best xbox one survival games

Best Xbox One Survival Games

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Survival games can be some of the most punishing and rewarding out there. They push players to manage various needs like hunger, thirst, and warmth while fighting dangerous creatures, gathering resources, and building great bases.

Fans of the genre love the challenge of surviving in hostile environments to leave their mark with sprawling bases. While the genre was established on the PC, it has grown and expanded to be on every console, including some fantastic options on the Xbox One.

Key Info Up Front

All of the titles on this list are great options for players to check out, depending on what they are looking for. Don’t Starve is an excellent option for veterans of the genre looking for a punishing experience.

Players who want to check out the genre for the first time may want to pick up Subnautica, while zombie fans don’t have to look any further than 7 Days to Die. No matter a player’s preferences, there is a survival game on this list that they will more than likely love.

Selection Criteria

For the titles on this list, I picked survival games on the platform that offer a unique survival experience. This is to ensure that the games aren’t too similar to one another and make sure that there is a game on this list for every player.

Some of the games on this list are not what some players would first think of survival games. However, the main criteria considered for a game to count as survival for this list is having to survive in a hostile environment. Most of the games on this list also have needs to manage, like hunger or thirst. So, here are the very best Xbox One survival games that you can play on the Xbox One.

The Long Dark

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  • Developer/Publisher: Hinterland Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 76

The Long Dark is likely the most punishing game on this entire list. It is a challenging survival experience that will see players dying numerous times as they struggle to learn the ropes and survive more than a few hours in one run. Along the way, players have to conquer the cold, survive attacks from wolves, and scavenge supplies to make fires.

This survival game is also unique because it has a more linear experience intended for players. Rather than trying to establish a base and survive for as long as possible, The Long Dark has a definitive end for players to reach if they can manage it. It is difficult not for all players, but for anyone looking for a genuinely challenging survival experience, this game is a fantastic option.

Astroneer

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  • Developer/Publisher: System Era Softworks/Gearbox
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 73

Astroneer is a more laidback survival experience with unique visuals. It drops players onto a procedurally generated planet to gather resources, refine them, and craft different machines and vehicles. This game is a fantastic way for newcomers or players who don’t typically enjoy survival games to get into it.

There are no needs to manage like Hunger or Thirst, and the only hostile things for players to look out for are dangerous plants that are generally easily avoided. This makes the game much more relaxing than many survival titles, and it gives players the freedom to expand across the planet in any way they see fit, like a completely open sandbox.

Even better, players can also craft spacefaring vehicles to travel to an entire solar system of planets to gather new resources and continue advancing through Astroneer‘s expansive tree of technologies and buildings to research. It also fully supports online co-op so that players can bring three friends along for the space adventure of their lives.

Here’s our complete Astoneer Review.

Don’t Starve/Don’t Starve Together

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  • Developer/Publisher: Klei Entertainment
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 80

Don’t Starve is one of the most stylized titles on this list, but don’t be deceived by its cartoony appearance. Don’t Starve is also one of the most difficult survival games on the Xbox One. It takes an approach that is light on tutorials and relies heavily on player discovery to teach players its mechanics and rules, which can be frustrating and make learning the game incredibly rewarding.

It is played from an unconventional 2D perspective. It allows players to explore an infinite procedurally generated world as one of a cast of unique characters that each bring their mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses to the table.

Unfortunately, if players want to experience Don’t Starve in multiplayer, they have to purchase the standalone Don’t Starve Together, which changes a few small things about the game and includes its cosmetic rewards and some exclusive characters to learn.

Subnautica

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  • Developer/Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment/Panic Button Games
  • Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 81

If you’ve ever wanted to explore a breathtaking alien planet or have a love for the aquatic, Subnautica is the survival game for you. It is mainly narrative-focused but still gives players the freedom to tackle its objectives at their own pace and spend as much time as they want to explore or build a massive underwater structure.

Subnautica follows a man who crashlands on an alien planet mainly covered by a gigantic ocean teeming with different biomes and unique species. As you play through the game, you unravel a surprising narrative, gather resources, build vehicles and a base to survive, and eventually try to escape the planet for good with a rocket ship.

While some players may be disappointed that it is a strictly single-player experience, it offers a deep and meaningful journey that is approachable for newcomers but has plenty of depth for more experienced players to explore throughout their time with the game.

Grounded

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  • Developer/Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: TBD (early access)

Grounded is a massive departure for the iconic Obsidian Entertainment, most well-known for making deep and mechanically complex RPGs. Instead, Grounded is an early access survival game that follows children shrunk down to the size of an insect and have to survive in their backyard.

Since its original release in early access, it has received numerous massive updates that have added new biomes, mechanics, and base building pieces to give players more to do. Grounded has found an enormous audience of players thanks to its slightly simpler and more forgiving approach to survival, its cute graphics, and its unique mechanics and activities that recontextualize familiar elements from the real world like ants and spiders.

7 Days to Die

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  • Developer/Publisher: The Fun Pimps
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 35

While 7 Days to Die has a low Metacritic score, it is primarily because of technical issues that it suffered on launch. Since then, its developers have continued to work on and improve the game in every way, and now that those technical issues have largely been resolved, 7 Days to Die is one of the biggest and best survival games on the platform.

The game is set in an irradiated wasteland besieged by the undead, and every seven days, players have to fend off a horde of zombies that come for them. Players have to gather supplies, build intricate bases, and craft guns and armor to survive.

The game can also be played on servers of up to eight players, making it a perfect survival game for larger groups that want to test their mettle in the zombie apocalypse.

This War of Mine

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  • Developer/Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 78

This War of Mine is not like your traditional survival game. Rather than tasking players with surviving in a wasteland, players lead a group of everyday survivors as they struggle to survive the terrors of a city suffering under a brutal war.

Instead of playing the frontline heroes in the war like most games, players struggle to gather enough food to keep everyone fed and comfortable.

So, rather than just trying to keep yourself alive, players have to keep their entire group alive for as long as possible in This War of Mine. To do this, players have to make tough decisions that push their moral boundaries and test just how far they are willing to go to stay alive.

It is an incredibly dark game and can be emotionally challenging to play. But, it also has a unique experience to offer those who can bear it that is unique to anything else on this list or in the industry.

Minecraft

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  • Developer/Publisher: Mojang/Xbox Game Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 88

Minecraft is the biggest survival game ever and one of the biggest video games ever, so you’ve probably already heard of this one. However, its popularity has been well earned and primarily comes because of its sprawling and open.

Minecraft is possibly one of the most open sandboxes in the games industry, with players able to use its blocks to create massive buildings, works of art, and systems to make their resource collecting more manageable.

It is also an incredibly accessible game that has layers upon layers of depth to peel back as players get comfortable with it and has a massive library of mods for players to choose from if they want to mix things up.

Even better, Minecraft is on nearly every video game platform out there and players on all of them can play together, so you can jump into a world with your friends no matter how they prefer to play.

Chernobylite

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  • Developer/Publisher: The Farm 51/All in! Games
  • Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 82

Chernobylite is a unique game on this list because it does not follow the conventional structure of a survival game. It takes place in an irradiated Russia with science fiction notes interspersed throughout.

Early in the game, players establish a base in a worn-out old building where they can gather different survivors and have to craft different pieces of furniture and supplies to keep the people there happy and healthy.

To do this, players undertake various missions to gather resources, progress through the plot and keep their base hidden from the authorities trying to root it out. Chernobylite can be a problematic first-person shooter but is an excellent option for fans of games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the Metro series to check out for its grounded take to action and wonderful Russian accents.

The game’s story and mechanics also react to the player’s actions in unique ways, with any character being able to die at any time or entire playthroughs coming to an end if the player is unsuccessful in managing their resources.

State of Decay 2

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  • Developer/Publisher: Undead Labs/Xbox Game Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 66

State of Decay 2 is another survival game set during the zombie apocalypse, but it has a very different approach to its gameplay than 7 Days to Die. Rather than focusing on players preparing for the inevitable attack of a zombie horde that is just over the horizon, State of Decay 2 gives players groups of survivors that they have to lead through the apocalypse.

Every character is playable, and players have to switch between them frequently to make sure that any of them don’t get too fatigued or worn out. The game also has a permadeath system that can see players losing their most leveled-up character and having to adapt on their next supply run.

Even better, State of Decay 2 has multiple expansions that greatly expand the experience and full multiplayer support to bring a friend along for the ride as you run zombies over in a car or sneak through a residential area in a desperate search for ammunition and supplies.

ARK: Survival Evolved

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  • Developer/Publisher: Studio Wildcard
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 69

ARK: Survival Evolved is the most traditional survival game on this list. From a first-person perspective, players have to hit trees with rocks, build massive bases with resources, and set up farms to keep a steady supply of food moving throughout their base. Oh, and there are dinosaurs.

Not only does the game have the unique experience of watching as a T-Rex tears down your wooden hut around you, but later in playthroughs, players can also tame and ride the dinosaurs to soar over the landscape on the back of a Pterodactyl.

The game also has multiple uniquely crafted maps for players to learn and cater to their experience and bosses to hunt down and face the ultimate challenge of their resources and accumulated gear.

This gives players an ultimate goal to reach beyond having a massive wooden structure to call home. ARK also has enormous public and private servers for players to play cooperatively or competitively with other players and groups.

Fallout 4 Survival Mode

  • Developer/Publisher: Bethesda Studios
  • Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 88

Fallout 4 may be far from what most players think of when imagining survival games. It is a traditional first-person shooter RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but its survival mode makes it more than worthy of being on this list. Survival mode has to be enabled when starting a new game and makes very impactful changes to the entire game.

It forces players to manage their character’s Hunger and Thirst, disables fast travel, and makes sleeping in a bed the only way for players to save their games. The mode makes Fallout 4 a tremendous in-between for players interested in survival games but unsure if they want to play a game entirely focused on survival mechanics.

It is also a good way for fans of the genre to see an interesting new take on it. Rather than just focusing on surviving, Fallout 4 survival mode makes players deal with survival mechanics while still dealing with mutated creatures, embarking on quests, and improving their character with various perks and different pieces of gear.

Green Hell

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  • Developer/Publisher: Creepy Jar/Forever Entertainment S.A.
  • Modes: Single-Player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 81

Green Hell is one of the most highly reviewed survival games on the Xbox One. It tasks players with surviving in the terrifying Amazon jungle with mechanics based on real-life survival techniques.

It comes with the traditional trappings of the genre and unique features like aggressive tribal warriors, a body inspection mode, and the requirement for players to manage their psychological health alongside their physical.

Green Hell even features a realistic rendering of the Amazonian rainforest that responds and reacts to the player’s actions and events throughout the world to make every playthrough feel different from the last.

The game can also be played fully in multiplayer, so you can bring a friend along to help you survive the hardships that Green Hell has waiting for you.

The game also performs better than most 3D survival games on the console, making it much more enjoyable to play and experience for the duration of your playthrough.

FAQs

Question: What is the most realistic survival game on Xbox One?

Answer: The Long Dark is the most realistic survival game on this list. It is punishingly difficult, just like surviving in a natural tundra would be and should only be played by the most dedicated survival genre enthusiasts.

Question: Which survival game has the best building mechanics on Xbox One?

Answer: The survival games with the best building mechanics are SubnauticaMinecraft, and 7 Days to Die. Each of these three titles has deeply intricate building mechanics that should satisfy all players depending on their preferences or what setting they want to build.

Question: What survival games on Xbox One are cross-platform?

Answer: Minecraft is the most accessible cross-platform survival game on Xbox One and can be played with players on any of its various other platforms. ARK can also be played with PC players but cannot with players on mobile or PlayStation 4.

Conclusion

Survival games are a unique niche within the gaming industry. The genre has grown and evolved so much since its inception that there are now numerous games to satisfy any fan of the genre, no matter what theme or mechanics they are looking for, and many of them are available on the Xbox One.

So, if you are a big fan of the genre or want to try it out for the first time, there are some great options to check out and see just how well you can survive in some of gaming’s harshest environments.

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