What are the best apocalyptic games? Taking a glimpse at far-flung, ruinous futures is compelling, not least because it makes us confront just how humanity would succeed or fail when civilization decides to crumble around our ears. When it comes to video games, we find ourselves generously spoiled with not just the quality of post apocalyptic offerings, but the sheer variety of them too. So without further ado, these are the best apocalyptic games on Steam that you can buy right now.
The Best Post Apocalyptic Games On Steam
Though on first glance Sony Bend’s open world zombie shooter would seem to err towards the usual zombie mashing fare, Days Gone separates itself from the pack by introducing a level of spectacle not usually associated with the genre. Cast as Deacon St. John, a grizzled drifter travelling across a broken Pacific Northwest looking for a reason to live after losing his wife, players must scavenge supplies, confront violent gangs and attempt to stem the flow of the undead as the narrative begins to reveal the genesis behind the outbreak. With hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time that terrifyingly flood the landscape combined with the thrill of riding a massive motorbike across a vividly rendered open-world, Days Gone is the narrative driven, open-world zombie mashing extravaganza that you’ve always wanted.
Fallout: New Vegas
Widely and rightly regarded as the best Fallout game ever made, Fallout: New Vegas boldly transplants the series into the degenerate dust bowl of (Las) New Vegas where a ruling despot and rival gangs have essentially turned Sin City into a quagmire of violence and betrayal.
Anchored by some tremendously written characters, plotlines and proudly boasting a pitch black streak of comedy courtesy of developer Obsidian Entertainment, Fallout: New Vegas still remains one of the very best apocalyptic games that you can buy right now.
Put in charge of the last city on Earth in the midst of a frosty apocalypse that has rendered large swathes of the planet uninhabitable, Frostpunk is all about managing your modest, close-knit society to ensure that they survive the seemingly endless winter by any means possible. In a world stuffed with no good moral choices, Frostpunk is all about achieving a level of survivability that is often at odds with your own moral compass, all the while trying to innovate and embrace new technology to ensure that your city thrives long into the future.
With a number of dynamic story scenarios and a wide variety of customisable scenarios to boot, Frostpunk is a thoughtful post apocalyptic offering that will keep you busy for the weeks and months to come.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Eschewing the usual scorched earth and frosty tundras that often tend to permeate post apocalyptic settings, Horizon Zero Dawn instead envisions a verdant, lush world where nature has started to regain her domain and humanity finds itself pushed to fringes of the planet as it deals with an insurgent machine menace.
A third-person, open-world adventure RPG with style and flair to spare, Horizon Zero Dawn roundly succeeds in providing players with a rollicking post-apocalyptic yarn underpinned by some incredible visuals and tremendously versatile and satisfying combat to boot.
A card carrying member of the club of movie tie-in games that aren’t face-palmingly awful, Mad Max comes from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios and more than does justice to its source material. Putting players in the ragged, strappy boots of the titular mad lad, Mad Max is a hyper violent third-person open world adventure that has the apocalyptic aussie driving across a parched hellscape, cracking skulls, ramming thugs off the road and upgrading vehicles in the pursuit of an apparently mythical paradise.
Aesthetically drawing heavily on 2015’s superb Mad Max: Fury Road movie, Mad Max is a hugely underrated post apocalyptic game that demands your attention.
Completely different from any of the other post-apocalyptic games in this feature, Nuclear Throne is a top-down, roguelike shooter with an abundance of charm. Rather than putting players in control of some rugged survivor or armed-to-the-teeth mercenary, Nuclear Throne instead asks that you provide agency to different mutated blobs that each have their own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities.
The kicker however, is that as you progress through the game you unlock special temporary mutations, such as extra health, the ability to explode corpses and more that all allow players to shape their own play style with aplomb. Absolutely drenched in a ‘one more go’ vibe, Nuclear Throne remains to this day a superb post apocalyptic yarn that is both surprisingly sophisticated and also immediately gratifying.
This War Of Mine
Rather than thrusting a weapon into the hands of the player or otherwise blessing them with a talent for murdering other folk with reckless abandon, This War of Mine instead approches the aftermath of an apocalypse-feeling war in a different way. Putting players in charge of a band of vulnerable civilians against the backdrop of a civil war that has decimated their neighbourhood and killed many of their friends, This War of Mine tasks players with not only keeping their ragtag band alive, but happy too.
Make too many immoral decisions in the pursuit of survival and soon your friends will abandon you, or worse still, become depressed and eventually pass away. This War of Mine is a relentlessly grim post apocalyptic survival offering that is as enjoyable and deceptively deep as it is harrowing to experience.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Though the notion of a third-person looter cover shooter isn’t necessarily a fresh one, the post apocalyptic setting of Tom Clancy’s The Division allows Ubisoft’s offering to be more than the sum of its parts. Unfolding in a snow mottled New York City struggling to recover from a widespread chemical weapon attack, Tom Clancy’s The Division depicts a picturesque but partially ruined take on the Big Apple, with the scars of warfare between local gangs evident everywhere from Times Square to Central Park and all the streets in-between.
A handsomely made cover shooter with a decent progression system that is best enjoyed with friends, Tom Clancy’s The Division certainly makes a stand as one of the better post-apocalyptic games available.