I think one of my deepest fears is being stranded in a hostile environment with no creature comforts and only my survival skills to rely on. That’s probably why I hated summer camp so much growing up. If you’re ever concerned about such a situation befalling you, the best thing you can do, short of maybe taking a survivalist class, is playing survival games like Rust. Survival games encourage ingenuity and gumption, combined with everyone’s baseline desire to not drop dead of starvation. Here are some games similar to Rust to help you get your initial survival education.
So what exactly makes Rust a distinctive game? There are a few primary elements:
- Survival: Obviously. Your character isn’t just an automaton, they have needs like hunger and thirst that you need to regularly tend to.
- Development: Once you’ve got the whole baseline survival thing down pat, you can develop your paltry camp into a full on fortress of a settlement.
- PvE or PvP combat: If all you had to survive against was nature itself, it wouldn’t be that bad. Unfortunately, wild animals, monsters in the dark, and other players would love to relieve you of your things (and your life).
Games Similar To Rust
With those qualities in mind, here are some games that incorporate one or more of those elements:
7 Days to Die
What’s worse than roving marauders and wild animals coming to take your stuff and do you harm? How about roving marauders that are themselves wild animals? Zombies, I’m talking about zombies. In 7 Days to Die, you’ve got the usual spate of survival necessities and shelter building, but in addition to that, you’ve got to play a spot of the ol’ Tower Defense whenever the undead horde comes around licking their chops. Set up traps and turrets and funnel the living-challenged into a veritable blender as you survive in a world gone rotten.
What’s one of the most inhospitable biomes for humanity in the world? A forest? A tundra? Good guesses, but the answer I was looking for was the most obvious one: the ocean. In Raft, you’ll need to defy the natural order and establish a life for yourself floating on the ocean waves. Use your trusty hook to salvage floating rubbish and build your humble raft into something resembling an actual home. Hope your vessel doesn’t get attacked by sharks! Nah, just kidding, it’s totally going to get attacked by sharks.
The idea of a big forest isn’t inherently scary, especially if you grew up in a particularly woody area. It’s a whole lot scarier when you A: end up there after a plane crash, B: can’t leave, and C: are dogged by cannibal mutants living in the shadows. But I’m guessing you’d rather not be someone’s lunch, so pull yourself together and stake your claim in The Forest. On the bright side, since it’s a forest, there’s no shortage of usable lumber and huntable wildlife. And when there’re twigs all over the ground, you get really good at walking silently, which is important if you want to get the drop on the aforementioned cannibal mutants.
The mighty vikings of Norse myth believed in an afterlife known as Valhalla. It was a place where all great warriors would go at the end of their lives to feast, battle, and just generally live it up for all eternity. According to Valheim, though, there’s one extra step between life and Valhalla: you gotta prove yourself worthy. In Valheim, you and your viking buddies will need to cut down the various evils and horrors plaguing an expansive Norse purgatory to earn your right to enter Valhalla.
Between the warmongering, you’ll need to establish a fortress for yourself and defenses to gently deter the local wildlife from bothering you. Unlike these other games, eating isn’t a necessity, since you’re already dead, but you should still do it to empower yourself. Nothing gets a Norseman on his feet like a hearty flagon of mead!
The nuclear disaster that befell the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 was so devastating, that to this day, the entire area around where the plant once was is still irradiated to a dangerous extent. Not that anyone’s in much of a rush to set foot in there. Now, if the Chernobyl zone were full of mysterious super-powerful artifacts to loot, then folks might be a bit more interested.
The first three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, which were released from 2007 to 2010, place you in the role of the titular treasure hunters who scour the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in search of anomalous artifacts and the truth behind the Zone’s mysterious properties. You’ll need to become the perfect hunter to survive rival hunters, mutant monsters, and the clouds of radioactive weirdness they dwell in.
While it may seem like an odd comparison given their opposing design sensibilities, Minecraft actually ticks pretty much all of the same boxes as Rust. You’ve got the need for food and shelter, you can develop your home in all kinds of wacky and creative directions, and there’s no shortage of monsters (and players) who’d love to break all of your stuff and murder you. The only real difference is Minecraft’s comparative simplicity, though as anyone who’s really gotten into Minecraft builds will tell you, that simplicity only lasts as long as you let it.