In the last few years, the Survival gaming sub-genre has really become quite popular with more and more game releases each year. As a result, there are a lot of options that you can buy, so we have compiled a list of the best survival games on Steam to help you shortlist some top contenders for your money. Survival games are a sub-genre of action-based games, and they typically are set in more hostile, post-apocalyptic or impending-doom worlds and maps, like a world taken over by zombies.
Often, players are separated or stranded from others and must work alone, often gathering resources, building tools, and/or shelter in order to survive, while other games may be co-operative and allow players to work together with a common goal in mind. Most survival games have one goal: whoever survives the longest… wins.
We also have a list of the best FREE survival games on Steam worth checking out if you’re on a budget or just want to try the survival genre out first.
Best Survival Games on Steam
The best survival games on Steam include old favorites like 7 Days to Die, DayZ, Don’t Starve Together, and Project Zomboid along with recent releases like ARK, Grounded, and Raft and everything in-between. We looked at game content, reviews, availability, and playability to create this curator list of recommendations. These games have positive reviews from thousands of players and continue to be playable/maintained by the developer(s). Let’s dive into each of them!
7 Days to Die
7 Days to Die is an open-world, survival horror, first-person shooter game that also utilizes tower defense and role-playing elements. It released in 2013 but remains one of the most recommended survival games across social media, like Reddit, and on Steam with over 150,000 very positive reviews. The game was developed by The Fun Pimps and remains updated currently. In 7 Days to Die, players have to deal with the fall of civilization and must survive as they explore the open world on their own or with friends, while building tools, weapons, and shelters to fend off the reanimated dead.
7 Days to Die is available on Steam for $24.99 (at the time of publishing) but has also been available in Steam sales in the past for a significant discount if you can wait until the next sale.
ARK: Survival Evolved
ARK: Survival Evolved puts players on a mysterious island where they’re forced to survive while encountering creatures from long ago that roam the land. The island is called ARK, and players will have to gather resources, craft items, grow food, research, and build shelters. You can kill, tame, and/or breed dinosaurs and other primeval creatures! This unique take on the survival game genre offers 100+ different creatures that you can tame. There are over 450,000 reviews on Steam, and players overwhelming have left very positive reviews for this game developed by Studio Wildcard and Instinct Games.
ARK: Survival Evolved is available on Steam for $19.99 (at the time of publishing).
Conan Exiles is an online, multi-player survival game that is set in the same world as Conan the Barbarian. You will be tasked with surviving in a vast, open-world sandbox where you must build your own kingdom in order to survive against enemies. The game is available for solo play or you can play with friends. It was originally released in 2018 by Funcom but is one of the top played games in the survival sub-genre. The game has received over 50,000 reviews that have it rated as “mostly positive” by players globally.
Conan Exiles is available for $39.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam but has been included in bundle and sales in the past.
DayZ is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has become overrun with an infected, zombie-like population. Players compete against other survivors for resources that have become quite limited, so you can group up with strangers or stay strong with your teammates or even play all alone. The game debuted in 2018 and was developed by Bohemia Interactive but remains a steadfast option in the survival genre. With over 250,000 reviews and a “mostly positive” experience, it’s well-worth experiencing for those who can afford this higher-priced game within the genre!
DayZ is available for $44.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam, but it has been included in various Steam sales in the past.
Don’t Starve Together
Don’t Starve Together is a follow-up to the incredibly popular and successful survival game Don’t Starve (which we’d also recommend!). This game originally released in 2016 by Klei Entertainment. In Together, you’ll be part of a multiplayer experience where you’ll fight, farm, build, and explore together in the uncompromising wilderness of the Don’t Starve universe. You can play in private games or public games, enabling you to play with friends or find new friends. If you just want to play solo, you can check out the original Don’t Starve, but the multiplayer version is more played on Steam.
Don’t Starve Together is available for $14.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Empyrion Galactic Survival
Empyrion Galactic Survival is a survival-adventure game that’s set in an open-world that is space-themed. The game released in 2020 and was developed by Eleon Game Studios. Players will build space ships, space stations, and visit settlements as they conquer and exploit planets across Empyrion. For those who enjoyed No Man’s Sky, this might be a nice complement to it for something similar but different enough. The game has received over 25,000 reviews and is rated as very positive by players globally.
Empyrion Galactic Survival can be purchased for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Green Hell is an open-world, survival game that takes players to the Amazon jungle and utilizes real-life survival techniques like hunting, gathering, fighting, and crafting in this simulation. You will even need to manage your wounds and injures along with your mental health. This game can be played alone or as multiplayer. Since its debut in 2019 by developer Creepy Jar, it has earned nearly 40,000 reviews by players all of the world that are “very positive.”
Green Hell is available for $24.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Grounded shrinks players to ant-size and puts them in the world they used to be familiar with… the backyard. Now that you’re ant-sized, everything is more challenging and difficult as you’ll have to fight through insects and the like to try to make your way home. This game can be played alone or with up to three friends. It debuted in 2022 from developer Obsidian Entertainment and has already received nearly 40,000 very positive reviews from Steam players. It’s currently rated 83 on Metacritic.
Grounded is available for $39.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky was a premier release when it debuted in 2016 by developer Hello Games. It is a game that intertwines deep exploration and survival in a world with no end–it is literally an infinitely-generated universe featured in the release. You’ll encounter danger, different lifeforms, and planets as you explore the world of No Man’s Sky. You can be good or evil or somewhere in-between. It is an incredibly open world just waiting for you to explore it. There are almost 200,000 reviews that have rated the game mostly positive overall.
No Man’s Sky is available for $39.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Project Zomboid remains a popular, go-to recommendation for anyone looking to start exploring the survival game genre. The game debuted in 2013 and has accumulated over 120,000 very positive reviews on Steam since. In this zombie survival game, you’ll work alone or in multiplayer mode to build, craft, fight, farm and fish as you struggle to survive on a vast map and customizable sandbox world.
Project Zomboid is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Raft is an oceanic adventure game that incorporates a battle to survive as players make their way across the vast sea filled with perils and enemies. Players will gather debris, scavenge reefs, and have to build their very own floating home while avoiding enemies like sharks. You can play the game alone or with friends in online co-op mode. The game debuted in 2022 and was developed by Redbeet Interactive, but it quickly became a must-play title with over 200,000 very positive reviews on Steam.
Raft is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam but has also been included in sales in the past.
Rust is one of the most played survival games in the genre! You will have to survive on an island filled with wildlife, unknown inhabitants, and its harsh environment, and there’s only one goal: survive another night. This game debuted in 2018 by developer Facepunch Studios and has amassed over 700,000 very positive reviews on Steam.
Rust is available for $39.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Subnautica explores an underwater world that is both wondrous and perilous. You’ll have to survive by crafting equipment, piloting submarines, and beating wildlife as you explore a lush, undersea world of coral reefs, caves, volcanos and more. This game released in 2018 and has received nearly 200,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews (one of the highest markers given) on Steam.
Subnautica is available for $29.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
The Forest requires you to survive as the only survivor of a passenger jet crash that has crash-landed in an unknown forest. You will have to survive against a society of cannibalistic mutants while building, exploring, and navigating this perilous environment. The game originally released in 2018 by developer Endnight Games Ltd., and it has received over 350,000 overwhelming positive reviews on Steam–one of the highest ratings a game can get.
The Forest is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
The Long Dark
The Long Dark incorporates exploration and survival that takes place in a frozen wilderness that is the result of a geomagnetic disaster. There are no zombies here, just extreme cold and the threats that nature throws at you. The game debuted in 2017 from developer Hinterland Studio Inc. and has received over 80,000 very positive reviews from Steam players around the world.
The Long Dark is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Valheim is a killer survival game that can be played alone or with up to 10 players as you can explore and survive in a purgatory inspired by Vikings. You will have to build, battle, and conquer your way through this Viking world. The game released in 2021 from developer Iron Gate AB. Since, it has received over 325,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam (one of the highest ratings!).
Valheim is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
V Rising is a vampire-based, survival game where you start as a vampire and have to hunt for blood at nearby areas while avoiding the sun. You will then have to build your castle and survive in an open world. Players will have to convert humans to become servants in their castle, fend off holy soldiers, and ally with others or go solo. The game was developed by Stunlock Studios and debuted in 2022. It has received over 50,000 very positive reviews since.
V Rising is available for $19.99 (at the time of publishing) on Steam.
Like we said before, the survival gaming genre has gained traction, and there are a lot of games that might be worth playing. Here are some additional titles that are worth exploring if you need even more recommendations!
We hope our list of the best survival games on Steam has helped you find a new survival game to try out the next time you’re looking to play one of these types of games! Is there a must-play survival game that you’ve tried? Share below in the comments!