The best Xbox survival games January 2023

From games like Subnautica: Below Zero to Rust, here are the best Xbox survival games to play on the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One right now

What are the best Xbox survival games? When it comes to survival games on Microsoft’s platform, 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. Here are the best Xbox survival games you can try right now, including some of the best Xbox Series X games in existence.

Here are the best Xbox Series X survival games:

  • Subnautica: Below Zero
  • Rust
  • Minecraft
  • Conan Exiles
  • No Man’s Sky
  • The Long Dark
  • Ark: Survival Evolved

Best Xbox survival games: A octopus creature gets ready to fight a ship in Subnautica

1. Subnautica: Below Zero

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.

Best Xbox survival games: Mission givers in Rust line up

2. Rust

How do you feel about being stripped butt naked and left with nothing but a torch and a rock to your name? Well, that’s the reality you face in Rust, a huge sandbox adventure that’ll pit you against a server full of trigger happy players.

Here you’ll need to gather resources, make friends, and build (and raid) shelters in order to survive. If you last a night without being raided, then you’ve done your job well.

Best Xbox survival games: a Minecraft player walks through a wooded area

3. Minecraft

We can’t have a best Xbox survival games guide without this blocky adventure game, can we? Minecraft can be played in countless ways these days, but if you’re looking for a classic survival experience, the sandbox offers plenty of modes to cater to just that.

You can find the best Minecraft survival servers right here.

Best Xbox survival games: A player holds a spear up to a woolly mammoth in Conan Exiles

4. Conan Exiles

If you’re looking for a quintessential sandbox survival games, look no further than Conan Exiles. This Funcom game is optimised for next-gen consoles and receives swathes of updates on a regular basis.

So if you’re looking to tackle big woolly mammoths or test your combat skills against other players, Conan Exiles is for you.

Best Xbox survival games: A machine in No Man's Sky

5. No Man’s Sky

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.

Best Xbox survival games: The wintery setting of The Long Dark

6. The Long Dark

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.

Best Xbox survival games: A big T-Rex roars in Ark Survival Evolved

7. Ark: Survival Evolved

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 horror games, the best Xbox open world games, and the best Xbox strategy games.