Games for PC & Console

Best Survival Games 2024: Our Top 10

The gaming year 2024 started with a whole series of new survival games that catapulted the genre to unimagined heights. Titles such as Palworld, Enshrouded and Nightingale are currently topping the Steam charts on PC. Reason enough for us to put together our favorites in this genre: Here are our 10 best survival games in 2024.

Survival games: What makes the genre tick?

As the name suggests, survival games are (more or less) about bare survival. You usually end up somehow, somewhere, half-naked in a dangerous world where everything and everyone is out to get you.

However, other aspects such as lack of resources, environmental conditions, food and drink are also an important part of survival games, which is what makes them so appealing. In some titles, base-building is also included: using wood, stone and other materials, you have to build your own dwelling out of the ground in order to survive the often dangerous and cold nights unscathed.

Many survival games also feature an optional cooperative multiplayer mode in which you can team up with other survivors online and face the impending dangers together.

The game world is also important, of course, and should be as large as possible and full of playable freedom. Open world survival games allow you to explore the world freely and at your own pace.

The 10 best survival games in 2024


Developer: Mojang | Release: May 17, 2009 | Platforms: PC (Windows, Linux), Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

© Mojang; Liebevolle Klötzchengrafik und tiefgründige Spielmechaniken - den Klassiker gibt es auch fürs Smartphone
Image: Mojang

Let’s start with the forefather of survival games, who first made the genre socially acceptable in 2009 and whose status in pop culture extends far beyond the boundaries of gaming.

Minecraft is still worth a look today, despite its advanced age and admittedly pixelated look that takes some getting used to. There are several reasons for this, as the gameplay and look are much friendlier and more accessible than most of its newer competitors.

How you interact with the world is entirely up to you in Minecraft. You can build bases and even huge worlds or craft weapons and armor and take on zombies, creepers and other dangers. There is also something exciting to discover in every corner of the game world, which significantly increases the replay value.

And thanks to Minecraft Crossplay, you can also fight for survival with friends on other platforms such as PC, PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch.

ARK: Survival Evolved

Developer: Studio Wildcard | Release: August 29, 2017 | Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch

ARK: Survival Evolved
The dinosaur setting and the gigantic scope make ARK so special. (Image: Studio Wildcard)

ARK is also one of the oldest survival games in our list, as the lively dinosaur hunt was released in 2017. ARK: Survival Evolved builds on the usual genre conventions and expands them with fresh ideas.

On the one hand, of course, there is the dinosaur setting, which is not only rare in this genre. However, the prehistoric lizards are not only evil, they can also be recruited for battle, support your base construction or even serve as a building site themselves.

On the other hand, the game scores with unique and exciting boss battles, as well as an extensive skill system that allows you to develop your character in a wide variety of directions.

However, ARK: Survival Evolved is self-contained, so there will be no more new content. The sequel, ARK 2, was already announced in 2020 and is expected to be released at the end of 2024 or early 2025.


Developer: Pocketpair | Release: January 19, 2024 (Early Access) | Platforms: PC (Steam)

Palworld kicked off the survival hype in 2024. (Image: Pocketpair)

Palworld was the first surprise hit of the 2024 gaming year, even though the illustrious mix of survival game, Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda had to fend off enormous criticism time and again.

There were accusations that the game was just a lame copy of various other games, while others claimed that Palworld had been developed with the help of artificial intelligence and lacked any original ideas.

However, this did nothing to dampen its popularity: within a month of its Early Access launch on Steam, Palworld had been sold an incredible 15 million times over the digital counter. At times, there were even over 2 million players on the servers at the same time. What makes the game so special?

Palworld combines the classic elements of the survival genre with the capture of Pokémon-like animals, the eponymous Pals and an extensive arsenal of firearms to create an illustrious mix.

Not only do base building and crafting play an important role, but collecting the varied Pals will also keep you glued to the screen for hours – after all, this has been the source of an incomparable addictive spiral in Pokémon games since the 1990s.


Developer: Keen Games | Release: January 24, 2024 (Early Access) | Platforms: PC (Steam)

Screenshot aus dem Survival-Spiel Enshrouded zeigt die Spielfigur an einem Lagerfeuer.
Enshrouded is the perfect survival game for role-playing and fantasy fans. (Image: Keen Games)

Just a few days after Palworld, another survival game, Enshrouded, launched in Early Access on Steam with its sights set on the genre crown. However, the title, which was developed by German studio Keen Games from Frankfurt am Main, takes a slightly different direction from a gameplay perspective.

Of course, there are also the typical survival elements such as crafting, base building and resource management. In Enshrouded, however, the focus is on exploring the huge game world and extensive role-playing elements. All this makes the title one of the best open world survival games currently available.

Over the course of the game, you will equip your character with new equipment and better weapons, explore caves, cellars and other dangerous environments or venture into the dark miasma to complete quests and become even stronger. In turn, you will reach new areas of the game world where new secrets are waiting to be discovered.

Enshrouded scores particularly well in terms of playful freedom and offers perhaps the best crafting system in survival games.

With its RPG elements, the title is also suitable for those who have had little contact with the genre so far and place more value on exploration and exciting battles.

Especially as the survival elements of the title are much more beginner-friendly. You cannot freeze to death, starve or die of thirst.


Developer: Inflexion Games | Release: February 20, 2024 (Early Access) | Platforms: PC (Steam)

Screenshot aus Nightingale zeigt die Spielfigur mit einem Hammer im Kampf mit einem Gegner.
Nightingale relies on a fresh setting and strong graphics, but still looks a little unfinished. (Image: Inflexion Games)

The third survival hope of the year 2024 goes by the name of Nightingale and was only launched in Steam’s Early Access program at the end of February.

Visually, the adventure from Inflexion Games differs from many other survival games, as Nightingale relies on the power of Unreal Engine 5 and takes you into the mysterious fantasy world of the Fae people from a first-person perspective.

The Victorian-inspired atmosphere creates a unique atmosphere and the title also has a lot to offer in terms of base building and crafting, but the title currently only has an even rating.

The limited building system, lack of variety and numerous bugs are currently being criticized. Other players, however, celebrate the survival game for its fresh ideas and unused setting and attest to Nightingale’s great potential.


Developer: Iron Gate AB | Release: February 02, 2021 (Early Access) | Platforms: PC (Steam)

Screenshot aus Valheim zeigt zwei Spielfiguren beim Erkunden eines Waldes.
Valheim scores with an atmospheric Viking setting. (Image: Iron Gate)

Speaking of a fresh setting: The survival game Valheim, which caused a sensation in 2021 and continues to enjoy unbroken popularity to this day, also has this to offer.

In Valheim, which has also only been launched in Early Access so far, you are transported to a world inspired by Norse mythology. As a fallen Viking, the Valkyries bring you to Valheim, the tenth Norse world, where you must eliminate Odin’s old rivals and restore order.

Like Enshrouded, Valheim is primarily aimed at all those who like to explore a mysterious world and face formidable boss opponents. The difference is that Valheim offers a much more complex combat system and even lets you build and control ships.

Sons of the Forest

Developer: Endnight Games | Release: February 22, 2024 | Platforms: PC (Steam)

Screenshot aus Sons of the Forest zeigt die Spielfigur, die mit einem Bogen auf Gegner zielt.
Sons of the Forest combines survival with horror elements. (Image: Endnight Games)

Sons of the Forest is the successor to The Forest, released in 2018, and combines classic survival gameplay with horror elements. Following its Early Access launch last year, the final version of the title was only launched at the end of February 2024 and has enjoyed enormous popularity ever since.

In Sons of the Forest, you take on the role of a member of a military unit who has to search for a missing billionaire on a remote island. It goes without saying that everything and everyone poses a danger to you here.

Above all, the captivating story and the detailed, dangerous world are among the strengths of the game, which also offers different endings and constantly reinvents itself.


Developer: Unknown Worlds | Release: January 23, 2018 | Platforms: PC (Steam), Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch

Screenshot aus Subnautica zeigt die Spielfigur beim Erkunden der Unterwasser-Welt.
Relaxed survival below sea level: Subnautica takes it easy. (Image: Unknown Worlds Entertainment)

A survival game that takes place mostly below the surface of the sea. Subnautica has been a breath of fresh air in the genre since its release in 2018 and, compared to most of the other games on our list, also PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

The picturesque underwater worlds and creatures and the exciting story are among the game’s greatest strengths, making it suitable for anyone who likes things to be more peaceful and relaxed. Because there is hardly any fighting in Subnautica, the focus here is on exploration.


Developer: Bohemia Interactive | Release: December 13, 2018 | Platforms: PC (Steam), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Screenshot aus DayZ
Survival veteran DayZ is still highly recommended today. Not only for zombie fans. (Image: Bohemia Interactive)

DayZ from 2018 is also one of the older representatives of the survival game genre, but with its zombie survival setting and a gigantic (up to 230 km²) open world and authentic gunplay, it has a lot to offer that no other survival game can match.

Despite its advanced age, the title, which is also available for PlayStation and Xbox, is still not free of bugs. From a gameplay perspective, the focus is exclusively on your own survival; you will look in vain for base building, extensive crafting and any mission objectives.

However, if you’re interested in zombies and horror and enjoy playing cooperatively with friends, DayZ is still a great game for you.


Developer: Facepunch Studios | Release: February 08, 2018 | Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Screenshot aus Rust zeigt mehrere Spieler, die eine Stadt bewachen.
You need really strong nerves for Rust. And good allies. (Image: Facepunch Studios)

The survival game Rust was launched at almost the same time as DayZ in 2018 and has also found its way onto Sony and Microsoft consoles since 2021. Accordingly, Facepunch Studios’ title is also rather puristic: “The only goal in Rust is to survive, ” says the developer’s description.

Rust consistently dispenses with a story, but the title scores with convincing survival mechanics such as crafting, building and collecting resources. However, Rust is designed as a PvP game, so firefights with other players take center stage.

Here, everything that moves is fired upon mercilessly. The large, very active community can sometimes become a little toxic. However, if you don’t mind biting the dust from time to time and ideally explore the world together with friends, the game rewards you with unique features and means of transportation.

The fact that Rust still regularly ranks among the most-played titles on Steam undoubtedly speaks for the survival veteran. The title is also available for consoles, but the implementation is only partially successful.

Bonus tip: Dune Awakening

Developer: Funcom | Release: 2024/2025 | Platforms: PC (Steam), Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S

Dune: Awakening
Dune: Awakening is set to be a dream come true for fans of the sci-fi world. (Image: Funcom)

However, we still have one more. The sci-fi blockbuster Dune 2 is currently setting records at the box office. Fittingly, the Dune universe will soon be expanded with an open-world survival game. The title is called Dune Awakening and is scheduled for release in 2024 for PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

Thanks to a gigantic open game world, Dune: Awakening is designed as a survival MMO from a third-person perspective in which you share a server with a number of other players. With individually customizable character classes, skills and more, Awakening has a strong role-playing feel.

However, the survival mechanics are not to be neglected either. The developers promise an extensive building system, while you must constantly supply your character with fresh water and ideally stay in the shade to avoid dying of thirst or taking damage.

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Dune: Awakening is based on the Unreal Engine 5 and should therefore have a lot to offer from a technical perspective. At the same time, the game skillfully captures the look of the Villeneuve films, so fans will feel right at home here.

And Funcom has already proven its mastery of this genre with titles such as Conan Exiles. So it could be pretty exciting.

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The gaming year 2024 started with a whole series of new survival games that catapulted the genre to unimagined heights. Titles such as Palworld, Enshrouded and Nightingale are currently topping the Steam charts on PC. Reason enough for us to put together our favorites in this genre: Here are our 10 best survival games in 2024. Survival games: What makes the genre tick? As the name suggests, survival games are (more or less) about bare survival. You usually end up somehow, somewhere, half-naked in a dangerous world where everything and everyone is out to get you. However, other aspects such … (Weiterlesen...)

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