Games like Subnautica are all about open-world survival exploration. The basic premise is simple, even as the game offers a sizeable challenge. You begin your journey crash-landing on an alien planet, sinking into the depths of an ocean filled with unknown threats. You’ll then spend the majority of Subnautica crafting equipment, piloting submarines, gathering resources, and exploring your mysterious surroundings. You’re also tasked with building advanced bases, solving an alien mystery whilst searching for a way back to the surface.
Intrigued by such building / gathering / exploratory gameplay? Check out our list of 11 other survival games like Subnautica worth playing! Note: In addition, you might want to have a look at this list instead if you’re keen on exploration games without survival elements.
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1. Stranded Deep
You play a plane crash survivor lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The game’s world is procedurally generated, meaning no two playthroughs will ever be the same. There’s also tons of exploration here as you navigate reefs, islands, and ocean trenches. The goal is to gather up resources and supplies as you try to survive the elements. Fight off hunger, thirst, and dangerous creatures as you build rafts, shelters, and more. Stranded Deep also comes with Oculus Support for greater immersion. A must-try if you’re keen on survival games like Subnautica for the PC.
2. The Forest
The Forest is one of the more popular games similar to Subnautica around. Again, you play a lone survivor of a jet crash (what’s up with survival games and crashes anyway? LOL). Almost every tree or plant can be harvested for building camps, shelters, and more. In addition, the game’s key premise is its day-and-night cycle. You’ll spend most of the daytime gathering resources and food. At night, you’ll hunker down and defend your base against a horde of mutant zombie-like enemies. This aspect of the gameplay adds a whole new level of urgency to your survival adventure. Now available on PC, The Forest is set to be released for the PS4, as of the time of this writing.
Available for the PC, you play as Nathan who’s lost amidst a vast ocean after the (lo and behold) crash of his submarine. Similar to most survival games like Subnautica, you’ll gather tons of resources, build bases, and endure harsh environments. Learning to fish and hunt for food is also a must. The ultimate goal of FarSky is to locate all the missing pieces of your wrecked submarine, fix it, and get back to the surface. In addition, a sandbox mode is available if you’re keen on a more free-to-roam experience.
4. Osiris: New Dawn
In Osiris: New Dawn, the Earth is finally depleted of all its resources. You are part of the second colonization team sent to examine planets for possible habitation. As you’d expect, something goes wrong, and your spacecraft crashes on the surface of Proteus 2 (see a theme here?). You’ll then spend much of the game crafting weapons, equipment, and more useful items. The environment is extremely hazardous as you fight off dangerous wildlife and harsh conditions. Moreover, Osiris comes with a pretty addictive story as you try to unravel the mysteries surrounding the failure of the first colonization mission. The game also comes with a fleshed out multiplayer mode where you’re free to join friends on a great journey of survival. Osiris is currently available for the PC, with Xbox One and PS4 versions in the works.
Astroneer is perhaps the biggest runaway hit among games like Subnautica. Admittedly, Astroneer’s survival aspects as a little more basic compared to Subnautica. However, you’ll still find yourself scavenging for resources, constructing buildings, doing research, and building vehicles. In addition, Astroneer’s stand-out feature empowers you with the ability to reshape terrains as if they were Play-Doh. This creative and exploratory aspect of the game is extremely addictive, made all the more fun thanks to 4-player online co-op. Keep in mind Astroneer is still in its Alpha stages, with tons more additional features already on the way.
No list of games like Subnautica would be complete without Rust. This juggernaut of open-world PC survival games tasks you with surviving against thirst, hunger, cold, and even other online players. Rust is a far more social title than the solitary journey offered by Subnautica. Still, many of the standard survival game elements are in play, most of which are executed well. The crafting system is deep, coupled with a well-tuned construction feature. Be warned though. Rust can be extremely challenging. You’ll die very often at the hands of others (or yourself), only to have to start from scratch as you claw your way to the top of the food chain.
7. The Long Dark
The Long Dark is a critically-acclaimed survival game set in a cold atmospheric world. There are no monsters, no other players… just you and the harshness of Mother Nature and her creatures. You’ll have to keep an eye on your fatigue, thirst, and hunger as you trek your way through the snow, clinging to life on your minimal supplies. In addition, The Long Dark showcases an episodic story mode that explains the origins of the geomagnetic disaster that has brought you and the world to a melancholic state. The developers are extremely responsive, promising many new and exciting upcoming features. Definitely not to be missed if you’re into games like Subnautica.
8. The Solus Project
Unlike most games like Subnautica, The Solus Project is not an open-world survival game. Rather, it plays more like a single-player exploration game with some survival elements thrown in. As an experience, it’s somewhat similar to a traditional shooter set to a linear path. Nonetheless, Subnautica fans will absolutely love the game’s thick sense of isolation and helplessness. Similar to Osiris, you play as a coloniser sent to scout distant planets for potential habitation. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes, and you find yourself the lone survivor on a strange alien planet. You’ll then have to fight for survival against tough environmental conditions that are tracked via temperature readings, wind strengths, humidity meters, and so on. In short, although different from other titles on this list, The Solus Project hits all the right atmospheric notes that’ll most surely appeal to Subnautica fans.
9. Out of Reach
You’re a castaway lost in the middle of god-knows-where. As with most games like Subnautica, you’ll have to immediately start looking for resources and food. Craft gear, build shelters, and fend off the native nasties (including pirates!) as you explore a vast network of islands. There are also storms to weather and ships to sail, with tons of loot to scour and keep for yourself. Graphically, Out of Reach isn’t nearly as polished as some of the titles on this list. Still, if you’re keen on survival games with a Robinson Crusoe twist, look no further than this PC-only indie release.
10. Lost in Pacific
Again, you are a lonely adventurer lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This survival game’s strengths lie with its navigational and raft building system, which are both incredibly fleshed out. Brave the challenging weather conditions that are actually designed to match those of the real Pacific! A unique latitude mechanic also affects the conditions of survival based on your varying locations. You’ll also have to gather materials to build increasingly complex blueprints. Overall, Lost in Pacific aims for attention to detail, and is bound to tickle the fancy of survival game buffs keen on realism over zombies and aliens.
You take control of a plague-stricken scientist in desperate search for a cure. Your adventure starts on the shores of a mysterious island as you venture inland through a thick forest. But, alas, you are not alone. A mysterious creature hunts you, forcing you to hide as you also try to survive the perils of hunger, thirst, and your soon-to-be-fatal affliction. Miasmata hinges primarily on exploration and basic crafting elements. You’ll mostly be combining plants and fungi into life-saving medicine. In addition, triangulation is a key factor to the game as you discover new locations, safe havens, and clues that’ll aid in you progress. All in all, Miasmata is light on its crafting mechanics, but excels in its adventuring elements. Definitely worth looking into if you’re looking for more survival games like Subnautica.