Make Minecraft Survival Again with these 4 hardcore wilderness survival mods

Wish Minecraft Survival mode was a little more… focused on actual survival? Then you might need one of these four free wilderness survival mods to make your game a little more realistic—and a little more difficult.

Want more games to scratch that wilderness survival itch? Check out our list of the 10 best survival games you can play right now in 2018.

1) Terrafirmacraft


Terrafirmacraft is a mod that styles itself as “survival mode as it should have been”: that is, more complex, more difficult, and most of all, more engaging.

Once you install this mod, you can and will die of starvation and thirst, and you will have to manage your nutrition levels as well: no more simply surviving off a diet of pork chops and bread.

You’ll also discover that tools are much more difficult to make, requiring a smelting process that stretches from simple casting right through to full-on steel smithing. Each and every step requires specialist resources that are few and far between, as well as brand new structures and mechanics to get the metal to actually melt and form in the way you want it to.

The sheer number of new or changed features is too numerous to list in full here, but each and every system serves one purpose, and one purpose alone: to make Minecraft survival mode a little closer to reality, and a lot more difficult.

Recommended for: Anyone who is sick of creepers being the biggest threat to an early game player and is looking for an extensive survival overhaul. To extend the technology tree, consider downloading Technofirmacraft, which is based around the core of Terrafirmacraft.

2) Better Than Wolves

Better than wolves

During Minecraft beta 1.4, Notch and the team released wolves into Minecraft games. Many players were content with this new, albeit small, piece of content.

FlowerChild, original developer of Better than Wolves, was not.

They believed that wolves were not worth the amount of time that the Minecraft development team was pouring into the game, and decided to show them how it was done.

So Better than Wolves was born.

The mod itself is based around many of the same principles as Terrafirmacraft, but with some distinct differences. Both feature basic survival elements, such as hunger and thirst. Both are total conversions that add myriad miscellaneous features to the game. Both completely change the difficulty level of the title.

But where Better than Wolves differs is the addition of mechanical tools. These constructs, such as the windmill, provide the necessary power for the Better than Wolves additions, like the saw, pottery wheel and mill stone.

You can also expect a myriad of recipe and mechanics changes, all of which serve to make the game more survival-focused—though perhaps not to as such an enormous degree as Terrafirmacraft, as it retains more of the typical 3×3 crafting grid so iconic of vanilla Minecraft.

Recommended for: those who are put off by the complexity of Terrafirmacraft, but still want a more survival-oriented game with brand new mechanics and player challenges.

3) GeoMastery


GeoMastery is a relatively new mod for Minecraft, which also means it is compatible with newer versions of the game, unlike other mods on this list.

However, it’s relative newness to the survival scene also has some drawbacks: while it is a total conversion mod, it’s changes are not as significant as those in Terrafirmacraft or Better than Wolves.

You still get a lot of changes, such as the complete replacement or removal of all vanilla recipes, but most of the adjustments will only affect you significantly in the early game.

Perhaps most significant of these changes and new features is the addition of a biome temperature system. Stay too long without the right clothes on in a cold biome, and you’ll start to freeze and take damage. Same goes for extreme heat.

This completely changes where you choose to live and where you choose to explore. For example, the Plains biome suddenly becomes incredibly valuable as a place to settle, while the mountains (normally valuable for the easy access to surface ores) suddenly becomes downright deadly to live in at the start.

Your inventory is also restricted, and you’ll have to manage your nutrition in much the same way as Terrafirmacraft. There are more changes on the way, however, and for the shortish (relatively) time this mod has been around, it has already achieved a great deal in making Minecraft closer to a true wilderness survival game.

Recommended for: those who would prefer to take advantage of newer, more stable Minecraft versions, and those who want a more involved early game more than anything else.

4) Life in the Woods: Renaissance

Life in the woods renaissance

Life in the Woods, and it’s sequel, Life in the Woods: Renaissance, are technically not single mods. Rather, they are a collection of mods which work together to create a new wilderness experience.

The format is a little different to the others on this list, and so are the gameplay changes. Life in the Woods began as a personal project for the developer, who wanted to play a game of Minecraft in which solitude and oneness with the natural world around the player was more achievable and more important.

The emphasis is on manual labour, creating, farming, and exploring in a manner that is in line with the idea of “living deliberately” in the wilderness.

It includes a few changes to what and how you craft, but generally keeps with the idea of baseline Minecraft, but places far more emphasis on exploring the world around you. As such, you’ll uncover lots of new interesting randomly generated constructs, both manmade and natural.

You’ll still have to struggle with the typical hurdles of hunger, but this is generally a more relaxed, more creatively-focused survival mod in comparison to the others on this list.

Recommended for: those who like to use Minecraft as an escape tool, but also want a bit of a survival simulator that provides a raft of new exploration options.

What kind of wilderness survival experience do you want from  your modded Minecraft game? Let me know in the comments below!

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