The Xbox 360 was a groundbreaking gaming console for Microsoft. It was the second console released by the company after the original Xbox failed to gain significant traction in the gaming industry. Microsoft meant for the Xbox 360 to be the console that revived or revitalized the Xbox brand.
The Xbox 360 launched on November 22, 2005, and did not disappoint, proving to be a popular console. By the time Microsoft seized production of the Xbox 360 in 2016, it had sold around 84 million consoles worldwide, making it one of the best-selling gaming consoles of all time. It also ensured the Xbox console brand continued to be a mainstay in gaming.
Survival games entail one of the most popular genres among Xbox 360 gamers. The missions and challenges trigger survival instincts in gamers, releasing dopamine to the brain (actually!).
Let’s get into the best survival games for the Xbox 360!
What are Survival Games?
Survival games are a common genre in gaming where players are placed in a hostile environment and required to survive at all costs, initially with minimal resources. The games often have open worlds known as sandboxes, where players can roam endlessly while collecting resources like weapons and building shelters to improve their chances of survival.
Some obstacles players may face include monsters like zombies, disfigured or distorted animals, extinct animals like dinosaurs, and mythical creatures. The introduction of online gaming also meant all players could interact within one world, further increasing the level of difficulty and risk.
Though the Xbox 360 is not primarily known for survival games, they remain some of the best-selling games in the console’s history. Join us as we break them down below!
- The infinite possibilities in Minecraft just got bigger! The gaming phenomenon comes to the console with new features designed specifically for Xbox 360.
- Crafting has never been faster and easier! The new crafting interface in Minecraft for Xbox 360 delivers a completely new way to build Minecraft worlds where your imagination is the only limit.
- Learn the basics and master essential skills faster with the all-new Tutorial mode.
- Play Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition with Friends over Xbox LIVE. Combine local split screen* and Xbox LIVE play in any combination up to 8 players. (*Split screen option requires HD TV.)
emMinecraft/em is a survival sandbox game developed by Mojang Studios. The game was made available by its creator Markus Persson in May 2009 before an official release in November 2011. emMinecraft: Xbox 360 Edition/em, developed by 4J Studios, was released on May 9, 2012.
Minecraft is the best-selling game of all time, having sold over 250 million copies across several gaming platforms since its release over a decade ago. It also remains one of the best-rated Xbox 360 survival games of all time.
emMinecraft: Xbox 360 Edition/em is a 3D sandbox game that consists of continuously generated infinite terrain that allows players to construct custom worlds to their preferences. The world consists of 3D blocks resembling items that can help build worlds, including fluids like water and building blocks like dirt, brick, and mineral ores.
Over the years, as newer versions of the game have been released, many people have forgotten that, at its core, Minecraft is a survival game. At first glance, the game can seem almost basic because of the appearance of the 3D blocks; however, Minecraft’s world is open to interpretations.
Players gather the building blocks and create homes, weapons, and other infrastructure either alone or in collaboration with a group of friends. However, the game does not lack challenges. At sundown, some players attack in a bid to take away or destroy your creations. Therefore, you must be creative in the way you approach the game, especially when it comes to defenses.
Given the free reign players have to create, players can conduct campaigns using a variety of weapons, including zombies and whole armies on horseback. Overall, emMinecraft: Xbox 360 Edition/em’s depth is one of its most significant selling points, as players have no limits to their creativity while also knowing their enemies can have anything up their sleeves during a strike, which further intensifies the game’s mystery and intrigue.
Check it out on Amazon here.
- Classic Terraria gameplay now with console specific control system, and a friendly crafting/item interface.
- Online multiplayer with you to 8 players! Split-screen multiplayer 2-4 players.
- New Enemies and Final Boss, as well as Ultimate Weapons, new Armors and Pets never seen before!
- Hundreds of weapons, armor and other items to craft, with character advancement.
- Over 25 different block types to build whatever you imagine!
emTerraria/em is a 2D sandbox game that combines the survival, action, and adventure gaming genres.
The game’s initial release was on May 16, 2011, for Windows only; however, its popularity prompted its developers (Re-Logic) to release an Xbox 360 edition on March 27, 2013. The game has sold over 44 million copies across all gaming platforms, making it one of the best-selling games.
It has pixel art sprites that resemble those in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games set in the 1990s. It also bears a resemblance to Minecraft, yet another adventure-survival-inspired game.
The game begins with the player navigating the world with the help of an NPC and some essential tools. Along the way, players collect resources that help improve their health and surroundings. For instance, you can collect items to help build shelter and weapons. Players can also customize the appearance of their characters by adding armor for protection or dyes for aesthetics.
Like in the real world, emTerraria/em runs on a day-and-night cycle. Daytime is the best to go on adventures, construct homes, and gather resources. On the other hand, nighttime contains numerous risks, including creatures like zombies that are out to kill you. Luckily, the game has resources stashed at different locations and in containers that one can put together to create weapons that can kill hordes of monsters.
Overall, emTerraria/em is an exciting and captivating game that not only focuses on the little things like the character’s appearance but also provides thrill in the form of monsters and crawling creatures to kill. It has something for every adventure gamer, from those looking for a kill to those keen on building worlds.
Grab a copy for yourself on Amazon here.
#5: emAlan Wake/em
- Developed by Remedy Entertainment for Xbox 360
- 3rd person action thriller
- Suspenseful storyline told in successive episodes
- Explore the entire town of Bright Falls to find clues to solve the mystery
- Supports Dolby Digital
emAlan Wake/em is an action-adventure survival game that leans into the psychological thriller genre and was developed by Remedy Entertainment.
Officially released on May 14, 2010, it spawned a spinoff called Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, released in 2012, while a sequel is currently in production with a scheduled release date of 2023.
This Xbox 360 survival game revolves around Alan Wake, a bestselling horror writer who tries to escape the pressures of being an accomplished writer by visiting a small town in Washington state called Bright Falls. However, as soon as he settles in, his wife goes missing, and he has to look for her. He encounters an obstacle when his horror stories start becoming true.
The game’s developers split it into six episodes, with each ending in a cliffhanger, similar to popular TV shows like the Twilight Zone. In each episode, players control emAlan Wake/em as he evades armed humans and animals possessed by darkness called the Taken. He also has to avoid possessed objects.
Given their possession by darkness, light is the only weakness of those possessed as they have a shield of darkness that protects them against conventional weapons. Therefore, players must find light-based weapons like flashlights, flares, flare guns, and flashbangs to increase their chances of survival.
#4: emDead Rising/em
- Real-time gameplay - Time marches on whether Frank is actively engaged or simply stationary
- Dynamic enemies - Record numbers of zombies will come at you & react to their environment -- each has unique behaviors and appearances
- The variety of stores will give you weapons aplenty - an endless supply of vehicles, makeshift weapons, and food are waiting for you
- Encounter other survivors along the way -- helping them will give you more clues as to what has happened and what you need to do to stop it
- Visual clarity - Playing in native 720p resolution allows for unprecedented detail and clarity in gameplay
emDead Rising/em is a third-person action-adventure survival horror game developed by Capcom Production Studios.
The game came out on August 8, 2006, initially only on Xbox 360. The game was highly successful; it spawned a new series that eventually included Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 3, and Dead Rising 4, released between 2010 and 2016.
This Xbox 360 survival game follows an ambitious photographer called Frank West as he ventures into a small town to find a story that will put him on a world map. However, he finds the town overrun by zombies and makes his way to the Willamette Parkview Mall, believing it would be a safe place to seek refuge. Unfortunately, the situation at the mall is dire, forcing him to roam throughout the mall while trying to stay alive.
The game’s primary mode is the 72-Hour Mode, where the player has to guide Frank through the mall looking for clues that could help bring the zombie outbreak to an end in 72 hours before a helicopter rescue arrives. The player can also roam through various stores within the mall, including hardware stores, gun stores, clothing stores, and sporting goods stores, looking for items to defend themselves.
The player can earn points by rescuing non-playing characters (NPCs) and defeating boss characters called psychopaths who have taken advantage of the outbreak to cause mayhem. Completing the 72-Hour Mode gives way to the Overtime Mode, where the player gets one more day to complete additional tasks. There is also an Infinite Mode that allows players to roam the mall for as long as possible without any predetermined goals.
emDead Rising/em is an exciting game that proved the potential of survival games before most of the other games on this list began development.
Check it out on Amazon here.
#3: emDead Space/em
- Fight with Weapons and Telekinesis
- Graphics, Effects, and Sound Increase the Horror
- True Zero-G Effects
- Dead Space for Xbox 360 is sure to please any action, adventure gamer looking for a bloody battle against deadly aliens
- Gameplay takes place on the USG Ishimura where the crew has been infected by an alien scourge
emDead Space/em is a sci-fi single-player survival horror game developed by EA Redwood Shores. The game, released on October 13, 2008, is the first game in the Dead Space gaming series that includes Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3.
emDead Space/em is set several centuries in the future in a world where humans have ventured into the cosmos in search of natural resources that will help sustain the human population that has exhausted resources on earth. Humans have developed ships called Planetcrackers capable of harvesting resources from barren planets, and the USG Ishimura is one of them.
In the game, players control Engineer Isaac Clarke, the leader of a rescue team sent to investigate why the USG Ishimura cut communication with central command. Clarke and his team arrive to find the Ishimura abandoned, which leads to a series of unfortunate events, which include the destruction of their ship, the killing of part of the crew, and his separation from the surviving team members.
Players then guide Clarke through the abandoned ship as he tries to fix the ship and return to safety while avoiding monsters called necromorphs. Players must also navigate the ship with minimal air supply; thus, they must find oxygen tanks. Moreover, Clarke has no weapons; therefore, he has to rely on his engineering knowledge and the ship’s schematic to find equipment and develop weapons that can fend off the necromorphs before he finds a permanent solution.
Many regard emDead Space/em as one of the best Xbox 360 survival games of all time because of its unique story, environment, and choice of protagonists.
You can play it for yourself on Xbox 360 from Amazon here.
emState of Decay/em is a third-person survival horror game developed by Undead Labs, an independent game developer based in Seattle, Washington. The game, released on June 5, 2013, was the first installment in the emState of Decay/em gaming series, including State of Decay 2 and State of Decay 3, which is still in production.
Towards the end of the 2000s and the beginning of the 2010s, there was a sudden interest in zombie-related content from film and TV shows to video games. The interest prompted Jeff Strain to form Undead Labs with the sole focus of creating zombie games.
Their first release was emState of Decay/em, one of the most revered zombie-inspired games among Xbox 360 users. The game begins with a group of survivors trying to stay alive for as long as possible in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. The player has the option of switching between several of the surviving members throughout the game.
The goal is to find a location where you feel your group of survivors will have the best protection against the zombies. Once you find the site, you have to fortify it to increase the level of security. However, you can only find fortifications in the open world. Therefore, you must go on scavenging trips into empty shops and houses where you will search for food and munitions to feed and protect your people. You can also recruit other survivors that you believe will benefit your community.
Overall, emState of Decay/em is worthy of a spot on this list because it gives you an idea of what it would be like to survive a zombie apocalypse as someone with minimal skills needed to survive in such a world. Moreover, Undead Labs outdid itself by creating the game on an indie company budget.
Check it out for yourself on Amazon here.
- Discover the true meaning of fear in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger.
- Fifteen years after the events of Alien, Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother's disappearance.
- As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien.
- Overcome an ever-present deadly threat - Experience persistent fear as a truly dynamic and reactive Alien uses its senses to hunt you down and respond to your every move.
- Improvise to survive - Hack systems, scavenge for vital resources and craft items to deal with each situation. Will you evade your enemies, distract them or face them head on?
emAlien: Isolation/em is a first-person survival horror game developed by Creative Assembly and released on October 7, 2014. The Alien film series that follows astronauts confined in space crafts together with a flesh-eating alien serves as the inspiration for the game.
The game’s main character is Amanda Ripley, who ventures into the Sevastopol Space Station in search of her missing mother, Ellen Ripley, who played the main character in the original 1979 Alien movie. It begins with Amanda entering a chaotic Sevastopol with items strewn all over by the alien Xenomorph.
From that point, the player has to find an escape before the Xenomorph catches up to them. Like all other survival games, the player is unprepared to encounter the antagonist and has to find ways of arming themselves to increase their chances of survival. There are resources scattered throughout the space station that can help fashion weapons and develop survival strategies. However, finding resources without encountering the Xenomorph can be nerve-racking. The Xenomorph’s movements are entirely unpredictable plus the first-person perspective only heightens the player’s nerves, as intended by the game developers. Therefore, stealth becomes the player’s most significant asset in their strive to survive.
The players must learn to crawl and hold their breath in confined spaces, among other survival techniques, all while watching the motion tracker. Overall, the intensity driven by the first-person perspective, the Xenomorph’s unpredictable movements, the graphics, and the sound editing make emAlien: Isolation/em worthy of being among the best survival games on Xbox 360.
Get your own copy here and find out why.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Milton Buzon/Shutterstock.com.