Best Survival Games On Switch

With so many amazing games being brought and ported to the Nintendo Switch, there are now loads of choices across genres, especially when it comes to survival where new games are always coming out. That’s a little surprising considering the Switch console is now five years old.

Related: Best survival games for beginners

There are many excellent titles to choose from that will have you struggling to survive, scavenging and searching for food and crafting what you need to make it through the barren wilderness where Mother Nature can be more brutal than any monster. We’re not talking about first person shooters with survival and horror elements, but these are games where you start from scratch and have to figure out how to stay alive.


14/14 Minecraft

Minecraft split image of the main character's house holding a sword while another is underground, preparing an arrow attack

Not much needs to be said about Minecraft. We all know it and we’ve all played it, but the Nintendo Switch edition of the game is a lot of fun because you can take the game anywhere, invest hours in sandbox game making, and build the home of your dreams.

Cross-save lets you take your game from PC to bed with your Switch, and there’s also a dungeon-crawling Minecraft game if survival isn’t your favorite genre.

13/14 Protected

A complete family next to a complete shelter in Sheltered.

Sheltered is a post-apocalyptic disaster management game in which you must protect four family members in an underground shelter. As you try to keep them alive and scavenge the desolate wastelands, you’ll soon find that every decision you make has consequences for the family.

The game is fun and challenging at times, with plenty of customization options and perfectly balanced gameplay that pushes you to build the best possible shelter for your characters. With the randomness of its world generation, there’s plenty of replayability.

12/14 astronomer

In-game screenshot of gameplay for Astroneer

In this sandbox space survival game you play as an astronic and risk your life to explore the frontiers of space. You’ll work to build a custom base using the planet’s natural resources either alone or in online co-op with three friends. With its bright and vibrant art style, the game itself is beautiful, and while it doesn’t have a story, the deep gameplay you’ll find here will keep you hooked.

Playing Astroneer with friends is even more fun as you work towards goals, build, craft and explore to your heart’s content and survive in space. At Astroneer you will definitely get your money’s worth.

14.11 Windbound

A ship sailing to an island with a structure on the mountain and entering the water in the wind

Shipwrecked alone on an uncharted island, you play as Kara, a warrior who is thrown from her boat and thrown onto the shores of this mysterious and beautiful paradise. Windbound is a classic survival game in every way, where you start out with no food, water, tools, or boat.

Both intense and relaxed in its gameplay, you can spend hours exploring and crafting only to end up permanently dying and having to start all over again.

14.10 tribes of Midgard

Split image of the tribes of Midgard

A hybrid of rouge-lite, survival and action RPG, Tribes Of Midgard sees players defending their village from hordes of monsters bent on destroying the seeds of Yggdrasil. If you love Viking culture and want something more intense than Valheim, this game is for you.

Related: Things we wish we knew before starting Tribes of Midgard

The game is constantly receiving new content with seasonal updates and new bosses. To have the best experience, you must play with friends, otherwise the game can become a chore.

14.9 green Hell

Green Hell Compass and Sunset

Arguably the most realistic survival simulation game, Green Hell sees players lost in the Amazon jungle equipped only with their bare hands. You must survive in this nightmarish environment by learning real survival techniques and fighting the loneliness and desperation of being alone in the jungle.

There are several ways players can survive with satisfactory crafting and construction systems. If you manage to survive, story is another strong element here.

8/14 Don’t starve

Don't Starve Cover Art - Players in Don't Starve together around the campfire

Don’t Starve has been the gold standard of survival games since its launch in 2013, but its porting to the Switch really elevates the experience of this game. It almost feels made for the Switch, with the graphics and art style standing out.

Related: Best Games To Play If You Love Don’t Starve

Gameplay requires strategy and skill to make it through the night, and the longer you survive, the more complex the game becomes. With the release of the Don’t Starve Together multiplayer expansion early last year, you’ll get even more experiences from the game as you try to survive with friends.

14.7 The long dark

The long dark screenshot of the rifle and flair

With immersive first-person exploration gameplay and an original graphic style, The Long Dark lets you feel the chill of the frigid Canadian wilderness. The game uses the classic man vs. nature theme to its advantage, with its realistic gameplay that feels rewarding.

As you battle the elements and oppressive wilderness, you’ll be pleased with your progress as you learn to survive efficiently. With both a story and sandbox mode, you won’t feel like you’re running out of things in this game.

6/14 The Flame in the Flood

Scout sits by the fireplace

The Flame In The Flood is a rogue-lite survival game where you play a girl crossing a river with your dog in forgotten post-societal America. Everything from the art style created by BioShock veterans to the masterful audio design and satisfying gameplay makes this game an excellent experience on the Switch.

You’ll be motivated to survive and take care of your dog, and with the game’s carefully crafted progression, you’ll feel like you’ve survived and grown along the way.

5/14 subnautica

Subnautica - Exploring a Sunken Ship - Getting lost in the vines

Subnautica’s Switch port and Below Zero DLC look beautiful on the Switch even in handheld mode. The open-world survival game begins after crash-landing in your escape pod on a strange, alien world. You must traverse the depths of this planet’s ocean to salvage resources and survive while dealing with terrifying deep-sea creatures. Will you be able to leave this unknown place alive?

Related: Best Base Building Games, Ranking

Subnautica is a masterful gaming experience with its atmospheric world creation and endless vast sea depths to explore. There’s a reason it’s one of the best survival games out there.

14.4 The Survivors

The Survivalists on Nintendo Switch players around the campfire with monkeys

With over 50 hours of content and a multiplayer mode, The Survivalists is another great survival game for the Switch. Its pixel art style is charming, but don’t let that fool you: you hunt or are hunted by animals, including mythical enemies, and you must survive by making the most of the resources around you.

You can tame monkeys and train them to help you with your daily chores or provide assistance when you raid camps, and you can even crawl into dungeons in the island’s mazes.

3/14 Ark: Survival Evolved

A collage with scenes from Ark: Survival Evolved

When Ark: Survival Evolved first released on the Switch, it was one of the worst gaming experiences, but with the release of Ark: Ultimate Survivor Edition, the game was reborn. With updated graphics, better optimization, and the inclusion of all expansion packs, you’ll have hundreds of hours of gameplay here.

This game explores prehistoric jungles and tries to survive amidst dinosaurs. This game is finally the experience it should have been in 2018. Additionally, the developers have been transparent about future updates and diligent in fixing bugs, and the community thrives with engaged players.

2/14 terrariums

Players in elevated house on the beach
via CH2NGER/Steam

Terraria is the ultimate blend of Minecraft survival with Stardew Valley charm, perfectly paired with a console like the Nintendo Switch. No matter what gameplay you like, there’s something for everyone here, from classic action gameplay to collecting, exploring, and building anything that suits your imagination.

Although this game has been around for a while, it’s still being updated and has tons of content to keep you busy. Its retro pixel art style and endearing soundtrack are also a treat.

1/14 Nobody’s heaven

Exploring an alien planet in no man's sky

No Man’s Sky is another survival game that seems to have crashed and burned upon its failed release, but with countless free updates over the years, its release on the Switch is just the kind of space exploration survival game you’ll want to play. You can explore infinite galaxies of unique planets and alien life forms to find bountiful resources on long-forgotten planets with the ability to craft, upgrade and build anything you need for your exploration.

Next: The best survival games on Xbox Game Pass