If you are reading this article, you are likely one of the three million adventuring Vikings trying to craft, fight and chug mead on their way to the fabled halls of Valhalla. Or you've reached it and are now looking for more games like Valheim to play next.
While survival games are a popular mainstay of modern gaming, this smash Norse-themed success story managed to differentiate itself from an ocean of seemingly similar titles. Valheim brings an unparalleled cocktail of clever aesthetics (blending low-resolution textures with impeccable lighting), intricately detailed mechanics, and a thrumming mythological heart that leaves it intriguing to so many players.
When gathering a list of games like Valheim, it would be incredibly easy to throw popular realistic 3D survival sandbox titles together and call it a day. That would, however, not come close to doing the game justice, and to compare two entirely different games like this one and Minecraft purely because of genre trappings would be unfair to both.
Although some survival games do make this list, the real focus is games that use similar mythology, atmosphere, and aesthetics to Valheim. So, if you are an aspiring Norse-person with a love of mechanically complex, truly immersive games, then read on as we break down our list of the best games like Valheim.
We told you this list wouldn’t all be realistic 3D survival simulators, we were not lying. Terraria is arguably one of the greatest survival games of all time, and it bears some surprising similarities to Valheim.
One of the Norse survival sim’s cool components is the use of persistent characters across different worlds or servers. This allows you to take your Viking into different seeds if you want to mine and harvest elsewhere and return back to your server at a later date. Terraria contains exactly the same feature – so while it might look a little zanier than its Nordic survivalist cousin, you can journey across different worlds and dimensions in-game and out with your favorite character.
Further to that, Terraria has an NPC much like the Valheim merchant. This little dwarf sells you explosives and mining tools, including a hat that projects light in mineshafts. Exactly the same item appears as the Dvegar Circlet in Iron Gate’s recent release, and the dwarf’s tongue-in-cheek dialogue also bears a striking resemblance.
Another mechanic that does cross both is the raids, wherein the terrifying mobs alight upon your bases. This adds a sense of real danger and investment in your world and structures.
Terraria’s wide-ranging and relatively deep lore creates a sense of a well-established verisimilitude, despite the game’s cartoony graphics. Terraria’s success can be partly attributed to this unwavering commitment to its theme, and that is what makes it a perfect game, albeit of a different tone, for Valheim players.
Available on Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
The Long Dark
In The Long Dark, you play as a stranded bush pilot by the name of Will Mackenzie. A mysterious flash in the sky crashed your ship and left you abandoned. The Long Dark has no dungeons or deadly dwarfs but pits you against over fifty kilometres of lovingly rendered but unmistakably deadly frozen Canadian wilderness.
The Long Dark focuses on the experience of survival itself. Mackenzie is left completely alone, with only the unwanted company of Canadian tundra at his side. Since release, the game has received much praise for its complex systems that create an authentic sense of surviving at all costs.
The cold considered logic a player needs when carefully circumnavigating the wilderness in The Long Dark, and the believable, fraught tension of its moment-to-moment gameplay is unparalleled.
It is also, ironically, a perfect zen game if you can stomach the harsh survival requirements. As you adapt to the rhythm of The Long Dark’s mechanics, its understated score, stunning visuals, and the focus you need to approach the gameplay with are immensely gratifying.
As anyone who has broken a portal on top of a mountain and become stranded in Valheim will tell you: the adrenaline of risky survival is powerful. The Long Dark zones in on this exact experience, supplementing it with some of the most beautiful art direction and atmospheric music a game has to offer.
Available on PC, Macintosh, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
The Banner Saga
The subreddit r/Valheim is currently filled with over 160,000 Vikings sharing the tales and tribulations of their time in-game, weaving a rich, epic tale together. This, in a sense, emulates the skaldic bards of Scandinavian history. If these emergent epics have sparked your interest, The Banner Saga series might well be for you.
Rather than crowdsourced tales of weirdly behaving enemy AI, The Banner Saga is now a trilogy of tales told from 2014 to 2018, following a caravan of people moving across a harsh Viking landscape to fight off a terrifying new threat.
Moving away from the homestead-building fantasy of Valheim, The Banner Saga is a turn-based isometric RPG boasting hand-illustrated graphics similar to Jotun earlier in this list. The game allows for customization of your adventuring caravan, with the people and equipment you choose making a huge impact on your troupe’s survivability.
The writing in The Banner Saga is second-to-none, with some gorgeously crafted characters and plotlines that weave together in an immensely satisfying conclusion in the third game. This authorship is placed alongside the aforementioned artwork and an atmospheric soundtrack from BAFTA award-winning Austin Wintory.
Dead gods and difficult decisions await in this grueling but rewarding Norse fantasy RPG, rewarding players who love the stories that settings like Valheim’s inspire.
Available on PC, Macintosh, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
When thinking about the recent trend in Viking video games, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is the perfect example. The narrative of the Assassin’s Creed games is nothing if not convoluted, and this entry has Layla Hassan, the previous two games’ protagonist, dive into the memories of Eivor Varinsdottir, an 800AD Norse warrior.
As with many of the games in this series, the modern setting can be mostly ignored in place of the historical mayhem that Assassin’s Creed loves to revel in. The term “assassin” is used very liberally here, with the Eivor and her brother, Sigurd, cutting through swathes of opponents in their attempt to settle in Anglo-Saxon England.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla tugs on a familiar desire for exploration, much like Valheim and other Assassin’s games. Valhalla has you navigate the intricately rendered vistas of Saxon Britain (the ability to look at London before themed micro-pubs took it over is immensely satisfying).
Not simply confined to ancient England, Valhalla has you travel across different Danish lands and eventually enter into the dreamscapes of Asgard and the notably more deadly Jotunheim.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is one of the more mystical entries into the Assassin’s Creed series. The game’s less complex action RPG mechanics will be a welcome reprieve for Valheim players wanting a more relaxing jaunt into Viking environments and themes.
Available on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, and Google Stadia
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
As the rather evocative title of “Hellblade” might suggest, this game also involves delving into the afterlife. The dynamic, stylized action combat might put Senua’s Sacrifice in a different genre to Iron Gate’s relatively relaxed new game, but the mythology that the titles draw upon remains the same.
In Senua’s Sacrifice, like Valheim, your character delves deep into the Norse afterlife, but does so for very distinct reasons. In this gorgeously realized action-adventure title from Ninja Theory, you play a Celtic warrior embarking on a “vision quest into Viking hell” to fight for the soul of your lost lover.
This game is perfect for those who want to delve into a different part of Norse mythology – how it can relate to trauma. Senua’s Sacrifice is a gamified study into psychosis and how it can intertwine with myth and legend, with Ninja Theory partnering with expert psychologists to help craft the game’s exploration of mental health.
Do not expect the jolly cooperative fun of Valheim in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Instead, expect an experience that like Valheim, incorporates Norse mythology as a core part of its mechanics and narrative. More importantly, this is done to great effect, and Hellblade’s handling of mental health is thoughtful and considered, lending a great emotional weight to the brutal and exciting combat.
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Valnir Rok released back in November 2020, and still remains in an early access. At first glance, it might look like a higher fidelity version of Valheim, and it certainly does have similar aims. Both are immersive survival simulators/RPGs modelled around old Norse myths, with an emphasis on exploration and felling gargantuan creatures.
Present across Encurio’s early access title are raids from powerful creatures from Norse mythology, including ogres, trolls, and even some impressive dragons that seek fiery retribution against your kind.
Valnir Rok is notably less polished than Valheim in many regards. Its systems are not quite as tight, and the graphics (while high fidelity) are a touch bland. It was initially released to middling reviews on Steam due to a lack of content, but still serves as a perfectly acceptable, if slightly lacking, alternative to Valheim.
When you have explored all Valheim has to offer or want to get involved with a slightly larger group of internationally based Vikings, Valnir Rok makes for a great game like Valheim.
Available on PC
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
There is something that feels oddly similar between Valheim and Dragon's Dogma, even if at face value they seem fairly distinct. The combat is what really does it. There is a surprising variety to the combat mechanics of Valheim, including a combat roll, tricky stamina management, and a wealth of different tactics best suited to different enemies.
This satisfaction felt in the depths of Valheim’s melee combat is one that echoes in the much more complex combat of Dragon’s Dogma. Perhaps the two combat systems seem so similar because the bow often feels like best Valheim weapons, as with Dragon’s Dogma.
Whatever the case may be, if Valheim’s huge monsters and intriguing bosses are an important part of the game for players, then picking up Dragon’s Dogma is the logical next move. It is certainly a step up in terms of complexity and difficulty, but the combat is not the only draw of the game.
The game focuses on more original mythology, taking cues from legends and folktales from all over the globe, including some influence from ancient Norse myths. If you have ever looked at one of Valheim’s Frost Trolls and thought, “Gosh, I wish I could climb up it,” then this is the game for you.
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360
Conan Exiles, much like Valheim, begins with a poor, clothing-bereft player character abandoned in the harsh wastes of an expansive open world. Thanks to several years of early access, Conan Exiles is now fully released and feature complete.
Checking out this game might serve as an interesting display of things to come for Valheim. Either way, the huge scope of Exiles might sate the appetites of Valheim players hungry for even more survival content.
While Iron Gate’s survival simulator might focus on a Nordic mythos, Exiles bases its harsh climates and menagerie of beasts on Conan The Barbarian. This franchise has an already established lore, an incredibly rich one that has been iterated upon since 1932.
The backstory to Conan Exiles actually revolves around the franchise’s interpretation of Norse mythology. Warmaker Klael, one of Exile’s Giantkings, tells the player of how the Giants made humans settle in the frozen North wastelands before war broke out.
Like Valheim, Exiles allows you to supplement your survival with boons from gods, the main difference being that Conan Exiles does not have you kill the deities in question. If you are looking to emulate your Viking character in this game, you can swear fealty to Ymir at the start of the game – a god based on the Ancient Norse Frost Giant of legend.
Available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Spirit of the North
To conclude, we return to a title made by Scandinavian developers that emphasizes the beauty of Nordic scenery. Also, you get to play as a fox. A magic fox no less. Spirit of the North has you play as a red fox who crosses path with the guardian of the Northern Lights themselves, a magical spirit creature.
Spirit of the North’s desire to depict real Norse landscapes is a commendable one and considering the captivating art direction on display in this title it is one that works wonders. Like Valheim, there is a focus on bold, non-photorealistic textures accompanied by outstanding lighting.
Most importantly, Spirit of the North attempts to submerge you into a world with a sense of mythological weight, doing so by fostering a difficult, hostile environment that is not laden with exposition. In fact, this game is specifically crafted to have no dialogue at all. You progress through this gorgeous setting by paying intimately close attention to the details of the world around you.
The phrase “environmental puzzles” has never been as relevant as it is with this title, and those who enjoy the sense of measured Nordic immersion of Valheim will adore this title. They will adore the fox too, of course, because of course, they will. It’s a magic fox.
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and PC
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