There have been a few video game genres that have really excelled over the last ten or so years, with the battle royale becoming an absolute giant of the industry most recently. However, the survival genre has remained uniquely popular for far longer, and there’s many more genuinely great games to choose from compared to battle royale games, which live or die entirely by how quickly they can fill their lobbies. Survival continues to not just survive, but thrive on the PlayStation 5.
While primarily known for being a PC-centric genre that typically tops the Steam charts, the best PS5 survival games manage to offer fantastic console versions of some of the biggest hitters out there. They may not be the most ideal way to experience these games, but the ones that put the time and effort into adapting gameplay for the couch tend to flourish, letting you struggle to scrape by from the “comfort” of your living room.
So what exactly constitutes a survival game on PS5? The waters are pretty muddied by this point, with the genre often being mixed in with survival horror, tower defense, and just generally difficult games. For a “true” survival game, you’re typically looking at something that contains at least a couple of the following: thirst management, hunger management, crafting, base building, and resource gathering.
If you’re wanting to feel the heat while you juggle what feels like a million different plates at all times, here are the best PS5 survival games you should be adding to your library.
NOTE: for this list, we’re only choosing survival games that have a native PS5 version. This means that PS4 games that play on PS5 via backwards compatibility aren’t included.
While PS5 players might not have Valheim to play with pals (yet), they do have Tribes of Midgard, another smash hit Viking game that lets you leave out your best Ragnar Lothbrok fantasies. Well, kind of — Ragnar never had to fight fire-spewing giants.
Tribes of Midgard allows you and up to nine friends cultivate your own village as you defend the Seed of Yggdrasil from rampant beasts. Compared to other survival games on PS5, though, Midgard is much more fast-paced thanks to each session procedurally generating a new enviroment to challenge you. There’s not much waiting around for 500 things to craft here.
Likewise, though, there’s not too much depth to Tribes of Midgard overall. It’s a bit light on content and there isn’t as strong a hook in other survival games that sees you playing for hundreds of hours — it’s just really about surviving as long as you can. If you’re after a lighter survival game that everyone in a group of friends on PS5 can get to grip with pretty quickly, though, Tribes of Midgard is a solid choice, especially if you managed to pick it up on Plus.
Developer: RedRuins Softworks Publisher: HypeTrain Digital Players: 1
RedRuins saw that you like your PS5 survival games to be gritty and realistic, and decided to go off in the completely opposite direction. If you never thought you would see a comedy survival game, it might be timed that you played the supremely underrated Breathedge.
Pitting you as the wonderfully named “Man,” Breathedge quickly embroils the player in a slapstick conspiracy that involves hamsters, chickens, and a good amount of toilet jokes after you travel into space for a funeral. Things almost immediately go awry, leaving you as the lone survivor in a galactic graveyard where you have to conserve oxygen and gradually make your way across almost endless space, one farce at a time.
While it’s true that Breathedge is a bit too slow to get going with constant backtracking early on, there’s still plenty of fun to be had here, especially if you what to experience zero gravity survival that asks you to think and plan out every dangerous trip. Just don’t tell PETA about it.
One of the less-known PS5 survival games on this list, Dysmantle is basically your quintessential survival sim without the most controversial mechanic that keeps popping up in the genre: hunger. There’s no scouring every pixel for a can of beans on your desert island surrounded by zombies here.
Instead, Dysmantle focuses mainly on getting you right into the fun nature of survival games by letting you level up, craft, and gather resources in the post-apocalypse much more freely than usual. The fact that almost everything you see in the world can be farmed also makes scrambling around for ingredient Y to craft item A less of a chore, but you can always just fish your days away or unravel mysteries instead.
The main thing holding Dysmantle back is really just a lack of manpower, as it misses pristine sheen in everything it tries to do (which is a lot) and can feel a bit unfair in spots due to balancing issues. That said, if this is what 10 tons can do with their first attempt at survival, we’re fascinated by what they scrounge together next.
5. The Last Stand: Aftermath
Developer: Con Artist Games Publisher: Armor Games Studios Players: 1
On the surface, The Last Stand: Aftermath actually has a lot in common with Dysmantle, owing to the fact that they’re both top down survival games with zombies to contend with. However, Aftermath is a lot more linear than Dysmantle, but still has plenty of room for exploration in its generated post-apocalypse.
Aftermath’s hook is also a bit stronger than Dysmantle. You play as an infected who is slowly turning into a zombie as time ticks by, giving you abilities the more you lose your humanity. Almost everything you do has a risk/reward element to it, with even the slightest of mistake possibly speeding up the infection process or just outright killing you.
A tense affair that will have you counting out your bullets and second-guessing every step, The Last Stand: Aftermath is easily one of the best PS5 survival games for capturing what your dying days in a zombie apocalypse would be like, even if it does suffer a little bit from “pixel hunting“. Hunt the game itself down, though, and you might be in for a quite terrific surprise.
4. No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games Publisher: 505 Games Players: 1
The redemption story around No Man’s Sky is now almost as famous as the story of how it released in such a sorry state. The No Man’s Sky of today is far different from the one first seen in 2016, maintaining much of the same brilliance that it cultivated over time as it made the generational leap to PS5.
While vanilla NMS isn’t much of a survival game, or even all that challenging, the titular Survival mode certainly is. Enemies are more aggressive, resources are harder to come by, and your life among the stars is just generally more arduous, with every bit of oxygen feeling earned.
All of this means that when you do make several giants steps for mankind (or, rather, alien-kind), it all feels huge and deserved. Whether you want to eke out a normal life for yourself on an alien planet or venture far and wide across the universe, there’s no limit to No Man’s Sky as one of the best PS5 survival games.
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Players: 1
A game that seems to have massively inspired Breathedge from earlier on this list, it’s hard not to be daunted by Subnautica as soon as you open the hatch of your crash pod. It’s a massive game with lots to take on-board (a-ha) and figure out, but the joy of discovery is a current that runs throughout Subnautica.
Set on an alien ocean planet, Subnautica is a remarkable survival game on PS5 because it achieves the almost unthinkable in a video game: making swimming for minutes at a time feel engaging. So many games have such flat and boring underwater sections, yet Subnautica is a game comprising almost entirely of underwater sections and the intrigue only deepens the more you play.
Subnautica is a demanding game with so much to learn and so many hostile aliens to avoid, but it does an excellent job of trickling new mechanics to you over time so that it’s never overwhelming. It’s a challenging game overall (and not just because of the giant Leviathans that hunt you down) that’s perhaps a bit clunkily retrofitted for a controller, but one that still maintains its magic all these years later.
2. This War of Mine
Developer: 11 bit studios Publisher: 11 bit studios Players: 1
This War of Mine may not look like a survival game on the surface, what with the side-scrolling perspective and the lack of genitals flapping in the breeze. However, This War of Mine may actually be the definition of survival, as you’re tasked with trying to simply get by when civil war breaks out in a European country.
A game that never stops asking tough questions, you’re tasked with scrimping together enough resources to see another day while also expanding your shelter. Sounds simple enough, but what about the children back home? How will you look after those who aren’t able to look after themselves?
The brilliance of This War of Mine is in how it makes you do the things that you never thought you would do at the start of your time with the game; an unwanted parable of life in the middle of a war. There will unfortunately never come a time when This War of Mine isn’t like a mirror to current events, but there will also never come a time when it loses any of its impact.
1. Subnautica: Below Zero
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Players: 1
Subnautica: Below Zero feels like it hasn’t received as much love as its predecessor, and that’s a shame. It’s true that the choice to have a more direct narrative with a voiced protagonist was a bit of a polarising one, but make no mistake: the gameplay is still just as great, if not better in a lot of ways.
What makes Below Zero one of the best PS5 survival games is the fact that it takes a lot of what the original game did, does some of it better, then adds several bells and whistles on top. Below Zero immediately feels much more accessible, and while the mystery isn’t quite as strong the second time around, the refinements all-round and added cold mechanics make this worth diving into.
For whatever reason, Below Zero doesn’t seem to have resonated with that many players on PS5, meaning that you can find it for very cheap already. Time will probably be quite kind to it, with its place on “underrated” lists almost definitely assured, so you may as well start your journey early before everyone else realises what a frosty gem they’re missing out on.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.