Bohemia Interactive’s title has been growing in popularity since the last year. It’s one of the top entries of the survival multiplayer PvP shooter genre.
After a five-year-long Early Access timeline, the publisher released the game in December 2019. It’s available for Xbox One, PS4, and Windows with over 20K daily players on Steam.
It’s an incredibly popular game with a post-apocalyptic zombie setting. It’s also a zombie shooter, an open-world, and a simulator. Overall, DayZ is many things, and we have to think carefully before choosing other games like DayZ you would like.
Selecting Games Like DayZ
DayZ is an entry of one of the most popular gaming genres, the survival PvP shooter. Yet, this is a spin-off of the classical PvP multiplayer shooter. It means we can add games from the broader genre as well.
Even so, selecting games like DayZ requires us to understand its elements. Therefore, we believe the games DayZ fans would like to feature a mix of the following aspects:
- Genre: DayZ is a multiplayer, open-world survival shooter with zombies, crafting, and realistic elements.
- Setting: The game has a fictional map inspired by Soviet locations. It’s a huge, open-world map with 230 Km2 of space, various landscapes, real-life locations, NPC enemies, and more. In particular, the land is overrun with zombies.
- Multiplayer: Each lobby can hold up to 60 people. You can play alone, you can log in with your friends, or you can team up with strangers.
- Permanent death: Whenever you die in the world, you lose everything you have collected.
- Goal: The game is a free-roam survival title. Your goal is to survive for as long as you can.
- Survival stats: To survive, you need to manage hunger, thirst, cold, and diseases.
- Crafting mechanics: The game also includes a complex crafting system. You gather resources by scavenging and hunting. Then, you can build shelters, bases, vehicles, weapons, weapon mods, and more.
- Weather: Lastly, the game also has an erratic weather system, a day-night cycle, and dangerous wildlife.
Overall, DayZ is an unpredictable survival game. It challenges you to survive as long as you can on land where the weather, NPCs, zombies, other players, disease, hunger, thirst, and cold may kill you.
It’s a no-nonsense multiplayer PvP, a hardcore experience for hardcore fans. Games like DayZ should be similarly challenging, unpredictable, and, if possible, full of zombies.
Games Like DayZ
State of Decay 2
- Developer: Undead Labs
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: May 2018
- Platform:Windows, Xbox One
State of Decay 2 is playing a DayZ with a story and friendly co-op instead. This is also an open-world survival game with a post-apocalyptic zombie setting. Overall, this is a unique zombie sandbox.
You play as interchangeable survivors, looking to rebuild civilization. Although it has a story to follow, it’s up to you to choose which paths to take, who to recruit to your team, and where to build your community. Nevertheless, the campaign goes for 10 hours, but the free-roam community work can last forever.
You play in third-person open gameplay that includes makeshift firearms and melee weapons. You have to explore the world for loot and resources for your growing community. On top of that, you select survivors to go on scavenging tuns for ammo and the supplies you need. Lastly, there’s a hefty crafting system to create weapons, ammo, supplies, structures, town systems, and more.
Over time, the game becomes quite addictive. The loop is about feeding your shelters and bases with enough supply to keep running. But there’s another part: you also have to deal with people wanting to move to your town.
Lastly, your survivors have special traits and skills, so no community is alike. That becomes even more complex with co-op support, as you can visit your friend’s communities and help them thrive for rewards. Alternatively, you can play a 4-player “siege defense” mode against zombie hordes.
- 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. Moreover, it’s also an open-world multiplayer, survival PvP shooter with crafting mechanics.
There’re no zombies, though. Still, everything on the map, an island, wants you dead. There’re wild animals, NPC soldiers, as well as other players looking to take what you have. In particular, Rust maps can support up to 300 people.
There’s a permadeath mechanic, of course. You loot, collect resources and blueprints to craft. You can build shelters, bases, fortresses, power grids, vehicles, farms, choppers, weapons, armor, and almost anything else. However, the moment you die, you lose everything.
Then, the setting is procedurally generated, so the map will feel new every time you log into a new server. Moreover, there’re no checkpoints and no save points, so exploring for loot and combat is key.
That said, Rust has evolved greatly over the years. Many years ago, the game had zombies akin to DayZ, but the developers changed it for human NPCs. On top of that, there are also thirst and hunger systems, safe zones, tech trees, and more.
- Developer: The Indie Stone
- Publisher: The Indie Stone
- Release Date: November 2013 (Early Access)
- Platform:Windows, macOS, Linux
We choose Project Zomboid as our second pick because it’s also a zombie-infested world. It’s also a sandbox world with no quest markers and no end-goals. Moreover, it has a powerful LUA editor to customize the exact experience you want to play.
Similar to DayZ, the idea is surviving as long as you can. You’re a survivor, and you must loot houses and enemies to build your defenses and weapons. This happens as a third-person, isometric action-adventure survival craft game.
The setting is online, and it’s a persistent world. 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.
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’s real-time lighting, visibility, and light mechanics to help you sneak by enemies.
Lastly, the game’s crafting system allows you to create weapons, barricades, meals, farms, forts, and more. On top of that, you have to deal with boredom, hunger, thirst, diseases, and depression to survive.
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, and an arsenal of weapons.
The gameplay loop explores the world for loot, mines, and character progress. Then, use your loot to craft weapons, bases, and defenses akin to a tower defense game.
In particular, the crafting system includes weapons, clothes, tools, vehicles, armor, and more. There’re over 500 recipes, about 1,500 buildings, and over 800 items in the game. Also, you can build from the ground up or restore ruins and wreckage for yourself. The world is moddable, fully destructible.
Then, as you’d expect, you can work alone or work together with six additional friends. Again, the idea is to build up your fort and farms to survive enemy hordes. There’re over 50 unique zombies, each featuring unique behaviors and attacks.
Lastly, the game allows you to play in the campaign world or free-roam co-op randomly generated worlds. Either way, the game forces players to manage survival mechanics like 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. However, the setting and the mechanics keep evolving, as this is also an Early Access title.
First, there’s a big character creation screen. Then, the game gives players bulky character progression systems, plus tons of survival starts to manage.
Additionally, the game includes a comprehensive crafting system. You have to hunt and scavenge to craft your supplies, ammo, and weapons. There’s also 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. Even so, the map has 11 Km2 with plenty of sights to see.
Lastly, the game also features enemy NPCs. Aside from other players (up to 645 players per match), you have to face enemy zombies, mechs, and similar. SCUM is a complex multiplayer survival shooter, perfect as a step-up from DayZ.
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.
Here’s how it works. You customize PMC (Player-Made-Character) and join a lobby for a raid. Raids happen on various maps, and they can hold about seven players online, plus several enemy NPCs.
Once you enter the map, you have 30 minutes to collect as much loot as possible and then escape via the exit zone. Enemy NPCs and bosses can kill you, and other players can do as well. If this happens, your loot becomes for the taking.
Otherwise, you can take your treasures to your offline hideout, where you can craft weapons, armor, and gear. You can also trade your scraps for ammo and supplies with trader NPCs on the map.
Lastly, the shooting mechanics are as challenging as they come. It includes a hefty recoil system, bullet drop, localized damage, localized medical supplies, and more. It also has a character progression system across multiple tech trees.
Left 4 Dead 2
- Developer: Valve
- Publisher: Valve
- Release Date: November 2009
- Platform:Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Series, Linux, macOS X
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.
More importantly, the game has an AI that was beyond its tame. We’re talking about AI Director 2.0, a system that can procedurally change the experience to match your performance. The elements it controls include pathways, level layout, weather, objects, lighting, enemy spawn and population, effects, sounds, and OST. That means the game promises unique experiences every time you play.
But if you don’t want to play the campaign, the entry also includes a versus and survival modes. However, if you play the campaign, each one presents new enemies and new areas.
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. You get the idea: there’re no firearms in Dying Light 2.
See, you’re playing in a post-apocalyptic world. This fictional setting has suffered two outbreaks, so technology has mostly disappeared from the Earth.
Your character, Aiden, is a Pilgrim, a group who ventures from one human settlement to the next for shipments, messages, and trades. Aiden, though, is looking for her long-lost sister.
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, craft supplies, and make path-altering choices.
DayZ fans are also going to love its open world, as well as the full 4-player co-op support. Other players can join your campaign at any moment (and vice-versa) and play the story together.
- 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, also for hardcore fans.
As a Hunter, you enter a map as part of a 2-player team or against the other 11 players. The goal is finding 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. And there’s an extra catch: if you kill the bounty, every player will be able to find you on the map. So, Showdown players tackle each match with patience, careful positioning, and stealth.
More importantly, the game relies heavily on its audio design. Everything you, the monsters, and others do makes a sound. It’s up to you and others to identify these sounds and manage the noise you do. For example, a light gun could make less noise, but it can’t defeat enemies as fast as a stronger weapon.
Lastly, the setting is in Louisiana, 1895. You play across swamps, granaries, old towns, and similar. More importantly, you use old-school weapons with inaccurate aiming, slow reload times, and unreliable operations. Overall, Showdown is a challenging game, and we can only recommend it as a co-op experience.
- 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, though, but it does have a co-op aspect.
Moreover, it has 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 escaping back to society. Before that, though, you must face the wildlife, the mutants, hunger, thirst, weather, and more. So, the gameplay loop is about exploring a dangerous jungle for resources and then using the loot to craft your gear and build your base.
Along the journey, though, you’ll face the mutants. You have the freedom to engage in full-on combat or sneak by. Alternatively, you can stay far from them and take your time to chop trees, build camps, and start fires.
Lastly, the co-op mode allows you to play the entire campaign with up to 8 players. Others can join your match, or you can join other games anytime.
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.
The goal is going back home, which requires going deeper into the mystery and defeating a final villain. However, the world is dark, dangerous, grim, and full of monsters.
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 against the monsters. That said, the game has challenging mechanics and little pointers and tutorials. You start to play without any instructions, and it’s up to you and your friends to finish the game.
So, Don’t Starve Together it’s an easy recommendation for fans of survival open-world and open-ended games. There’re also monsters, a sweet art style, and some mechanics you’d recognize from Minecraft.
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: September 2011
- Platform:Windows, macOS X, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
Dead Island was a successful co-op zombie shooter on its release date, but its player base is dwindling. Even so, it’s worth a try, especially for DayZ fans.
You’re caught in the middle of an outbreak on a tropical island. The goal is surviving 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. That said, 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.
Lastly, Steam is currently selling a remastered version of the title. You can experience the classic game in full HD.
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.
We left it for last, though, as there’s not a lot of love around the game, and for good reasons. Like L4D, it’s a co-op zombie FPS survival shooter. But unlike L4D, it has complicated mechanics and mostly bland zombie designs.
Still, you can play the entire campaign online or with AI bots. And the campaign has its moments. It’s gory, fast, often humorous, and very explosive. Your team is fighting for humanity’s survival, and the goal is eliminating the Ridden to reclaim the world.
The setting is familiar, but some of the mechanics are not. First, 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.
Lastly, the game also has an AI system, the Game Director. It adjusts the experience to player actions by tweaking enemy diversity and challenges, layouts, objects, and more. Overall, it’s a good game, but L4D fans could feel something is wrong with it. DayZ fans, though, could find an equally punishing and unpredictable game.