The best Xbox Series X survival games

These are the best Xbox Series X survival games that you need to play in 2021

Astronaut stands next to a robot on a planet

When it comes to survival games, there’s a lot to choose from. Whether it’s classic horror survival or something a little more sci-fi, the charts have been filled with games spanning the genre. But, for the Xbox Series X|S console line-up, some of the games that were already achieving greatness on the previous gen consoles needed updating. Luckily, Microsoft has done just that.

There’s clearly a lot to choose from when it comes to the top survival games to put on our list, with major optimisation updates to existing games, new releases, and the ability to play previous generation’s games on the newest model.

Which ones are the best Xbox Series X survival games to play though? Well, we’ve put together this ultimate list of the greatest survival games on offer in 2021 to help you seek out the best ones for you.

Here are the best Xbox Series X survival games:

An underwater explorer scans the sea floor aheadBuy now


Subnautica: Below Zero is the sequel to the 2018 original and while the original Subnautica is available to play on Xbox’s Game Pass, developers Unknown Worlds Entertainment has optimised this one for Xbox Series X|S which means you can play Subnautica in beautiful 4K resolution.

In between scavenging, hunting, and battling the sealife, there’s one solid feature of Subnautica constantly hanging over you – your oxygen level. Imagine the oxygen level depletion of underwater segments of games but having it there 100% of the time.

Throw in a day and night cycle that turns you into the prey of the ocean at night, and you’ve got yourself an ultimate survival game.

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Frostpunk is set on an alternate timeline where the 19th century industrial revolution is hit by a big freeze that throws your existence into turmoil. Your role here is to lead a civilised society to survival by building a city safe to live in, harness your environment for good (or bad), and ultimately make choices that affect how the game plays out.

As far as survival games are concerned, this is a unique take that focuses on society and how every decision you make comes at a price. And, as we hinted at earlier, you don’t necessarily need to run your society in the most politically correct way possible.

The complete collection including The Last Autumn, On the Edge, and The Rifts expansions are all available on Xbox Series X.

A One Walker on a green planetBuy now 


This infinitely procedurally generated survival game has been out since 2018, but in 2020, developers Hello Games released a specific upgrade to the game for next-gen consoles and it was free for those who already owned the game.

The Xbox Series X|S optimised version boasts fuller worlds with higher resolution textures and more detailed geometry, a richer base construction with the ability to construct larger and more complex builds, and a seamless transition, meaning you can move old-gen console saves onto the Xbox Series X.

There’s also 4K 60fps smoothness and the ability for cross-platform play which adds so many more layers to this survival game.

A wintery scene showing a cabin covered in snowBuy now 


Like many on this list, you’re fending for yourself in a land that has been destroyed by some sort of disaster. For The Long Dark you’re in Canada in the winter and there’s something called the Quiet Apocalypse which throws you into a world of isolation that has you lost in thought.

Currently playable via Game Pass, The Long Dark isn’t quite optimised for Xbox Series X|S running at the lower framerate but it is still an excellent survival game to add to this list.

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Much like No Man’s Sky, Ark: Survival Evolved released a specific update to ensure it was taking full advantage of the Xbox Series X|S by adding in some major enhancements to the game.

This allows Ark: Survival Evolved to be the best version of itself by upping the layering, the quality, the loading speed, and finally, making sure you can fully extend to that 4K 30-60 FPS output. For this action-adventure survival game, optimisation for the Xbox Series X|S gives players a much more detailed and realistic environment.

So, that’s it for our best Xbox Series X survival games list. If you’re still keen to find some more games to play, check out our list of the best Xbox Series X games.