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Ultimate Guide to Survival and Crafting Games 2015

Updated on May 2, 2015
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Michael has been an avid gamer and part time writer in more decades than he cares to remember.

Or where are all these games coming from?

Looking through the Steam browser on PC nowadays it seems that you can't turn a page without some new "Early Access" crafting / survival / zombie / mutant game. These things are breeding like rabbits! The problem is, some of them are great, and some of them are either unlikely to be finished, area abandoned but still on sale or are just extremely poor quality.

The purpose of this article is to is to help you decide which ones are worth a buy, which ones aren't and perhaps even which the best of the bunch is.

Games included in the list are 7 Days to die, DayZ, Don't Starve, Subnautica and Reign of Kings.

Also, please bear in mind that my opinions may well differ to your on based on my personal experiences. That said, comments and debate al always welcomed here.

DayZ Standalone

Ultimate Zombie Survival?

Nope, not really. Turns out the sociologists were right all along, it's the other humans we need to watch out for. It's a total gankfest where shoot on sight seems to be the order of the day. This seems to be actively encouraged by the Devs who have included handcuffs and a burlap sack to help kidnap fellow players.

So, what else is there to do apart from grief other players? There are the aforementioned Zombies. Weak AI, poor animation and utterly ridiculous. A threat when you are a bambi (new character without gear or weapons) but easily taken care of later in game. Basically it's a walking / creeping simulator, trying to get unnoticed by other players whilst attempting to find sufficient food, drink and shelter to survive. Then it's off to find weapons and storage like bigger backpacks. Or just gank someone to steal all of their stuff.

My final thought? Stuck in development hell, the full game is miles off release and buggy as hell. Its also just under $30 which is a lot of money for Early Access. Graphically dated, a real power hog and animations are not up to scratch. Also remember, this is an ONLINE game only, so unless you have your own private server, you WILL be ganked mercilessly.

7 Days to Die

Zombie Apocalypse

Now this is more like it! Talk about an active development team. The Fun Pimps constantly engage with gamers on the forums, have adopted community ideas and have steadily increased the number of features whilst also improving animations and general graphical fidelity.

Yes, it's another Zombie crafting survival game, but man this can be brutal in the beginning. Food and water need to be sought out early on, as well as a means to defend yourself. A bit of base building and tower defence come in to play as you find or build from scratch a place to call home, and you must defend it with your life from the feral hordes of zom-zoms that come at regular intervals.

The crafting system is one of the most rewarding I have used and once you get a forge up and running you can make moulds and therefore create weapon parts and your own ammunition.

Worth mentioning that this game is single player or competitive / collaborative multi-player if you run a server.

UPDATE This game just keeps on getting better and better, Alpha 11 has just landed and has changed to the Unity 5 graphics engine, EVERYTHING looks 100 times better than the last build, and the difficulty has spiked dramatically, making this extremely good value for money and highly recommended!

Reign of Kings

Medieval Torture Device

This one is brand spanking new and a little bit different. Set in a medieval vibe, and playing like a cross between Chivalry and Rust, this is all swords and shields and of course the ubiquitous zombies (or mutants, whatever). Again this is early access.

Again the other players are the biggest threat. One person on the server can even become king, so long as he has the power base to back him up. So clans can dominate single players with ease. Everything harvested on the (rather small) island be it iron ore or wood is taxed at the percentage the King decides.

Graphics and animation are ok, nothing special but there is time for that to improve. Trouble is, when developers put in items like stocks and cages, you just know that Reign of Kings is going to be another gank fest.

One last thing to mention, like almost ALL of the server based multi-player games here, this one is suffering terribly at the hands of hackers who are cheating their way to the top. It's one thing to be ganked, another to be done over by wall glitching hacker with super speed and invulnerability!

Don't Starve

Hard as Nails

Don't Starve is one of my favourite, and least favourite games all in one! This game is rock hard, and will absolutely punish you for every single mistake. If the monsters don't get you, then balancing food requirements and even your sanity might just do for you, although you could just make a hat out of flowers to preserve what sanity remains...

This game is one of the few on the list that is not Early Access, it's finished and available even on PS4 and Xbox One.

This is a nice looking game, the art style is incredible and just a bit creepy to be honest, and this game will absolutely stress you out whilst you are learning the ropes but persevere, this game is also really rewarding! Originally single player only, on PC at least a Beta is available to make this all one great big collaborative fun / stressful in equal parts game called "Don't Starve Together!"

Highly Recommended.


Fanboy Alert!

Straight off the bat let me tell you I LOVE this game! It's a nice change of pace, single player, mostly undersea exploration and resource gathering. If you are in combat, you are doing it wrong!

Of course, dangers do exist. Some of the fish are downright aggressive, and whilst you may at some point gather enough resources to stun them a bit, you really are better off running / swimming for your life.

The first person perspective makes perfect sense, the graphics are colourful and extremely fluidly animated. The design of the creatures you encounter really is astonishing and well thought out.

Base building has just been added, and the Devs are really active in giving out what they are currently working on.

There is a downside, there is a bit of a lack of stuff to actually do at the moment, but it's Early Access and much more is promised over the coming months. They certainly have a great foundation to build upon.

Highly Recommended (maybe in a month or 2)

Rust is Brutal


Rust, Another Survival Game?

Yup, another survival em up! So, what makes this one different? Well, it has a deep crafting system, you start with nothing at all, and night-time's full of players who want to steal your stuff.

So far, so all the other games right?


The real fear comes from interacting with other humans, and none more so than in this game.

Created by the guy behind Garry's Mod, Rust is in paid alpha right now so it is buggy and subject to massive change, but already it looks great, has not so many bugs and a really, really active community. This game is going places I am sure.

So, it's the usual explore, gather resources, build a wooden shack, collect stone and ore, smelt it and build better tools and guns. Only trouble is the other players are trying to do the same thing. Put 128 players in an enclosed map with limited resources and some will assist each other, many will backstab, shoot and abuse those not in a position of power. Why gather yourself when you can wait for a noob to do it and then kill them to steal their loot!

If this sounds unfair, it is. This is a hardcore game with a hardcore following. Lots of naughty words are bantered about, some take it FAR too seriously and others just want to abuse people. But, underneath all of this disgustingly human behaviour, there is not only a great game, but a great experiment in how we interact with each other on-line. Remember, for every ten or so deaths I had followed occasional acts of self sacrifice and extreme kindness from other players.

Go get the game, it's cheap and has a great future.

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