Games like DayZ - best survival alternatives

Image of DayZ player preparing to swing club with tall trees in background
Credit: Endnight Games Limited

Image of DayZ player preparing to swing club with tall trees in background
Credit: Endnight Games Limited

Be ready to survive, using any means necessary in these best survival alternatives to DayZ. DayZ throws you into an impeccably realistic Russian thundra. This open-world survival horror hybrid-MMO game has been adding new content since day one and with th recent arrival of update 1.24, there's plenty of content to experience.

With new content available DayZ remains relevant in the horror-survival genre, what to do when you get tired of it? Fortunately, the genre is rich with games that mirror DayZ's gritty, horror-esque atmosphere, offering experiences you're bound to enjoy equally. Stay with us as we explore some of the best survival alternatives to DayZ and help you find your next favourite game.

Best games like DayZ

5. Project Zomboid

Platforms: PC, Mac
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Developer and Publisher: The Indie Stone

Project Zomboid
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Credit: The Indie Stone
Project Zomboid

Project Zomboid isn't your typical zombie shooter. This isometric indie gem throws you headfirst into a brutally realistic apocalypse experience. Unlike its action-packed counterparts, survival here hinges on meticulous planning, resource management, and a healthy dose of paranoia.

Project Zomboid has permadeth. This means that one bite, one scratch, and it's curtains. Prepare for the ultimate commitment and the constant threat of starting over. The game also features a Deep Crafting System. Craft everything from makeshift weapons to secure bases, using scavenged materials and recipes you discover in the world.

Moreover, the environment evolves, with weather changes, shifting zombie hordes, and the ever-present threat of hunger and thirst. The open world is your oyster (or, more accurately, your potential graveyard).

If you crave a truly hardcore and unforgiving survival experience, Project Zomboid delivers. It's not about mowing down hordes; it's about outsmarting them, outlasting them, and carving out a fragile existence in a world gone mad. Just remember, every decision matters and one wrong step can mean starting from scratch. Are you up for the challenge?

4. Rust

Platforms: PC, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: February 8, 2018 (Full Release)
Developer: Facepunch Studios
Publisher: Facepunch Studios

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Credit: Facepunch Studios

Rust is known for its intense PvP and brutal base raiding, but there's more to this online-only survival game than meets the eye. At its core, Rust is about the struggle for survival and the choices you make to achieve it.

You start with nothing, forced to scavenge for resources, craft tools and weapons, and build a shelter to survive the natural elements and other players.

The game world constantly changes, with procedural generation, radiation zones, and monuments holding valuable secrets.

Rust is a unique blend of survival, sandbox freedom, and player interaction. It's a harsh world where trust is fleeting and danger lurks around every corner. But for those who thrive on challenge and the thrill of outsmarting others, Rust can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Just remember, in the world of Rust, survival is just the beginning. Will you build, raid, or simply try to stay alive? The choice is yours.

3. Hunt: Showdown

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: August 28, 2019
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Crytek

Hunt: Showdown
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Credit: Crytek
Hunt: Showdown

Are you ready to step into the Louisiana Bayou as a monster hunter in Hunt: Showdown? This unique PvPvE experience pits you against rival hunters and monstrous targets in a high-stakes game of survival and bounty. Hunt your prey, outsmart your competition, and escape with the bounty alive for the ultimate reward.

The game offers several key features, including a battle against AI-controlled monsters and other players who are on the same task. The atmosphere of the dark bayou with mutant monsters will glue you to your seat as you explore its depths. There is also a permadeath in the game, adding a unique and rather drastic angle to the entire mission. As you level up, you will unlock new hunters, weapons, and equipment.

If you want a high-stake high-rewards game then Hunt: Showdown is one of the best survival alternatives to DayZ. With a unique blend of PvE and PvP, everyone is out to get you, so be ready to face the dangers of the bayou.

2. The Forest

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Release Date: May 30, 2014 (Early Access), April 30, 2018 (Full Release) Developer & Publisher: Endnight Games Ltd.

The Forest
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Credit: Endnight Games
The Forest

The Forest throws you into a chilling survival horror scenario.expand_more After a plane crash lands you on a mysterious peninsula, you find yourself stranded amidst a cannibalistic society lurking in the depths of the forest. Your mission: survive, build, and find your lost son, Timmy.
Exploring the islands you will find a number of secrets, passages, caves, and mysteries of the cannibalistic tribe. You will need to gather resources, craft shelters and weapons and defeat the mutant enemies.

If you love the blend of survival mechanics, intense horror, and exploration, then The Forest is the right choice for you as one of the best survival alternatives to DayZ.

1. Sons of The Forest

Platforms: PC (Early Access)
Release Date: February 23, 2023 (Early Access), February 22, 2024 (Full Release)
Developer & Publisher: Endnight Games Ltd.

Sons of the Forest
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Credit: Endnight Games
Sons of the Forest

Sons of the Forest builds upon the chilling foundation of The Forest, throwing you onto a remote island swarming with even greater threats. Sent to locate a missing billionaire, you face not only the harsh elements but also mutated creatures and a new cannibalistic threat.

As you enter the story you will receive an AI companion Kelvin, who will help you on your journey to survival by following your instructions, gathering resources, and building structures. The main mechanic of the Sons of the Forest is crafting, and you will spend much time building a multi-story base and many other items, including weapons and equipment. The story-driven campaign is aided by a cooperative multiplayer which lets you play with seven other players.

There are several locations to discover on your own, thanks to an oddly specific map you will grow to love once you understand how it works. Survival mechanics are developed to the tinniest details with cold, thirst, anger, and other similar aspects affecting your character. Sons of the Forest isn't just about crafting and fighting cannibal mutants but is more of a psychological terror as you need to manage your sanity to avoid succumbing to feat hallucinations that distort the already apocalyptic reality.

While we can go on forever and list more games like DayZ that are the best survival alternatives, these mirror the atmosphere the best and add uniqueness for you to enjoy. While we won't talk about any more games, some honourable mentions include Conan Exiles, Escape from Tarkov, and 7 Days to Die, which you should also check out as the best survival alternatives to DayZ.

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