It’s been a long year, but we are now drawing 2017 to a close and it looks like we’ll survive into 2018. If this time of year is a little too quiet for you, and you’re looking for something more extreme to battle through, there’s nothing better than a game that wants to kill you as many times, in as many different ways as it can. So here is GameGrin’s list of survival games to survive the holidays with.
Distrust is a top-down isometric survival game inspired heavily by John Carpenter’s The Thing. You play as one part of a rescue team tasked with saving an arctic research team, but things are definitely not as they seem. For starters, as is common with survival games, the game starts with your helicopter crashing into the frozen compound. You immediately need to scout out the now-abandoned buildings of the research facility, managing your stamina, warmth and hunger.
Distrust is great for those looking for something a little scarier, and the snowy aesthetic fits right in with this time of year. Plus, this game is ridiculously hard - even in co-op the game gives you very little to work with, adding to the urgency when it’s enemies start arriving - so you’ll be able to fill the whole week trying to survive to the end of the game.
Another game that features a crash landing, The Forest is probably the shortest game on this list and one of the few with a defined story and ending. You play as a parent chasing after their child on an island with a lot to hide, though it’s significantly less scary than Distrust. A lot of the game involves exploring the tropical island and its caves, so it can offer a nice reprieve from our very cold British winter if that’s what you’re after.
It will still probably take you several days worth of play to even get close to the end unless you use the community cave maps, so it’s the perfect length for the holidays. The Forest is also set to release fully next year, with a PS4 release coming early in the year, so the game is very close to completion. There was even an update earlier this month which added a lot of community requested features and a new crafting material along with many new recipes. The multiplayer is very stable if you fancy a tropical holiday with your friends, and all runs through Steam.
Despite releasing to significant fanfare, Conan Exiles has not retained the large following many of its peers have enjoyed. I personally feel that this is unfair, since Exiles has grown significantly as a game over the last year with regular updates that have expanded the once shallow gameplay. The Thrall mechanics have also been improved, allowing you to become a leader of what is effectively a cult to a group of NPCs, so why not beat the Holy Spirit of Vodka™ into a bunch of savages this Holiday period?
Again, Conan Exiles isn’t an especially wintery-y game but it’s great if you’re looking for a sunny paradise with weird and wonderful monsters to escape the chill. If you didn’t pick it up before or only played for a few hours at launch, now is a good time to try out the more interesting systems in Funcom’s fantasy survival sandbox.
This adorable little space survival game launched about a year ago and it’s been going from strength to strength all year. Astroneer is a game entirely about exploring the environment and morphing it to your needs - or digging a big hole for you to fall into accidentally and die. This is a list of survival games, and the big thing you need to survive is usually yourself!
Astroneer has also recently received a large update, completely overhauling many of the systems in the game to make them more streamlined and adding all new songs to the soundtrack. The System Era Softworks team also have a great roadmap for upcoming features before launch and realistic targets for when to expect them in the next year, so this one is definitely a game to fall in love with and keep coming back to throughout the year.
This game will forever have a soft spot in my heart, as one of the first games that got me into PC gaming. Now available on basically every device with a screen, there is no escape from the voxel behemoth of the genre. If on PC, I highly recommend having a look through the various modding forums and resources for wintery mods to add to the experience of going back to Minecraft. I personally recommend The Spirit of Christmas for 1.8 for a cheery winter pack, but there are so many mods around you have plenty to choose from.
If you’re looking for more of a community spirit, the Hypixel servers have a couple wintery game modes alongside their usual array of mini games, or the Wynncraft servers and their tireless work at making a full MMORPG inside Minecraft. Whatever you want to do to see out the year, there’s probably something inside Minecraft and its massive modding community just waiting for you to click play.
That brings us to the end of this list, and to the end of this year. Let us know in the comments below what you plan to be playing as the New Year rocks around, and if you’re looking for someone to play with come join the GameGrin community on our Discord server. Happy New Year!