It seems gamers are suckers for punishment. Survival games like Don’t Starve have seen an increase in popularity in recent years. The survival genre puts players in dire, life-threatening situations with limited resources and forces them to, well, survive. The resulting gameplay involves gathering, crafting, and fighting off enemies. The goal is almost always the same: live to see another day, whatever the cost. Trust us, it is certainly not easy.
Survival games are not a new concept but the popularity of Don’t Starve has sparked the creation of a wide number of games all attempting to put their own stamp on the genre. Some of these have gained critical acclaim and others have failed to capture what Don’t Starve did so well. We have sorted through them all to bring you 10 Games Like Don’t Starve that are sure to scratch that itch.
10. Ark: Survival Evolved
Those familiar with Ark know that the game has been through a difficult pre-release period. Before its official launch, it was available to download as an early access title. It was an unoptimized mess that left a bad taste in a lot of gamer’s mouths. Since its full release, however, the game has undergone a series of patches that leave it feeling much more complete and worthy of your time.
Imagine being dropped on an island with nothing (not even the clothes on your back). You need forage, build shelter, and find food before you are overcome by the elements. Oh yeah, and did we mention the island is infested with dinosaurs that want nothing more than to mutilate you? It’s not easy but if you sink the needed hours into Ark, the possibilities are endless. Before long you will be building machine guns and plate armor. Just beware of raiders when you log out!
If cute, 2D graphics are more your style Starbound is a great option. It also provides a slightly more relaxing experience than some of our other titles. In Starbound, you will travel to far off galaxies to explore, forage, and create. As you explore, you will encounter a seemingly endless supply of fun and interesting quests. There are also a wide array of baddies that are waiting to slow your progress, including some tough bosses. To stay alive, you will need to upgrade your armor and weapons. Those less inclined to violence can also spend their time decorating their own personal spaceship and exploring deep into the earth.
8. Oxygen Not Included
Oxygen Not Included strays from the typical survival game in a few key ways. Rather than focusing on your own personal survival, you must instead focus on the many lives in your colony. Your citizens, known as “duplicants,” have found their way onto an asteroid floating listlessly through space. Your only goal is to create a functioning colony within the giant rock and ensure the health and happiness of everyone therein. To keep your duplicants fed, clothed, and healthy, you will need to harvest the available resources buried within the asteroid. These resources can be used to build new devices and structures that will help you to maintain and expand your “city.” As an added bonus, this game was created by the makers of Don’t Starve so you know it’s going to be great.
7. Neo Scavenger
Who doesn’t love a good post-apocalyptic wasteland? In Neo Scavenger, you will die. Often. Part of the fun comes from constantly making mistakes and learning from them. For instance, are you thirsty? Grab a drink from the stream! Did you boil it first? No? Dead. There are a ton of things that will kill you in Neo Scavenger but it’s your job to learn the rules and become stronger and smarter for it. You will need to explore and scavenge the surrounding area for clothes, food, and tools that can help you in your journey. Just be warned, there is danger around every corner. Combat in the wasteland is turn-based and can drastically impede your progress. Cuts can become infected, bones can break, and death can come as quickly to a high-level character as someone just starting out. There is no reloading saves in this brutal survival adventure either. Good luck!
6. The Forest
As if surviving in a desolate environment wasn’t bad enough The Forest adds a bit of fear into the mix to really make it interesting. You begin the game in a crashed plane. It appears you are the only survivor, so you must collect whatever you can and make your way into the wilderness. Waiting for you in the shadows are several tribes of cannibals. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill NPC’s, however, they are highly intelligent and will stalk you to observe your habits. There is a constant sense of tension as you try to forage and build a camp. Every action you take will affect how the cannibals react to you. When you least expect it, they may lunge from the darkness and attack. Your sanity will also come into play as you complete the main storyline and make some difficult choices along the way. Will you turn to cannibalism to survive?
5. Escape the Pacific
Where most of these games are set in some form of wilderness, Escape the Pacific takes an entirely new approach, setting itself apart from the herd. Rather than wandering around a dangerous land, the “land” parts of the game are few and far between. You will begin on a small island with your only goal being to somehow find your way back to civilization. How do you accomplish this, you ask? By building a mega-raft of course! You will need to scavenge the material required to get you out on to the water. This is where the real game begins. You can upgrade your small plank of logs into a mega-vessel with multi-levels and complex systems. Keep in mind you will need fresh water to drink, food, and to avoid being attacked by an aggressive shark circling your boat. The game will allow you to swim, as well as a dock at new islands to find helpful tools and supplies. Small note, this game is still in early accesses so there are a fair number of bugs being worked out.
Keeping with the water theme, Subnautica is the perfect combination of horror, survival, and sci-fi. At the onset, you will find yourself forcefully ejected onto an alien planet. Adrift in unknown waters, you will need to quickly get your bearings on your small submersible. The dark waters will create a sense of dread not found in many games. There are incredibly dangerous monsters lurking in the depths that you will need to contend with as you collect resources to upgrade your water base. Along with surviving, players will be treated to an outstanding soundtrack that adds to the ambiance and a well-conceived storyline to keep you on the edge of your seat. With a new expansion on the horizon, there is a lot of game here to keep you busy.
3. Sunless Sea Review
When a game begins by telling you that you’re going to die, you know you’ve encountered something special. You will die, and you will learn, such is the way of many survival games. How Sunless Sea sets itself apart is through its unique setting and gameplay mechanics. The entire game takes place in a giant underground ocean in the underworld. You traverse the ocean in your own ship. As you travel you will need to monitor resources like fuel, hunger, and terror. Interestingly, these stats dropping too low may not kill you outright but instead trigger negative story events. Unlike many other games on this list, you set the conditions of your victory at the beginning of the game. Your goals may range from being extremely wealthy to writing a “masterpiece” from the combined knowledge collected on your journey. This is game relies very heavily on story and exploration, but you will need a great deal of patience to make it to the end.
Rimworld is a 2D survival game that, at first glance, may appear simplistic. Underneath this exterior, however, lies a very complex survival title with tons to offer. Rimworld puts you in control of a group of colonists who have recently crash-landed on a strange planet. You play an overseer who gives tasks and keeps everything moving and growing. There is a genius ripple effect in this game where one small interaction could drastically affect things like food production or morale. You will constantly be forced to adapt as these choices result in weighty consequences. One small mistake could result in the collapse of your colony and the death of all of your villagers. This is not a game for players who like to plan out every move. This is a game for people who can think on their feet and create solutions quickly. Despite its bleak themes, this game is ripe with excellent humor
1. The Long Dark
The Long Dark is an episodic survival adventure set in the Canadian wilderness. For unexplained reasons the world has gone dark and technology has been disabled. You will switch perspectives between the two main protagonists who have recently survived a plane crashed and have become separated. The harsh cold environment means you will need to find warmth, shelter, and defend against the local wildlife. Injuries such as a sprained ankle or broken bones can hinder your progress greatly. You will need to scavenge through the forest and abandoned houses to keep your self alive long enough to see how the story plays out. There are also a variety of modes available to suit your playstyle including a sandbox mode that allows you to freely explore all the game has to offer.