If you are looking for the best survival games for Xbox, you are certainly going to have an exciting time ahead. The sheer number of challenging and time-demanding survival games right now is actually astounding.
Recently, crossovers in genres have resulted in survival games extending beyond your a-typical run-and-hide experiences. There are real-time strategies, mass multiplayer games and even alternative universes to explore in the dark.
With gameplay focused around the gathering of food, items, resources, and constructing bases or shelters to survive in the hardest of the days, can you survive the elements?
Let’s find out!
Best Xbox Survival Games
For all our survival games lovers out there, we have prepared a list of the best survival games on Xbox One & Xbox Series X that you can jump into right now. When Escape From Tarkov finally arrives, we have no doubt that this will fast become the best survival game on Xbox. However, in the meantime, this lineup is actually insane!
Also featured on our extensive list of awesome Xbox games for kids, we are kicking things off with Minecraft. Although not akin to your traditional Day-Z-style survival game, Minecraft is about survival nonetheless. As you explore the procedurally generated world, you must harvest tools, create shelters, befriend pets and avoid hostile mobs.
Developed by the Swedish video game developer Mojang Studios in 2011, after its final release, this game has won several awards and is cited as the greatest video game of all time. The story of Minecraft is whatever you want to create. From customising your characters, the world around you and the creatures within, you decide how to interact with your surroundings.
While one world might feature a peaceful Zen Garden; encouraging tranquillity, another could be a fallout of a zombie apocalypse, where you are forced to build a fortress to resist the zombies. So, it is always up to the players to build anything they want. Minecraft also recently surpassed 1 trillion views on YouTube, which, well, kind of says everything you need to know about this game.
Release Date: 16th December 2019
Developer: System Era Softworks
X|S Optimised: No
If you are someone who enjoys spacecraft but also likes to dabble with quality survival games, you are going to really enjoy Astroneer. Astroneer is a multiplayer survival game that will take you to a new level of everything. Discover and reshape distant worlds, explore the frontiers of outer space, and encounter and unlock the mysteries of the universe. Just don’t forget to gather enough resources to survive the harsh elements along the way.
In Astroneer you will find yourself in the shoes of an astronaut who lands on a planet mostly devoid of life and in order to survive or to reach the goal you must have to gather resources, explore planet surfaces and keep a check on your oxygen. All of this while earning bytes (Astroneer currency) by researching samples. Although there is no exact storyline to progress through, Astroneer’s open world of beautiful colours, subtle animations and incredible textures is soothing as it is a challenge.
Oh, the synth soundtrack is insanely relaxing at night too!
Release Date: 22nd September 2014
Developer: Hinterland Studio & Skybound Games
X|S Optimised: No
Sick of sweaty crews ganging up and hunting your defences down during multiplayer survival games? The Long Dark might just be the best survival game on Xbox for you. As far as single-player games go, many of them are quite linear and repetitive. Conversely, The Long Dark is full of surprise and entertainment.
This game starts off with your plane crashing into a ravine during an unusual storm. With nothing but your brain as a weapon, now, it’s up to you—injured, hungry and freezing, to survive through these tough conditions. A few wrong steps in the wrong direction is almost immediate and certain death.
Published and developed by Hinterland Studios, The Long Dark is an immersive and challenging single-player video game that pits players against the frozen Canadian wilderness. With two modes of play to choose from (narrative and survival), you can decide how challenging you want this game to become. In the narrative mode, you have to follow the storyline which becomes a more linear route. However, in survival mode, it’s all holds barred and you will face the real wilderness of nature with surviving your only goal. As challenging as this game can be, at least you don’t have to worry about them sweaty crews destroying days worth of resource gathering.
Release Date: 24th April 2018 Developer: 11 Bit Studios X|S Optimised: No
Frostpunk is an award-winning survival game that combines the best survival elements, city-building and 4x gaming into one of the most attractive and strategic survival games on Xbox. Developed and published by 11 Bit Studios in 2018, this game is still considered the of the best survival games of all time.
Frostpunk sets the stage with a gripping and timely backstory in which climate change devastates the human race from existence in the late 1900s. Those who are left behind should search out for the remaining resources, make decisions about survival, and explore the area outside the city in search of survivors, resources, or other useful items during a worldwide volcanic winter. The game offers different scenarios, each of which has its own story and different challenges.
The major reason for its popularity is because of its great efficiency and strategic aspects which feels meticulously crafted, polished, and defined. This makes playing Frostpunk very difficult to put down for the gamers.
Release Date: 31st January 2017 Developer: Funcom X|S Optimised: Yes
Remember the movie Conan, The Barbarian? Probably not. However, one game you will remember should you ever play is Conan Exiles. As an open-world survival game set within the world of Conan the Barbarian, players do not actually play Conan but rather create their own unique protagonist. Sentenced to death and nothing but a hope to cling onto, you are eventually saved by Conan but left to fester in the harsh and unforgiving world that lays before you.
As an outcast, you are weak. Nobody will help you, resources are scarce and you are left ultimately as prey. To survive, you must gather resources, craft goods, dominate fights and ultimately navigate the entire world around you which is full of enemies. Stay clear of the nice ones and out-stamina your opponents who have a serious thirst for you.
Release Date: 16th December 2013 Developer: Bohemia Interactive X|S Optimised: No
What terrible gamers would we be without mentioning Day-Z?
Tasked with surviving the post-Soviet Republic during a zombie pandemic, Day-Z is possibly the most unforgiving open-world survival video game for Xbox. Period. With nothing but gritted teeth, you start your journey hunting for scraps and locating useful items. Switching between first-person and third-person cameras, you would be wise to learn your surroundings quick. Before the horde of zombies arrive.
In a similar fashion to ARK & State of Decay, Day-Z presents as an online multiplayer survival game where players literally just stay alive and healthy as long as possible. Using your charm through open-mic voice chat when other players are close enough, can you make friends and survive together?
Or will you backstab your new acquaintance in hope of ripping away vital resources? From the movement to the graphics and back again to the suspension, Day-Z literally has everything you could ever want from an online multiplayer survival game.
Release Date: 8th August 2016 Developer: Hello Games X|S Optimised: Yes
Falling short of recent developer updates, No Man’s Sky would not have made this list of best Xbox survival games. However, the development studio at Hello Games really stepped up the production line over the last few years.
As such, No Man’s Sky makes the cut as the other planet survival game you should play besides Astroneer. In No Man’s Sky, you will navigate toxic wastelands, endure cold atmosphere’s and avoid hazardous environments on your journey to survival.
First released in 2016, the No Man’s Sky of today is extremely advanced compared to the first issue. While there are no zombies to shoot, No Man’s Sky really tests the mind as you keep on monitoring your signals amidst trying to find important information. Build bases, farm resources, move on to your next destination but above all else, survive the elements.
Release Date: 22nd May 2018
Developer: Undead Labs
X|S Optimised: No
Nothing resembles zombie apocalypse survival games quick like the State of Decay Series. And, State of Decay 2 is at the peak of action-adventure survival horror games. Within an open-world environment, you will once more team up with fellow protagonists to build strong defences to repel the growing zombie army.
With much greater emphasis on scavenging resources throughout the zombie apocalypse, State of Decay 2 also enables communities of online gamers to craft outposts that will essentially serve as your registered homes for various medicines and foods. Gather a group of survivors, loot abandoned buildings for resources, make new friends, fend off new enemies and build safe havens to protect your new crew from the desperate raiders.
Will you choose to navigate the undead-infested wastelands solo? Or team with friends for a better chance of living to see tomorrow? The choice is yours.
While many zombie survival games will wield you with a shotgun and let you wreak havoc, Dying Light 2 takes us back to more simple times with good ol’ fisticuffs and agility. As a parkour expert, players of Dying Light 2 will dropkick zombies from rooftops and survive the elements with the most basic of weapons.
Playing as Aiden, an infected member of society, you must loot supplies to survive the night (before you transform into a zombie) and travel across 7 distinct regions to help and support the lands. Whether you do this solo or team up with friends for an epic co-op adventure, Dying Light 2 has much less of a storyline but invests all of that budget into some of the best zombie apocalypse mechanics going!
If you have not played any of the Dying Light series to date, Dying Light 2 will be one of the best zombie survival games that doesn’t let you have a shotgun!
Release Date: 2nd June 2015 Developer: Studio Wildcard X|S Optimised: Yes
Remember Turok for the Nintendo 64? Dinosaur games since then have been somewhat as extinct as the phenomenal creatures themselves. However, for anybody who loves a good survival game on Xbox amongst being huge fans of Dinosaurs, ARK is the epitome of heaven for you. Developed by Studio Wildcard, ARK is an open-world survival game that takes a very different spin on the action-adventure survival genre with its unique combination of emergent multiplayer cooperation and competition.
Ultimately, ARK: Survival Evolved is a role-playing survival game in which you must build shelters and set traps for your own protection. Against what you might ask? Well, pre-human Dinosaurs, volatile weather systems, other dangerous wildlife and, of course, other players also trying to survive the same thing. Through ARK: Survival Evolved, players level up their characters through collecting resources, building shelters or hunting smaller wildlife. As your level increases, you will gain attribute points and engram points, which will help you to increase the character’s stats.
Release Date: 21st May 2021 Developer: Facepunch Studios X|S Optimised: No
Xbox gamers waited almost a decade for Rust to be released on console. However, when Facepunch Studios finally pulled the trigger, Rust was immediately doctored into the history books for being highly regarded as one of the best survival games on Xbox to have ever blessed our controllers.
For all that you lack at the start of the game, Rust just delivers time and time again. From building forts to gathering materials in the wilderness, you begin to lay down your variety of items in hope of creating the perfect rural retreat. From floors to staircases, windows and more, your dream environment is almost a reality.
Only, there’s a huge shoot-on-sight mentality within this multiplayer game which makes completing your retreat nearly impossible!
There are definitely some servers that take a more relaxed vibe to Rust. However, the onus is definitely to kill or be killed throughout most of the game. If you do find some compatriots, however, pulling your resources together is a fantastic way to master the environment. Just be careful to watch your back.
Do you dare to team up with other players or potential foes?
Release Date: 30th January 2019 Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment X|S Optimised: Yes
With question one of the best survival games on Xbox that does not involve AK-47s and zombies, Subnautica will transcend your survival instincts into the deep. Since the original Subnautica (which was an absolute trailblazer) players return back to Planet 4546B to search for your sister, Alterra, who went MIA during a scientific expedition.
Can you find Alterra without becoming lost at sea yourself?
Alongside brand new depths to the oceanic open-world landscape, you will now also navigate new cute and dangerous alien forms while crafting new tools and gadgets to help you find your sister before it’s too late.
Collect resources, maintain nutrition, keep an eye on that oxygen tank and, for the very serious gamer, try your hand at the new hardcore mode that will literally force players to gather resources and survive; without the ability to respawn after death. For a survival game with a difference, buy Subnautica.
Release Date: 2nd February 2021 Developer: Iron Gate AB, Piktiv & Fishlabs Entertainment X|S Optimised: Yes
The gaming community went bonkers when the critically acclaimed Valheim was announced to be ported across to Xbox and for bloody good reason.
What started out as a small project has transcending into one of the best survival games around with millions of players worldwide soaking up viking culture both morning and night. Learning the way of the Viking, your metal will be tested as you attempt to survive the ever changing realm of Valheim.
Best Survival Games For Xbox One & Series X Roundup
As with most game genres, the best survival games enable players to dig deep into strategy and access critical thinking skills to overcome hardships. With some much to explore, craft and achieve, any one of these Xbox survival game titles will keep you busy for hours upon end. Plus, with numerous enemies and hostile conditions to navigate through, you’ll never yawn once!
From the list above (and despite obvious titles like Day-Z) we would have to say that the best survival game on Xbox One would be The Long Dark. Escaping from the forest while trying to save yourself from the freezing cold, remains one of the best experiences that we have ever had on Xbox One playing solo. A major component of Survival Games is multiplayer action. Yet, The Long Dark never fails to disappoint; even when playing alone.
Grab your coat, find some kindle and warm up those survival instincts with this entire list of some of the greatest survival games to ever reach the Xbox console today!
Any good survival games on Xbox that we missed?
Tell us more about your favourite Xbox survival games in the comments. When you’re done, don’t forget to enjoy these other articles from our editors at GamePro.
Content Disclaimer: This summary of the best Xbox survival games has been independently written. GamePro has not been commissioned by any publishers, nor have we received royalties. This includes financial payment, free ads or any of the above mentioned Xbox survival games.
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