The Best Survival Games – 10 Games Like Rust

Survival games are very fun and very challenging. For Rust players, they’re also a full-time hobby, but that’s not always the case. Despite the numerous problems you encounter while competing against others for survival, this title has qualities that few other games possess.

It’s hard to get bored in a game like Rust because there’s something important that you need to take care of at all times. Apart from resource gathering, building, and fighting with other players, this title also requires you to eat, stay healthy, craft weapons, and much more.

If you love the survival genre, in this article, you will discover 10 other games like Rust that you can try. Not all of them are the same, but they all need survival.

Survival games

This War of Mine

This is a game that was released in 2014 by 11-bit studios. This game’s realism is beautiful and scary at the same time. You need to survive a civil war with a group of friends.

There’s great destruction everywhere, food is scarce, and people are dying. Your house is in poor condition and needs to be repaired. But you have very limited resources, so at night, you must go out and become a scavenger, taking whatever you can find and bringing it back home.

You need to build a bed for yourself, a stove, and much more. And you need to act fast, because winter is coming, and temperatures will drop low enough to kill you.

Food and medicine rationing is a constant challenge. You will often need to fight against intruders, which can get you wounded. On top of that, if you don’t sleep at night, you’ll become weak and vulnerable to disease and depression.

The game is built in a way that forces you to make difficult decisions. Keeping your small group alive is extremely challenging, and there will always be at least a few more people who want to join your group. But, the more people that live together, the more food they need to survive. And that’s another challenge.

This War of Mine forces you to experience the reality of a civil war in a brutal and dark way. There’s no heroism in this game. Only desperation and the hope that all will be over soon. But the conflict goes on and on, lasting for months. During this time, many bad things can happen, and you need to be prepared for anything.


Frostpunk was released in 2018 and was created by the same company that developed This War of Mine. The premise of this game is simple: you’re the ruler of the last city on Earth and need to ensure that it will survive during a harsh volcanic winter. The action is set in the late 19th century, so the steampunk elements are strong.

Frostpunk will quickly turn you into a monster. You may not want to become one, but the way it’s designed will force you to make desperate decisions. Good people will have to die for the survival of the city. Child labor will be forced upon you. And there will be lots of dictatorial decisions to be made.

In Frostpunk, the battle is not just with the harsh cold conditions. It’s also with the disease, a constant lack of resources, and the sheer despair of your people, whose level of hope is always a problem. How do you make them believe in the success of the operation? How do you stop them from killing you or each other?

Problems of this nature will force you to do what is right for your city. And you will also need to make sure that, from a technological perspective, you develop quickly enough to survive.

Another powerful theme in this game is religion. At one point, you’ll need to decide between two extremes that seem just as bad. But, with enough skill, perhaps you can avoid leading your civilization to ruin.

Frostpunk sold millions of copies and has a very high score on Steam. More than 91% of those who tried it were satisfied with its offer.

Survival games

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve was released in 2013 and is one of the earlier survival games that introduced players to the genre. In it, you need to gather resources like wood and silk and then use them to create structures and tools that will keep you alive.

The game is a bit scary because, during nighttime, many bad things can happen. And if you do not manage to set up your camp and gather enough resources, you can easily die.

You have a hunger meter, and it’s a bit tough initially to keep it above the minimum level. You also have a constant problem with all the creatures that try to end your career. Gradually, as you master the game, you will find the challenges less and less insurmountable. But at first, this game will cause you to despair.

You’ll probably need to start over at least several times until you fully grasp its basic mechanisms and what to do to stay alive. But once you’ve learned the fundamentals, it can be extremely addictive. 

More than 96% of those who tried the game were satisfied, so Don’t Starve has Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam. 

This was just the first title in a series developed by Klei Entertainment. If you like it and have a friend who loves survival games, you should try playing Don’t Starve Together, a multiplayer survival game that significantly increases the fun and level of challenge.

Survival games

Pathologic Classic

Pathologic Classic is a survival horror game that makes you question every decision you’ve made. The game starts slowly, letting you get acquainted with many captivating characters. But then something goes wrong in the little town you’re a part of. And all hell starts to break loose.

The villain of the story is a disease that ravages the town. And you are one of the several people who try to save it. Nobody can leave, and you regularly lose key characters that must give you vital information to complete your quests.

As soon as the deadly plague is revealed, the prices skyrocket, and everything is hard to obtain. The first time you play the game, you will inevitably fail because you’re not ready for what is about to happen and the difficulties you’ll be confronted with.

But the second time, you will know to stock some valuable resources you can trade for other goods later.

Everyone in your town has a complex and deeply disturbing psychology. You’ll need to navigate the dialogues carefully, figuring out whom you can trust and what needs to be done to ensure not just your own survival but that of the town as well.

Each day, you need to complete a major quest. If you fail, someone important to you will die. While working hard to solve complicated and mysterious problems, you must keep yourself alive. This requires you to eat, sleep, avoid the disease, defend yourself if you get attacked, barter with other characters, and search for resources.

Sometimes, a bullet is worth its weight in gold.


RimWorld is an infinitely replayable sandbox survival game because it is a simulation-driven by a brilliant AI storyteller that seeks to generate stories by simulating aspects like psychology, melee combat, art, medicine, trade, relationships, and much more. 

It creates a world and takes into account a lot of major components. Your sci-fi colony will be put to severe tests, and the level of unpredictability is off-the-charts. You will face something different every single time. And you will need to put your mind to work to figure out how to solve the problems.

This game is not for survival genre novices. It is for veterans who want to get to the next level. The game has a nearly 100% approval rate on Steam, and we’re talking about more than 130.000 reviews. This is easily one of the most brilliant survival games ever created.

Most survival games become forgotten after a short amount of time. But RimWorld, because of its brilliant design, continues to be played to this day. The game was released in 2018. Like many games in its genre, it features survival gameplay filled with captivating survival elements and survival mechanics.

But there’s something more to RimWorld that makes it timeless: self-generated novelty. Instead of a predetermined story, you play through a completely new story each time. Its flavor of survival evolved to give players exactly what they’d been asking for years.

Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors is the exact opposite of RimWorld, in the sense that it’s a mindless (well, not entirely) survival game in which hordes of monsters will attack you from all sides for 30 minutes. And you need to survive.

As you kill through the waves of monsters, you will find orbs that increase your experience, and you will level up. As you level up, you can upgrade your weapons and skills, add new weapons to your arsenal, and much more.

The goal is to become an unkillable hero who can deal with any boss or enemy. There are lots of special artifacts that you can pick up. These artifacts will make the game even more enjoyable.

When you think of Vampire Survivors, think of Diablo 2 or 3 but on steroids. Everything is a massive dopamine injection, and you will not get bored for a single second. However, it will take a bit of time to get used to the game and learn how to survive hundreds of enemies attacking you from all sides.

One of the cool things about this survival game is that it’s very cheap and can be played even on older computers. While playing a round, it’s often a good idea to put some of your preferred music in the background or even listen to an audio program. After a few hours of playing Vampire Survivors, you’ll beat the game on autopilot.

Other survival games are extremely challenging and scary. This one is fun and was addictive from its early access.


This is a very intense open-world survival game with horror elements thrown into the mix. The action occurs underwater, and you will face all kinds of horrors. Don’t play this game if you’re naturally afraid of the ocean. It will give you nightmares.

For those who do not struggle with such fears, Subnautica is a very enjoyable experience. You will get to gather resources and build powerful tools that can further enhance your ability to explore the depths.

One critical thing in this game is paying attention to what is happening around you. The sound cues you will get are often not enough to give you an idea of what will happen next. So you’ll need to use your eyes.

Subnautica was released in 2018 and has sold more than 6 million copies. On Steam, it has more than 200.000 reviews and an approval rate of 96%! This was easily one of the best survival games of 2018.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is not for the faint of heart. In its world, there is no load game option. Characters killed in combat stay dead and cannot be brought back to life. You may need to spend 10 hours grinding, only to lose everything in a single dungeon.

The artistry in this game is second to none. The voice acting, the music, the dialogue, and the quests are all phenomenal. This survival game differs significantly from Rust but still has many of its core elements.

When you embark on a mission, you must take provisions. For example, you will need food. Otherwise, your characters will lose HP and gradually starve. You also need to take shovels because you will encounter lots of obstacles. 

You’ll have to remove that obstacle with your bare hands without a good shovel. And that takes extra time and makes your characters stressed.

What Makes This a Famous Survival Game

Without torches, your visibility is extremely poor and the battles are much harder. The loot is better, but your heroes’ stress level will greatly increase. When too much stress accumulates, they go insane or have a heart attack.

One of the beauties of this game is the realism of PTSD. After each quest, you will usually need to give your characters some kind of treatment to reduce their stress levels. During the fights, they accumulate both positive and negative traits, which you can choose to keep or remove, but for gold.

Your resources are always limited and you need to decide what to upgrade. Do you need better weapons, better skills, or more rooms where you can drink and get rid of the stress? The game’s complexity is phenomenal and there are around a dozen different types of heroes that you can include in your party of 4.

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord was a hugely anticipated sequel to Mount & Blade: Warband. The gaming community had to wait an entire decade for its full release, but it was worth it.

The original game required the player to start with almost nothing and gradually become a powerful ruler in a medieval world. You must always survive raiders, keep your troops fed, pay them a hefty amount of gold, train them, and so on.

You’re constantly on the run, fighting wars and defending your castles. The world is chaotic and you need to either chase armies to fight and steal their loot, or run away from armies that try to kill you.

One of the challenging aspects of this game is that your character will grow old and die. So you need to achieve your grand ambitions within a limited time.

The realism and fun of the game also come from the fact that your troops will die or level up, depending on what happens during each battle. During a siege, you can get knocked off your horse or take an arrow in the knee. Every battle is realistic and will make you feel like you’re living one thousand years ago.

As you might expect, your character has skills that he can improve. He gains experience, forges alliances with other lords, can develop a wealthy village, and even get married. The level of realism is very high, so you will need to consider many things, from diplomacy to when you last ate.

One crucial aspect of Bannerlord is commerce. The “buy cheap, sell expensive” principle functions well here. The game rewards you for taking risks, and you will find yourself doing many crazy things for money.

Survival games


Wartales was released in 2023, and it’s the kind of survival game that never gets old. Just like in Bannerlord, you travel with a group of people you need to care for, arm properly, and pay well. The world you can explore is huge, and you constantly get attacked by bandits.

You also engage in other types of fights but do not follow a rigid narrative that puts you in the hero role. Instead, you’re just another person trying to survive, which makes the game fun.

The combat is turn-based, and you must carefully plan your actions if you want to survive. Some experience with titles like Divinity: Original Sin or Heroes of Might and Magic 3 will serve you well in this game. You cannot be wasteful with your actions. Otherwise, you will get killed right away.

Survival games

Wartales is a challenging game that forces you to find optimizations at every step. You’re constantly low on food and provisions and must take with you only as many soldiers as you can feed and pay.

The resources you carry with you everywhere you go make the game realistic and constantly remind you that this is a battle for survival. You can’t just sit around doing nothing. You are forced to constantly move. Wasting time will lead to certain failures.

Posted by
William Westerlund

William is an author, editor, and an avid gamer with over 10.000 hours in CS:GO (Counter-Strike 2). He also enjoys playing Rust, Dota 2, and TF2 but never became a top 1% player in any of those games.