Survival games are geared to the most masochistic and resourceful of gamers. The antidote to modern-day nerfing and handholding such as auto-regenerating health, easy difficulty levels, unlimited ammo and constant checkpoints, these games scrape away all the condescension and pit you alone against unforgiving elements with limited resources at your disposal. Rigorous and brutal, survival games make you earn every inch of progress.
Here’s a look at the best survival games available right now:
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Hardly a week goes by without a new zombie game. The field of undead-slaughtering adventures is now as dense as a mob of brain-eaters shuffling through a shopping mall. DayZ managed to claw its way out of the pack by rolling out a sprawling open world, a compelling crafting system and gripping emergent storylines that can match the emotional heft of The Walking Dead for those who dedicate themselves to the world.
4. The Flame in the Flood
Publisher: The Molasses Flood
Developer: The Molasses Flood
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Drawing hints of the “up the river without a paddle” metaphor, you find yourself trudging through post-apocalyptic wetlands. You’re constantly scrounging to see the next dawn, patching together shelters, scrapping together meals and clothing to keep up your strength and stop you from dying of hypothermia. A passion project from a tiny studio, the game has generated an intense community.
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Shaking off early comparisons to Minecraft, this side-scrolling build, dig and explore game makes up for what it lacks in plot with an arresting sense of discovery. Graphics and controls that recall Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis punch up a sense of nostalgia that often translates into whimsical comedy.
2. Don’t Starve
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Wii U, Vita, PC
Stuck in a winding, dense wilderness teeming with monsters and traps, you need to plot out every step with care and precision as you hunt and scavenge, always while watching your back. One of the more frustrating games on the market, it’s also one of the more rewarding if you’re willing to put in the time it takes to master its complex intricacies.
1. ARK: Survival Evolved
Publisher: Studio Wildcard
Developer: Studio Wildcard
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When a game isn’t even out yet and it’s already at the top of its genre’s list, it must really deliver the goods. That’s the case here, with early access releases on Steam and the Xbox One drawing raves and legions of die-hard fans helping Studio Wildcard iron out the kinks and prepare for a fourth quarter 2016 launch. You’re stranded on an island marauded by all sorts of beasts, including rampaging dinosaurs.
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