We love Rust. No matter how many times Rust hurts, we love Rust. Sure, Rust makes mistakes. But deep down, Rust is good. Rust means better. It’s… it’s our fault Rust gets mad and leaves a griefer outside our door. We should’ve been more vigilant, we should’ve…
Okay. This is getting a tad unhealthy. Perhaps a few hundred hours of abuse has warped our minds a bit. How about this. Let’s take a deep breath, put ourselves out there, and see what other members of the survivalcraft community bring to the table?
Developer: Studio Wildcard | Platform: Linux, Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch | Price: $49.99
The only other survival MMO that can give Rust a run for its money when it comes to mercilessly brutal PvP is Ark. Instead of a post-apocalyptic landscape, you find yourself stranded in a land teeming with dinosaurs with random elements of far-flung science fiction scattered about it, tasked with crafting your way out of the stone age and into the future while defending yourself from roving bands of enemy players.
Developer: Wonderstruck | Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4 | Price: $39.99
Boundless is a star-spattered sci-fi MMO that borrows the same voxel-based construction that made Minecraft famous and introduces RPG elements and more combat mechanics. The game noticeably has improved graphics over its more famous voxel-cousin, and sports multiple planets for players to move across, build on, create shops, go hunting — the possibilities are endless.
Developer: HK Hero Entertainment | Platform: iOS, Android | Price: Free-to-Play
For mobile gamers looking for something a little more soft-edged than Ark’s mobile port is Utopia: Origin. The game looks and feels like Rust meets Fortnite, with the same survivalcraft MMO principles of gameplay but a much lighter, higher-chroma tone. The game features a lot of resource gathering, like Ark or Minecraft and features its own brand of cutesy, prehistoric PvP with a magic system thrown into the mix.
Developer: Bohemia Interactive | Platform: Xbox One, Switch | Price: Free-to-Play
Vigor is a highly realistic shooter-looter based in a virtual 1919 Norway that has players entering beautifully designed instances, scavenging for loot to take back to base, and doing their best not to be hole-punched by enemy players.
The game is unsettlingly quiet and atmospheric in its own bleak way, and borrows elements of Rust-style scavenging and BR-style map dynamics that make for interesting and sometimes heart-pounding gameplay. Right now the game is F2P on Xbox One, while Switch players have the choice of purchasing the Founder’s Pack to gain access now or waiting until late 2020 for the F2P version.
Developer: FUNCOM | Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One | Price: $39.99
A cross between your standard issue grimdark MMORPG and a hardcore, open-world survival MMO, Conan Exiles sports a lot of content for players of every taste. Instead of repetitive fetch quests and or mindless harvesting, the game combines both genres; Players are forced to brave the harsh elements, build shelters (or even construct whole cities together) as well as slay hordes of nightmarish enemies or plunge into the depths of horrible dungeons.
All in all, the game is a testosterone-fueled love letter to the original character created by the great modern painter, Frank Frazetta, whose work endures today.
State of Decay 2
Developer: Undead Labs | Platform: Windows, Xbox One | Price: $29.99
While it doesn’t feature any sort of PvP (which may be a relief for some forever scarred by Rust), State of Decay 2 involves similar mechanics to Rust in the way players are forced to scrounge for weapons and supplies in a post-apocalyptic modern setting — albeit one overrun with zombies.
The gameplay ranges from quietly unsettling to frantic, heart-pounding white-knuckle rides and the game teases with a rogue-like sense of loss with all of your collectible characters susceptible to permadeath.
Developer: Creepy Jar | Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One (TBA), Nintendo Switch (TBA) | Price: $24.99
Green Hell puts you in the shoes of a band of survivors stranded in the verdant depths of the Amazonian rainforest, doing their best to contend with both the elements and dangerous wildlife.
The game boasts an intense dedication to realism and introduces an interesting Psychological Condition mechanic that has players not only doing their best to satiate hunger, thirst and other physiological needs, but to maintain their sanity. Seriously, it’s terrifying. Just check out that trailer.
Developer: Endnight Games | Platform: Windows, PS4| Price: $19.99
The forest is a horrifying, but sometimes beautiful survivalcraft that has you as the lone survivor of a plane crash trying to build some semblance of a shelter and, eventually, life for yourself in a resplendent forest. There’s just the problem of the cannibalistic mutants hungering for your flesh.
Other than that, it’s great. The game is heavily based on a day/night cycle like Ark but incorporates an interesting stealth mechanic that allows for some seriously terrifying moments.
Developer: Gamepires | Platform: Windows | Price: $29.99
Currently in early access, Scum brands itself as a “next-generation” survival game that allows unprecedented character customization — seriously, you can control your character’s metabolism, physical inertia, and even how quickly clothing dries on their body.
Yeah, it’s pretty wild. Online servers can host up to 64 players on a map and the game includes straight, PvP focused instances all set on 144 square kilometers of the beautifully rendered map.
Download Scum: Steam
Don’t Starve Together
Developer: Klei | Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PS4 | Price: $14.99
Don’t Starve Together is something like a survivalcraft game mixed with Paper Mario if drawn by an emo kid. The darkly childish hand-drawn graphics actually lend themselves well to the tone and feel of the game, which has all the hallmarks of a traditional survivalcraft. Building, fending off enemies, braving the elements. It’s all there. Perfect for those with whom the unique aesthetic resonates.
Developer: Bankroll Studios | Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux | Price: $24.99
Hurtworld is a standard-issue survivalcraft FPS with all of the traditional staples one would expect from the genre. It has crafting, resource gathering, an elements system to deal with, and of course: the ever-present threat of enemy players. The game also features an interesting vehicle restoration system.
Probably it’s best USP is that the game is extremely well optimized — unlike the genre’s heavyweights where a machine capable of sustaining a smooth frame-rate despite gazillions of triangles to process is absolutely necessary, Hurtworld uses simple, scaled-down graphics that can perform on a potato if need be.
Download Hurtworld: Steam
Dark and Light
Developer: Snail | Platform: Windows | Price: $17.99
Dark and Light is an ambitious reimagining of the 2006 game that interbreeds classic survivalcraft with modern RPG elements to make something of a hybrid. The game has multiple playable races and RPG-style skills, as well as a crafting system that lets players build their bases and stock them with NPC’s and mobs to defend it against the hordes of darkness. That game has a pretty massive and well-made open world for you to explore and truly feels like a fantasy MMO with the sandbox freedom that a survivalcraft affords.
Download Dark and Light: Steam
Developer: Beam Team | Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux PS4 | Price: $14.99
Stranded Deep, a long-awaited survival sim, finally emerged from beta for general release and presents players with something like a hyper-realistic, video game reincarnation of Castaway. The game looks a lot like a smaller-scale Rust without all the detritus of a collapsed civilizations.
And it may not feature the gunplay and looting that Rust does, but it certainly doubles down on the dangerous wildlife and challenge of surviving the elements. Stranded Deep is best for those who want a game with a lot less FPS and a lot more Bear Grylls.
Developer: Eleon Game Studios | Platform: Windows | Price: $19.99
Something like No Man’s Sky meets Rust, Empyrion’s intergalactic setting might be radically different from the irradiated wilderness of Rust, but the game follows similar mechanics to our titular survivalcraft. Except with multiple planets.
There are PvE planets where players must contend with hostile alien wildlife and war-torn PvP planets where everything goes full-on Mad Max meets Interstellar. Anybody who enjoys the brutal PvP meets open-world survivalcraft nature of Rust but wishes there was an option to go No Man’s Sky and bask in some less competitive, more creativity-oriented exploration.
Download Empyrion: Steam
7 Days to Die
Developer: The Fun Pimps | Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PS4 | Price: $24.99
Winner of one of the most innovative trailer awards (who knew we were allowed to do live-action trailers for games?), 7 Days to Die might be one of the older games on this list — despite still being Early Access on Steam — but in this case old truly is gold.
Like Ark, it features PvE servers for those too brutally traumatized by Rust to ever try that again, and over 500 crafting recipes to build a base, arsenal, and clothing closet with. With millions of copies sold, 7 Days to Die is one of the pillars of the survival sandbox genre and features cross-play between the different PC platforms.
There you go. 15 reasons to stop letting Rust hurt you/15 new abusive new relationships to enter. It’s about time. You’ve spent so many hours in that irradiated wasteland. How many times do you want to be murdered? Put yourself out there. And let us know how it goes.