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5 Best Survival Games on Nintendo Switch (2024)

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Best Survival Games on Nintendo Switch

Contrary to popular belief, the Nintendo Switch isn’t without its fair share of survival games to mull over. You’ll find a whopping variety of survival games on the console, whether it's a feat to survive the scarcity of the wilderness or one that takes you on a wild adventure exploring treacherous lands. 

Survival games, though not meant to be a walk in the park, can, in fact, pack several hours’ worth of fun, enough to keep wanting more. In that sense, you’ll want to have the best survival games on Nintendo Switch this year locked and loaded for the next couple of months.

5. Stranded Sails: Explorer of the Cursed Islands

Stranded Sails - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

If you’re looking for a casual, relaxing survival game, you may want to consider Stranded Sails: Explorer of the Cursed Islands. It casts you on a mysterious island, stranded after an unfortunate shipwreck. The game is perfect for beginners in the genre, holding your hand in the early stages of the game. Plus, it never takes itself too seriously, often embodying an overall cutesy look. 

At its core, Stranded Sails: Explorer of the Cursed Islands is a farming and exploration game. You source ingredients in the environment and craft the supplies you need. You also cook to survive while watching out for enemies. Moreover, the game doesn’t require you to stick to one area. You’ll need to venture out into the unknown, searching for supplies and other survivors. In the end, you’ll need to work together to escape the island.

Granted, Stranded Sails: Explorer of the Cursed Islands can get dull for fans of high-octane survival gigs. Its story also takes some time to sink in and push you to explore further. Still, adventuring into the unknown has some level of excitement. Plus, you’re rewarded for your efforts in combing the tropical islands with the finest-toothed comb.

4. Minecraft

Official Minecraft Trailer

Minecraft needs no introduction, having lived through most console generations. Its survival mode remains an instant pull, with top-notch resource gathering and crafting mechanics. You’re cast into a random world with nothing to your name. To survive, you must scour out into the unknown, collecting resources to sustain your basic needs. 

Of course, Minecraft’s free-form building DNA has been translated here. It’s perhaps the most defined building survival experience, with limitless possibilities. Everything, from small camps to massive fortresses, is possible here. So is building ships and even spacecraft. 

You need a safe haven to shield away monsters who lean more on the hilarious side than the creepy side. You also need to replenish your food resources to stay alive. Setting up redstone traps can help veer off enemies. If they do find a way into your home, you must fight them off.

3. Subnautica

Subnautica Cinematic Trailer

As the only survivor of a spaceship crash on an alien planet, Subnautica tasks you with exploring the oceanic planet for resources, watching out for dangerous monsters and perils that await. You sure will be terrified of what’s to come, with both land and sea packing quite frightening encounters. Yet, since the world is expansive and chockful of activities, you can’t help wandering off into the unknown. 

Most survival games struggle to craft compelling stories. Subnautica, however, has compelling arcs that motivate you to find out more. It helps that the visuals depicting the underwater environs are stunning. Swimming around the sea feels surreal. You steer submarines in the deep waters and discover exotic species. Nothing compares, though, to coming face-to-face with some of the giant sea’s horrific predators.

2. No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky Nintendo Switch Review & Performance!

Alternatively, check out No Man’s Sky, a space romp across an infinitely procedurally generated universe. Everything you imagine is possible to do in space is featured here. You can race other spacecraft, build and establish thriving colonies, trade with foreign territories, conquer non-compliants, and so on. The overall goal, though, is to survive the harsh realities of No Man’s Sky together.

No Man’s Sky is perfect for gamers looking for ‘more of.’ It provides base-building gameplay alongside first- and third-person flight combat. You even engage in minor puzzles, culminating in a seemingly endless adventure among the stars. With upgrades and loot, you can sharpen your skills as you progress. It’ll come in handy when facing hostile sentinels that shoot on sight. 

But the best experiences in the game aren’t found in combat per se, but rather in diving headfirst into exploring strange planets, donning full-blown civilizations and experiencing exotic life. You never quite know what to expect, whether rich stories, resources, or danger. Spend hundreds of hours in it, and there’ll still be lots of relics, lost technology, outposts, and more to discover.

1. Terraria

Terraria Official Trailer

Terraria offers a change of pace from the games on this list. It provides a 2D procedurally generated world to explore, craft, build, paint, and fight various creatures. While you can jump into the sandbox-style world solo, it’s much more fun to explore and build with friends. You’ll not only trek deep down into treacherous dungeons but also emerge to the surface to construct limitless possibilities. Terraria’s world is your canvas, with the only limit being your imagination. 

Whether you prefer smooth sailing or a harrowing experience, Terraria’s various modes have you covered. You can play the Classic or Journey modes to fight fewer enemies. However, the Expert or Master modes have more to offer, from more formidable enemies to more loot and vendors. Terraria has a lot of similarities to Minecraft. However, it provides more combat and adventure that proves just as satisfying as fun. Plus, you unravel a compelling story, which, infused with intense battling, offers a stronger drive to craft and survive.

In the end, beating the stronger enemies you face with the hard-earned tools and supplies garnered over your playthrough invokes the most rewarding sense of accomplishment; you just can’t help but embark on more Terraria events.

So, what's your take? Do you agree with our list of the best survival games on Nintendo Switch in 2024? Are there more survival games on Nintendo Switch we should know about? Do let us know over on our socials here.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.