Best Survival Mechanics In Non-Survival Games

Best Survival Mechanics In Non-Survival Games

Latest posts by Arron Kluz (see all)

Survival games have a long history in the games industry that can be traced back to the 1980s. As the genre has evolved throughout the years, they have grown in popularity and have had a massive impact on the industry.

This has also seen the mechanics and themes of survival games appearing in non-survival titles. So, if you’re a fan of survival games but want to branch out to other genres that still have some of the best survival mechanics, here are some games you should consider.

death stranding game mechanics

Key Info Up Front

All of the games below are well worth your time to check out. However, if you want only to play one or a few of them, your best option will depend on what part of the survival genre you like the most or which genre you want to play. So, here are my top recommendations based on their genre:

First Person Shooter: Metro Exodus

RPG: Outward

Horror: We Happy Few

Rogue-Lite: Cult of the Lamb

Selection Criteria

There are far too many games that incorporate survival elements into other genres to include all of them in this list. So, I’ve narrowed the wide variety down to a small selection of standout titles that incorporate survival mechanics into their genres in the best ways possible.

I also paid attention to including a range of different genres and titles that highlight different parts of the survival genre. I hope this will guarantee that you will be able to find a game on this list that interests you by offering a unique take on an aspect of survival games that you love.

We Happy Few

we happy few

Genre: First-Person Horror

Developer: Compulsion Games

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Metacritic Score: 62 (PC), 67 (PS4), 64 (XBO)

We Happy Few had a very rocky road to launch. Its unique visuals and premise gathered a lot of hype from fans of off-putting horror and open-world exploration. However, throughout its early access period, it received numerous updates incorporating survival elements that players weren’t expecting. The game then ultimately launched in a buggy state. However, with the distance from the game’s launch date, We Happy Few has built a respectable fanbase and is a solid game for survival fans to try out.

The game has a strong and innovative narrative that draws inspiration from classic dystopian novels like Brave New World. This means that players have to manage their hunger and thirst while trying to uncover the secrets that the oppressive society is hiding. Players also have to manage their intake of the hallucinogenic drug Joy, which is responsible for keeping citizens complacent because it looks much better to them than it is.

Throughout the game, players explore the world and its stories across three sections that each feature a different protagonist. It is an excellent choice for survival fans that want a fully realized world and narrative to become invested in and explore.




Genre: Open-World RPG

Developer: Nine Dots Studio

Release Date: March 26, 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Metacritic Score: 71 (PS5), 65 (XBO)

Outward tends to be a very divisive game, but that is because it is one of the most unique RPG experiences in recent years. It is a hardcore open-world RPG that features survival elements like managing one’s hunger, thirst, temperature, energy, and wounds while adventuring.

The game features deep mechanics for players to learn and master, but doing so takes a lot of patience and dedication. This pushes players to carefully consider every move they make, helping immerse them in the game’s unique world while also presenting them with many options to experiment with and learn from.

The survival mechanics of Outward are pretty close to what fans of the genre would expect, so they should feel right at home with them. There are resources to gather in the world, equipment, and tools to manage, crafting recipes to learn, and food recipes to cook at your campfire. Outward‘s world is also highly unique. The game emphasizes exploration and rewards players with incredible vistas, a deep history, special items, and fantastic enemies like giant electric hermit crabs.

Cult of the Lamb

cult of the lamb

Genre: Rogue-Lite Base Management

Developer: Massive Monster

Release Date: August 11, 2022

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Metacritic Score: 82 (PC), 84 (PS5), 77 (Switch), 89 (XSX)

Cult of the Lamb is a recent rogue-lite that features players controlling a lamb tasked with killing four gods to release an ancient god from an immortal prison. The game has a lot of humor, fun but simple action, and a base management layer. The base management is where the game’s survival elements come into play, although it is not the player’s survival on the line. Instead, it is the player’s cult members that have to be cared for.

To do so, players must gather resources to build structures, cook recipes, clean up their poop, and keep them faithful. The game’s survival elements are light, but players who want to engage with them can do so as much as they want. There are many options for customizing one’s base and cultists, and players can develop it as much as they wish, as long as they can gather the resources to do so and maintain it.

So, if you enjoy building bases and leaving your mark on the world, Cult of the Lamb is a great game to pick up.

Death Stranding

death stranding

Genre: Open-World Action

Developer: Kojima Productions

Release Date: November 8, 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

Metacritic Score: 86 (PC), 82 (PS4), 85 (PS5)

Developed by the legendary Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding is an experimental game about working as a delivery man in a broken sci-fi world. Players take on delivery missions to walk or drive cargo to different bastions of human civilization. While that sounds simple, players must contend with a strange supernatural force, rain that exponentially ages any organic matter it touches and bandits that want to steal the supplies.

The game’s survival elements, however, come in the form of the systems and resources players have to balance. Survival games are about managing resources while contending with time-related mechanics and needs. While Death Stranding doesn’t have players gathering wood or building a base, it does require them to prepare ahead of trips.

Players must manage how much they can carry on the trip, what tools like ladders they will need, and the character’s needs like stamina and going to the bathroom. Death Stranding also has a massive, gorgeous world for players to explore as they travel, making it an excellent choice for survival fans that enjoy traveling through a beautiful and realistic world.


Terraria Zoologist Guide

Genre: Open-World Crafting

Developer: Re-Logic

Release Date: May 16, 2011

Platforms: Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One

Metacritic Score: 82 (iOS), 83 (PC), 83 (PS4), 84 (XBO)

On the surface, Terraria closely resembles a 2D survival game. However, it doesn’t require players to manage their characters’ needs. Instead, it focuses on exploring a randomly generated world, crafting new gear, building custom structures to house NPCs, and hunting down increasingly visually impressive bosses.

If you’re a fan of survival games and haven’t tried Terraria yet, it is one of the most accessible recommendations on this list. It has nearly everything that makes the survival genre so unique and exciting, without the constant worry of having to keep gathering food to survive.

Terraria has also received an incredible number of updates over its decade-long lifespan. This has given the game a ton of content for new players to learn and explore, while the game’s procedural generation also makes it very replayable for fans that enjoy it. The game is also fully playable in co-op, making it great for any groups of survival fans that are looking for a new game to explore, build bases, and fight some fantastic monsters with.

Fallout 4

fallout 4


Genre: First-Person Shooter RPG

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

Release Date: November 10, 2015

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Metacritic Score: 84 (PC), 87 (PS4), 88 (XBO)

The Fallout series has evolved throughout its lifespan, and its newest title added varying levels of survival elements for players to enjoy. Regardless of which mode you decide to play, the game on, a large part of its gameplay loop is centered around exploring the post-apocalyptic wasteland to gather items and supplies.

Those can then be used for numerous crafting recipes and building their settlements. Settlements can be made with pieces of structures and decorations to customize them to the player’s liking as well as recruiting NPCs to live there.

If a post-apocalyptic shooter with even traditional survival elements sounds more interesting to you, however, Fallout 4 also comes with an optional survival mode that brings massive implications to the game’s mechanics. This mode introduces hunger, thirst, and energy meters to the game, requiring players to find clean food and water sources to avoid becoming irradiated.

It also removes fast travel and only allows players to save when they sleep in a safe bed. This helps the mode carry more weight as players have to consider the needs of their character, have to explore and engage with the world more throughout their playthrough, and have a reason to return to one’s base frequently.



Genre: First-Person Shooter

Developer: The Farm 51

Release Date: October 16, 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Metacritic Score: 75 (PC), 60 (PS4), 78 (PS5), 82 (XBO), 71 (XSX)

Chernobylite is a sci-fi-infused first-person shooter in the irradiated region surrounding Chernobyl. Players are put into the role of a character searching for their lost lover while building a small gang of survivors that fight back against a government trying to hide a dark secret in the area.

It is filled with tense combat, resource gathering, terrifying monsters, and a horror atmosphere. The game is structured with players embarking on ventures out into sections of the world to explore and complete objectives while the world adapts and changes over time according to the player’s choices.

The game’s survival elements come into play both in how the player has to gather resources during their missions and managing the base that players build for their group of survivors. During missions, you’ll have to search through every nook and cranny to find the resources needed to craft supplies for later missions and build the structures your base needs to survive.

Your base is then fully customizable with farming blots, workstations, comfort items like couches and activities like watching TV to keep your allies happy.

This War of Mine

This War of Mine

Genre: Strategy

Developer: 11 Bit Studios

Release Date: November 14, 2014

Platforms: Mobile, PC,, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Metacritic Score: 90 (iOS), 83 (PC), 78 (PS4), 82 (PS5), 80 (Switch), 78 (XBO), 85 (XSX)

This War of Mine is an extraordinarily somber and emotional game that I only recommend playing if you are comfortable with exploring the game’s mature themes. It presents players with a perspective of war vastly different from how it is usually portrayed in video games. Rather than being exciting and filled with heroism, This War of Mine focuses on a small group struggling to survive in the crumbling remnants of a shelled city.

Throughout the game, players struggle to keep as many of their survivors around by gathering resources and making difficult decisions. Every choice and action carries the threat of failure and death as players have to juggle their morals with their drive to help the people to survive.

This puts a very interesting twist on the resource gathering and management mechanics of the survival genre. This makes it a standout on this list because of its ability to deliver powerful emotional responses and challenge how its players think about their actions in video games.

Metro Exodus

metro exodus

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Developer: 4A Games

Release Date: February 15, 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S

Metacritic Score: 82 (PC), 80 (PS4), 83 (PS5), 82 (XBO), 81 (XSX)

Another FPS set in the irradiated remnants of the world, Metro Exodus is the third in the series based on Russian novels. It takes the series out of the subway tunnels of the first two entries, allowing players to explore massive regions filled with their history, factions, and monsters. This expands the world of Metro drastically, and to help give players a reason to explore those areas, Exodus incorporates a few survival elements into its gameplay loop and player progression.

This is done primarily by making players rely on resources that must be gathered from dangerous areas to progress successfully. On the game’s hardest difficulty, every unit of a resource is needed to craft consumables and repair their gear. This introduces choices similar to what players would expect from a survival game to Exodus, with players having to decide what to spend their limited resources on.

Doing so adds excellent choices for players throughout their playthrough and rewards players for thoroughly exploring the game’s environments.

Escape from Tarkov

escape from tarkov

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Developer: Battlestate Games

Release Date: July 27, 2017

Platforms: PC

Metacritic Score: N/A

Escape From Tarkov is still in early access and frequently gets new content added, but it has found a massive base of players who enjoy its high-stakes gameplay. The game also weaves survival elements into its multiplayer FPS structure very cleanly. It does this primarily by incorporating the PvP elements of survival games like Rust and forcing players to gather resources and use them to keep their characters standing as their limbs take damage from combat encounters on incursions into different zones.

This game’s gameplay is done by players embarking in different areas to search for items and gear. These areas are filled with NPC enemies that attack players on sight and others that can be communicated with. However, if a player dies, they drop everything in their inventory, allowing other players to take all their gear and any resources they found during their trip. This item economy feels highly reminiscent of survival games, making it an excellent pick for players that love high-stakes player-versus-player combat.


Question: Is Terraria a survival game?

Answer: Terraria has many elements and mechanics similar to a survival game, but it does not require players to manage their character’s needs like most survival games.

Question: Does Fallout 4 have survival mode?

Answer: Yes, Fallout 4 has a survival mode that requires players to manage their hunger, thirst, and energy, as well as removing fast travel and only saving when the player sleeps.

Question: Is Death Stranding available on Xbox?

Answer: No, Death Stranding is only available on PlayStation consoles and PC so far. However, it is included in Xbox Game Pass for PC.


Survival games have had a massive impact on the games industry, resulting in many non-survival titles drawing inspiration from the genre. There are a ton of games that do so, allowing players to find iterations of their favorite part of survival games in other genres. However, the above list is my favorite example that helhelpsow how adaptable the genre’s tenants have proven to be.

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