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The survival game genre is at its peak, so we’re looking at the top games like Stranded Deep. Our list features other survival games that may add elements from other genres, like RPG, sandbox, or FPS.
We also identified Stranded Deep’s core elements:
First-person combat, exploration, and crafting
Building a raft to explore islands
Specific tools for specific resources
Vitals like hunger and thirst
Enemy NPCs like animals
A single-player campaign with a canon ending
Valheim is one of the most popular games on Steam.
Developer: Iron Gate AB
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
Release Date: February 2023
Platform: Windows, GNU/Linux
You play as a Viking soul on Valheim, the tenth Norse world. Your goal is slaying Odin’s rivals to restore order to the realm. Doing so requires exploration, exploring, harvesting, crafting, and combat. You craft weapons, build fortifications and grow in power slowly but steadily.
There’s a character progression system that works by leveling specific skill trees through particular actions. For example, swinging the ax improves the ax skill. That said, you can dodge, parry, block, and attack with a vast range of weapons and shields.
A crucial part of the experience is building a longboat to explore the different islands. You can do it through a comprehensive crafting system that allows building boats, rafts, farms, strongholds, and everything in-between.
The “base” game includes 18 expansions / updates -and counting
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games
Release Date: 2023
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
Then, there’s the crafting system. Players can gather resources to upgrade or build technological gear. That includes the Exosuit, starships, a Multi-Tool, a Freighter, and an Exocraft. Players can also craft other trading or construction parts.
Aside from procedurally generated creatures, the game also has pirates and traders. Pirates open up airship combat, as you can deal with them to survive or for bounties. Then, traders offer quests that take you to the confines of the galaxy for hidden treasures and artifacts.
Overall, No Man’s Sky offers the genre experience across an infinite procedurally generated universe. And if you need some guidance, there’s a 30-hour story arc that shows you everything you need to know.
Ark Survival has a fully-fledged single-player campaign.
Developer: Studio Wildcard
Publisher: Studio Wildcard, Snail Games USA
Release Date: 2023
Platform: Linux, Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
ARKs are either single-player or PvP. Other players can help you, kill you, or steal your loot. The difference in power between characters relies on level, stat allocation, and technological gear.
Gameplay is about gathering resources, building bases, craft weapons, supplies, and armor. Meanwhile, you have to manage vitals like thirst, hunger, stamina, and weather.
As for the environment, each ARK is different, but you can’t go from one ARK to another. However, maps are comprehensive, full of prehistoric creatures that vary in size, danger, and resources. More importantly, you can tame these creatures to work with you and become your mounts.
Subnautica has evolved and improved significantly since its debut.
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Release Date: 2023
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Xbox One, PS4
Subnautica is an exploration, survival sandbox game that happens entirely under water. You’re stranded in the deep of an alien ocean, and you can only go down.
The setting delivers a traditional survivor game, but underwater. You gather resources, find supplies, and build shelters, weapons, flashlights, and diving gear.
More importantly, you can build underwater lairs, which is the core of the gameplay experience. The other significant chunk of the game is exploring the oceans, which are vast, endless, and full of life. Plus, there’re both dangerous and innocent creatures around you.
There’s no character progression, but your ability to explore is limited by three factors. First, your oxygen tank quality. Secondly, your technological gear. Third, the lack of an in-game map and the scarce visibility underwater. That said, you need to dive further and deeper for better materials to craft your gear (like the oxygen tank).
You can play alone or on servers with up to 8 people
Developer: Endnight Games
Publisher: Endnight Games
Release Date: 2014
Platform: PS4, Windows
The Forest makes you play as a plane crash survivor. You’re stranded in a forest full of cannibalistic mutants. Typical survival skills (exploring, gathering, crafting, and fighting) can take you back home.
It sounds familiar, but the setting is unique. The Forest is a first–person survival horror sim. It’s frightening, dangerous, but within a world where every leaf and plant can become a resource.
The idea is to build shelters to stay alive during the night and explore during the day. At night, you can avoid them by stealth or craft weapons with sticks and rocks to fight.
However, survival depends on skill rather than character progression, though. Stats include strength, weight, sanity, and athleticism, but you can only temporary strength by eating or fighting.
Developer: Rare Ltd
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Release Date: 2023 (2023 for Windows PC)
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
You can sail, explore and loot anything, any way you want. However, the pirate experience doesn’t include a crafting system. That said, the game offers a vast open world full of islands to explore. Across these lands, you’ll find mysterious artifacts, hidden treasures, bounties, sunken ships, and more.
The campaign is one of the game’s most extensive post-launch updates. Sea of Thieves is a live-service title, and thus its content has grown exponentially over the years.
Conan Exiles combat has a classic dodge/block/parry/attack system
Release Date: 2023
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
Conan Exiles is a multiplayer survival game with a Conan the Barbarian setting. You play as a barbarian on an open-world sandbox with the typical levels, attributes, and XP systems.
You grow with a comprehensive building system that allows you to build small tents in entire cities. Similarly, you can build armor, weapons, and other tools of war. You’d need your gear, as everything in the wild can hunt you.
Another core feature is the weather. You have to survive the scorching Sun, as well as freezing temperatures. Similarly, dungeon crawling is an essential part of the game, and it allows you to find powerful gear and resources.
The game offers a campaign revolving around clan rivalries. Your goal is dominating the Exile Lands, either inside a multiplayer server or alone.
7 Days to Die is one of the most popular survival RPG games.
Developer: The Fun Pimps
Publisher: The Fun Pimps, Telltale Games
Release Date: 2013
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux
7 Days to Die combines FPS, survival horror, tower defense, and RPG elements for a unique sandbox RPG experience.
You play in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by undead creatures. Here, you can explore, mine, loot, craft, and combat. The looting and inventory management part is similar to games like Escape from Tarkov.
The game also includes a wide range of weapons, a comprehensive building system, vitals, vehicles, and a single-player campaign.
More importantly, the RPG system allows you to unlock perks across five different disciplines. You acquire skill points from completing quests or reading books.
Developers are currently working on more content for the game.
Developer: Hyperion Studio Limited
Publisher: Hyperion Studio Limited
Release Date: April 2023
Journey of Life is a survival simulator. You play as an engineer who lost everything, so you have to rebuild everything from scratch.
Gameplay is about exploring, gathering resources, and building settlements. The latter is the core experience, as Journey of life is a first-person/third-person city sim builder.
Notably, you have to build different buildings to generate, process, and deliver the resources you find in the open world. The world is an island, and it’s vast, so you’ll need to create an alliance (tribes) with other players to succeed.
Lastly, the game also allows managing vitals like hunger, thirst, and weather resistance. So, for example, you’ll need to hunt and farm for a steady supply of resources.
Don’t Starve Together is the standalone multiplayer expansion of Don’t Starve.
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Release Date: April 23, 2013/April 21, 2023
Platform: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, iOS, Android
You play as Wilson, an intrepid Gentleman Scientist trapped in another world. You’re surrounded by odd creatures, ancient secrets, and natural resources. Thus, you can gather resources to craft items, build structures, and play in any way you’d like to play.
Meanwhile, there’s a story arc you can follow. And if you’re bored of the standard path, the game cna generate random maps for you at any time.
Most importantly, you need to eat. There’s a complex food system to keep your health, sanity, and hunger levels in check.
Rust has one of the largest player bases on Steam.
Developer: Facepunch Studios
Publisher: Facepunch Studios
Release Date: 2023
Platform: Windows, Linux, macOS
Rust is not precisely a Stranded Deep spin-off, but we had to include it as one of the best survival exploration games. Also, it’s, by far, the most popular of the bunch.
You start on a map, naked, and your goal is surviving. That means there’s no story arc. Instead, the game offers the ultimate free-roam, sandbox experience for FPS genre fans.
Surviving requires handy work. You must gather resources, craft, loot, and fight against other players, wildlife, and NPCs. The combat is a classic first-person shooter scenario with pleasant mechanics.
Overall, Rust is a lot of fun that offers hours of exploration, crafting, and building.
13-years old developer Gorka Aranzábal created Bromeliad.
Developer: Gorka Game Studios
Publisher: Gorka Game Studios
Release Date: January 2023
Bromeliad is an open-world survival indie title with mixed reviews. Still, it’s worth a shot. You play as a “Human-Bear” stranded on a pacific island.
Naturally, you gather natural resources to build gathering tools, crafting tools, shelters, bases, and weapons to hunt. You hunt, explore, and tame animals.
In particular, you need a shelter to hide at night. Otherwise, you’ll have to fight against the strange creatures that appear once the Sun lays down.
Your overall goal is going back to normality. Your Human-Bear nature is not normal, and you can find clues of a cure as you explore the island.
Surviving Mars is a colony-simulator game.
Developer: Haemimont Games, Abstraction
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: 2023
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, macOS, GNU/Linux, Windows
Surviving Mars is an RTS game with survival and city sim elements. It’s not a survival game per see. Still, the mix of survival elements and vital management with the RTS formula may appeal to Stranded Deep fans.
Your goal is to build the first colony on Mars. You play with a top-down / birds-view perspective as you gather resources on the planet. Then, you use these resources to craft facilities capable of generating supplies like oxygen and water.
The sci-fi city builder starts by choosing a space agency and a colony location. From then on out, you create domes, infrastructures, drones, and research facilities.
Most importantly, you must keep your colonists alive while expanding your area as much as you can. There will be challenges to face as you build the functional colony, though. Lousy planning means no oxygen.
You can pre-order VoidTrain on the Epic Games Store or Steam.
Publisher: Nearga, Hypetrain Digital
Release Date: 2023
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox series, Windows
Voidtrain is a sci-fi survival shooter game. It’s not out yet, but it’s available or pre-order.
Voidtrain’s main character is a crew member inside an interdimensional express. The train travels across worlds inhabited by dangers, powerful creatures, and magical surprises.
Your goal is to gather materials to upgrade the train and craft better gear. You can find these materials across various worlds, but you’ll need to hunt strange creatures to survive.
Overall, Voidtrain looks like a breath of fresh air for the survival genre. It will become available either as a single-player experience or with a 4 player co-op.
Project Canopy is a work in progress. All things may change once it debuts.
Developer: SocksandGoats Studios
Publisher: SocksandGoats Studios
Release Date: “Coming soon.”
Platform: Windows, TBA
Exploring the planet includes harvesting, crafting, and managing vitals like hunger and thirst. You also need minerals to craft your gear and scientific equipment. Moreover, you’d need to gather resources from plants, animals, and the rest of the flora and fauna.
Atop the “Canopy,” you can expand, customize, and upgrade your base. You can also replenish oxygen and other critical resources to explore the jungle again.
Lastly, you must prepare yourself during the nighttime. Once the sun goes down, dangerous predators come out to eat.
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