This sounds more like a man vs. environment story, as @Monica says.
A simple MC vs. Nature
Imagine, in the modern world, an arrogant multi-millionaire, thinks he is a self-reliant, self-made man. He owns a private jet, has two pilots, and decides to fly overseas. The plane is struck by lightning and goes down at sea. The pilots are dead. Our MC ends up on a deserted island, perhaps injured, Robinson Crusoe style. Or Castaway style (A Tom Hanks movie).
The whole story can be about our MC figuring out how to survive, finding food and shelter, despairing over ever being rescued, and on a personal arc, understanding how utterly dependent he has been on society and others. The "villain" is the world the gives him nothing for free, not health, not safety, not food, not fresh water, not any way to successfully signal for help. There are spiders, snakes, rats, and poisonous insects; the heat is unrelenting. He has zero tools, he is reduced to rocks and sticks.
That is a story.
MC vs. Nature with People In It
Think of these stories in a similar way, the other people in the story don't have to be intentionally cruel or take any pleasure in standing in your MC's way, just like the spider isn't being intentionally cruel. Or a dog isn't being intentionally cruel to chase and kill a squirrel, it sees food and takes it.
Avoid the writing trap of making any particular character in your book persistent, thus making them a personified villain. Everybody that stands in the way of your MC is just doing their job, perhaps apologetic about that and knowing it harms your MC, but doing their job nonetheless because that is the only way for them to survive this same cruel world.
The thief doesn't want to rob him, but she's got a sick kid that needs insulin and this is the only way she can get it.
The cop doesn't want to arrest him, but he's got a quota to meet, and a family to feed. Same goes for the judge that convicts him.
Everywhere the MC goes he finds desperation, and this can extend to the top: Even the leaders of this society may regret the choices they are making, but there just aren't enough resources to go around, and they struggle daily with a constant stream of decisions forcing them to choose the least of multiple evils, trying to find some way out of the trap without resorting to genocide and all out war.
The essence of man against nature is prevailing against an uncaring, harsh and amoral environment. If that environment includes other humans or entities (e.g. science fiction aliens or AI), just make sure, as part of the environment, they are (like most wild animals) neither sadistic or altruistic, they all do what they do to live another day, keep their job, make a dollar, protect their young, ensure they do not become prey, and defend their territory (or other resources).
How to Make it Compelling.
You make this compelling like we make all fiction compelling. There should be some conflict or tension on every page, meaning we want the reader to be constantly wondering "what happens next."
After we introduce the Normal World at the beginning of the story (and you would definitely have to do this here), then we sustain tension in layers. We would like the reader to be always wondering what happens next in a scene (how this right now is going to turn out), what happens by the end of this chapter, what happens in this Act (roughly four acts in a story), and what happens at the end of the book.
We do that by giving our MC difficult tasks, making them fail and persist and fail and persist.
Basic story structure.
A compelling story begins with getting to know the MC, operating in their normal world, solving some small problems. We want to know why we should care about them. Then we give them an unusual problem, (the inciting incident), that is difficult to solve, and forces them out of their normal world (where they were coping) and into a new reality where they are, for whatever reason, relatively incompetent.
Being incompetent, they suffer losses, make things worse, get confused, perhaps despair, but all along they are learning the rules of the new world.
By learning the rules of the new world, they start solving some of these problems, having some success, but still aren't back to normal, their main problem (begun by the inciting incident) remains unsolved.
But then, they learn the final key idea that can solve that. It may take a big risk, they may even be risking their life, but they go ahead, and DO solve the main problem. Then they return to either their normal world, or a "new normal" in which they are better in some way, despite their losses.
You make it compelling by putting obstacles in their way, some of which they fail to overcome, and which cause setbacks. But generally these are not fatal (to the MC). Coming up with plausible obstacles and plausible reactions and plans that fail is the creativity of writing.
It is easy to come up with plans that succeed, but this gets boring for readers.
It is easy to make your characters do bone-head things that fail, but this disappoints readers, they see it is bone-headed, they wouldn't have done that, and the story no longer seems "realistic".
It is hard to come up with plans the reader believes they might have agreed to, that then fail for plausible reasons, something they should have anticipated but did not. For a little help, such plans are often the result of a misunderstanding of their situation; the MC is presuming something that is not true, one form of this is trusting somebody they should not trust.