There are tons of awesome survival games out there, but most of them can be quite expensive. Some people simply can’t afford to buy every new survival game that gets released, so they go searching for some good free options.
I’ve played a lot of free survival games in preparation for this list, and honestly the good ones are extremely hard to find. There are so many straight up awful free games that it’s difficult to find the good ones.
One thing you should know before I jump into the list is that it’s easy to see why these games are free. Most of them aren’t super polished, but they are still good for being free games.
With that being said, here are my picks for the top 5 free survival games on Steam.
5. The Devil Haunts Me
The Devil Haunts me is a really interesting survival horror game that not many people know about. It’s a top down pixel game where you’re forced to survive in the wilderness by collecting resources and conserving energy.
You start off in a cabin with only a few notes to read and some tools outside, and the game doesn’t tell you anything besides that. You get a gun to hunt animals with, an axe to chop trees, and a bucket to collect water for your well.
Each night, you consume some of your resources, so you’re forced to collect them during the day. At the same time, you need to explore the world to figure out the story of the world.
Activities like walking around or chopping wood will drain your energy bar, forcing you to go to sleep when it gets low.
I haven’t gotten too deep into the story, but you quickly find mangled corpses of both animals and humans, further adding to the mystery.
Eventually, you find that the literal devil is stalking you and trying to get you, and it’s your job to outwit him while still surviving in the woods.
The concept is really cool and the atmosphere is both creepy and intriguing, so I highly recommend checking it out if you’re into horror survival games.
4. Infestation: The New Z
This game is basically a clone of games like DayZ, and it’s easy to see why it’s free to play. The movement and animations are admittedly pretty clunky, but I was surprised at how much content there is in it.
There’s the standard survival gamemode where you fight zombies and face off against clans of players, an arcade mode, a PVP gamemode, and even a battle royale.
While my first impressions of this game were initially very negative, I kept playing and found that it’s actually pretty decent for a free game. Infestation is very rough around the edges, but the core gameplay of other survival games is still there.
It even has a surprising number of weapons and items to find, more so than most paid survival games I’ve played. If you can overlook the clunky movement, you’ll find a decent survival game that’s fun to mess around in.
Whether you’re playing alone or with some friends, it’s a game anyone can get without worrying about spending money. There are some annoying microtransactions in it, but they aren’t to the point where they make the game unplayable.
If you really want to play a game like DayZ but just can’t afford it, Infestation is the only free alternative I found that’s really even worth trying.
If you can’t afford to buy Minecraft or simply want to try out a good Minecraft alternative, Creativerse is a surprisingly solid game. It takes the basic block building concept of Minecraft and puts it’s own creative spin on it.
You start off by creating a character and spawning in your newly generated world. At first, it seems like the average block based survive game, but you’ll quickly realize that it takes Minecraft’s mechanics and turns it into something completely new.
Instead of pickaxes and shovels, you have a power glove that you use to capture any block you want. Over time, you can upgrade your power glove as well as craft other helpful upgrades to your character.
At the top of the screen are quests for you to follow, which also act as a tutorial for teaching you the mechanics. Just briefly glancing through the crafting menu, there are some insanely cool blocks that you can create later on in the game.
There’s another cool feature where you can take a blueprint of already built structures such as houses or castles, and you can place them wherever you want. As you collect more blocks, you slowly add those blocks to the blueprint, and eventually it’ll turn into a completed structure.
Creativerse survival is also a lot more casual than Minecraft survival. There are enemies and you do die a lot, but you don’t lose the items in your hotbar. Also, when you die, a beacon of light shows you where you died last.
It’s a surprisingly fun alternative to Minecraft, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.
2. Fallout Shelter
Originally a mobile game, Fallout Shelter came to PC as a great free survival game. In Fallout Shelter, you take the role of a vault overseer to create and manage your very own vault. You add rooms and assign vault dwellers to various tasks to produce water, food, and electricity to keep your vault going.
You can send your survivors out to scavenge for resources and useful items to help you better grow your vault. Fallout Shelter can be described as somewhat similar to survival games such as This War of Mine, but with free-to-play elements and the classic Fallout spin.
Since it was a mobile game, it’s not a game you can sit and play for hours, but rather a game that you check up on every so often. There are options to purchase items with real money, but if you just play casually then it’s unnecessary.
It’s a really good game that won’t suck up all your time, so I definitely recommend trying it out.
Some people get annoyed seeing Unturned on so many different lists, but it’s just so incredibly good for a free game it’s hard not to put it on the list. Unturned is everything a free survival game should be.
The game is optimized, full of content, has a high player count, and is generally a really fun game to play. You can play both multiplayer or singleplayer on a variety of different servers both modded and vanilla.
The graphics are a timeless style so they don’t really get outdated, and the gunplay is very smooth. Honestly, for a free survival game you can’t really get much better than Unturned. It has all the elements that make survival games good, as well as tons of ways to play.
We did an entire video about Unturned which you should definitely check out if it sounds interesting to you.