If you haven’t spent the times of quarantine and social isolation completely cut off from the gaming world news, you might have heard something about a title named Valheim.

This early access game has been making rounds as one of the best-selling titles of early 2021. What is the phenomenon of Valheim, and why is everyone so crazy about an Early Access game? Is it the vast, open-world with distinct biomes and diverse enemies? Is it the gameplay, which blends exploration and survival?

The truth, as usual, is in the eye of the beholder. For now, we’ll focus on something a little bit different – games similar to Valheim. In this article, we’ll present the best titles that feature similar themes, mechanics, and/or both. So if you’re a fan of open, unrestrained exploration, survival, and Norse mythology, take a look at our selection of games like Valheim.

Games like Valheim

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What is Valheim?

Before we move on to the presentation of our list of games similar to Valheim, let’s take a closer look at what Iron Gate Studio’s title has to offer.

Valheim is an open-world survival game in which the player controls a Viking, who lost their lives on the field of battle.

Instead of sitting at the table of heroes in the halls of Valhalla, they are transported to Valheim, a prison for Odin’s enemies and other monstrosities, dubbed the Forsaken. The fallen Vikings sent there are tasked with defeating the beasts lurking in Valheim before they are granted entry to Valhalla.

The charm of Valheim lies in its straightforwardness. The player will find plenty of elements present in other games featuring elements of survival and crafting – building a base, collecting resources, exploring the open world of the game, and fighting enemies. So what makes Valheim so unique and successful enough to grant it the title of the 39th best-selling title of all time on Steam.

Perhaps it is the sheer expanse of the game world, which can be explored on foot or using a variety of craftable boats. Maybe it’s the multiplayer mode, which allows up to 9 people to work together through an online co-op in taking on the challenges of Valheim. Or perhaps it’s the Norse mythology theme, which had been on the rise for the past few years. Nevertheless, Valheim is an excellent game and a worthy representative of the open-world survival genre. Speaking of which…

Rust

PC
Release year:8 February 2018
Genre:survival
DeveloperFacepunch Studios
Game modesMultiplayer

The first title on our list shares a lot of features with Valheim. First of all, a vast, open-world setting. Second of all, the survival gameplay mechanics.

Thirdly, a multiplayer mode, in which the players can work together or against each other in order to overcome the odds given to them by the unforgiving world. All that’s missing is the Norse theme, and Facepunch Studios could sue the creators of Valheim for parroting their idea!

Rust - fighting

Luckily, Rust’s features make it unique enough to avoid a lengthy legal battle. In Facepunch Studios’ game, the player is dropped in the middle of an open-world arena, where they have to survive not only against the dangerous fauna and other players but also starvation, hypothermia, and other phenomena.

The game emphasizes crafting, which allows the player to create anything from a rudimentary torch to an expansive base. Frequent drops give the player access to more advanced tools and items, including weapons and vehicles. The game’s multiplayer-only – players can either work together as clans or fight against each other for every scrap in a true battle royale fashion. 

Key features
  • Expansive open-world environment
  • A large variety of craftable items
  • Survival mechanics that will push the player’s resourcefulness
  • Multiplayer-only gameplay puts the players against each other

ARK Survival Evolved

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
Release year:29 August 2017 (PC, PS4, XONE), 30 November 2018 (Switch)
Genre:action-adventure, survival
DeveloperStudio Wildcard
Game modessingle-player, multiplayer

It’s funny how most survival games have the player character wake up in an unknown place and immediately try to harvest everything within sight.

Valheim does it. Rust did it. And so does ARK: Survival Evolved, one of the most popular survival games on the market.

Ark survival video game cooperative game

Its commonalities with Valheim become apparent as soon as the player launches the title – the game pushes the player to craft items, build bases, and bend nature to their will in order to not die. Instead of Nordic monsters, there are dinosaurs. Strange, apparently alien, technology is scattered around the map.

Generally, everything is really, really weird. The only thing that isn’t weird is the gameplay. Like in Rust, the player has to keep an eye on their stats – hunger, thirst, general physical condition – to survive. Building shelter to avoid sunstrokes, searching for water to quench thirst and not die from dehydration, and hunting for meat-giving wildlife – these will be usual pastimes of the players who decide to take a trip to the world of ARK.

Key features
  • Explore the mysterious island and search for resources necessary to survive
  • Build shelter and weapons to fend off monsters lurking in the island’s woods
  • Tame wild dinosaurs and make them your loyal companions in exploration
  • Team up with other players and take on the challenges of ARK: SE together

Conan Exiles

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release year:8 May 2018
Genre:action-adventure, survival
DeveloperFuncom
Game modessinge-player, multiplayer

The fans of playing as a barbarian will appreciate what Conan Exiles has to offer. The game is set in the Exiled Lands, where all sorts of bandits and warlords fight over scarce resources.

In that respect, CE is similar to Valheim. Other similarities are found in its action-adventure/survival gameplay, in which the player has to keep up with their character’s stats to survive in the Exiled Lands.

Conan Exiles offers quite a few RPG mechanics, including the character progression system and quite an advanced character creator. The players can adjust the appearance of their in-game avatar in very intimate details.

An interesting mechanic is the religion system, which will determine how certain NPCs respond to the player’s character – followers of the same religion will be inclined more positively, while others might react with violence to the player’s blasphemous ways. Other than that, the game introduces a system of thralls – followers who grant different perks to the players growing forces. All in all, Conan Exiles is an interesting proposition for the fans of survival games with elements of RPG.

Key features
  • Welcome to Exiled Lands, where the mettle of men and women is tested
  • Survive against harsh conditions and even harsher enemies
  • Build your character and rise to glory among other warlords
  • Fight against NPCs and real players alike in online mode

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release year:27 August 2019 (PC), 6 December 2019 (PS4, XONE)
Genre:survival
DeveloperPanache Digital Games
Game modessingle-player

At first glance, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey might not have a lot to do with Valheim. You might miss the similarities even at the second, third, and fourth glances.

But the deeper you go into the game about a birth of a new species, the more you’ll realize that just like in Valheim, you are a part of a journey on a mythical scale. There’s a reason the subtitle uses the word “odyssey.”

In Panache Digital Games’ indie title, the player takes the fate of a clan of primates into their hands. The apes are initially skittish and simple-minded, concentrated only on their basic needs. But as the player explores the world of the game, the clan will grow not only in numbers but evolutional advancement.

Throughout the game, the player will be able to unlock various skills necessary to move onto the next stage of evolution – hunting, crafting, building shelter, etc. Witnessing the slow but steady growth of the clan into a brand new species is an unforgettable experience.

Key features
  • Lead the clan of apes towards the next step in their evolution
  • Learn new skills and expand your neural structure to make the next generation stringer
  • Explore the vast, prehistoric world and use its resources to keep the family safe

The Forest

PC
PlayStation 4
Release year:30 April 2018 (PC), 6 November 2018 (PS4)
Genre:survival horror
DeveloperEndnight Games
Game modessingle-player, multiplayer

After journeying in the past for a while, you might miss the convenience of the modern age. The internet, cell phones, and fast means of transportation are a true godsend when you need them most.

Unless you are the protagonist of The Forest and your plane crashed on a plateau, your phone is dead, and some alien-looking fell kidnapped your child. Bummer. Maybe the past wasn’t so bad after all?

the forest game

The Forest and Valheim feature similar mechanics of exploration, crafting, and constructing shelter. As the only survivor of the plane crash, the player must use anything at their disposal to survive in a very hostile environment and locate their abducted son.

Standing in their way will be not only cannibalistic natives and extraterrestrial visitors. The player will once again have to maintain the fullness of their meters – hunger, thirst, and health. There’s no point in rushing into battle with an empty stomach and malaria, right? Luckily the player won’t have to do it alone, as the game offers a multiplayer co-op mode for those who like to camp in spooky woods with friends.

Key features
  • You survived the plane crash – now you must survive in a mysterious forest.
  • Build shelters and craft items to stay alive
  • Explore the forest in search of your abducted son
  • Team up with other players and work together to complete the game

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

PC
PlayStation 4 & 5
Xbox One & Series X/S
Release year:10 November 2020, 12 November 2020 (PS5)
Genre:action-RPG
DeveloperUbisoft Montreal
Game modessingle-player

Finally, a game that not only matches Valheim in its gameplay mechanics but also setting. The newest installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise tackles the theme of Norse mythology and Viking invasions, mixing it with the usual AC lore.

In AC Valhalla, the player will be able to do a lot of Viking stuff, such as robbing, pillaging, and murdering, as well as singing songs and participating in drinking contests!

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla doesn’t change much in comparison to previous installments of the revamped franchise. However, what it does change is significant enough that the players who had given up on the series might want to give it another shot.

Enemy levels have been removed, character progression is now less tedious, and the overall gameplay focuses more on carefully choosing equipable skills than mindless grinding. Valhalla sees the return of the settlement mechanic, in which player gets to expand their home with new facilities to make additional profits. Combined with a well-written story and beautifully designed open-world environment, all this makes for one of the best Viking games currently available.

Key features
  • Experience the Viking life in all its glory
  • Conquer the shores of England in search of a new home for your clan
  • Participate in intense battles against the Britons
  • Relax in your settlement drinking and singing with your loyal kin

Grounded

PC
Xbox One & Series X/S
Release year:28 July 2020 (PC, XONE), 10 November 2020 (Series X/S)
Genre:survival
DeveloperObsidian Entertainment
Game modessingle-player, multiplayer

If you ever wondered what would be the gaming equivalent of movies “Ant Bully” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, then Obsidian Entertainment’s Early-Access game is your answer.

Grounded is a survival game, which by default makes it worthy of a place on our list. However, Valheim and Grounded share more than the genre they represent, as you will soon find out.

Grounded game

In Grounded, the player (or layers, as the game offers a 4-player co-op mode) is shrunk to the size of an ant must survive the ordeal of exploring their backyard to find the reasons for this unexpected downsizing. While fending off various animals – bees, spiders, etc. – the player will also have to look after their hydration and starvation stats. Nothing can be more unpleasant than passing out from thirst and becoming the dinner of a very hungry caterpillar!

Key features
  • Experience the feeling of being on the other and of the shoe.
  • Explore the open-world environment of your backyard and find a way of getting back to your regular size
  • Fend off bugs, insects, and other predators and stay fed and hydrated to survive the ordeal
  • Invite your friends to join you on a big/small adventure

Don’t Starve Together

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release year:21 April 2016
Genre:survival
DeveloperKlei Entertainment
Game modesmultiplayer

Don’t Starve Together is an answered prayer of the fans of Klei Entertainment’s survival game. It’s also an excellent game for the fans of Valheim, filled with exploration and survival mechanics that will satisfy the most demanding connoisseurs of the genre. 

Don't Starve Together - fighting

The premise of Don’t Starve Together is simple – take the mechanics of the original game and add multiplayer to it. DTS can be placed in several modes – Survival, Wilderness, and Endless. Each mode’s rules are different, giving the player a chance to find one that best suits their needs. A new feature added in DTS are ghosts, the revenants of deceased players who can haunt various items and locations. Good luck making it out of the woods alive with them roaming about!

Key features
  • Team up with other players and survive in the woods together
  • Choose one of three gameplay modes – Survival, Wilderness, and Endless
  • Gather resources, food, and water to make out of the ordeal alive
  • Haunt the woods as a revenant thanks to a new ghosts mechanic

Citadel: Forged With Fire

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release year:26 July 217 (Early Access)
Genre:MMO sandbox
DeveloperBlue Isle Studios, Virtual Basement LLC
Game modesmultiplayer

Citadel: Forged With Fire probably takes the cake on our list of games like Valheim for the sheer scale of the world and freedom of action it gives the player.

While it has a fantasy setting, similar to Valheim, Citadel is a more complex title full of intricate mechanics that fans of sandbox titles are definitely going to love.

In Forged With Fire, the player controls a novice magician thrown into a conflict between several kingdoms, vying for control over the land. And boy, what land it is. A 36-kilometer-square-wide map is open for players’ exploration, offering stunning vistas and plenty of nook and crannies hiding treasures and items of all kinds.

Gameplay-wise, the game is similar to The Elder Scrolls Online, with the player gaining experience, leveling up and forming clans with other players. A cherry on top is the castle building mechanic through which you can build and expand the headquarters of your newly formed clan.

Key features
  • Become the most powerful mage in the land
  • Learn new spells and use them to bend nature to your will
  • Form clans with other magicians and take on anyone who would dare to challenge your might

GreedFall

PC
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release year:10 September 2019
Genre:action-RPG
DeveloperSpiders
Game modessingle-player

The final item on our list is GreedFall, the game that could not have come out at a better time. Think about it – an action-action adventure title about an army of colonists oppressing the natives of a remote island?

A mercenary protagonist who can switch sides at any time, fulfilling both the white savior and traitorous colonizer? But let’s forget all that for a second and focus on what makes the game similar to Valheim. And there’s plenty of that.  Greedfall (2019)

GreedFall takes the player to a tropical island, where they can put their mercenary skills to use, fighting either on the side of various colonizing nations or helping the natives protect their land. Throughout the game, the player will meet various NPCs, interactions with which will define their standing among multiple factions.

Like in Valheim, in GreedFall the player will encounter a variety of enemies and bosses, both human (on colonizer and native side) and supernatural (various beasts inhabiting the island). To fight them, the player will be able to use different weapons and skills dependent on chosen class. All these features make GreedFall a title all the fans of Valheim – a game about conquering a mysterious land – will definitely appreciate.

Key features
  • Explore Teer Fradee, an uncharted island full of magic
  • Create your mercenary choosing their appearance, class and attributes
  • Pick your side in the conflict for the island’s resources
  • Encounter various enemies, including powerful magical beasts

One step closer to Valhalla

As you can see, there are plenty of games that offer similar or similar-ish gameplay as Valheim. Some of them focus on different elements of the mechanics offered by Iron Gate Studio’s title – the exploration of the sandbox open-world, fighting monsters, crafting and survival, etc. Others share the same theme as Valheim, making more than one nod to the Norse mythology.

All of the titles on our list have their charm and will definitely provide hours of gameplay for the fans of games with elements of exploration and survival. And after you’re done with them, you can still return to Valheim – the game is still in its development stage. Imagine what sort of Viking shenanigans it will have to offer, seeing how the Early Access version blew everyone’s minds with its gameplay mechanics and expansive world.