Best Games Like Kenshi

If you like playing games like Kenshi and other similar open-world survival RPG games, you'll love our list of the best games like Kenshi.

When it comes to genre-bending video games, Kenshi is right up there with games like RimWorld and Dwarf Fortress. Presented as an open-world survival RPG, it sees you exploring a harsh wasteland filled with infinite challenges and opportunities.

While it’s steep learning curve can be tough for new players, those who persevere usually end up getting hooked by Kenshi’s unique systems and the unpredictability of its sandbox. It’s the kind of game you can sink hundreds of hours into without even noticing.

In this list, we’ll be recommending the best games like Kenshi to play in 2021. We’ll mainly be focusing on PC titles but have included a handful of games like Kenshi on console as well.

If you feel like we overlooked your favorite game, sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new games in the future.

Related:Best Upcoming RPGs 2021Best Upcoming Survival Games 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming PS5 Games 2021 (And Beyond)

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To kick things off, we have Conan: Exiles, another survival game that features a hellish open-world sandbox filled with monsters and resources you’ll need to build bases and weapons. While it’s primarily multiplayer-focused, there’s also a single-player mode.

Similar to Kenshi, you’re free to carve out your own path and focus on the areas of the game you enjoy. For you, this may mean discovering every piece of lore you come across, decking out your base with fancy furniture and decorations, or going around capturing NPCs and making them your slaves.

Medieval Dynasty is an open-world survival game that leans into the squad management aspect of Kenshi’s gameplay. Set in Europe during the Early Middle Ages, the game sees you establishing your own colony in the hopes of turning it into a prosperous dynasty that will last for generations.

You’ll be defending your people from wild animals, providing food and shelter, and turning your small settlement into a bustling village. This is in addition to meeting your main character’s needs and ensuring they have enough supplies to handle run-ins with bears, wolves, and anything else the game throws your way.

The further you get in Kenshi, the more significant base-building becomes as dozens of characters join your squad. Another game that emphasizes its base-building is Factorio. The game is centered on automating machines to gather and refine resources for your very own production paradise.

At first, you’ll have to manually chop trees, mine ores, and craft parts until you’ve conducted enough research to unlock automation. Factorio’s progression system offers an assortment of upgrades to boost efficiency, harness alternative power sources, and program AI for your machines.

Frostpunk is another game like Kenshi that offers base-building in addition to colony management simulation. The game takes place in an alternate world where a new ice age has come about during the 19th century.

You play as the leader of a settlement that maintains its survival through a steam-powered heat generator located in the heart of the village. Where Frostpunk differs is there are consequences for every decision you make, which get reflected in the story and your villagers’ morale.

Taking things even further, RimWorld features a near-perfect blend of base-building, survival, and strategy game mechanics that may appeal to fans of Kenshi. The game lets you pick from several biomes before crash-landing with a team of space colonists.

Colonists have physical and emotional needs that must be met for your community to flourish, including providing enough housing and expanding when necessary. Its deeply-rewarding gameplay loop is further complemented by an AI-driven storyteller that’s known for its hilariously morbid scenarios.

Similar to Kenshi, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a systems-driven sandbox game that lets you role-play as various character classes based on its medieval setting. Whether you’re interested in becoming a famous jouster, wealthy tradesman, sword-for-hire, thief, or more, there are numerous paths to explore.

The game also features a party system and management component reminiscent of Kenshi, in which you lead armies of hundreds or more into battle. It’s an overall more polished experience that improves upon the original Mount & Blade in practically every area.

If your favorite aspect of Kenshi is how cruel the game’s open-world can be, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s equally sadistic setup. In it, you play as the son of a blacksmith who joins a group of rebels to protect others after his parents and village are slaughtered by raiders.

You’re not some magical or charismatic hero but instead a bumbling oaf facing the same obstacles as everyone else. This includes finding food, water, and a place to lay your head each night. NPCs react to your presence depending on how you’re dressed or when you last bathed, adding to the immersion and sense of realism.

Like Kenshi, Ark is one of those games you either really love or really hate. It all comes down to a matter of personal preference and tolerance for grinding, griefing, and game-breaking bugs. With that said, it incorporates some fun new ideas into the survival genre, namely the ability to tame wild animals.

We’re talking slave dinosaurs that will let you ride them, carry your items, and defend both you and your base from predators. While playing in PvP can be brutal, especially for new players, the single-player mode allows you to craft intricate fortresses without worrying about another person blowing it up.

The Forest is a horror-themed open-world survival game that sees you playing as a father searching for his son after the pair crash-land on a remote island brimming with cannibalistic mutants. It offers base-building, crafting, and first-person combat.

What makes The Forest stand out from similar horror survival games is the quality of its enemy AI, which reacts differently to the player based on the time of day. At night, you can easily find yourself outnumbered and overwhelmed if you’re not careful.

Like Kenshi and countless other survival games, Rust mimics real-life through mechanics like hunger and thirst in addition to physical conditions ranging from hypothermia to radiation poisoning. There are also wild animals to watch out for, hostile NPCs, and the worst of them all, other players.

The best part is that most of what you do in Rust is unscripted, allowing for some truly bizarre and exciting moments, especially your interactions with other players. Similar to Kenshi, you can invade someone else’s base, steal all their stuff, and even claim their land as your own.

State of Decay 2 sees you managing a community of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world brimming with undead monsters. Like Kenshi, it has you starting with a single character and recruiting additional ones as you progress.

Gameplay mainly focuses on scavenging for supplies and fortifying your base to deal with random zombie attacks. Resources in each map are limited, forcing you to carefully decide what goals you want to achieve and which skills you’d like to invest in.

Space Engineers is another sandbox game that includes explorable planets, moons, and asteroid belts. However, getting to them is no small feat since most of the game revolves around trying to survive life on an alien planet through resource-gathering and crafting.

It features a wide selection of space ships and vehicles that allow you to travel great distances to establish stations and set up outposts. Included with the game are two modes: Creative, for those who love to build things, and Survival, for anyone seeking a more challenging experience.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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