10 Best Survival Games to Challenge Your Wilderness Skills

Survival games have carved out a unique niche in the gaming world, offering players the chance to test their resourcefulness, strategic planning, and adaptability in harsh, unforgiving environments. From battling the elements in desolate deserts to fending off nightmarish creatures in eerie dungeons, the genre presents a plethora of challenges that can push even the most seasoned gamers to their limits. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best survival games that will challenge your wilderness skills and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Key Takeaways

  • Survival games often feature expansive open worlds, limited resources, and the constant threat of danger, appealing to players who enjoy high-risk, high-reward gameplay.
  • Innovations within the genre have led to hybrid games that combine survival elements with other styles, catering to a variety of gaming preferences.
  • The Xbox Game Pass service includes several top survival games, providing value and variety to subscribers looking for their next survival challenge.
  • Survival games can vary widely in their approach, from semi-hardcore experiences that simulate realistic survival techniques to fantastical journeys inspired by classic tales.
  • Community and cooperation can play a significant role in survival games, with many titles offering cooperative gameplay and team-based strategies to overcome obstacles.

1. To the Star

1. To the Star

To The Star is a whimsical survival game that invites players into a world heavily inspired by the classic tale of Alice In Wonderland. As you embark on this fantastical journey, you’ll find yourself crafting and surviving in an environment where the stars have fallen, creating a unique and challenging landscape.

The game’s cooperative adventure aspect ensures that you’re not alone in this surreal wilderness. Team up with friends or brave the journey solo, but either way, prepare for an experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The game’s charm lies in its ability to blend familiar literary elements with the thrill of survival mechanics.

In To The Star, the adventure is as unpredictable as it is enchanting, offering a fresh take on the survival genre that both newcomers and veterans can appreciate.

If you’re looking for similar experiences, titles like ARID, Beached, Grounded, and MUCK offer their own unique twists on survival gameplay. Each game presents its own set of challenges and mechanics, ensuring that fans of To The Star will find something new to conquer.



Muck is a unique roguelike game that plunges players into an adventure akin to the Roblox experience, with a twist of survival. The mystical island setting is rife with monstrous challenges, pushing players to not only survive but also unravel the island’s enigmatic secrets. Whether you’re braving it alone or with companions, the muck awaits your survival skills.

Muck’s gameplay is thrilling and fast-paced, offering a fresh experience with each playthrough. The game’s roguelike nature ensures that no two sessions are the same, thanks to varying layouts and resources. The day-night cycle adds another layer of unpredictability, while the flexible difficulty settings cater to both beginners and seasoned veterans.

For those seeking a cooperative survival experience, Muck’s multiplayer mode stands out. It allows you to share the excitement of survival with friends, making it a top choice for players who enjoy immersive co-op gameplay. If you’re ready to face the wilderness, Muck is a game that will test your mettle time and time again.

3. Darkest Dungeon

3. Darkest Dungeon

Released in early 2016, Darkest Dungeon stands out as a unique blend of survival game and RPG dungeon crawler. Developed by Red Hook Studios, this title challenges players to explore and purify the perilous dungeons beneath their estate by leading groups of intrepid adventurers into the unknown.

In Darkest Dungeon, not only do you face the physical dangers lurking in the shadows, but you must also manage the psychological stress of your party. The mental toll of the dungeons can be as deadly as any monster, threatening to send your heroes to an untimely end.

The survival of your characters hinges on your strategic prowess. You’ll need to balance their stress levels while equipping them to battle the horrors that await. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

  • Exploration: Delve into the depths and uncover the secrets of your estate.
  • Stress Management: Keep your adventurers’ sanity in check to prevent dire consequences.
  • Combat: Engage in tactical turn-based battles against ghastly foes.
  • Resource Management: Scavenge for supplies to sustain your party and strengthen your position.

Darkest Dungeon is not just a test of survival; it’s a harrowing journey that will push your limits and force you to make tough decisions. Will you rise to the challenge?



In the unforgiving landscape of Atacama, ARID challenges players to survive the aftermath of a plane crash. The game is set in one of the driest and hottest places on Earth, where every decision can mean the difference between life and death. The vast desert serves not only as your adversary but also as a mysterious backdrop to the secrets you’ll uncover.

Survival in ARID is a delicate balance of resource management and risk assessment. You must maintain your hydration levels while scavenging for resources and fending off threats.

The game’s semi-hardcore experience is underscored by the need to constantly weigh the risks and rewards of exploration. Encounters with enemies are inevitable, and each confrontation tests your survival tactics. ARID doesn’t just simulate survival; it immerses you in an experience where the heat of the desert is as much a character as the protagonist.

  • Navigate through harsh environments
  • Uncover the mysteries beneath the sandy surface
  • Balance risk and reward while managing resources
  • Engage with enemies and test your survival skills

5. State of Decay 2

5. State of Decay 2

Released on May 22, 2018, by Undead Labs, State of Decay 2 elevates the zombie survival genre by focusing on community management and base-building alongside the traditional scavenging and combat. Unlike many survival games where you’re a lone wolf, here you must collaborate with NPCs to ensure your group’s survival against relentless zombie hordes.

In State of Decay 2, each survivor in your community has unique skills and traits, making strategic management a key aspect of the game. Building a strong base and upgrading it is crucial for your community’s longevity. The game’s emphasis on teamwork and resource management offers a refreshing take on the post-apocalyptic survival challenge.

The game’s depth is further enhanced by the variety of skills available to the survivors. Investing in the right skills can mean the difference between life and undeath in this unforgiving world.

While the game can be intense, the sense of camaraderie among survivors provides a glimmer of hope in a world overrun by the undead. It’s a testament to the game’s design that it can be both harrowing and fun, as you navigate through the dangers and make strategic decisions to keep your community thriving.

6. ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition

6. ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition

Stepping into the world of ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition is like being thrust into a prehistoric ecosystem where survival is a relentless challenge. With a vast array of dinosaurs and other primeval creatures, players must learn to craft, build, and fight to establish their place in this unforgiving world.

The game’s depth is evident in the variety of skills and specializations available to players. Crafting weapons and tools is not just a matter of survival; it’s a complex process that requires understanding and mastering the game’s mechanics. The journey from being nearly naked and defenseless to becoming a capable survivor is fraught with danger, but immensely rewarding.

The essence of survival in ARK is adaptation. Whether it’s learning to fend off small but vicious Dilophosaurs or building your first shelter, each step taken is a triumph against the wilderness.

Here’s a quick look at what makes ARK stand out:

  • Diverse Ecosystem: Dinosaurs and other creatures add a unique twist to the survival genre.
  • Crafting and Building: A robust system that’s central to gameplay.
  • Skill Specialization: Players can develop their character to suit their survival style.

ARK’s impact on the survival genre is undeniable, offering a blend of cooperative and competitive gameplay that keeps players coming back for more. It’s not just about surviving; it’s about thriving in a world where every moment is a battle against extinction.

7. Grounded

7. Grounded

Grounded offers a unique twist on the survival genre, shrinking you down to the size of an ant. As tiny as you are, you must gather resources and construct tiny shelters as you battle against various bugs. You could wonder why you are small and probably wish to spring back to your human body. As you progress in the game, you uncover the reasons why you are small and the mysteries of the tiny new world.

Released on September 27, 2022, by Obsidian Entertainment, Grounded invites players to experience life from a perspective that’s rarely considered: that of an insect-sized human in a vast backyard. Survival hinges not just on avoiding hunger or thirst but also on evading or confronting the dangerous creatures that roam this microcosm. And if you’re playing online, other players add an extra layer of unpredictability.

In Grounded, every blade of grass is a potential shelter, and every drop of water is precious. Crafting weapons and building structures are essential for protection, and the open world is teeming with opportunities and threats alike.

Here are some key features of Grounded:

  • Shrunken survival experience
  • Resource gathering and shelter building
  • Diverse bug enemies
  • Mysterious storyline
  • Multiplayer challenges


Survival games offer a unique blend of tension, strategy, and the thrill of overcoming the harshest of environments. Whether you’re braving the fantastical landscapes of To the Star, the realistic deserts of Arid, or the bloodthirsty challenges in ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition, each game on this list provides a distinct experience that tests your ability to adapt and survive. With options ranging from indie gems to blockbuster titles on Xbox Game Pass, there’s a survival challenge out there for every type of player. So gather your resources, hone your skills, and dive into one of these top survival games to see if you have what it takes to emerge victorious against the odds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes ‘To the Star’ unique among survival games?

‘To the Star’ offers a unique blend of survival and exploration, inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Players must craft and collect resources to survive while embarking on a fantastic journey through a world of fallen stars.

Is ‘MUCK’ a good game for players who enjoy challenging survival experiences?

Yes, ‘MUCK’ is known for its terrifying new dragon and the need to outmaneuver dangerous creatures, making it a truly challenging survival experience that appeals to fans of the genre.

Can you play survival games on Xbox Game Pass?

Yes, Xbox Game Pass offers a variety of survival games, including some of the best titles in the genre, allowing subscribers to explore a range of survival experiences.

What are some survival games that are great for beginners?

There are survival games tailored for beginners that offer a less hardcore experience while still providing the thrill of survival. Titles like ‘State of Decay 2’ might be more accessible for those new to the genre.

What is the release date for ‘Grounded’?

‘Grounded’ was released on September 27, 2022, by developer Obsidian Entertainment, and it offers a survival experience filled with dangerous creatures and the constant threat of other players in an open world.

What kind of skills are important in ‘State of Decay 2’?

‘State of Decay 2’ allows players to invest in skills with specializations that assist in survival, including combat, resource management, and team-based strategies to overcome the game’s challenges.