I’ve always been fascinated by survival games, ever since I first read Robinson Crusoe as a child. The idea of going off on your own, surviving off the land, and seeing what you can find is an excellent exploring point for a game.
Survival Kids, a small 2D Game Boy Color title about a castaway youngster, was the first survival game I ever played. (It was actually quite dark – the child is just ten years old, and his entire family perishes in a shipwreck right at the start.) Hardcore.)
There is a larger selection now, with the most of them having been released in the recent several years. If Tomb Raider’s survival trappings whetted your taste for the woods, here are 5 of the best pure survival games available.
Rust is a griefer’s dream come true. Nothing beats finding a man sleeping in a forest and plundering him before he awakens, or camping outside another player’s fort and killing her as she opens the door.
Rust might simply be the best survival game out today for people who enjoy lethal cat and mouse games. However, anyone who is more interested in building and exploring, or who is unable to devote themselves to a single game, may struggle.
Despite the fact that other games excel at individual aspects like as crafting, fighting, survival, and exploration, I’ve never played a survival game that blends everything as well as Rust. The way it combines survival and competitive genres is entertaining, especially if you enjoy the more fun elements, such as shooting rocket launchers at a naked man fleeing a pig or being stabbed to death by a person blasting Russian music over their microphone while carrying a spear.
It’s a little strange and polished compared to the competition, but that’s part of the fun. Your life starts the same way every time you join a server: you wake up on a beautiful island, entirely (and graphically) naked, as a randomly generated character depending on your Steam ID number. You won’t be able to customize your character’s look, race, or gender in this game.
Rust’s colors stand out in a sea of bleak, faded survival games. I could stare at the sky for hours since it is such a bright blue. The greenery seems thick and inviting, as if walking through the grass barefoot would be fun.
Buildings are frequently painted a rusty red, which lets them stand out against the greenery of the world. The desert and arctic biomes are also enjoyable, though they might be difficult to explore without the proper equipment due to natural risks.
With nothing but a rock and a torch, you find yourself here. Rust follows the standard survival formula featured in games like Minecraft, The Forest, Stranded Deep, and Subnautica in this regard.
You chop down trees and collect rocks with your rock, which you use to build a crude home while keeping an eye on your hunger, thirst, and health gauges. Over time, you’ll find blueprints that will allow you to build stronger tools, considerably increasing your odds of survival.
Because finding blueprints in Rust is at best unreliable, that progression can feel stifled. Duplicate blueprints for unnecessary items are abundant, however essentials such as a hatchet can be difficult to come by. When this happens, you’ll have to look up designs for items you find across in the world.
That entails finding a research table or building a level-one workbench, and then crafting your own research table. All of this necessitates having hundreds of the necessary components on hand, and finding the items you need to dismantle still involves a degree of chance. This results in a lot of frustrating grinding.
Rust’s resource gathering method is weird and mismatched as a whole. Certain items, but not all, feature markings that indicate where to strike to gain the most resources. When you chop down a tree, a red X appears.
Minerals and metals that can be mined gleam under the appropriate light. As you strike, these spots move, resulting in some unpleasant sliding around the resource as you strive to maximize your resources. Worse, because player reach is limited, you may end up missing a lot of strikes while chopping down a tree right in front of you.
Wandering about the island, wondering what happened to make it so deserted, has a zen quality to it. I came saw a mystery grey helicopter a couple times, which cruised the island until it detected another player and opened fire.
After that, I tried to stay away from helicopters as much as possible. Airplanes fly overhead as well, but they appear to be kinder, dropping supply crates on occasion. Because Rust lacks the story of Subnautica, it never explains why you’re on this deserted island or why helicopters are hostile while airplanes aren’t. The Forest, too, starts with a plane accident.
The dangers in the world aren’t limited to enemy players. Radiation and misjudged jumps have both killed me. It’s embarrassing to admit, but the same boar once killed me three times. I didn’t notice it was there the first time.
The second time, I was just trying to salvage my stuff and died while attempting to do so, and the third time, I died while leading it away from my corpses from the previous two deaths, allowing me to salvage all of my original gear on the fourth respawn.
Rust, on the other hand, performs admirably after four years of Early Access. A few broken milestones, minor episodes of pop-in, and occasional rubber-banding on high-population servers are the only remaining flaws. For the most part, over the 30 hours of gameplay for this review, everything went smoothly. Rust is a fiercely competitive survival game that thrives on trash talk and fighting.
Other games, such as DayZ for tight player interactions, Fortnite for battle royale mode, and Subnautica for survival gameplay, are stronger at the separate components, but Rust merges inferior versions of all three together in a way that works. Rust is the greatest game for competitive players who desire a mix of survival and crafting; for everyone else, there are plenty of alternative games.
2. Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout 3 was hailed as one of the best open-world role-playing games of the time when it was launched in the fall of 2008. Fallout: New Vegas, released two years ago, is the latest installment in the behemoth of a franchise.
Obsidian didn’t seem to feel the need to change anything about the successful formula, as the parallels to its predecessor are so striking that I keep thinking of it as Fallout 3: New Vegas. That’s not necessarily a negative thing, given how well-received the previous game was, but New Vegas does feel like a massive expansion.
The Fallout series is set after a nuclear war, when the United States has been desecrated and reduced to a shell of its former greatness. As a result of the disaster, humanity emerges as greedy and power-hungry as ever.
Despite being bombarded with multiple nukes, Vegas managed to survive the war relatively unscathed. Following this, a group of people known as the New California Republic, or NCR, formed to promote the former governmental system’s beliefs.
The NCR and the residents of New Vegas have access to clean water and electricity thanks to the Hoover Dam, which is something that other locations lack. The Legion, a dictatorship led by a man who dubbed himself Caesar, is at odds with the NCR.
The Legion absorbs neighbouring tribes and enslaves a portion of their population, following the Roman strategy of conquering other civilizations. Tensions are high as the NCR and Caesar’s Legion battle for control of the area.
In these tumultuous times, you’re a courier with no established background. You’re tasked with delivering a parcel on the New Vegas strip as a fairly ordinary guy or gal, but let’s just say difficulties occur. Despite the use of color and a few essential small tweaks to keep things interesting, the story is predictably predictable.
The main quest has three alternative outcomes, and like Fallout 3, after you finish it, you won’t be able to continue your trek through the wastelands until you reload an old save. This is unfortunate, especially because this was a huge flaw in Fallout 3, which Bethesda eventually fixed with extra material.
When you first arrive at the Mojave Desert, you’ll see that the scenery is similar to the other wastelands, but there is now genuine vegetation. While most of it is dried up, fresh fruit, seeds, and herbs can be found and harvested, which can be used to find healing powder or stimpaks.
The major tasks lead you down a pretty safe road to the New Vegas strip, where the story begins to get intriguing, albeit the game is still extremely difficult while you’re novice.
I liked that each side you may aid seems to have shades of grey rather than a black-and-white morality scale at first — the New California Republic is bloated and ineffectual at protecting its citizens, but the Legion’s tight ship with slave labor is off-putting.
Then I learned that killing Legion members earns you Karma, while killing NCR troops earns you Karma, thus the lines weren’t so hazy after all. While the main quest is disappointing and short, you won’t (and shouldn’t) spend the most of your time on it.
Apart from the main story, there are a slew of side missions to complete, and they’re what really make the game shine. The beautiful thing about New Vegas’ open world is that there are few boundaries to what you can do with it.
There are nearly too many locations to find, and every time you turn around, someone will ask for your assistance. You’ll discover underground sewers or some other previously undiscovered section just when you believe you’ve investigated every nook and cranny of an area.
Some quests are short and straightforward, such as “go fetch,” while others are epic narratives that take precedence over the main plot. Deception, cannibalism, interstellar travel, and drug use are all common themes in off-the-beaten-path locations. If you want to see and complete every mission in the game, plan on spending around 100 hours (around the same as Fallout 3).
People’s opinions of you will change based on how you treat them. They will idolize you if you are kind to a tiny village of people and assist them protect themselves from hostile forces, whereas the opposing group will despise you. These viewpoints are crucial because they will decide how aggressive the various organizations are toward you.
Fallout: New Vegas is built on the same engine as Fallout 3 and suffers from the same bugs. The artificial intelligence is dumber than a rock, and the animations have no weight. Lip synching varies from good to non-existent.
You’ll almost always come across an adversary or ally who can’t seem to figure out how to navigate around that corner. These gaffes are amusing, but the choppy framerate and long load times are not. Load times on consoles range from 30 seconds to two minutes, and can be both tedious and painful. New Vegas can function well, but it can also slow down or freeze at times, so save frequently.
With more polished combat, high-quality side objectives, and the fascinating setting of the Vegas strip, New Vegas maintains the fun Fallout 3 formula.
Unfortunately, the bugs came along for the voyage as well. Perhaps it would feel less like a massive expansion of Fallout 3 and more like its own game if Obsidian and Bethesda had polished up the game by addressing the AI, enhancing the animations, or even getting it to run properly.
Regardless, Fallout 3 was a fantastic game, and Fallout: New Vegas, as similar as it is, is still a fun trip that offers more for fans of the series to enjoy. This is definitely a wasteland worth exploring if you can look past its flaws.
3. Lost in Blue 2
Sequels should bring something new to the table. Follow-ups to existing titles must provide new ideas and developments to justify the numerals on their packages. Reimagined versions of classic game ideas. These are present in Lost in Blue 2, however there aren’t enough of them.
This game, a follow-up to Konami’s Lost in Blue from 2005, is far too similar to its predecessor. It feels more like a rehash than an evolution, and it’s even tougher to pin down where the justification for that numeral “2” comes from, let alone a cause to pay cash money to acquire it.
It all began in 1999 with the Game Boy Color. Then, near the end of the year, Konami released Survival Kids, a cute, basic sleeper hit of a game. The premise was brilliant: you’re a lost child washed up on a desert island, and it’s up to you to keep yourself alive until aid arrives. It was an open-ended situation in terms of survival. You were free to do anything you wanted, whenever you wanted, as long as you didn’t starve to death.
The similar formula was used in Lost in Blue. Lost in Blue aimed to update the island survival concept with 3D visuals and DS-exclusive gameplay improvements that utilised the touch screen and microphone as a spiritual sequel to Survival Kids.
In 2005, the game attracted a significant audience, but not as large as it could have been because the mundane parts of keeping your characters nourished and refreshed took away from the fun of exploring.
This sequel should have fixed the situation. It isn’t the case. Lost in Blue 2 is Konami’s third handheld deserted island adventure, and rather than the formula improving over time, each installment has taken a step backwards.
The boredom of keeping your characters alive is considerably more evident and frustrating this time around, to the point where you’ll probably prefer to end the adventure yourself via the power switch rather than any in-game rescue or escape effort. It’s all about the food, really.
In Lost in Blue 2, there are two characters, Jack and Amy, who are both more insatiable than Pac-Man. On the top screen, both protagonists have three meters: fatigue, thirst, and hunger. And each of the three meters must be kept from falling to zero, otherwise the characters will start to lose hit points and eventually die.
Food is a source of frustration since there is never enough of it. While you frantically search for anything appetizing, the hunger, fatigue, and thirst meters are continually emptying to zero.
It’s just not enough by the time you’ve gathered enough coconuts, mushrooms, and seaweed to make a supper, prepared the items in a cooking mini-game, then sat through the cutscene depicting the characters eating together.
The energy acquired from the food is insufficient to replace the energy wasted in gathering it all. It’s a system of decreasing returns in which you gradually march closer and closer to death’s door. It’s just not fun.
Things are starting to look up now. You may make a spear to go fishing with. You explore more of the island, encountering more wildlife, mini-games, and just more things to do.
This edition features a heavier emphasis on cooking as well as more intense first-person interactions with deadly creatures. It’s very exciting to combat an angry crocodile with your improvised touch control javelin.
The tedium of controlling your and your partner’s extremely quick digestive systems, however, never ceases. The ever-present and ever-draining meters always lure you back out of any fun you’re having wrestling gators or exploring new regions of the island.
The lack of intelligence of your partner character is also frustrating. At the start of the adventure, you can select between becoming a boy or a girl, and the one you don’t choose is cursed with a duck’s brain. Worse than a duck, really, because even a birdbrain would drink water on its own if it was thirsty. What’s your Lost in Blue partner’s name? Not at all.
When they’re parched to the point of no return, you’ll have to really grasp his or her hand and guide them bodily to the river, or they’ll curl up and croak right there in the comfort of your cohabitated cave.
Aside from the single-player survival story, the game has a few other modes. The first is a single-card multiplayer option that lets up to three pals to compete in a handful of mini-games on the island – competitive touch-controlled WiFi.
I’ll grant them that goat milking is a one-of-a-kind experience. The second quest, Serious Survival, is a more difficult version of the main quest. This horrific unlockable mode will always end in your character’s death – it removes the buddy youngster and forces you to survive on the island alone.
Serious Survival is a more inviting method to play in many respects, despite the loneliness. Remember that the companion was really simply a braindead drain on your time and attention before.
Although Lost in Blue 2 introduces some new things, it is insufficient. Its improvements over its predecessor are locked behind a wall of frustration in the hours of effort required to even get to them. The numeral doesn’t justify itself, and neither can spending money on this title.
You’d be better off picking up a copy of the first Lost in Blue or, for an even better result, the first Survival Kids on Game Boy Color. A Nintendo DS will not play the cartridge, however a Game Boy Advance SP will.
4. Don’t Starve
Don’t Starve irritates me like few other games ever have. It gave me dozens of thrilling close calls with death, but it also gave me lengthy stretches of dull busy work in between.
It’s the kind of game where you can spend hours exploring the environment, outfitting your character, and securing your fortress, only to have your bit of paradise smashed by a horrifying, nearly unstoppable shadow beast assault. It’s a roguelike, which means death is unavoidable, and if you die, the game is done.
Don’t Starve will never, ever hold your hand, something I both like and despise. Klei Entertainment’s sleek roguelike takes the Minecraft formula and throws you into the beautiful wilderness, leaving you to figure out how to survive on your own.
Some adventurers will see this independence as a liberating canvas on which to express their patience, creativity, and bravery, but I was never able to truly bond with Don’t Starve due to the lack of direction or goals beyond simply remaining alive.
But I was enchanted. I was immediately struck by a deep admiration for the paper-cutout graphical style and humorous presentation as soon as I stepped inside my randomly produced world. The gothic-inspired appearance, reminiscent of a Tim Burton pop-up book, makes even the most innocent vegetation appear threatening.
A menu system that feels like it was torn from the pages of a children’s book and comically blunt bits of story help to create the feeling of a child’s storybook gone bad. The sights are backed by a carnivalesque soundtrack that, while first appealing, lacks sort, prompting me to turn it off and search for my own creepy music to play in the background.
The gameplay cycle is straightforward: explore the world and gather materials during daylight hours, then survive the night by crafting a fire and eating some food, then repeat. And, while there’s a certain bit of mundane about it, it all culminates in desperate and tight survival fights.
In one game, I found out of supplies and was pursued by a swarm of deadly spiders into the woods. I threw caution to the wind and set a neighboring tree on fire, realizing there was little chance of escaping. The entire forest went up in flames in an instant, and my assailants were reduced to piles of silk… which I gathered up and used to build a vest.
My sanity meter quickly depleted due to my character’s tiredness, and my frailty provided the perfect chance for a ridiculously weak frog to chisel the rest of my health away. It was a decent death – I could have left it by performing more mentally demanding tasks like crafting science items like lightning rods – but what disturbed me was that I received almost little recognition from Don’t Starve.
Nothing but the story I just told you, no meta-progression, no leaderboard score. You do unlock a few interesting characters with unique skills, and while experience is its own reward, it would be wonderful to have something extra to show for it.
Don’t Starve focuses heavily on resource management and crafting, so you’ll be sorting through a plethora of menus for a long time. Using the DualShock 4 to navigate Don’t Starve’s many options works well, but there are a few glitches. It takes some getting used to utilizing the shoulder buttons to bring up a menu, the analogue sticks to navigate it, and finally the d-pad to use a specific item. Think about any of Konami’s Metal Gear Solid games to get a sense of what I’m talking about.
Unfair deaths do occur, and one of mine occurred as a result of my inability to pick up a life-saving device that was directly in front of me. While the 3/4ths above viewpoint helps to showcase the beautiful imagery and makes the world appear like a live, breathing diorama, it can be annoying at times when items are concealed behind sections of the environment.
The trouble about woods is that they have a lot of trees, and there isn’t always a good angle from which to select an item. This blip becomes the difference between life and another 30 minutes of repetitious scrounging when you’re low on health and being pursued by one of the world’s various creatures.
While you can simply rotate the camera 90 degrees at a time, dense woodlands remain dense when viewed from the side. The only meaningful pauses in the cycle come in the shape of short, mission-based adventures that you may access through portals strewn around the environment.
Don’t Starve’s Adventure Mode is worth playing through once since it tells a compelling story with dark character development and a gruesome revelation at the end. However, once you’ve completed the seven bits of the campaign, there’ll be little need to find to Adventure Mode.
If you jump right into an unaltered gametype, the first 30 minutes or so of each new play session will be exceedingly boring and repetitious. Sure, I come back knowing more about the inner workings of the crafting system or the behavioral patterns of specific creatures, but my character has not only lost all of his worldly possessions, but he has also forgotten how to manufacture complex items.
Thankfully, you can change several aspects of the world before you start a game, such as the weather, the abundance of crops, and the number of adversaries scattered throughout the world. The Default Plus mode, in particular, assists by allowing you to enter a more tough world with immediate access to a large number of items, ensuring that your game is tense from the start.
I never imagined a plant could have such significance. I slid down the side of a hill while lost on one of Miasmata’s many trails, losing a potentially life-saving flower. My progress toward a cure for my terminal sickness had been stalled by one blunder – one panicked moment. I told myself it was simply a temporary setback, but returning to the treasured flora was not going to be simple.
Moments like this abound in Miasmata, an independent survival game. You’ve been abandoned on the island of Eden and are infected with a fatal virus. It’s up to you to survive the wilderness while searching for a cure. Eden is brimming with medical plants, but understanding how to use them, let alone obtaining them in the first place, requires a leap into the unknown.
There are a few notes that allude to the greater world along the way, but they aren’t really significant. What matters is that you use the instruments at your disposal to stay alive.
As a scientist, my intelligence was my most valuable asset while exploring Eden, but it meant nothing when I was confronted with hungry tiger-like creatures or fighting to drag my overheated body across what should have been an easily passable stream. In Miasmata, survival is difficult, but because it is so difficult, you appreciate whatever you find.
Despite the fact that the first knife I came across didn’t end up being really useful, it nonetheless empowered and emboldened me more than any world-destroying fantasy weapon I’ve found across in a shooter. Similarly, each new plant I pulled from Eden’s teeming jungles and woods became more valuable than a family legacy because it was required to keep going. These plants hold the key to ending an end to the epidemic that has engulfed your world.
There isn’t much information about how serious the plague is or how far it has gone; all that is known is that it exists and that you have it. This means wandering in Miasmata all the more exciting because, unlike other games, it’s not about getting to a set objective, but about finding whatever you can along the way. I’d often just pick a direction on my compass and explore, mapping unknown lands on my map while cautiously scrutinizing my surroundings for anything unusual.
The soft white of a flower petal or the bright orange of a carnivorous plant made my eyes widen with greed and excitement, and I’d scramble down mountaintops and put myself in danger over and over again if it meant I may just find something to help me with my problems.
Miasmata is a place where pain and misery are easy to come by. Fever is a common occurrence that causes blurred eyesight and slows your progress. Due to your weakened status, swimming over small waters can result in drowning, forcing you to find alternate routes. Sprinting to save time or reach a save point could result in you falling off a cliff or mountainside, rolling end over end and waking up disoriented and wounded.
Miasmata frightens you not with jack-in-the-box creatures, but with a variety of natural hurdles and the morale-sucking feature of complete isolation. Nobody can help you until you help yourself, so getting yourself up after nearly drowning or finding the dark by torchlight becomes a test of willpower.
It also makes each new discovery, whether it’s a new bed to rest in or a new plant to try with, into a joyful event of stress release. I’d be sprinting for my life, wondering why the heck I’d ever decided to ascend the mountain I’d just fallen off of, and then I’d be so pleased about finding the spotted flower that I wanted to pause the game and phone someone to brag about my incredible achievement.
Without any sort of tutorial, Miasmata cleverly revealed the nuances of its design through gameplay, which was part of the reason it haunted my waking hours while I wasn’t playing it. The occasional note explained basic gameplay mechanics, but the majority of what was discovered was simply by following one’s curiosity.
White flowers were quickly found as pain relievers, but the disgusting yellow mushrooms that grew on some trees turned into jewels once I discovered their strength-boosting powers. I attempted to stay away from regions with tall grass or reeds because I was frequently chased by tiger-like animals.
I kept checking my watch to make sure I wasn’t trapped in the dark of Miasmata’s day/night cycle. Miasmata performs an incredible job of conveying the tensions, joys, and other feelings of survival while also teaching you about the natural world’s principles. Every game session became an opportunity to learn something new, get afraid, and participate in an unusual gaming experience.
Miasmata’s gameplay and sense of location make it stand out, but it’s not without flaws. Miasmata frequently feels incomplete, from significant framerate difficulties to constant texture pop-in to outright game crashes. Miasmata is far from a lovely game due to its archaic graphics, and repeated textures and parts of the environment stand out at times.
Nonetheless, it’s easy to become so engrossed in what Miasmata excels at that it manages to be a good game. Miasmata is unlike any other game I’ve ever encountered. It manages to transform even the act of survival become an exciting learning experience without bombarding you with long lessons. Instead, you’re thrown into a situation with nothing but your curiosity and drive to live to achieve to guide you.
Surviving in Miasmata is about the journey, not the ending or the story it seeks to tell. It will be a difficult journey. The journey will test your patience and determination. The journey will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable in a PC game this year.