Best Survival Sandbox Games Like Ark: Survival Evolved

Open-world, survival, crafting, and multiplayer are the core elements of games like Ark. The ever-popular genre is brimming with great alternatives. Some of these can be less or more forgiving than Wildcard’s title. 

Ark: Survival Evolved came out in 2015. Since its debut, it has remained as one of the top games on Steam, with around 45K daily concurrent players.

Games like Ark tend to be mainstream choices for PC players, but few reach Ark’s numbers. Moreover, many titles in the genre lose their player bases too quickly.

In other words, we consider popularity a vital aspect. That speaks of the developer, and player support games like these require to stay alive for long times.

Selecting Games Like Ark: Survival Evolved

Games Like Ark

We’re considering the elements of Wildcart’s survival craft to identify similar alternatives. Therefore, games like Ark feature a mix of the following aspects:

  • Genre: Ark is a survival/craft/adventure title on open-world maps and multiplayer scenarios.
  • Sandbox: Because of the genre, Ark is also a sandbox game. That means you have plenty of freedom regarding how you play, and what to do.
  • Map Design: You can choose an Ark where they create their characters. These maps are open-world, and there’re various you can pick.
  • Challenge: Maps are easier but less generous on “starting areas.” As you explore further, enemies grow tougher, and resources become better.
  • Dinosaurs: You can tame dinosaurs, as well as hunt them for resources. The stronger dinosaurs are far away from the “starting” zones. 
  • Survival: You need to micro-manage survival stats. These include hunger, thirst, oxygen, stamina, localized damage, and weather conditions. 
  • Resources: You can gather resources from nature and the animals for resources. You can also explore caves, mountains, underwater, and more.
  • Crafting: You can use these resources to craft a lot of things, like gasoline, vehicles, and weapons.
  • Tech Trees: You can progress in tech trees as your character levels up. However, your gear needs constant maintenance, otherwise it breaks.
  • Level-up: Almost everything you do levels up the character. You can spend your skill points on various stats to improve your characters.
  • Building: You can create multi-leveled structures of linked parts. Parts include pillars, walls, windows, doors, gates, and roofs.
  • Technologies: You can also research technologies to improve your shelters. For example, you can make generators for remote gates. 
  • Farming: You can also pick seeds in the wild and grow plots. The farming simulation allows you to grow without hunting animals. 
  • Boss Fights: Special mechanics unlock boss fights against mythical creatures. These are end-game enemies rewarding the best loot. 
  • Multiplayer: You can play alone or on multiplayer servers. Other players can help you or play against you.
  • Raiding: If you play against others (and vice-versa), you can raid other’s shelters for their resources, even if they are online.
  • Tribes: You can join a Tribe (a clan) to manage, protect, and improve your resources. 
  • Death Mechanics: If you die, you lose all of your resources. However, you keep your character and your stat progression.
  • Campaign: Ark: Survival Evolved has a single-player campaign. It’s a 30H story showcasing the game’s elements. 
  • Modding: Lastly, you can mod the game on play on custom servers with player-created rules. 

Overall, Ark: Survival Evolved is a comprehensive survival experience. You can hunt, craft, explore, farm, research technologies, build shelters, and much more.

Games like Ark should be equally comprehensive. They should feel like complete survival games, with the player base and developer support to back them up. 

Games Like Ark


Rust games like ark
  • Developer: Facepunch Studios, Double Eleven
  • Publisher: Facepunch Studios
  • Release Date: February 2018
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PS4, Linux

If you’re looking for the top popular game in the survival-craft genre, Rust is the title to choose. It’s brutal, treacherous, and quite similar to Ark, and it’s an FPS survival/sandbox craft multiplayer title.

Similarly, you start naked on maps that hold up to 60 people. From there on out, you can gather resources, craft your gear, and progress in tech trees by researching blueprints.

Rust has no single-player, though. You can play alone, play against others, or make allies. Your allies can form clans to protect and manage the valuables.

Naturally, you can raid other’s shelters for their loot, even if they are offline. If you die, though, you lose half of your entire inventory. Moreover, there’s no character progression or stats to develop.

As for the maps, you play on a procedurally-generated open-world. These have enemy NPCs, safe zones, and gear drop zones. Lastly, you can mod the game or join on player-made servers.


atlas by ark developers
  • Developer: Facepunch Studios, Double Eleven
  • Publisher: Instinct Games
  • Release Date: December 2018 (Early Access)
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One

Former Ark developers created a spin-off studio and used the same engine for a new survival title. The result is an open-world survival adventure pirate MMO.

So, you create a character and use your ship to explore islands for treasure. You can also plunder player settlements, wage war against clan fleets, and command or become a part of a larger crew. 

The main draw is nautical exploration. So, instead of a single island, the map is a vast ocean with hundreds of smaller islands to explore. All areas allow PvP, but you don’t lose character progress on death. 

Similarly, your characters level up. It unlocks skill points for various skill trees. Also, like on Ark, you have to manage hunger, thirst, and weather conditions. Also, combat is in first-person or third-person, and you can use swords, guns, hooks, cannons, and more. 

Overall, Atlas feels like an ARK DLC, although it swaps dinosaurs for giant sea monsters and ARKs for an ocean. However, it’s still on Early Access, and server stability is not at its best.


  • Developer: Iron Gate AB
  • Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
  • Release Date: February 2021 (Early Access)
  • Platform: Windows, Linux

Valheim is a third-person survival-craft-adventure title. It supports one to ten players, and it delivers procedurally-generated worlds. As per usual, you can hunt, fight, craft, build shelters, farm, and more.

You play as a Viking in Norse mythology-inspired worlds. The overall plot is about proving yourself to Odin by slaying mighty foes. You’re free to follow (or not) the story in any way you want.

The worlds are gorgeous and hide valuables and secrets at every corner. They encourage exploration by delivering unique battles and treasures.

Moreover, the game focuses on combat greatly. You have a mix of dodges, blocks, parries, attacks, and ranged attacks to defeat enemies. It’s stamina-based combat akin to souls-like games.

Lastly, there’s a simple character progression tree, tech trees, and a fair crafting system. As a Viking, you’ll craft Viking longboats and longhouses, gear, meals (for stat boosts), and more. Overall, it’s a simpler, more forgiving, but refined game. 


  • Developer: Gamepires
  • Publisher: Gamepires
  • Release Date: August 2018 (Early Access)
  • Platform: Windows

SCUM is a popular sandboxopen-world survival adventure game. You play as a prisoner on an island, a brutal reality show member. Other players, also prisoners, live on the island with you and compete for loot and fame.

Your enemies will be other players, mutated animals, and mechanical monsters. On top of that, you have to manage hunger, thirst, sickness, a complex metabolism system, and more. 

In particular, the metabolism mechanics tracks down your health, as well as the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients in your body. It leads to unique mechanics like gaining weight, reducing stamina, or boosting speed. 

There’s a lot of detail on the combat as well. You play in third-person or first-person with a plethora of guns. However, recoil, bullet decay, bullet speed, and other physical systems influence weapon combat. 

Lastly, the game has an addictive base building. Better yet, the developers keep adding more things to build and more features, weapons, and performance upgrades. 


  • Developer: System Era Softworks
  • Publisher: System Era Softworks
  • Release Date: December 2016
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Astroneer gets tons of developer support and enjoys a consistent player base. Thanks to its quirky nature and friendliness, with 2K daily concurrent players on Steam, Astroneer has become a go-to survival game. 

Aside from its endearing visual style, Astroneer has plenty of elements to make it the most unique game in the genre. Moreover, it’s easy to learn, easy to play, and doesn’t punish you. 

You explore a distant world in the 25th Century as an Astroneer. It opens up a sandbox adventure game. You explore the areas, gather resources, and craft bases, vehicles, and other items to explore.

The goal is to reshape the planet. You have a deform tool to collect, dig, and shape anything into form. The possibilities are massive, and the limitation is your creativity. 

Then, the open-world includes seven distinct planets. You can travel to other worlds through in-game menus. Lastly, you can play alone or co-op with up to four players at the party. 

Conan Exiles

conan exiles
  • Developer: Funcom
  • Publisher: Funcom
  • Release Date: May 2018
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series

Conan Exiles is an MMO survival game. On top of that, it includes a complex combat system, mounts, mounted combat, a vast open-world, and sandbox mechanics.

You play as a barbarian on dangerous lands. The setting forces you to manage cold, heat, thirst, and hunger. The goal is to develop the Exiled lands with your crafting system. You can build from small shelters to entire cities. 

Then, the land is savage and unforgiving. There’s PVP, as well as nasty creatures. However, you can hunt and harvest the maps for building materials, meals, and drinks. 

If you play online, you’d be able to take loot from other players. You can create siege units and use explosives to raid enemy cities. You can also join others to defend and attack other barbarians.

Lastly, you can play online, alone, or single-player (offline campaign). The offline mode focuses on enemy NPCs and the Purge event, a horde-type mechanic attacking your settlements. Alternatively, you can mod the game or create your own mods.


  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  • Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
  • Release Date: July 2020
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S

Grounded is a different take on the survival adventure genre. It delivers a story-driven single-player campaign you can play on co-op, rather than an open sandbox world. However, it still keeps sandbox elements.

You play as a shrunk kid in the backyard. With the size of an ant, you explore the area for loot, combat, and resources. The goal is returning back to the body, but the journey is fun, dangerous, and lengthy.

In essence, there’re various types of insects. Some of these are helpless and only offer food. Others, like spiders, are dangerous, but they can provide loot.

That said, you can progress your character in various ways. In essence, you can loot better and better gear, level up for better skills, or unlock crafting recipes. You can craft bases, tools, equipment, consumables, and more. 

Lastly, you can play Grounded with your friends. Up to three friends can join you online to freely play the campaign or explore the open-world backyard. 


dayz games like ark
  • Developer: Bohemia Interactive
  • Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
  • Release Date: December 2018
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4 

When Rust came out, it took many elements from DayZ for its own. That includes zombies, which later became enemy wildlife and other NPCs. There’re also clans, offline raids, structure building, crafting, and first-person shooting. 

Naturally, DayZ is also very similar to Ark. It’s a hardcore and punishing open-world survival and sandbox game. There’re no rules other than staying alive, and thus you can play with others, alone or against others. 

There’re also no checkpoints and no saves. When you die, you lose everything, so you have to start over. Additionally, there’s no character progression, so by losing your loot, you’d have to start from scratch.

That said, you can die from zombies, animals, or other players. You also have to manage hunger and thirst. Hunting animals and searching for water, as well as managing your resources, is vital. 

Lastly, on a huge 230 km2 map, there’s an endless amount of resources you can use to build structures and gear. However, up to 60 players on the server can be looking to survive.


subnautica games like ark
  • Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • Release Date: January 2018
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch 

Subnautica is not a multiplayer title. However, its offline experience is one of the best within the open-world survival genre. Moreover, the entire game happens underwater. 

You play as a stranded survivor on an alien ocean world. Escaping the planet means diving deeper and deeper into the ocean. The journey will uncover the mysteries of the crash and the planet’s story. 

The ocean ranges from deep-sea trenches to bioluminescent underwater drives, gorgeous coral reefs, and lava fields. As you explore, you can hunt animals and harvest nature for resources.

Back in your base, you can craft shelter, weapons, and gear. In Particular, you have to micromanage your oxygen and water pressure. These two stats need increasingly rare resources,

Overall, Subnautica is about exploring an underwater open world for combat, valuables, and lore. Then, using these resources to build aquatic habitats and shelters. 


raft survival game
  • Developer: Redbeet Interactive
  • Publisher: Axolot Games
  • Release Date: May 2018
  • Platform: Windows, Linux

Raft is a moderately popular survival adventure title. You can play it solo or co-op; you can’t play against others, though.

You’re stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean. With an old plastic hook, you can start gathering debris from the waters to improve your only means of survival and travel.

So, the gameplay loop is about gathering resources to develop a multi-store raft. You also have to manage hunger, thirst, and other mechanics like keeping your meat fresh and cold. 

Then, you can visit isles for extra resources and combat against sharks. There’s no overall objective other than staying alive, and you can do it for as long as you want.

Overall, Raft is a tough survival game. The gameplay loop is about gathering debris with your hook, scavenging reefs and islands, and developing your raft.

Project Zomboid

project zomboid
  • Developer: The Indie Stone
  • Publisher: The Indie Stone
  • Release Date: November 2013 (Early Access)
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux

Project Zomboid is a zombie sandbox game mixing survival, crafting, and combat elements. You also play with simple isometric graphics, which blend well with the game’s dark sense of humor.

You play as a survivor of the Muldraugh town. You can loot houses for resources and then build defenses to delay the inevitable death. You need to steal, combat, run, and play strategically to survive. 

The online multiplayer supports up to 126 people on persistent servers. You can turn an option to open PvP, which grants the possibility of taking other people’s loot and gear. 

You can play alone or with other players. Either way, the goal is to develop a strong-enough city to survive the collision. You need to develop technologies and create the buildings necessary to survive.

Lastly, the developers constantly add new areas to the map and other features. For example, they have added vehicles, a physics engine, real-time lighting, and visibility and sound mechanics. More importantly, they have added tons of things to loot and craft. 


satisfactory games like ark
  • Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
  • Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios
  • Release Date: March 2019 (Early Access)
  • Platform: Windows

Satisfactory is a first-person factory building game with an open-world setting. Exploration and combat are also part of the game. Moreover, you can play alone or co-op with your friends.

The map is an alien planet ridden with nature and valuable resources. You play as a FICSIT employee, and you must conquer the area and build massive factories on the land.

So, you explore distinct locations, combat against monsters, gather valuables, and return to base. On the base, you can build increasingly complex factories. In essence, factories can be manual, or they can be fully automated. 

Also, you have vehicles, jump pads, vehicles, and more to explore the area. Moreover, you have to equip the proper gear to survive the local wildlife. 

Lastly, if you play with your friends, you can create factories together. It makes the building easier; therefore reaching the automated process can be faster. 


eco games like ark
  • Developer: Strange Loop Games
  • Publisher: Strange Loop Games
  • Release Date: February 2018
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux

ECO is a survival and base-building simulator game. You’re fighting against time, as you have a limited window to prepare a city against a meteor impact.

You can play alone or with other players. Either way,m the goal is to develop a strong-enough city to survive the collision. You need to develop technologies and create the buildings necessary to survive.

The virtual sandbox includes a complex ecosystem with thousands of plants and animals. The world map uses voxels, like Minecraft. So, you can reshape the geography and mine almost anything you see. 

Back on the base, you tend farms, hunt wildlife, build structures, create infrastructure, and more. The systems are quite specific and even include crafting clothes or power plants. However, your progress depends on the technologies you research. 

Overall, ECO allows you to work alongside other players to save mankind. It’s a complex game, but the absence of PvP makes it friendlier than Ark. 

Orion: Prelude

orion prelude
  • Developer: Spiral Game Studios
  • Publisher: Spiral Game Studios
  • Release Date: May 2012
  • Platform: Windows

Orion Prelude was the first to deliver a survival/craft open-world adventure with dinosaurs. An indie sci-fi FPS created the groundwork for what Ark became. 

It’s also available for the lowest price available on Steam. And although there’s hardly anyone playing Orion, it has a single-player campaign to justify visiting the old title. 

You, and possibly your friends, explore giant worlds, complete goals, and survive the Dinosaur Horde. Various game modes alter the experience of single-player or co-op gameplay.

Multiplayer modes support up to 10 players. These include a co-op mode, a PvPvE mode, a free-for-all, and more. However, you wouldn’t find enough players to enjoy these features anymore. 

 The game has no crafting features. Even so, it has an open world, dozens of dinosaurs, hundreds of weapons, and more. Lastly, you can play it in first-person or third-person like on Ark. 

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