DayZ is a multiplayer, open-world survival shooter with zombies, crafting, and survival stats. If you have already survived too long in “Chenarus,” are there other games like DayZ?
Formerly an Arma 2 mod, the 2018 game enjoys over 30K daily concurrent players on Steam. It’s resilient, popular, and originally introduced the setting most survival games use.
Particularly, DayZ puts you on a zombie-ridden open-world map that can hold up to 60 players. But the has evolved greatly, so let’s scavenge through the survival and zombie experiences, either online or offline, you may want to play.
State of Decay 2
- Developer: Undead Labs
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: May 2018
- Platform:Windows, Xbox One
State of Decay 2 is a third-person survival zombie sandbox. You can play alone or with up to three friends in co-op. The idea is to build bases and towns in a post-apocalyptic world.
You play as interchangeable survivors, looking to rebuild civilization. There’s a story, but the game gives you the freedom to free-roam scavenge resources, and manage your bases.
The gameplay is about exploring the world for loot and resources for your growing community. On top of that, you select survivors to go on scavenging turns for ammo and the supplies you need. Similarly, you manage these resources to craft weapons, ammo, and town services.
- Developer: Facepunch Studios, Double Eleven
- Publisher: Facepunch Studios
- Release Date: February 2018
- Platform:Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PS4
Rust is nearly the same game, and it can be just as unpredictable and punishing as DayZ. It’s an open-world multiplayer, survival PvP shooter with crafting mechanics, survival stats, and a first-person perspective.
You play on a massive island where wild animals, NPC soldiers, and other players are looking to take what you have. In particular, Rust maps are persistent and can support up to 300 people. The maps, and everything people build on these maps, stays until the server refreshes.
You loot and collect resources and blueprints to craft. You can build shelters, bases, fortresses, power grids, vehicles, farms, choppers, weapons, armor, and almost anything else. However, you lose everything you’re carrying on death. Other players can also loot your bases even if you’re offline.
- Developer: The Indie Stone
- Publisher: The Indie Stone
- Release Date: November 2013 (Early Access)
- Platform:Windows, macOS, Linux
Project Zomboid is a third-person sandbox zombie-infested open world. Similar to DayZ, the idea is to survive as long as you can. Here, you must loot houses and enemies to build your defenses, bases, farms, and weapons.
You can play locally with four other players or join servers with up to 126 other players. As usual, you can play with them or play against them. In any case, you also have to deal with boredom, thirst, diseases, hunger, depression, and a powerful crafting system.
The zombies are your main enemy, though, plus a day-night cycle that determines their behavior. There’re swarm mechanics and complex audio systems to move them around the map. Similarly, there are real-time lighting, visibility, and light mechanics to help you sneak by enemies.
7 Days to Die
- Developer: The Fun Pimps
- Publisher: The Fun Pimps
- Release Date: December 2013
- Platform:Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One
7 Days to Die is a hugely popular co-op, survival, and zombie FPS RPG game. It’s a lot of things. But, importantly, it includes monsters, crafting, a post-apocalyptic open world, an arsenal of weapons, and the ability to play in co-op.
You explore the world for loot, mines, and experience points. Then, use your loot to craft weapons, bases, and defenses akin to a tower defense game. Likewise, you use your XP to unlock passive skills.
The crafting system includes weapons, clothes, tools, vehicles, armor, and more. The world is moddable and fully destructible. Additionally, you’ll need to manage hunger, thirst, food poisoning, hypothermia, broken bones, exhaustion, and more.
- Developer: Gamepires
- Publisher: Gamepires
- Release Date: August 2018 (Early Access)
On SCUM, you play as a criminal, trapped on an island as part of a reality TV show. The setting opens up a multiplayer open-world survival RPG shooter.
The game gives players bulky character progression systems, plus tons of survival starts to manage. Additionally, the game includes a comprehensive crafting system, and a complex metabolism system to manage your diet and other stats.
That said, the game happens in a multiplayer PvP scenario. You have to survive as long as you can, but there’s no permadeath mechanic in the game. Bear in mind that SCUM maps can hold up to 645 players.
Escape From Tarkov
- Developer: Battlestate Games
- Publisher: Battlestate Games
- Release Date: July 2017
Escape from Tarkov is a punishing multiplayer PvPvE. The gameplay loop revolves around 30-minute raids where you risk losing everything you have. It’s also an FPS survival PvP with hunger, thirst, and various tough mechanics that require a separate guide.
You create customizable character and raid maps with a 30-minute time limit. You must collect as much loot as possible and level up your character’s skills by performing specific actions. Enemy NPCs and bosses can kill you, and if you die, you lose everything you’re carrying.
Otherwise, you can take your treasures to your offline hideout, where you can craft weapons, gear, and supplies. That said, the game’s shooting mechanics, recoil, bullet drop, localized damage, complex healing system, and more make EfT highly challenging.
Left 4 Dead 2
- Developer: Valve
- Publisher: Valve
- Release Date: November 2009
- Platform:Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Series, Linux, macOS X
Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel to an award-winning co-op zombie shooter by the creators of the Half-Life saga. As before, it offers co-op action horror FPS action on its campaign and survival modes.
You and four other friends can play through five full online campaigns through cemeteries, cities, and swamps. The world is going through a zombie apocalypse, and a party of survivors can fight back.
The gameplay is fast and thrives on a wide selection of firearms and melee weapons. More importantly, the enemies are varied, vicious, and feature different behaviors. Lastly, the game has an AI system that tweaks game aspects to match your skills.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Techland
- Release Date: February 2022
- Platform:PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Windows
Because killing zombies is fun, Techland made a whole game about mashing them in the head with a bat, a rusty chainsaw, or a makeshift ax. There’re no firearms in Dying Light 2, supplies are scarce, and you can’t repair weapons – don’t get too attached!
Your character, Aiden, is looking for her long-lost sister one of the last human refugees in the world. A zombie plague turned Earth into a wasteland, and you can explore it solo or with up to three additional players in co-op.
The setting opens up a story and gameplay that becomes very challenging, very fast. Dying Light 2 is a first-person action-adventure RPG. You fight with makeshift melee weapons and bows, gather resources, and craft supplies, and make path-altering choices.
- Developer: Crytek
- Publisher: Crytek
- Release Date: August 2019
- Platform:Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Hunt: Showdown is an FPS PvP title. Like DayZ, its pace is slow, and its shooting mechanics are incredibly tough. Overall, it’s a no-nonsense multiplayer shooter ideal for hardcore PvP fans.
As a Hunter, you enter a map as part of a 2-player team or against the other 10 players. The goal is to find the bounty, a powerful monster that yields powerful rewards. If you kill the bounty, you can escape through the exit point and take the prize, like a more powerful weapon.
However, you can die from enemy fire or other NPC monsters. And if this happens, you lose all of your loot as well. The game’s rules and inaccurate weapons turn it into a game of stealth, tactics, and old-school shooting -the setting is 1899’s Louisiana.
- Developer: Endnight Games
- Publisher: Endnight Games
- Release Date: April 2018
- Platform:Windows, Xbox
The Forest is a survival/craft action-adventure game in an open-world setting. It doesn’t have PvP but it has a co-op aspect (up to 8 players) and a story to follow.
You play as the only survivor of a plane crash, lost in a mysterious jungle. You find the jungle inhabitants are humanoid mutants that marked you as the enemy. The goal is to escape back to society.
Before that, though, you must face the wildlife, the mutants, hunger, thirst, the weather, and more. So, the gameplay loop revolves around exploring a dangerous jungle for resources and then using the loot to craft your gear and build your base.
Don’t Starve Together
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Publisher: Klei Entertainment
- Release Date: April 2016
- Platform:Windows, PS3, PS4, PSVita, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, macOS X, Linux, iOS, Android
Don’t Starve Together is the multiplayer expansion for Don’t Starve. That means it allows you to play the 2013 campaign with a party of six players. So, this is a co-op survival crafting adventure.
The plot follows Wilson, a scientist. He’s lost in The Constant, a surreal parallel world that looks, feels, and sounds similar to a Tim Burton animated movie. Wilson’s goal is going back home.
Alongside your friends, you’re to gather resources to eat or craft bases and medical supplies. You also have to manage your mental health and combat the monsters. The trick is that the game doesn’t guide you in any way, so you must discover its mechanics and quests on your own.
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: September 2011
- Platform:Windows, macOS X, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
You’re caught in the middle of an outbreak on a tropical island. The goal is to survive for as much as you can. You can do this alone or as part of a 4-player team.
The game presents an open-world, first-person action survival game. Its combat mostly relies on melee weapons, kicks, cracks, slices, and visceral effects.
Then, the map is vast and includes various locations. Apart from the sea, there’s also a deserted city, beaches, highlands, mountains, and more. During your exploration, you’ll also uncover the story of the zombie outbreak.
Back 4 Blood
- Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
- Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: October 2021
- Platform:Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
Turtle Rock Studios was Valve South until 2010. As Valve South, they created Left 4 Dead. They delivered Back 4 Blood, the spiritual successor to the old-school zombie shooter many years later, as an independent studio.
Like L4D, it’s a co-op zombie FPS survival shooter. You can play the entire campaign online (with three additional players) or with AI bots. The game’s AI system (“Game Director”) will adjust your experience on each run to keep you on your toes.
You have eight customizable “Cleaners,” each with a set of weapons and skills. Then, you play around with “Cards,” which are modifiers for the game, and your further replays. Lastly, you have to manage health, ammo, stamina, and copper currency.
- Developer: Stunlock Studios
- Publisher: Stunlock Studios
- Release Date: March 2022 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows
V Rising trades zombies for vampires, and first-person shooting for isometric action-RPG action. It sounds like a stretch, but it features a familiar and refined survival loot.
At night, you can explore an open world for combat, leveling up, and looting. You move with a WASD controller scheme, which means you need to aim and shoot your active skills. Then, you can modify these skills by unlocking powers or using different weapons.
But when the Sun rises, you should be building your base, under a roof. The goal is becoming a vampire lord, and you can loot, build, and craft to reach the tasks. However, the servers can hold up to 10 players, and they may play with you or raid your castle for your stuff.