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Early Access. Survival. Open World. Crafting. The four horsemen of the apocalypse, or so the Redditors, and the Internet in general say. Some of these games can deliver a very good experience though, while the fun lasts, and before the developers decide to ditch the project and make another simple open world title. Never mind, just kidding. Some of my favorite indie games are from the generation of open world survival (will Reddit accept me?). However, a plethora of games from the generation has erupted since the success of ARK : Survival Evolved, and it is quite difficult to make a choice amongst them. We list 10 of the “early access open world survival games with crafting options” that we think are worth your time. The list isn’t representing the order of preference of the games, rather a list of 10 games that stand out from others in the generation.

1) ARK : Survival Evolved

The great grandfather of all open world survival games, and one of the first games of the generation, ARK makes a cut of its own in the world of early access survival games. The concept of humans being left alone, on an island, with variable biomes inhabited by dangerous prehistoric creatures, was an unique one. ARK was destined to be successful, because of the unique idea, along with an extensive advertising campaign. The developers continue to patch the game at repeated intervals, adding more content. The only downside of the game is the bad optimization, which ruins the immersion. In this game, players survive as humans, on an island, build massive shelters for themselves, as they tame and hunt their way to the heart of the island. Will the human race reign supreme, or will the creatures stomp them out of their misery in their struggle to do so?

2) Rust

Fancy a more hardcore survival experience against other players? Or is “survival of the fittest” your thing? Initially meant to be a zombie survival game, Rust became a survival game in the end, a game in which the world has been destroyed by nuclear weapons, and people have to survive by any means possible. People have to gather resources, and craft shelters of their own. Did I mention killing other players? Because there’s a lot of it in this game. The game itself is quite polished and is a decent multiplayer game, but only if you have friends, because teaming up online is virtually impossible. The community playing the game is an absolute downside to the game, which have grown more toxic since its inception. If you can put up with big tribes raiding your base and killing you frequently, and can resist the salt in the in-game chat as well as trolls, the game’s for you.

3) The Forest

If “survival” is the preference over “crafting”, then this game is certainly worth it. Survival in a forest, with only your wits to survive, along with dangerous man-eating mutants on the island? Shut up and take my money! In this game, a child and a father on a plane crash land on an uncharted island in the Pacific, only to discover man-eating mutants on the island. The game has quite some jump scares, especially as one builds up defenses using the resources of the forest in the morning, to fend off waves of mutants at night. With every passing day, the mutants become more aggressive, so shifting base is of utmost necessity. Will your survive to find a way out of the island, or be consumed as food by the mutants before that?

4) 7 days to die

One of the zombie-survival spin offs with an unique twist – the zombies attack every 7th day, leaving you to gather resources and stack up on defenses before that happens. Zombies still roam about the landscape in a separated manner, and will fight back if provoked. Survival is really tough, considering the scarcity of resources, and the fights over the existing feeble amount of resources, with zombies in the mix. The developers were quite active during the early access period of the game, listening to the community, patching in stuff as required by the community. However, development over the last few months have stagnated quite a lot, which has become slightly irksome for the player base. Fear being consumed by the zombie horde, or will you outlast them with fellow survivors?

5) Conan Exiles

Heard about Conan the Barbarian and the brutal world of Hyboria? Now play as an exile on Hyboria, one that has been crucified as a convicted criminal and looked down upon by civilization, who is freed from the cross by none other than Conan himself. With the blessings of the deities, and with the power of the barbarians, forge a civilization greater than the one that exiled you. Doing so requires patience, because many obstacles, including the creatures inhabiting the land, the harsh weather conditions, sparse resources as well as opposing human players will be there – but it only enhances the glory of the civilization so built by overcoming these obstacles. The game has recently released on Steam in Early Access, and the developers are actively working on more content as well as fixing bugs and glitches for the community. The AI in the game is one of the best, possibly being second only to that of ‘The Forest’. Will you be engulfed in the shades of time, or will the deities make you overcome your obstacles to build the greatest civilization that stands the test of time?

6) Space Engineers

Everybody dreamt of becoming a scientist or engineer and scale over to other planets from Earth. Now, this game makes players realize their long-lost dream of survival in the stars. Mine resources on planets, each having particular types of resources in abundance and others in scarcity, forcing players to make spaceships to navigate between planets. Pirates are a threat to inter-planet navigation, and there exist hostile flora and fauna on planets to be taken care of. Weapons can be forged, as well as a variety of spaceships can be built, besides fully functional self sufficient space bases. The game requires quite some brainwork, as randomly joining together any part and expecting a spaceship to be built is not how the game operates. This involves strategy in base building, besides resource management, which was one of the game’s biggest attractions. Despite these, the steep learning curve required to even build the most basic spaceship is something that puts players off the game(after all, games are meant to be enjoyable and for passing time, and not so hard on the brain,eh?)  The developers have become quite slack on patches at this point, which does not bode well for the game’s launch from Early Access.

7) Planet Nomads

Space has become an attraction, ever since No Man’s Sky’s spectacular failure, when it failed to live up to the hype. People were used to building and crafting simulators, not exploration simulators. It was cashing in on this hype that Planet Nomads were released. In Planet Nomads, players crash land on the surface on a planet, with a few basic tools with them to help them survive. Players need to harvest resources, and start construction of a planetary base, while finding a way to get off the planet, and helping fellow astronauts who crash land on the planet.  One of the main features of the game that distinguishes it from other games is its freeform construction, which allows players to unleash their creativity in a variety of ways. However, in the current state of release, the game suffers from a problem of poor optimization , which can be ignored, considering the fact that it has only just released in Early Access.

8) Planet Explorers

With space as the new craze, the race for survival amongst the stars continues. In the future, in year 2287, one of the first colony ships sent out from Earth to find habitable planets arrives at the planet Maria in the Epsilon Indi system, where it crash lands on the surface due to a machine failure. What the survivors discover was an unforgiving planet with its own band of both friendly and hostile flora and fauna. The game plays out like a MMO form of Minecraft. It is one of the first games in the generation to feature a story mode, that tells the story of the colonists that survived the crash of the colonist ship on the planet of Maria. The development had become quite stagnant in the last few days of Early Access, but after a few well-timed patches to fix bugs and glitches to soothe community anger, the game came out of Early Access, making it the second game in this list to make it out of Early Access.

9) Rokh

What’s the best place to explore than our neighboring planet Mars? Where mounds of resources are hidden away, currently impossible for human beings to tap into with their technology. Rokh imagines a futuristic scenario, where the planet of Mars has been colonized by humans, but due to some freak accident, the colony has been destroyed.  A new generation of astronauts has been dispatched to discover the reasons for the fall of the colony, besides trying to forge a colony of their own. Mars has a hostile climate, and needs to be terraformed before players can start building a proper base for their survival.  The amount of tools and blueprints available for crafting initially are highly limited, which forces players to think wisely before spending resources. Rokh allows tile-based assembly to construct the new colony as you see fit. The features of freeform crafting and modularity mean that players get to customize everything  they make instead of the weapons, devices and tools that can be made being predefined by the game. Will Mars’ hostile environment reign supreme and engulf the astronauts witin it, along with the remains of the previous colony, or will the new colony stand up as a symbol of hope for a dying Earth?

10) H1Z1 : Just Survive

Probably one of the only zombie games to find itself in this list, H1Z1 is a DayZ clone that is slightly more stable than DayZ. In H1Z1, players are humans and need to defend against angry zombies that are everywhere in the world. Band up with a team of survivors against the zombie horde, or backstab your way out of your gang, with your pocket full of resources. Or be the loner and hold out on your own, till a band of mercenaries comes to rescue you, and then shoot you for your stuff, or till the time the horde consumes you and assimilates you into one of them. The game also allows a rudimentary form of base building from scavenged resources, which is necessary to hold out in the wilderness against zombies and other survivors.

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