There are a bunch of multiplayer survival games on the market. But most of them focus on interactions between each player in a server, making chaos and grieving the norms. However, this year’s viral hit Valheim managed to change the course by simply removing PVP while keeping all the “fun” of surviving harsh environments with a group of friends. Thus, if you’re looking for more pure cooperative experiences, then look no further. Here’s a list of 21 cooperative survival games just like Valheim.
1. Grounded – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
A departure from Obsidian’s usual narrative-heavy, single-player RPGs, Grounded is basically Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The Video Game. You and up to three friends have been shrunk to the size of an ant. Now thrown into the massive jungle of your own backyard, you have to build bases and tools to protect yourself from vicious insects and the elements. Explore, survive, and uncover what secrets lurking in the shadows.
2. Fortnite: Save The World – PC, Xbox One, PS4
Remember when Fortnite wasn’t all about battle royale? I ‘member. Back before Epic crammed every popular online game mechanic into the game (for the better or worse), it was made as a cooperative survival game. Even Tim Sweeney himself likens it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead.”
In case you don’t remember or know though, in the original Fortnite: Save the World, you and three other people group up to defend yourselves from the swarm of zombie-like creatures. Collect resources, build fortifications and traps, and do randomly generated objective or time-based missions to progress the story.
3. Drake Hollow – PC, Xbox One
In this four-player underrated indie cooperative survival game, you’re transported to the parallel world of The Hollow. There you do not only have to protect yourselves but also local vegetable folk, the Drakes, from hordes of feral plant creatures.
Explore the dangerous wilderness to find a way back, set up supply networks, look from weapons from bows to weed sprayers, all while keeping the Drakes safe — and happy. Yes, they won’t just go hungry, thirsty, or sleepy. They can even die of boredom. This mechanic gives quite a twist to the conventional survival gameplay elements.
4. Raft – PC
As its name stands, your main task in this game is to scavenge resources and build yourself an ever-expanding floating home worthy of survival. Be it on land or in the water, be wary of dangerous wild animals such as bears and sharks that will hinder your attempt at staying alive. Unlike the previous four games, this one does have a friendly fire feature.
But developer Redbeet Interactive said that there’s no incentive to actually do PVP and it can be deactivated as well. Unless maybe you want to make a fight club for fun, I guess. Interestingly, Redbeet also said that you’re able to host infinite numbers of players. Although so far seven to eight players seems to be the ideal amount.
5. The Forest – PC
If we’re listing survival games, then we can’t pass this particular game, right? As the lone survivor of a plane crash, try your hardest to stay alive against a society of cannibalistic mutants. Explore a vast jungle that has a network of caves and underground lakes. Gather supplies, build shelter, and lay traps during the day. When night comes, prepare to fight off the forest’s inhabitants. Too spooky for you? Play together with seven other friends and be ready to scream at each other.
6. Green Hell – PC, Switch
Talking about being stranded deep in the woods, there’s another game you should look into. Trapped in an Amazonian jungle without any food or equipment, you and three friends have to learn survival techniques on the fly. From building shelters and making tools to hunting, interacting with tribal natives, and maintaining physical and mental health. Getting hurt too much or eating the wrong plants, and your characters can slowly lose their minds.
7. Metal Gear Survive – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Lots of people might be turned off by this since Hideo Kojima isn’t involved. But hey, AC!D and Portable Ops turned out alright. And apparently so does Survive. Instead of sneaking around in military installation, this time you’re sneaking around zombie-like creatures and have to find a way home from a parallel dimension called Dite.
Compared to other survival games, this one is more mission-based. However, free-roaming on maps and a huge focus on building fortifications along with collecting resources, as well as Kuban Energy to level up your characters, are still present. The game also expanded Metal Gear V‘s solid stealth and shooting mechanics with various melee weapons and traps such as stationary turrets. With that in mind, if you’re looking for more cooperative four-player survival fun, do give this one a shot.
8. Fallout 76 – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Sure, sure, it was a mess when it first came out. Half-baked contents, empty world, pointless loots. But since the last few updates, Bethesda has made Fallout 76 to be much better than before. New questlines, items, crafting materials, enemies, quality-of-life improvements, NPCs, and more. There’s a battle royale mode too if that tickles your fancy, although I doubt it’s that populated. If you can get it on sale for more than 60% and have a group of friends that won’t suddenly drop it, I think it’s somewhat worth the price.
9. The Wild Eight – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Surviving a plane crash is just the start. Now in the depths of the frozen wilderness of Alaska, you and up to seven other friends have to fight off deadly blizzard and savage beasts as well as combing through mysterious facilities to uncover the mystery behind your accident. Although it’s called The Wild Eight, the game is also balanced for a single-player experience for you lone wolves out there.
10. Don’t Starve Together – PC, PS4, Xbox One
The standalone multiplayer version of the popular Don’t Starve game. This cute 2D, top-down survival game offers three different game modes: Survival, the default mode; Wilderness, which spawns you in random locations and deaths are permanent; and the more relaxed Endless mode. The game “officially” only supports up to six players, but you can easily edit the game’s LUA file or download mods like Max Player Numbers to increase it to 64-players.
11. State of Decay 2 – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Just like its predecessor, this is one of many sandbox zombie titles where you can recruit NPCs to help you build a community. It also features a narrative campaign and a four-player zombie-slaughtering siege defense mode. Undead Labs is currently working on State of Decay 3, so let’s see if they can improve this formula again.
12. The Survivalist – PC
Looking for something that’s less edgy and more light-hearted to play with family members? Look no further than The Survivalist. Explore and uncover secrets on a colorful, procedurally generated island. Hunt animals for food, fight an array of mythical enemies, and get quests from a mysterious stranger. You can even train monkeys to do your bidding. This game supports up to four players at maximum.
13. Survivalist: Invisible Strain – PC
Now we’re getting into the Early Access territory. Lots of interesting survival games are still being actively developed. Just like Valheim, to be fair.
In this open-world, open-ended zombie survival game, your main task is to rebuild a thriving community. Interact with survivors scattered around the game world, recruit them, build a settlement, and defend your precious resources from zombies, looters, and whatever else is out there. Although the game is currently using a randomly generated world, a story mode is planned to be added later. If you’re avoiding Early Access titles and want to play a more “complete” game though, you can buy the prequel, Survivalist, for just $4.99. Both games support up to a four-player co-op where your friends will play as the survivors you’ve recruited.
14. Tinkertown – PC
If you’re looking for more 2D survival games then you should keep an eye on Tinkertown. Play as your typical Warrior, Mage, Rogue, or make up your own class and explore a randomly-generated fantasy land. It combines 3D isometric perspective with charming pixel art made by Misbug (The Escapist 2) and accompanied by soundtracks from Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana). The game supports more than five players co-op.
15. Project Zomboid – PC
One of the earliest hardcore zombie survival games in the PC market. Aside from facing harsh conditions and fulfilling your character’s needs, you really need to be careful of zombie attacks. The game features a full line of sight system along with real-time lighting, sound, and visibility mechanics. Keeping the lights off and staying quiet at night could be the key to living for another day.
Sure it has been in Early Access for eight long years (even longer in development before getting into Steam) and the multiplayer feature is currently disabled for build 41. But Zomboid still has a lot of potentials once multiplayer works again. And honestly, considering there aren’t that many zombie games that have “proper” classic, slow zombies in them, I have to give this game a pass. Man, this is starting to sound like a horrible cope from me…
16. Eco – PC
A very ambitious title — not just for the survival genre, but also in general. It’s stated to have a “fully simulated ecosystem” with thousands of dynamically growing plants and animals. You’ll need to construct a thriving civilization that’ll be able to stop a meteor threat sometime in the future by consuming the resources around you.
But be careful, too many disruptions in one species can have ripple effects across the planet. Thus here, your job isn’t just simply trying to survive in the wilds and from the impending doom, but also maintaining a delicate balance of nature and technology. Strangeloop Games has said that Eco is going to be updated forever, so we’ll see how far this “forever project” will go.
17. Craftopia – PC
Made by the Tokyo-based developer POCKET PAIR, you could say that Craftopia is the Genshin Impact of Minecraft. If you like the crafting and survival elements but wanted it to have a colorful, anime-like art style, then this one’s for you. This game also features farming, an automation system that works like a Factorio-lite, capturing and breeding animals, as well as dungeon crawling with tough enemies.
There’s also a character customization system that lets you personalize your avatar’s physical appearance and give it over 100 different skills that affect gameplay. Multiplayer is currently available for up to four players but the developer is planning to make it up to eight players.
18. Breakwaters – PC
If you think you need giant monsters and swanky water physics in your survival game, then this upcoming game is for you. The world of Breakwaters is filled with dangerous Titans and Golems that are as big as a small island. Manipulate waters with the special Refined Crystal to locate rare materials on the ocean floor, craft shelter and tools, and fight back against the Titans’ threat.
Soaring Pixels plans to release it in Q2 2021. This game shows a lot of promise, especially with the beautiful water physics and Michael Bross‘s (Ratchet and Clank, Oddworld) music. If all goes well and launches on time, I think it’s worth being excited about.
19. Hobo: Tough Life – PC
Yep, as you can guess from the title, you’ll roleplay as a vagrant just trying to live for another day in the unforgiving concrete jungle. Staying warm and well-fed are not your only concerns. Keep an eye out for thugs, bond with fellow hobos, and look for enough supply for the coming winter. But such a tough life can be a bit easier if you team up with up to three other players. The title might elicit some chuckle, but the idea is definitely one of its kind and could make us think twice about social issues around our lives.
20. Wurm Unlimited – PC
The standalone version of the 2006 fantasy sandbox Wurm Online. For an old game, it features many staples of the survival genre. From Creative and Adventure mode, rare loots in hidden areas, extensive character creation, crafting, and building system, and much more. If you don’t mind the (really) outdated graphics and obtuse, barely documented system, then this classic is for you.
21. Outward – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia
This one doesn’t have any kind of shelter crafting system, but the survival mechanics are pretty hardcore in and of itself already. Adventuring in the rainy or snowy season could get you sick, battle damage can give you infection, traveling for too far and long will spoil your foods, and many other dangers you have to remember. Definitely worth a try if you want to play a survival action RPG with a proper goal or ending with friends.
Personally, I think these are the best PVE or co-op-oriented survival games like Valheim that you can play together with friends. Do you think the list is missing your other favorites? Let me know in the comments.