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15 best Android survival games
Survival games are an interesting collection of games. Virtually all games have a component where you can lose the game by dying. However, survival games make the act of staying alive the key component in the game. It’s a fairly robust genre with a lot of really good titles. However, there aren’t a ton of pure survival games on mobile. In most cases, you’re looking at the hybrid experience that includes survival mechanics along with other genres as well. If you’re in the mood to try really hard to not die, here are the best survival games for Android. We’d also like to give an honorable mention to Sheltered (Google Play). It’s a great survival game but it hasn’t seen an update in a few years so we don’t know how well it’ll work on newer devices.
We didn’t include any battle royale games on this list, although they do technically qualify as survival. We do have a full list of the best battle royale games here if you want to add a round-based shooter mechanic to your survival fun.
The best survival games for Android
Ark: Survival Evolved
Price: Free to play / $4.99 per month / $39.99 per year
Ark: Survival Evolved is a survival adventure game with some city-building elements. Players establish a home base, build up their space, tame dinosaurs, and fend off marauding bandits and other bad things. You start out alone and unarmed and must build yourself up from basically nothing. That includes weapons, buildings, resources, and other stuff. The game is free to play with an optional subscription that gives players various benefits. There are also social elements to play with friends, a crafting system, and a bunch of land to explore. Plus, it’s one of the most graphically intense games on mobile so it should look outstanding on high-end screens.
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is one of those diamond in the rough survival games. It’s free and open-source with hundreds of contributors. You start out with nothing and try to survive in a randomly generated world. You have monstrosities to defeat, stuff to collect, and a human to protect. The graphics are retro style and the menu system is not great, but if you can get passed that, this is a surprisingly good game. There are also two versions. We linked to the one that is still actively updated. There’s another, older one that isn’t. You can go with either one.
Crashlands has so many different gaming elements that it boggles the mind. You’ll find RPG, survival, action, adventure, and even monster collecting. The game revolves around an intergalactic trucker who gets stranded on an alien planet. Your job is to fight bad guys, build a base, deliver your lost packages, and save the world from evil. It’s intensely deep, has over 500 items that you can craft, and you can even tame creatures to fight alongside you. You won’t die if you don’t do things like eating, so purists may not enjoy this one as much as others. However, creature hunting, item collecting, home building, and item crafting mechanics are all there and better than most other games. There is also cloud-saving support and achievements. It also comes at a decent price and is one of the most unique survival games out there. This one is also free via Google Play Pass if you have it.
Day R Survival
Price: Free to play
Day R Survival is another excellent freemium survival game. This one takes place in the USSR. It includes 2,700 locations on a huge map, tons of items to find, and a relatively decent survival experience. You have to stave off hunger, not get killed by zombies, and avoid radiation where possible. It also boasts an RPG progression system for skills like shelter, mechanics, chemistry, and other such things. It’s a surprisingly deep survival game for its price tag. This one should be fun for a while.
The Escapists 2: Pocket Breakout
The Escapists 2 is a strategy simulation game with some survival elements. Players start out as convicted felons in prison. The ultimate goal is escaping from the prison. In order to do so, players have to formulate a plan, craft the necessary items, and slowly make their escape. However, you also have to go to chow, show up for prisoner counts, etc in order to not get caught. It’s an entertaining game that doesn’t quite fit the survival genre, but there is enough survival here to put it on the list. It runs for $6.99 with no in-app purchases or ads. Both games are available on Google Play Pass if you have it.
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition and Shipwrecked
Price: $4.99 each
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition is one of the more popular survival games. Your job is to survive and succeed in an unrelenting wilderness. Not doing so will result in your quick and untimely death. Like most games in the genre, you’ll have to collect resources, exploit your environment for your own gains, and do whatever it takes to live. The charm with this one involves the little extras and supernatural elements that set it apart from pure wilderness survival games. Shipwrecked is the second game in the series. It’s just as good as the first one. Most of the mechanics are the same, the only huge difference is the environment. Both games are $4.99 with no in-app purchases.
Last Day on Earth: Survival
Price: Free to play
Last Day on Earth: Survival is one of the most popular survival games on mobile. You have to gather resources, steal stuff, craft stuff, and fight bad guys in order to stay alive. It also has shooter and zombie apocalypse elements. It also has a decent YouTube community for tips, tricks, and tutorials. This is a free-to-play game and players can buy advantages. However, and perhaps ironically, not buying anything makes it that much more difficult to survive stuff, and some players like the added challenge. It’s entertaining for what it is, but people who don’t like free-to-play games may not like it as much. The video below doesn’t have a thumbnail but it is the most recent trailer for the game.
Price: Free to play
LifeAfter is one of the newer survival games on the list. It plays like most post-apocalyptic survival games. A virus sweeps the planet and leaves most people dead or as monsters. You must survive the monster hoard, collect gear, craft stuff, and figure out ways to live. Players can craft safe houses, learn to tend wounds, and forage for food wherever they can. It’s all backed up with some decent graphics and controls. The game’s free-to-play mechanics can be a little stressful at times, but they’re mostly not a big deal.
Price: $6.99 with in-app purchases
Minecraft is one of the world’s most popular survival games on any platform. It’s also great for creative people and other stuff. Survival Mode is the epitome of what survival games should be. For those who don’t know, Minecraft puts you in a randomly generated world and then you do whatever you want. You can build things, mine things, kill things, grow things, and do pretty much whatever you want. Microsoft made some big moves with Minecraft in 2016 and 2017. You can play this game with people on PC and Xbox One now. It’s one of the few cross-platform games for mobile, PC, and Xbox One.
Northgard is one of the newer survival games on the list. It blends survival with strategy along with some kingdom-building for good measure. Players pick a clan. Each clan has its own pros and cons. From there, you establish a settlement, assign your Vikings to do various jobs, manage your resources, and try to survive constant attacks along with a harsh winter. The game has a story so you’re not just doing this for the sake of it. It’s a port of the popular Steam game from 2018 with the only major difference being the touch controls. This is a good one and it’s a premium game. Therefore you don’t have to worry about free-to-play mechanics gunking up the works.
Out There: Ω Edition
Out There is perhaps one of the most underrated survival games. The premise is that you’re an astronaut who has woken up from cryogenic sleep. You’re in the middle of uncharted space, alone, and in desperate need of supplies. Your goal will be to fix your ship, find resources, and live. It also features a procedurally generated universe so no two plays are the same. It recently started getting updates again after a long pause and it’s one of the oldest survival games on Android, but it’s definitely one of the most difficult for the hardcore survival fans out there. It’s also free on Google Play Pass if you have it.
Price: Free to play
Rebel Inc technically isn’t a survival game but oh my goodness does it feel like one. You start the game as a leader and you try to stabilize a region torn apart by war. You have to rebuild the society, introduce things like clean water, and garner support from the locals. However, you also have to battle corruption, insurgent attacks, and a constant stream of things that need your attention and money. By the end of a round, it feels like a survival game even if its official genre is strategy-simulation. This one is hard and awesome. The game is free and you can get the pro version for $3.99. There are also in-game cheats and extras you can purchase with additional money as well. All things you purchase are permanent content and not consumable power-ups. This one is also really hard once you get to higher levels. Good luck!
Price: Free / $4.99-$8.99
Survive is a fairly basic wilderness game on the surface. However, it’s actually quite in-depth the more you play. It uses simple graphics and a mostly text-style UI. Basically, you decide between building shelter, gathering materials, and feeding yourself. Each action takes up some of your energy. You can also get injured, suffer from things like hunger or thirst, and craft things to help you out. You win the game if you make it to safety. The developer is working on a new version of the game and it should be available in the summer of 2021. For now, this game is already pretty good and we’re excited to see the new version.
Terraria is right up there with Minecraft as the best survival experience on mobile. The mobile version of this game was recently rewritten to be in line with the PC and console versions. It’s now the same across all platforms. The game includes both local and online multiplayer, multiple world sizes, tons of enemies to defeat, around two dozen biomes to explore, and a lot more. Terraria also has multiple difficulty modes, including a hardcore mode where death is more or less permanent. That’s what we like to see in a survival game.
This War of Mine
Price: $14.99 + $2.99
This War of Mine is one of the more serious survival games on the list. It won our pick for the best Android game released in 2015 and it remains one of the best games out there now. In this one, you play as a group of civilians who are trying to survive a war situation. You’ll have to outsmart and avoid enemy snipers, gather items, keep people alive, and make some difficult decisions. This War of Mine: Stories is a standalone experience with most of the same mechanics, but a different and more linear storyline. Both games are excellent. The original goes for $14.99 and the expansion goes for $2.99. A lot of the game’s complaints stem from it being quite difficult and its depressing story rather than any real problems.
If we missed any of the best survival games for Android, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.