10 Survival Games to Look Forward to in Steam Next Fest 2023

Here’s your chance to preview and demo the latest survival games in development.

If you have been following Steam Next Fest, you know that survival gamers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to new survival games. While what might be called “classic survival games” may be a bit thinner picking, other genres have stepped in to fill the gaps in droves. Currently, colony simulators and city builders seem to be quite the flourishing themes.

Whether you are keeping an eye on a specific title, are looking for some new survival games to play, or are just curious about what’s coming next for the genre, we’ve gathered a list of titles that caught our eye. So, without further fanfare, here are the ten survival games from Steam Next Fest we look forward to most.

  1. Homeseek
  2. Fatherhood
  3. Landnama
  4. Grand Emprise: Time Travel Survival
  5. Laysara: Summit Kingdom
  6. Jumplight Odyssey
  7. Norland
  8. SteamWorld Build
  9. Wizard with a Gun
  10. Gord

1. Homeseek

Homeseek - Home Screen

Starting off with a strong contender, Homeseek is a colony-sim city-builder set in a harsh apocalyptic desert. After emerging from a sealed bunker, players are tasked with directing the workflow of their survivors while providing for the community’s needs. However, this game’s main challenge in rebuilding society will be the lack of water. The world has been reduced to a radioactive desert, and it’s your job to rebuild.

In-Game Screen of Homeseek

The mechanical elements of the game function similarly to those of Frostpunk, and the emerging situation system seems to be taking a page from their book and rewriting it in their own style. The game’s graphical style, however, reminds us very much of a Mad Max-inspired world. Though the map itself is still being fleshed out, the graphical chops of this title have us looking forward to a well-developed and thematic story.

2. Fatherhood

Homescreen of Fatherhood

An entry that seems to have flown mostly under the radar, Fatherhood is a story-focused side-scrolling survival game set in a city undergoing a revolution. You play as Basir, a father with a hazy past struggling to fend for himself and protect and care for his blind daughter amidst the evolving conflict. Though the blocky graphical style may seem goofy initially, this game quickly displays its darker overtones.

In-Game Screen of Fatherhood

Though clearly inspired graphically and mechanically by This War of Mine, the devs also mentioned this game took inspiration from games like The Last of Us and A Plague Tale. The idea and style reminded us of UNDYING, and we hope the developers consider the lessons learned from that title.

3. Landnama

Homescreen of Landama

Stepping into a bit less stressful territory, Landnama is an interesting take on a colony-sim that centers around leading a clan of Vikings to survive and thrive in a new land. However, the most interesting aspect of this idea is the integration of a tiled map system. Players will need to learn how to find and take advantage of various tiles and their features to build, find resources, and expand their city.

In-Game Screen of Landnama

Though games involving Vikings are typically more violent, Landnama titles itself as a bloodless survival game, and players will focus more on gathering food than defending themselves from enemies. This title might be worth a look for those itching for a more casual and cozy survival experience.

4. Grand Emprise: Time Travel Survival

Homescreen of Grand Emprise: Time Travel Survival

Grand Emprise: Time Travel Survival is a graphically stunning first-person survival game amazingly developed by just one person. This is a game focused on the concept of time travel survival, meaning players will supposedly be traveling between various time periods and facing off against the different challenges and threats that come with them.

In-Game Screen of Grand Emprise: Time Travel Survival

Conceptually, this game appears very similar to titles such as Ark: Survival Evolved, especially considering its graphical style and dinosaur-wrangling gameplay. The blend between background elements and interactable objects is seamless, even to the point of potentially harming the experience. With this title, we’re hoping for the ability to survive in the dinosaur, medieval, and space eras in the same game.

5. Laysara: Summit Kingdom

Homescreen of Laysara: Summit Kingdom

Laysara is another of the plethora of city builders we are getting to see at Next Fest. What makes this title different from the rest, however, is its focus on a mountainside civilization. Players will not only be tasked with managing the needs of their citizens but must also carefully manage space, create terraces, and otherwise deal with the logistical challenges of building civilization at an angle.

In-Game Screen of Laysara: Summit Kingdom

In addition to the day-to-day challenges of expansion and management, players will also need to prepare for inevitable disasters such as mudslides and avalanches that will eventually strike. All-in-all, Laysara is shaping up to be a fun, interesting, and beautiful addition to the genre.

6. Jumplight Odyssey

Homescreen of Jumplight Odyssey

This is one title that really stands out from the crowd. Jumplight Odyssey is a space colony-sim styled like an 80’s sci-fi anime. The incredible graphical style, impressive voice acting, and overall coherence between the story and objectives make this one of the most fascinating games in the bunch.

In-Game Screen of Jumplight Odyssey

Style aside, this game puts players in the boots of “Princess Euphora,” captain of a colonial spaceship searching for the fabled “Forever Star.” Players must manage their ship, fend off enemies, explore systems, and care for individual crew members. The unique needs and backstory behind each member of your starship’s crew are what really makes this game promising, and we hope it turns out to be just as impressive as what the developers have shown us with their demo.

7. Norland

Homescreen of Norland

Norland is a self-titled “story generation strategy” game that functions very much like another colony-sim. This game puts players in control of a group of royals required to survive and build a thriving kingdom from little more than some basic supplies and the strength of their subjects.

In-Game Screen of Norland

This all probably sounds familiar, but what makes this game unique is its integration of a dramatic and ongoing storyline based entirely on the interaction between the player and the random events that occur over time. The best way to describe the overall style of this title is a medieval RimWorld, but we will have to wait and see if Norland is worthy of that title.

8. SteamWorld Build

Homescreen of SteamWorld Build

A light-hearted colony-builder survival game set in the old west. Instead of managing a bunch of rugged cow folk, players will care for a cast of robotic workers left behind on a desert planet. After finding a mysterious AI core, these robots follow the AI’s guidance and make their way to an old abandoned mineshaft to begin digging. The AI promises them there is a trove of ancient technology deep under the mine that holds the key to their escape from the planet.

In-Game Screen of SteamWorld Build

Not only does SteamWorld Build present a wonderfully original concept and setting, but the characters are fleshed out, the graphics look gorgeous, and the gameplay is varied between above and below-ground management. Even with just the demo to look at, we found ourselves getting attached to our quirky robot characters and the world they inhabit. For players who may be feeling bogged down by identical colony sims, this one might be the breath of fresh air you are looking for.

9. Wizard with a Gun

Homescreen of Wizard with a Gun

Devolver Digital’s upcoming survival hybrid is an interesting concept, to be sure. Wizard with a Gun is an isometric shooter filled with loot, monsters, screens of bullets, and ingrained survival mechanics. Players are tasked with climbing “the tower” and finding a way to stop the mysterious forces of chaos before the world ends. What on Earth does all that mean? We have no idea, but we kind of like that.

In-Game Screen of Wizard with a Gun

As wacky as the concept is, the gameplay is nothing to scoff at. WWAG combines a top-down shooter with complex RPG systems to cast spells, improve gear, and essentially create your ideal gunslinger-wizard. Additionally, crafting and gathering mechanics grant another layer to the world beyond just a battlefield. We’ve been waiting on this for a while, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the final release.

10. Gord

Homescreen of Gord

Finally, at the top of our list, we have Gord. Gord is a fascinating mix between an RTS and a Colony-Sim. Players will be thrust into the dark, dangerous forests of a northern kingdom and made stewards over one of the native tribes of the area. Empowered by the ruthless king, players must manage their settlement, fight terrifying monsters, and deal with whatever wickedness seeps out from the dark forests as they exploit the land and search for gold.

In-Game Screen of Gord

Gord is absolutely dripping with a unique style, both graphical and narrative. Set in a world inspired by the grim and violent mythos of Scandinavian folklore, this game reminds us heavily of the atmosphere of The Witcher, and we are completely in love with the idea. Colonists can go mad, suffer from curses, die from disease, and, of course, be eaten by horrific forest creatures. For the story, worldbuilding, and style, this is easily one of our most anticipated survival games on the list.

It’s time to try these survival games yourself!

Probably the greatest part of Steam Next Fest is the addition of a playable demo for every game involved. That means you can check out any of the entries on this list for yourself to get a feel for them before you decide what games are worth following. Not only that, but many developers are including surveys and feedback opportunities where you can help them improve and tell them what you think.

We’ll be right beside you doing the same thing, and will likely be covering many of these games once they release, so be sure to keep an eye on our Reviews to see what’s new.

Aaron Van Dyck's avatar

About Aaron Van Dyck

Aaron Van Dyck is a thriller novelist with a passion for survival games and exploration. He started writing at the age of 13 and has always been drawn to the sense of self-reliance and freedom found in open worlds. An avid urban explorer and RPG enthusiast, he enjoys dungeon crawling and has a particular love for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry 5, and Cataclysm: DDA. He's also a fan of shooters and action games with immersive stories and unique monsters to encounter.

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