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The 10 best survival games (updated Aug 2022)

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Survival games include a wide range of subgenres and mechanics, but the unifying theme is the desire to stay alive. However, the consequences of dying vary; some games will punish you heavily for dying, others will strip you of some of your items, and a few will force you to restart the game. This means that there is a wide variety of options for mobile gamers of all stripes.

Unfortunately, there are also a million identical post-apocalyptic zombie survival games out there; good games are hard to find. We’ve saved you time by gathering together ten of the best survival games available for Android.

1. Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve challenges you with staying alive for as long as possible. However, permanent death is necessary as it’s the only way to unlock new characters, giving a silver lining to the end of your game. Before you inevitably meet your end, you’ll fend off monsters, scavenge food, and craft tools to survive.

Don’t Starve encourages exploration and experimentation. The scratchy-ink art style creates a slightly unnerving environment, and it’s a terrifying experience the first time your fire goes out, and darkness closes in. But you’ll soon get to grips with the mechanics, and before you know it, you’ll have a sturdy base in no time.

2. Minecraft

Minecraft appears on a lot of our best Android games roundups, and for good reason. It’s a game that lets players play how they want, whether they like to build peacefully or prefer to test the limits of their survival skills. But while there are plenty of ways to play the game, Survival mode is the purest Minecraft experience.

Minecraft’s Survival mode forces you to manage your hunger and fend off monsters to survive. You’ll die fairly often, so make sure to store your valuable items safely at home. It’s a fantastic cooperative survival experience, so grab a friend to join you in your adventure.

3. The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands

The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands is a relatively relaxed survival game. While it does get challenging, the steady pace of the game means you’ll have plenty of time to manage your settlement before the next crisis hits. You’ll have to survive through hostile and harsh monsters to keep your settlers alive.

This game encourages careful strategy rather than quick reactions. It may take a couple of tries, but the straightforward mechanics ensure everything is easy to learn. Note that while the game is free to download, it requires an in-app purchase of $3.99 to continue past Day 6.

4. This War of Mine

This War of Mine brings survival games into the real world. In this game, you manage a group of civilians hiding in a war-torn city, avoiding snipers and hostile scavengers to collect resources. It’s challenging, but knowing that you’re dealing with real-life situations throws every decision into sharp focus.

This War of Mine follows a day/night cycle. You’ll manage your shelter during the day and use the cover of night to venture out for resources. Every decision has a consequence, so make sure you carefully plan your next move.

5. Crashlands

Crashlands is a survival RPG that conceals challenging game mechanics behind cartoons and humor. Your goal is to help galactic trucker Flux Dabes recover his packages after crash-landing on an alien planet. On your quest, you’ll fight monsters, level up, craft tools, and, most importantly, make new friends.

Crashlands incorporates useful mechanics that help keep the focus on exploring and building. A self-sorting infinite inventory ensures you always have quick access to the tools you need, and base building is quick and easy. Try it out if you want a break from the endless lists of gritty, realistic survival games.

6. Terraria

Terraria is a survival game that encourages building and exploring above all else. Death is a minor inconvenience, but Terraria wants you to take your time and explore the world, which is jam-packed full of funky enemies and intriguing weapons. While the difficulty can be ramped up, it’s worth starting at an easier difficulty to see everything the game has to offer.

Terraria is a great choice for anyone who loves to uncover new items and fight lots of quirky enemies. There are no urgent missions, so take your time to craft weapons, build fantastic structures, and trade with NPCs for valuable items.

7. Survive

Survive is a modern take on the text-based adventure games of old. Rather than moving a character around the world, you will play the game by navigating menus and tapping buttons. It’s quite refreshing; the focus on text means you can focus on your decisions and not get distracted by animations or loading screens.

It’s perfect for people who enjoy a tough mental challenge, as dying in Survive is just one wrong decision away. The game can sometimes feel a little short on content, but the high difficulty bar and multiple endings will keep you coming back for more.

8. Out There: Ω Edition

Out There is a roguelike game that pits you and your spaceship against the environment. There are no bad guys or monsters to contend with, just the capricious whims of alien worlds. It’s a game, so once you die, it’s game over. But a procedurally generated galaxy, multiple endings, and numerous spaceships make each playthrough different.

Out There is a thoroughly immersive experience that brings the galaxy to life with deep lore and a wide variety of environments. It’s a fantastic choice if you want a survival game that isn’t just about killing things and love the feeling of escaping death by the skin of your teeth.

9. Mini DAYZ

DAYZ is one of the most famous PC survival games around, and while Mini DAYZ swaps out polygons for pixels and a top-down camera, it is the same experience at heart. In Mini DAYZ, you are dropped into a wasteland populated by zombies and other players. You’ll have to manage hunger and thirst, scavenge supplies, and build a sturdy base to survive. Other players might help, but watch out for betrayals.

Mini DAYZ is perfect for people who like having multiplayer PvP elements in their survival games. There are no objectives other than survival, but you’ll unlock more perks, upgrades, and achievements the longer you last.

10. Tinker Island

Tinker Island’s gameplay mechanics are relatively simple. Once you start playing, you’ll realize it’s similar to Survive and other menu/text-based games. However, Tinker Island offers an easily digestible UI that makes it clear exactly what is going to happen next.

Tinker Island has a heavy emphasis on the story part of your game. It incorporates a lot of RPG elements, so you’ll be upgrading and managing the same set of survivors throughout the game. There’s plenty to discover, including monsters, puzzles, treasure, and more.

Even more games to try

Survival games often include mechanics from RPG games, but they borrow from plenty of other genres too. From casual adventures like Tinker Island, to PvP survival games like Mini DayZ, there’s something here for everyone. But if you want to relax your survival skills, try out a word game instead.

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