DayZ was the inspiration for a whole wave of survival sandbox games inspired by its harsh survival mechanics, exciting PvP multiplayer, and fascinating zombie post-apocalypse setting. If you loved DayZ and are looking for something new in the same vein, here’s a round-up of ten awesome games like DayZ.
Developer: Bend Studio Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Platforms: PC, PS4
Days Gone follows bounty hunter Deacon St. John as he fights to survive in the wilderness two years after a global pandemic has ravaged society.
Forgotten forest pathways, abandoned hideaways, and breathtaking views are just a few of the things you’ll come across in the post-apocalyptic Oregon wilderness. All that would make for some great sightseeing if it weren’t for the rabid Freakers (Days Gone’s version of zombies) that make the forest their home.
One of Days Gone’s most notable features is its complex ecosystem. Just like the player, every creature in Days Gone is also fighting to stay alive. Hungry beasts will look for food, thirsty creatures will search for a water source, and an animal that feels threatened will fight or flee. The need to fulfill basic survival needs can lead to some incredibly lifelike behavior as packs of beasts move through the forest in search of food (i.e. you) and some even migrate underground to give you a very nasty surprise.
Days Gone is the game for you if you liked the atmosphere and setting of DayZ but want something a bit more story-driven.
2. Project Zomboid
Developer: The Indie Stone Publisher: The Indie Stone Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Project Zomboid is a 2D isometric survival game that’s like DayZ with RPG elements. As with any open-world survival game, players must scavenge, fight, and survive in a suburb overrun by zombies. Project Zomboid lets players create characters and allocate skill points to different stats and choose traits that shape their character’s personality and play style.
Fans of open world survival games will love how the game’s many interconnected systems allow for creative, unique stories. Non-zombie NPCs are rare but always pose a risk to your survival: will they help you or shoot you on sight? Surviving gets progressively harder but in a way that feels natural and unforced — the town deteriorates as the days go by, more homes are already ransacked by the time you find them, water and electricity shut down.
Once you’re tired of vanilla Zomboid, you can experiment with the thousands of community-made mods available online.
Project Zomboid and DayZ both do one thing great: emergent storytelling. Those who want to tell their own adventures in the zombie apocalypse can’t go wrong with Project Zomboid.
3. Fallout 76
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Fallout 76 will forever be known for one of the worst launches in video game history. Fortunately, regular updates over the years have transformed it into an experience closer to what gamers initially expected from a multiplayer Fallout game.
The One Wasteland update fixed one of the biggest criticisms of Fallout 76: the lack of NPCs. Now the huge map has some life in it, and with the introduction of new quest-giving characters and trader NPCs, there’s a lot more purpose to your wasteland wandering as well.
The update also scaled down the multiplayer aspect of the game. You can spend hours finishing quests, sightseeing, or base building without seeing another person. That makes the rare human encounter feel more meaningful, unpredictable, and dangerous, too.
That “lonely multiplayer” vibe where gameplay consists of long stretches of solo scavenging interjected with the occasional jolting human encounter should be familiar to DayZ players. For those who want to play alone with others, now’s a great time to get into Fallout 76.
4. State of Decay 2
Developer: Undead Labs Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Rather than your typical man-versus-world solo affair, State of Decay 2 tasks you with keeping a small community of survivors alive for as long as possible.
The game is as much a management sim as it is a survival adventure. Keeping your home base zombie-free and in working order takes a lot of hands, so it helps to have several people with diverse skills. However, a bigger group goes through supplies a lot faster, which means spending more time looking for food and water.
There’s real danger outside of the safety of your base walls. Zombies are everywhere, and they often strike when you least expect it. Sometimes, they’ll even group up and attack your home while you’re out looking for food and materials.
State of Decay 2 is a bit out of the ordinary, but the interesting management mechanics and clever zombies make it perfect for DayZ players looking for something a bit more strategic.
Developer: Entrada Interactive LLC Publisher: Entrada Interactive LLC Platforms: PC
Miscreated is an underrated gem and the one game that is most like DayZ on this list.
Set in 2089 after the collapse of civilization, nuclear war has turned most of mankind into twisted mutants. The quiet, picturesque suburb you spawn in is spotted with abandoned homes and surrounded by forest at all sides. There’s always something new to find in those woods, from lost bunkers to hidden caves. And off in the distance lie towering cities, dangerous places filled with valuable resources and gear but overrun with the undead.
Miscreated has a small but dedicated community of players who will often lend a helping hand to those lost in the game’s sprawling map. Of course, they’re just as likely to put a bullet in your head.
Players can use the materials they gather to build bases of their own, with fortified walls and caches of found weapons and ammunition. Carving out a haven in Miscreated’s harsh environment is loads of fun. Just be careful of the gangs of looters who roam the countryside in search of raw goods and fresh meat.
Developer: Bankroll Studios Publisher: Bankroll Studios Platforms: PC, Linux, Mac
Hurtworld is a stylish survival sandbox with a massive map that’s divided into distinct biomes. Each biome has its own wildlife and resources that you can use to craft weapons and gear.
Players begin in the Earth biome, which is essentially a safe starter zone full of low-level resources and plenty of animals to hunt. The other biomes have much harsher environments, from icy cold tundras to blazing desert sands, and you’ll need to prepare appropriate clothing and plenty of food and water before thinking of venturing out into new lands.
Hurtworld’s map is enormous. Fortunately, there’s an assortment of vehicles to traverse the world with. Driving around is going to attract a lot of attention, but fortunately, you can deck out your vehicle with armor to make it more resistant to bullets and bombs. You can also load your vehicle up with resources and take them wherever you go, which is useful for running through multiple biomes.
Hurtworld’s varied environments and hardcore survival mechanics will have any DayZ player hooked for weeks. Just be wary of other players. Resources are precious in Hurtworld, and players will do whatever it takes to get their hands on yours.
Developer: Facepunch Studios Publisher: Facepunch Studios Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rust doesn’t have hordes of roving zombies — well, not anymore at least — but who needs them when you’ve got groups of man-eating survivors roaming about?
Rust is an open-world sandbox with a focus on the PvP experience that takes a back-to-nature approach to survival. New players spawn at a random location on a server with nothing but their fists and a pair of underwear (if you have nudity on, you’ll spawn buttnaked). A fresh game begins with you gathering rocks and smashing at trees with them to gather wood. If you stay alive for long enough, you’ll eventually be able to build massive structures out of metal and stone.
Staying alive is the hard part. Most players will shoot on sight, so it’s in your best interest to stay away from other people when possible. And even if you’ve managed to escape the attention of the player groups out hunting for new bloods for some free resources, you still have to deal with the bears, boars, and other wildlife. Also, that line about wandering cannibals wasn’t a joke — Rust lets players kill, cook, and eat human flesh.
It’s thirsty work, but somebody has to deal with all these corpses everywhere.
Developer: Gamepires Publisher: Gamepires Platforms: PC
SCUM is a hardcore version of The Hunger Games. You play a prisoner thrown onto an island with other prisoners to fight for survival as part of the reality television show, SCUM. You can even become famous by accruing Fame, which is earned by killing other players and just staying alive.
SCUM features a metabolism mechanic which takes the idea of eating to a whole new extreme. The composition of the food you eat has an effect on your character’s ability to recover from injury, skill status, and general fitness. Eat fatty foods and your character will gain weight, which makes them run slower and can affect digestion. Drink too much when you’re thirsty and you might develop diarrhea. You even have to manage how and when your body expels waste by peeing and pooping on time, and both of those activities will also release nutrients and minerals that you’ll have to recover through eating and drinking.
Did you think the survival bars in DayZ were too forgiving? Give SCUM a shot and prepare to spend days micromanaging a balanced diet and working out to stay fit, all while avoiding zombies, mechanoids, and the bullets and arrows of other players.
Developer: Iron Gate Studio Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing Platforms: PC, Linux
You and up to nine other players are thrown into the mysterious world of Valheim. Here you must construct shelter, find food, and defeat a number of powerful bosses to prove to the Gods that you are worthy of a place in Valhalla.
Although it’s a sandbox, Valheim follows the traditional progression of defeating a boss in order to advance to the next area. The procedurally-generated world is split up into several biomes, each with its own unique environment and wildlife to overcome. Over the course of the game, you will gather materials and craft new weapons and gear that will increase your combat effectiveness and help you locate, summon, and defeat the bosses.
Although much of the game is spent exploring Valheim’s hills, forests, and mountains, it’s important to maintain a defensible home base. Occasionally, the creatures in Valheim will raid your home, laying waste to your buildings and destroying the resources you’ve gathered, unless you’re able to fend them off with your arrows and axes.
While Valheim is great solo, the real fun is in its PvE multiplayer. The bosses and enemies are balanced for multiple Vikings, and the hard work of building and defending a base is a lot more efficient (and enjoyable) when you can divide tasks.
If you like the idea of teaming up with other players to dominate the environment around you in games like DayZ, Valheim has everything you need.
10. 7 Days to Die
Developer: The Fun Pimps Publisher: The Fun Pimps Platforms: PC, Linux, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
7 Days to Die is all about building and defending your base against the hordes of zombies that attack in the night. You spend the daylight hours collecting resources, crafting gear and weapons, and building up your base. When night falls, the zombies become more aggressive, and they’ll show up at your door looking for a midnight snack. Every 7th night is a blood moon when the zombies are most powerful and appear in greater numbers.
Since it’s a voxel-based game, players construct bases out of blocks, which can be stacked on top of one another or attached to the side of other blocks to make beams. However, don’t expect to be able to construct fantastic marvels like in Minecraft. Structural integrity is a key part of making a solid homestead, and gravity will pull down on any unsupported sections of your structures. Each block face has a max load that it can hold before physics will cause it to fall apart.
Just like in DayZ, you’ll want to spend your days exploring the open world in search of new loot, gear, and resources to stay alive. In 7 Days to Die, there’s the added thrill of the day-night cycle, which ensures every day ends with an insane fight to the death against waves of zombies. If you’re looking for games like DayZ but want something more action-packed, look no further.
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