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The best Xbox survival games 2024

From games like Palworld to Valheim, 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 best survival games to put on our list, with major optimization 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 survival games:

Best Xbox survival games: An image from Palworld showing sheep creatures aiming mounted machine guns on a sandbag wall.

1. Palworld

Palworld might be the newest kid on the block, but it’s undeniably one of the best Xbox survival games. This Pokémon-with-guns phenomenon blew up overnight and for good reason. By cleverly mixing Pokémon’s cute creature-catching mechanics with survival game features like resource gathering, developer Pocketpair has made a unique survival game.

If you’re looking for a great time with friends, then you can’t go wrong with Palworld. You’ll begin by making your character before being set loose in its sprawling open world where you can hunt, tame, chop, and mine your way to the top of the food chain.

The best news? Palworld is also available through Game Pass, making it one of the best Xbox Game Pass games too.

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

2. 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 have optimized this one for Xbox Series X|S which means you can play Subnautica in beautiful 4K resolution.

In between scavenging, hunting, and battling sea life, 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: Two players can be seen

3. Valheim

After an incredibly successful launch on PC, Valheim has made its way to Xbox consoles and it is just as good. With an expanding world to explore, everything on offer in the PC version, and more updates to come there is easily enough to absorb weeks and months of your time.

As you explore, build up your bases, expand your arsenal, and defeat bosses, you will uncover new secrets. All of this can be done with friends or alone to offer an experience that best suits you. It’s one of the only games of this type and style that has made the jump to consoles.

So, if you are a big survival head, then this is one for you.

Best Xbox survival games: A character wearing a hooded jacket swinging a large hammer at a zombie next to a shipping container in State of Decay 2.

4. State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2 might be an Xbox One game – and it does look like one at times – but it’s just as good today as it was when it launched back in 2018.

As one of the best zombie games, be prepared to fight tooth and nail against the undead horde. However, it’s not your average walker fare. No, State of Decay puts stakes at the forefront. As you explore to scavenge valuable supplies, scout areas, and complete missions to upgrade your base of operations, you’ll be putting your life at risk. If you die, you’ll lose that character for good and have to venture back out as another of your survivors to grab their valuables. Even better, you can even come across your zombified pal.

Packing co-op and several DLCs, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into in State of Decay 2. When you do, you’ll be patiently waiting for the State of Decay 3 release date just like we are.

Best Xbox survival games: An image from Frostpunk showing the player managing a building in the interface.

5. Frostpunk

Frostpunk is unlike any other survival game you’ve played. Unlike the competition, Frostpunk takes a more managerial role in the survival genre, weaving survival elements with a strategy game to gripping results.

Set in a harsh, frozen world, heat and resources are paramount. You have to keep the last city going in the face of overwhelming cold and a society on the brink of collapse. With the odds always against you, your every mode decides the fate of humanity. So, make laws, build structures, and allocate your resources very carefully.

Best Xbox survival games: Mission givers in Rust line up

6. 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

7. Minecraft

We can’t have the 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 likely know the rules by now, but Minecraft is all about breaking blocks to build better tools to break even stronger blocks to, ultimately, build the coolest house of your dreams. You can define ‘house’ however you’d like, it could be a castle, a theme park, or a modest dirt hut if your priorities are elsewhere. After all, there are also bosses to beat and temples to plunder.

With several difficulty options and a charming aesthetic, Minecraft is also great for all ages.

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

8. Conan Exiles

If you’re looking for a quintessential sandbox survival game, look no further than Conan Exiles. This Funcom game is optimized for next-gen consoles and has swathes of updates over the years, though it is winding down now that the developer has moved fully onto Dune: Awakening.

Set in – you guessed it – the world of Conan, there’s a unique landscape to explore either alone or with friends fora more competitive survival experience.

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

9. 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 optimized version of No Man’s Sky boasts fuller worlds with higher resolution textures and more detailed geometry, 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

10. 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 optimized 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

11. 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 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, optimization for the Xbox Series X|S gives players a much more detailed and realistic environment.

However, if you’re willing to wait for the Ark Survival Ascended release date, you’ll be able to experience the world of Survival Evolved with remastered visuals and mechanics. Otherwise, there’s also the Ark 2 release date to look forward to.

So, that’s it for our best Xbox Series X survival games list. If you’re still keen to find more of the best Xbox 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. Have fun!