What is a Survival Game? [A Comprehensive Guide]

what is survival game

If you are a person very new to video games or have played a few different games and want to explore what is a survival game, then let me help you.

In a survival video game, the player is situated in an extreme condition with minimal equipment and has to survive as long as possible using tools, weapons, and other resources. The survival games have different subgenre or co-genres like horror survival, space survival, cyberpunk, biopunk, stealth, etc.

Why play survival games?

  1. It’s thrilling yet fun to play.
  2. Increases critical thinking of your brain.
  3. Gives you the survival guide.
  4. Explore the environment and crafting abilities.
  5. A joy of being a survivor.

Things you may not like about survival games

  1. Feels lonely and isolated.
  2. A horror experience for a light-hearted person.
  3. Some times it can be boring but you need patience.

Different Types of Survival Game genres

The most common survival game types you will come across are action survival, horror survival, island survival, battle royale, puzzle survival, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, adventure, and space survival.

Zombie Killing Games
Zombie Killing Games

Most of the time, when you hear about some survival game like Last of Us, Left 4 Dead, World War Z, it’s all about zombies. But let me be very clear, survival games are much deep and versatile.

Let us discuss different flavors of survival gaming.

Among Trees Honest Review

Action survival games are the most popular and common to find on PC and console. It’s because the games are developed by huge companies and are played by many streamers and YouTubers. Most of these games are about killing zombies and avoid being infected. People love zombies killing games and are available on most of the platforms.

Island Survival Game
Island Survival Game

Island survival gaming is hardcore survival since it follows a hostile, intense, open-world environment. The player is an isolated island, has to live through harsh conditions, need to explore the island, and utilized the natural resources to stay alive.

If you are bored playing single-player games, there are multiplayer survival games with pretty good graphics and gameplay. There are virtual world survival games, where you can build a nation from raw resources, trade with other players. If you are an action-person, then play a post-apocalyptic game with your friends.

Even battle royale like PUBG, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone has a survival element, where the players have to survive by avoiding or by killing other players in a confined map.

RPG Style Isometric Survival Game

If you love RPG games, then you will definitely love survival RPG games, with lots of RPG elements and survival strategies. Unlike RPG video games, the survival games have less interaction with non-player characters and more of with environment. It feels more isolated and lonely. But that’s the fun and thrilling part of survival gaming.

Random Map Generation Survival Game
Random Map Generation Survival Game

Some games offer randomly generated survival maps giving unique gameplay experience to each player. You can also find mods for such survival games on the internet for free and can create your own survival mod-maps.

Many people only like games that have good stories. So don’t worry, even that is covered. Some of the best story-based games are horror survival games like Walking Dead, Last of Us, Until Dawn. If you are not into crafting, building, role-playing, and then story-based survival is made for you.

The best and honorable example of a survival game is Minecraft survival mode. It shows the potential of survival gaming in today’s era.

Don’t worry if you are an old school gamer, there are plenty of retro survival games that you can play on different platforms, and many of the 90’s survival games are now free to play.

Things that Make a Survival Game

Let us take a look at survival gameplay elements, and what makes survival games stand out from other genres.

Generally, all survival games have a single-player mode, and you can find many multiplayer games that are available on different platforms. Just like RPG games, the player has character development, where the player has limited tools and resources at the beginning of the game, and in the end, the player becomes a badass survivor.

Many non-action survival games offer resource management and item crafting adventure gameplay, where the player has to balance between food, shelter, and equipment by exploring the environment.

Don't Starve Crafting & Building
Don’t Starve Crafting & Building

Crafting is one of the common features offered by many survival games. It includes building or creating tools/equipment like a torch, knife, bonfire, arrow, ax from collected resources. Crafting requires patients and creative talent to enjoy survival gaming at its best.

Minecraft and Don’t starve has lots of crafting and building, the player has to collect lots of resources to build new tools, weapons, shelter, and later upgrading them. To build unique and powerful tools, the player needs to explore dark regions and secret places to find rare collectibles.

Every survival game have various objectives, most of the time, the player knows the local objective, but unaware of the global objective. Well, the main objective is to survive, but the question is how to. In many games, the player has to figure out different aspects and story of the game. Some times it can be boring, but that makes it more realistic.

Many games like Tomb Raider and the Far Cry, which are not true survival games have survival mechanics like resource gathering, hunting, and crafting. If you have played these games, you can easily get into hardcore survival gaming.

Survival Games recommend to players

Action games like PUBG require less learning to start playing (not mastering), similarly, survival games which include story mode or wild action can be played by a beginner without any difficulties. On the other hand, hardcore strategy survival games like Don’t Starve & Minicraft requires knowledge and experience to understand game mechanics. That doesn’t mean you cannot play Don’t Starve, but you will need to invest a lot of time.

Survival games for Beginners

  • Last of Us
  • This War of Mine
  • Dead Trigger
  • Walking Dead
  • Into the Dead

Survival games for Crackerjack:

  • Don’t Starve
  • The Long Dark
  • Minecraft
  • 7 Days to Die
  • Last day on earth

Final Words

I play a lot of survival games and open to all game genres like RPG, battle royale, interactive, and action. If you are new to survival gaming or have played few survival games then, I recommend you, play survival games with different subgenres, You will definitely enjoy it. If you are into survival games, then follow this website for daily survival game list tips, guides, news, and updates. Do subscribe and follow on social media.

Keep reading about the best survival games here.