Post-apocalyptic games show us a glimpse of future if we don’t behave as humanity. I for one, don’t wanna end up on a post-apocalyptic world in real life. However, it’s one of the coolest settings in video games. So, what are the best post-apocalyptic games to play in 2023? Ranked top 20 below.
Are we closer to cyberpunk or post-apocalyptic world in real life? Only time will tell…
Anyways, here are the 20 post-apocalyptic games you must play:
1. Half Life Series
Half-life is a legend, a cult classic series. Almost everyone played or heard about Half-Life. It’s a game in which you’ve been fighting against aliens, mutations, and corrupt forces.
In essence, Half Life is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic game. Aliens called “combine” invaded the earth and won the Seven Hour War. Entire forces of world defeated by Combine forces in 7 hours. And now we’re playing in a post-war world… Gordon Freeman and Alyx are the resistance. All you do in Half-Life is to fight against Combine for freedom.
All in all, Half Life is the best post-apocalyptic franchise ever. If you’re young and never played Half Life before, you’re missing huge.
2. Fallout Franchise
Fallout franchise gives the best and most realistic post-apocalyptic feeling, especially the New Vegas. It’s a franchise solely focused on post-apocalyptic genre.
In Fallout, there are vaults (nuclear shelters) and a post-apocalyptic world because of the nuclear war during cold-war era. All Fallout games start when the dwellers emerge out from a vault to the post-nuclear world.
Half-Life might be the best post-apocalyptic game. But Fallout is most definitely best post-apocalyptic RPG. So, if you don’t mind the outdate graphics, Fallout: New Vegas (2010) is where you should start playing the franchise.
3. The Last of US
Fallout is a super popular post-apocalyptic game that is featuring zombies, and rich story. It’s so popular that you can watch its TV series on HBO. After all, Last of US game won over 200 game of the year awards.
In a collapsed civilization, where infected and hardened survivors run wild, Joel, a smuggler, is hired to get 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone. However, what started as a small job quickly turned into a brutal cross-country journey.
4. Mad Max
Mad Max (1979) was one of the earliest mainstream post-apocalyptic movies. It’s an ancient movie, but also a cult classic. So, if you like post-apocalyptic worlds and or Mad Max universe, you better watch the cult classic trilogy!
Anyway, Mad Max the game (2015) is a post-apocalyptic open-world game featuring nonstop action. You can expect vehicular combat, gun combat, and hand-to-hand combat from Mad Max. Basically, it’s all combat for the resources such as oil, water, and food.
5. Metro Franchise
Metro is a post-apocalyptic video game franchise that is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro novels. Needless to say, the game has a rich story and expert writing.
Story goes like this, in 2013 nuclear war destroys the world. Air is now poisonous therefore people went underground.
You’re in Moscow, living in the underground Metros, safe from poisonous air. However, there are bunch of factions controlling the different areas of metros. Also, there are mutants…
Chernobylite is one of the greatest post-apocalyptic games released in recent years. I’m really surprised that it’s not popular enough. It really sucks that it’s underrated.
It’s a survival / horror set in the Chernobyl zone 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster. The game is not only about the mutants either. There is a sci-fi element to it. So, you’ll be facing mutants, factions, anomalies, and the paranormal.
7. Days Gone
Get your crossbow, ride your bike, kill zombies, and feel like Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. That’s what the Days Gone is all about!
Days Gone is set in a zombie infested world two years after a devastating global pandemic. As an outlaw biker, you have your bike, guns, and skills to survive in an environment like that.
8. Dying Light 2 Stay Human
Dying Light 2 is currently the most popular post-apocalyptic zombie game. If you like killing zombies in the most creative ways, get Dying Light 2 asap. It also has co-op option, so, you can have some hack & slash fun with your buddies.
It’s also a parkour game which works very well with the zombie games. Being chased by predator zombies and outrunning them is thrilling.
9. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
The game is set in an alternate universe where a second massive explosion happens at Chernobyl in year 2006. Then, society collapses, mutants run wild, and factions seize power.
In the game, you’re a scavenger, a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. exploring mutant ridden wasteland for artifacts.
10. Death Stranding
Death Stranding, latest masterpiece of Hideo Kojima. It’s a game set in the future where a mysterious event known as the Death Stranding has opened a doorway between the world of living and the world of dead. Of course, as a result, grotesque creatures started roaming the world.
Your mission is to deliver hope to humanity by connecting the last survivors of a decimated America. So, don’t expect high action, combat, and hack & slash. Some players make fun of Death Stranding by saying it’s a delivery simulator because of that. But the story, atmosphere, and characters are brilliant.
Frostpunk is an amazing game mixing bunch of genres such as city builder, colony sim, survival, and post-apocalypse. You see where this is going right?
In Frostpunk, you’re the leader of last settlement of humanity. The world is re-experiencing ice age, and you must keep your people warm, fed, healthy, and somewhat happy. Expect to make hardest decisions…
Check out the list of post-apocalyptic management games for the games like Frostpunk.
12. Wasteland 3
Wasteland is a cool RPG franchise set in post-apocalyptic world. It’s not nearly mainstream as the Fallout franchise only because Wasteland is using isometric camera. Other than that, Wasteland has great story, amazing RPG elements, and the real deal atmosphere you expect from post-apocalyptic games.
You don’t need to play earlier games to get into Wasteland. The latest ring of the franchise Wasteland 3 released in 2022 which is offering a great experience for both Wasteland veterans and the newcomers.
13. Lisa: The Painful
Lisa: The Painful is about a broken man, and his miserable journey. You assume the role of Brad Armstrong, a balding, middle-aged man with troubled past is on the search of his adoptive daughter.
The state of world in LISA: The Painful is pretty similar to the Mad Max. There will be hard and permanent choices you’ll have to make along the way. But beware, your choices will affect both your own-wellbeing and your party members.
All in all, LISA: The Painful is one of the highest rated games on steam. Therefore, you should play it. I would describe the game as the perfect mix of fun, quirkiness, and sadness.
14. Death Trash
First things first, Death Trash is an early access game. But it’s not that of a bad thing. The game is released in 2021 and being constantly improved. Also, you can access its free demo version via Steam. Then you can decide whether you want to buy it or not.
About the game, Death Trash is an RPG mix between post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk genres. As a fan of both, I can’t recommend Death Trash enough.
BEST CYBERPUNK GAMES < Death Trash like games.
The story of Death Trash is obviously set in the future, but not obviously set in a distant world. A world where cosmic horrors long for humanity but meet punks with shotguns.
15. The Last Stand: Aftermath
The Last Stand: Aftermath is a rogue-lite action adventure featuring zombies.
Player character is infected, that means you. The player character in it is infected. So, your time is limited. You’ll eventually die either by zombie attack or from the virus rampaging through your body. Of course, death is not the end. You simply take over the role of another survivor and play from there with the perks / upgrades you’ve unlocked before.
16. Tunguska: The Visitation
Here is a post-apocalyptic game inspired by the historical Tunguska event (1908). For those who never heard of it before, 2-megaton explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia. Which is end up flattening an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2. The explosion is generally attributed to a meteor air burst.
Tunguska: The Visitation is a slow-paced top-down survival RPG. You investigate a mysterious “gold rush” in Tunguska while facing deadly traps, infectious mutants, bandits, and armed militias.
17. The Age of Decadence
Roman Empire meets post-apocalyptic world. That’s The Age of Decadence guys and gals. The game is set in an alternative universe where low magic exists in a post-apocalyptic world.
In essence, The Age of Decadence is an old school role-playing game. It’s all about decisions and consequences. You can even complete the game without killing a single being. Because words can be as powerful as weapons in The Age of Decadence. That’s why it’s so popular even though it’s graphics, gameplay, and UI are average. Can’t say the same thing about its story though. Its writing is excellent.
Primordia is a point & click post-apocalyptic adventure which is set in a world strewn with cast-off machines. You play as Horatio Nullbuilt, a stoic robot who values his solitude and independence. Well, I though all robots were stoic by nature…
Anyways, as you search for energy, you’ll find yourself in a dazzling city of Metropol. Then, everything you know about reality changes. Now you’re also looking for your origins and the knowledge about legendary humans who walked the earth.
19. Into the Radius
Into the Radius is a single-player survival shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world. Since it’s a VR only game, those who don’t have VR equipment can skip this one. It’s the only VR game on this list anyway.
In the game you explore the Pechorsk zone filled with surreal landscapes and dangerous anomalies. It’s that way because of an incident happened in 1987, the ‘Pechorsk Event’ changed everything for the quiet Soviet mining town.
20. Scout: An Apocalypse Story
Scout: An Apocalypse Story is a completely free-to-play interactive novel (text-based RPG) available on itch.io web for both download and online play. Check out other text based RPGs like Scout here.
It has been over a decade since a worldwide natural disaster obliterated the natural planet and decimated human civilization. Though there are small groups of humans still alive. You are a 24-year old scout living in a small community on the edge of the Orange Plains.
Choose your name, pronouns, appearance, and scouting team position. Then, the game will progress differently according to decisions you make along the way.
60,000+ words of pure post-apocalyptic story awaits!