautica. After all, not many games look to the deep sea for their core gameplay experience.
As such, Subnautica's take on the survival genre keeps the gameplay quite fresh compared to most land-based survival games. The building and crafting are unique here since everything has to be tailor-made to make your life easier underwater. Apart from that, exploration in this game almost always has an incentive be it discovering new resources or getting rewarded with undersea eye-candy that would mesmerize even James Cameron.
Like Subnautica, Raft puts its own twist into the tried and tested (possibly oversaturated) survival genre. It also showcases a maritime locale, although only the surface level of oceans are explored. By no means does that make Raft shallow (ba-dum-tss) than Subnautica. It's actually quite competent and gives about the same level of fun and fulfillment.
That's because you get chased around by huge great white sharks. Hence, you're gonna need a bigger boat, and that's what you'll primarily be building and improving in Raft. When not improving your measly vessel, you can dive under the sea and look for anything that will aid in your survival. It's like Moana, except you're not an invincible Samoan and both you and your friends don't take the dangers of the ocean seriously.
Rust is a less brutal but more desperate Conan Exiles set in a modern era. Your character literally starts off naked and dangers lie in every corner of the map since Rust is highly populated, meaning you'll likely run into other players quickly, assuming you play in multiplayer. However, things are not as primordial in Rust compared to other survival games.
You'll regularly see airplanes dropping valuable supplies (usually guns) and you'll have to rush those drop zones if you want to get ahead of the curve. As usual, guns make melee weapons obsolete as long as you have ammunition and that's what makes Rust more high-risk and high-reward than other survival games here. You either take a risk for a better chance of survival in the long run or stay safe while staying at the bottom of the food chain.
Let's not forget the granddaddy of survival modern survival games, DayZ. What initially started off as a mod for ARMA 2 became quite a huge hit in the gaming community. DayZ was the first of its kind and was initially a zombie apocalypse survival game. In a similar fashion to the Walking Dead TV show, the zombies are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to threats. Other players are a lot more dangerous.
DayZ loves to remind you that there are no rules. You loot stuff, find guns, see other players, you tell them you mean no harm, and then they kill you for your guns. The beauty of DayZ is that you don't even need a microphone in order to communicate with other players. You can show them your intentions with sign language (you can flip them off) or communicate with them directly by pumping their face full of lead; whichever is more effective.
5 LIFE IS FEUDAL: YOUR OWN
Ever wanted to know what it feels like to be a lowly peasant in a medieval world? Of course not, back in those days everyone wanted to be a knight or a noble. However, you have to start somewhere and Life is Feudal: Your Own gives you that chance. You start off as a lone adventurer on a random medieval plot of land and must survive the cruel feudal rules.
As expected of a sandbox survival game, you can build, kill, craft, and level-up your character. Along the way, you can team up with other players to increase your chances of survival and keeping any loot or items you have. If you want to just farm and go about your own peasantry, you can do so, but nothing will stop others from raiding your crops and taking everything you worked hard for, so you might as well become a bandit.
4 OSIRIS: NEW DAWN
If you've seen The Martian and want a piece of what Matt Damon experienced on the red planet but in game form, then Osiris: New Dawn might scratch that itch. The futuristic survival game takes place on a weird alien planet (which isn't Mars) in the year 2078. It's not just one planet too, you'll be exploring the solar system of Gliese 581 aliens and all as well as exposing yourself to the dangers of space travel.
Think of the game as a more serious and more visceral No Man's Sky. It also features space vessels, base building, exploration, and focuses more on combat. For a survival game, it also sports one of the most astounding graphics engines ever. The downside is that it's quite demanding and requires a decent mid-range computer to run smoothly. Which shouldn't be a problem if you're coming from ARK: Survival Evolved.
Subsistence puts the "survival" in survival games. As such, it can be more unforgiving and difficult than most on this list. It's quite similar to Rust except it puts more emphasis on wildlife and nature, meaning it incorporates animals and a better animal artificial intelligence A.I. to remind you that humans are useless without their tools.
Don't go in looking for a casual and fun stroll as Subsistence is not for the faint of heart. You'll need to use your head a lot to avoid the embarrassment of defeat. Thankfully, teaming up is also a thing here so you have a better chance at withstanding the forces of nature. At the moment, the game is in dire need of content but given it's an early access title, that's to be expected.
Like Subsistence, SCUM is no easy pleasant game. It's actually the most realistic survival game on this list. By realistic, we mean taking care of your character's every need. That includes proper nutrition (protein, fat, sugar, sodium, vitamins, minerals, etc.), pooping, peeing, and diseases. Of course, that's difficult since you can't even keep track of and address those things in real life, let alone in a game!
Don't let that dissuade you from trying out SCUM, though. Despite the uber-realism, the gameplay is quite fun due to the presence of zombies (called "puppets" in-game), giant mechs, and wild animals. You also don't need to grind too much since the building aspect of SCUM is less demanding. It's still in early access but the potential for SCUM is already apparent.
1 THE FOREST
Survival for the sake of survival can get pretty old and pointless fast, even in a game like ARK: Survival Evolved. That's why a story or overarching plot is sometimes needed to keep things spicy; The Forest adds plenty of that spice in a co-op horror survival game. You assume the role of a dad whose plane crash-landed on a remote island with his son. You wake up to find your son missing in an island full of the creepiest cannibals ever.
Being a good parent, you'll have to search for your son while improving your odds of surviving the cold and harsh wilderness of the island. Once you think you've seen it all and are feeling safe, you'll find that there are terrors beyond your comprehension lurking in the darkest crevasses and caves. Rescuing your son often becomes an afterthought.