The Very Best Survival Games in 2023

Last updated: 11/21/2023
5 minutes read

Survival games are some of the most immersive gaming genres on the planet. Whether it’s surviving the grim reality of war, the bloodthirsty rage of zombies, or simply the battles with neighboring communities, survival games will strain your every sinew as you fight to stay alive.

We'll uncover the best survival games PC gamers should get acquainted with in 2023, as well as the leading single-player and multiplayer survival games on today’s next-generation consoles.

What Are the Absolute Best Survival Games in 2023?

1. Sons of the Forest

Endnight Games, who released The Forest in 2018, released in February 2023 early access to their sequel, Sons of the Forest. According to Steam, the game is still under development and might continue undergoing changes and updates.

The game is a horrifying experience where you find yourself stranded on an island that might seem deserted, but is in fact settled by cannibals. Yes, cannibals. In the game, you have to outrun and outsmart other human beings who are interested in literally eating you.

If that’s not scary enough, the only other person keeping you company along the game is a deaf and mute character with whom you can communicate by letters.

The game can be played as a solo game or as multiplayer, with an 8-person limit in that version.

For those of you who like a bit of horror with their survival, this game is a definite must!

2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl

The fourth game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, and being the first one since 2009’s Call of Pripyat, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl is a horror survival game planned to come out sometime during 2023.

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where your aim is to hunt for food and necessities, all the while running into dangerous mutants and deadly enemies. Some of the highlights of the game are its promising mechanics and graphics, all created with Unreal Engine 5, adding to a new level of an immersive experience.

Despite having no official release date, many are waiting (and rightfully so) to get their hands on this promising new release from the Ukrainian game developer, GSC Game World.

It will be released as a single-player FPS survival game, but according to the official website it is planned to include a free update to include a multiplayer mode soon after.

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3. Minecraft

The sandbox game of Minecraft is comfortably one of the most popular PC survival games online. Developed and launched by Mojang Studios in November 2011, few could have predicted this Java-based game would grow to become the best-selling download games of all time.

By 2021, Minecraft had around 140 million active players per month and has been ported successfully to multiple platforms. It’s also one of the most popular free games, with its browser-based version easily accessible.

There are two game modes – creative mode and survival mode – with the latter obviously the reason why this is considered a survival game. You’re tasked with relying on natural resources to build shelter from monsters that spawn in random areas of the game map.

Armor and weaponry can be built to protect yourself and kill attackers more quickly. There’s even a multiplayer mode that enables player-v-player combat.

4. Rust

Facepunch Studios’ multiplayer survival video game Rust first made a splash on PC via Windows and macOS and three years later it was released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The concept of Rust was initially to act as a mimic of DayZ, which was a successful mod for the game ARMA 2.

It has in-game features like Minecraft, with the task of surviving in the wilderness using resources you can gather. As the game is multiplayer-based, you’ll find other human players in the wild too.

These will be your main threats, as they can look to kill you with weapons, as well as the wild animals and non-player characters that lurk throughout this open-world environment. Rust is a game that requires you to be on your mettle from the first minute to the last.

5. This War of Mine

The 2014 release from Polish game studio 11 Bit Studios takes a unique spin on a war game, focusing distinctly on civilian life as opposed to life on the front line. This War of Mine has shifted more than seven million copies worldwide and is now playable across PC, macOS, and on consoles, including the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

There is a distinct element of strategy involved in this single-player masterpiece, but it still has all the hallmarks of the leading survival games. Unlike most survival games, you’ll take charge of a group of people rather than an individual.

These civilian war survivors are battling to stay alive in the war-torn city of Pogoren. With little to no military skills or background, these survivors have to muster all their strength and courage to stay alive until the ceasefire comes.

6. Valheim

Iron Gate Studio launched the sandbox survival game Valheim to Linux and Windows gamers via early access in February 2021. It has since achieved significant critical and commercial acclaim, selling over five million units, and has comfortably been one of Steam’s most-played survival games.

This month, Valheim is also being released for Xbox One and Series X/S gamers, bringing the fictional Norse world of Valheim to life on console.

Valheim is set within an open-world environment, and you take control of a fallen Viking, who ventures to Valheim to prove his worthiness in the halls of Valhalla.

Once your Viking character is created, you’ll have a randomized world to explore with various ‘biomes’ involved.

Each biome has its own bosses, enemies, and resources that are unique to them. Increase your character’s skill level to improve its combat and kill all six bosses within the biomes of your world.

7. State of Decay 2

The 2018 release of State of Decay 2 was heralded by many following the success of the original State of Decay. As with its predecessor, the sequel tasks gamers with building a stable community, harnessing natural resources and weaponry to stay alive from the threat of flesh-eating zombies. As of August 2021, this title had over ten million active players, cementing it as one of the most popular survival games of the modern era.

It's one of the best zombie-themed survival games, particularly out of those played in third-person view. Set within an open-world environment, State of Decay 2 also offers cooperative survival gaming action, with up to three additional players. This allows you to recruit friends to help you achieve in-game objectives to progress your game.

Get your hands dirty with any of these immersive survival games on PC or console and you’ll soon realize how easy it is to lose six hours of an evening!