The survival genre is not everyone’s cup of tea due to the fact it takes a lot of effort and dedication from the player.
Rust is one of the most common names when it comes to worthwhile experiences of survival within video games. That is because it presents you with a large open world in which you have to struggle with things like hunger, cold, thirst, health, and shelter.
Since the game is multiplayer-only, it of course means that the number one threat is still other players. But the game has hostile animals in the wild that would risk your safety as you go for hunting and traversal as well. It may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea – but a lot of people love it and have thousands of hours spent in-game.
Whether you love Rust and want more games like it, or don’t enjoy Rust but still want to try other survival games similar to it – you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a coherent list of the 10 best survival games like Rust so that you don’t have to spend time looking for them yourself! So, let’s get started.
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1. The Forest
Available On: PC, PS4
The Forest is one of the games that are most commonly compared to Rust and that’s for good reason. Although there is no multiplayer mode, the game has very similar survival gameplay. You have to find resources to stay alive, loot whatever you can find, craft items, and shelter to stay safe.
The endgame objective is to find your way around the populated forest in hopes of finding your abducted son.
To make up for the lack of real players trying to kill you at every turn – the game has AI enemies which are in the form of blood-thirsty cannibals and other creepy stuff. It combines the survival and horror genres and does a great job at it.
2. Ark: Survival Evolved
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, Linux, Stadia, macOS
Ark: Survival Evolved has almost everything that Rust does and more. The game throws you into a large sandbox open-world with nothing besides underwear.
You craft your way around the diverse environments and level up to be prepared for what waits for you up ahead. The game has a well-made single-player mode, but the real fun comes in the multiplayer experience as you form tribes and protect yourself from hostile players.
What makes Ark particularly unique is the fact it features a great number of different dinosaurs to find, tame, and ride. You can keep them as a pet or take them for battle, having the ability to even mount guns on top of them. And not only that, you can have them breed and hatch their eggs too.
Available On: PC, Xbox One, PS4
DayZ is one of the oldest open-world multiplayer games that allowed people to survive in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. The player is provided a great deal of freedom in how they wish to approach the gameplay, as they can play by themselves, team up with other people, or become a criminal who lives off of attacking any living being that they see.
The survival elements are all present and you need to build bases to keep your belongings safe and have to keep yourself well-stocked with food, medical supplies, and weaponry. Going a step further, the game even has multiple diseases that you can contract and you die if they are not cured on time. It’s a great experience that gives a new twist to the Rust formula.
4. The Long Dark
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Linux, macOS
In Rust, besides wild animals, the greatest threat that you face are the real players. In some games like DayZ and The Forest, for example, there are enemies in different forms that pose just as much of a threat as real players would through intelligent AI. The Long Dark, however, has a twist of its own.
In this game, you don’t have any real players or AI-controlled living beings that would harm you and stop your progress. Instead, this game is focused solely on survival within nature and that unique aspect of it truly makes it shine. You have to take care of your hunger, thirst, fatigue, cold, and calories.
You will need to manage your resources as well as you can and it can be quite difficult to survive your journey when the deaths in the game feel permanent. It’s an unforgiving experience and will satisfy the most hardcore fans of the survival genre.
Available On: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita, PS3, Android, iOS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, Mac OS X, Linux
Minecraft may not look like a game that would be similar to Rust from an outsider perspective – but when you look into the game, you’ll realize how much of an authentic survival experience it has to offer.
As a matter of fact, Minecraft and DayZ are the two games that are believed to be the inspiration for Rust, to begin with.
Minecraft lets you play the game in any way that you please, and that includes building your own shelter, farming resources, ensuring the survival of you and any citizens or animals that you have by your side, and features dungeon-crawling for those who are willing to take all the loot that the virtual world has to offer.
6. 7 Days to Die
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac OS X, Linux
7 Days to Die is slightly more casual than DayZ in presentation and a bit more similar to Rust. You have to gather resources to ensure your survival and there are different mini-games scattered around the game’s world that provide you with extra rewards.
The activities, looting, and crafting keep you busy for dozens of hours, and of course, you need to make sure you’re not eaten by the zombies at every single turn. And you can contract illnesses as well, which need to be treated as soon as possible.
It’s a fun experience that might not be the right game to sink thousands of hours in – but nonetheless scratches that Rust itch.
7. No Man’s Sky
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
No Man’s Sky had a rough launch – but since then the development team has been able to turn it around to a complete success. Not only did they manage to add everything to the game that was originally promised – they added a whole lot more in content. You are given your own ship which you can manage and you can choose to play the game by yourself or by teaming up with some of your buddies in cooperation.
The survival elements include exploration, mining, looting, combat, crafting, and even trading – which keep the experience fresh since many of the planets are completely unique to each other.
The game’s unique space theme makes it stand out as one of the best survival games like Rust, especially if you’re looking for something a little different.
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS
Subnautica is perhaps the most different game on this list as it neither takes place in post-apocalyptic cities nor space. Instead, it takes you into the deep ends of the sea and you play as a scuba diver who has to survive underwater. You can craft a bit and explore as much of the open sea as you want, and the different areas that you will explore have a great amount of diversity.
You run into threats in the form of hostile wildlife and it’s also dangerous to explore some places such as volcanic spots within the sea – so your experience is always rewarding and brings something fresh to the table.
9. Stranded Deep
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux
Stranded Deep is very similar to Rust but has a unique approach of its own. You find yourself, crashing onto an island and your goal is to survive in any way possible. There’s the usual crafting, looting, hunting the wildlife, stocking up on resources, and so on.
And additionally, there are tribes that already reside on the island and will stop at nothing to kill you.
The game has a lot of secrets that you can find through exploration and there are several death traps that you need to outsmart in order to avoid certain death – and there’s even a storyline to keep you engaged. It’s an entertaining game and a nice twist to the usual Rust formula.
Available On: PC
Scum is extremely similar to Rust and came out a bit more recently. It features all the survival elements that you would expect – you need to gather and craft resources, keep yourself fed, make sure you’re safe from threats of the wildlife, and the ability to work with or against the real players.
One thing that the game particularly focuses on is that it lets you decide certain things for your playable characters in order to make the experience more immersive, and thus the game has been positively received in the characterization department.
There is a lot of other stuff going on in the game, such as zombies, customization, and other complex things that would take a lot of time to talk about – but all in all, it’s a solid survival experience that every fan of Rust needs to try.
That’s it for our list for the 10 best survival games like Rust. We hope that you found the perfect substitute for yourself and if we missed any important games out, don’t forget to let us know in the comments below. While you’re here, make sure to check out some of our other helpful gaming guides too!