10 Best Survival Indie Games of 2022
Survival games have moved on from picking up a rock and hitting a tree. While the core gameplay of the genre is still about gathering, crafting, and building, survival games now come in all shapes and sizes. By experimenting with the formula, indie developers are creating adventures for everyone.
That’s why we thought it apt to compile a list of the 10 best survival indie games of 2022. Our list features pirates and vampires, sci-fi and old Scotland, Nordic purgatory and Chernobyl. These games span multiple genres but one thing’s for certain: survival isn’t easy.
The Planet Crafter
The mission is simple: make a hostile planet habitable for humans.
In The Planet Crafter, you will gather resources, craft equipment, and manage your health, hydration, and oxygen levels. An evolution system for your equipment means you will work on upgrading your technology, which gives you a goal to work towards. Meanwhile, your terraforming skill will improve and you will work towards transforming a lifeless planet into a green paradise.
The dusty desert setting can also be a chore to look at. The game is in early access and some textures can be plain-looking. There is also no combat as of now. But if you’re looking to have a relaxing time while beautifying a planet, The Planet Crafter is the game for you.
This unique rogue-like survival game lets you build a village by stacking cards. With your starter pack, you can place your villager card on a berry bush card and watch them harvest. Or put them on stone or tree and gather resources. Once the starter pack is used up, you can sell some cards in order to buy a pack, for more cards.
The gameplay loop, along with the cute art style and animations, is addictive. You can unlock combos, craft gear, complete quests, build structure, and fight off monsters. If you survive long enough, you will also unlock secret portals. The gameplay might take some getting used to, but Stacklands is an adventure you must try at least once.
Sailing, drinking, sea-faring, and a curse system? Captain Bones is all about that pirate life. The hand-crafted open world features people to befriend and navy troops to avoid. You can build a raft or a ship, assemble and pay your crew and explore the world.
From an ordinary crew member, you can turn Captain Bones into a pirate legend. But it is difficult. Not only will you search for material to craft and dive to loot sunken ships, you do that while suffering from a curse. The combat is janky and there are one too many tutorial sequences, but if you can get past that, you can get a lot of miles out of this early access game.
If you like a bit of horror with your survival, look no further than Madison.
Madison is a horror game with a thick atmosphere and a thicker storyline. The haunting graphics and things moving out of the corner of your eye will keep you on edge. Your only ally is also the primary gameplay mechanic: a Polaroid camera.
There are jump scares, but there’s also an eerie quietness that will unsettle you. While there’s no actual combat, you make your way through the hellish setting by solving puzzles and searching for items. Sometimes, backtracking for items (a bolt cutter you couldn’t fit in your inventory) to progress works against the game. But the tension never lets up, and the brutal mystery will keep you coming back.
This blood-soaked survival-action hybrid lets you play as a vampire. As a result, the regular survival mechanics are present with a gothic twist.
Building your base? Put a roof before daylight, or you’re toast. But that requires planks and stone bricks. You can instead collect 120 stones and craft a Mist Brazier and stay safe in the fog. Soon you will love hating the sun and going on the prowl after dusk.
The combat is smooth hack-and-slash action – square off against a host of hostile creatures, bosses, and other players. The game offers separate servers for PVE and PVP.
It is easy to dismiss Clanfolk as a Rimworld clone. It would also be wrong.
In this colony simulation-survival game, you control a family in the Scottish Highlands and work towards turning them into a full-fledged clan. Each individual clan member has their own traits and attributes, and you need to assign jobs accordingly. Build structure, unlock tech, tame animals and keep your clan alive.
For short-term survival, you will attract traders, workers, and travelers to join your ranks. But you also need to work towards long-term survival and outlasting the winter. You will probably fail on your first try, but you will keep learning and returning for another run.
Icarus is the name of the planet where you are dropped as a prospector from your orbital station. Your mission could be to deploy gear, mine resources, or kill a beast. The twist is that you have a deadline to meet.
The session-based PVE gameplay is Icarus’s appeal. Returning to the dropship in time means you will keep the unlocked tech and gear. It is also a beautiful looking (and sounding) game, and when you are not being beaten down by the brutal weather, you can take a second to soak it in.
But dying on Icarus can demoralize you. You lose all the XP towards the next level, and the deaths can be cheap (alien bears!). It can also be buggy in its current state.
This survival RPG is deep and all about freedom. You are Igor, an ex-employee at the Chernobyl Power Plant. And you’re back in the exclusion zone to investigate the disappearance of your girlfriend. Surviving the zone, however, is tough, not just because of the radiation, but hostile soldiers and scary monsters.
Chernobylite has base-building and crafting, along with stealth and all-out combat. But the unique feature is the party members. There are fully voiced companions with deep backstories. And you need to find these party members to unlock specific training to help you gain XP. They can die in combat and can even leave if they don’t agree with your decisions.
The game is dripping with atmosphere. That’s because the developers modeled the setting after the actual Chernobyl, by gathering photos and videos for more than a year.
Survival games don’t need to be tense, and Scrapnaut proves it. While you can fight robots and raid bases, you can choose the peaceful life of building and farming. The top-down open-world title can be played solo or with a friend, and there are many biomes to explore.
Upgrading skills and managing a farm has never looked so relaxing, and that’s down to the cute art style. The mid-to-late game can get a little repetitive, but the updates are frequent and there are many points of interest to get to.
Valheim has quickly become the benchmark for modern survival games. That’s quite ironic since it is designed to look and play like a classic 3D game.
You play a Viking warrior stuck in limbo. You need to prove your worth to get to Valhalla, by slaying beasts all over Valheim. The procedurally generated worlds are mysterious, and that sets the brooding tone.
When not crafting gear, exploring, or defeating bosses, you work towards your homestead. Base-building in Valheim is simple, but with semi-realistic physics, make sure that all structures are supported.
An adventure in Valheim is tough but unmissable.
You may think that survival games are not for you, but that’s because you haven’t played the right one for you. We hope that our exhaustive list of the 10 best survival indie games of 2022 finds you the title worth enduring pain and misery for. You can even hop into a game with your friend, some of the titles listed can be played in co-op or multiplayer.
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