The hype that surrounded No Man’s Sky last year and the more recent alien arrival in Elite Dangerous proved that more than ever we are fascinated by all things space. There’s a whole host of games offering a variety of gameplay for those who like to look up to the stars. I thought I’d share with you my favourite space games and give you a brief look at what you can expect from them if you decided to play them.
Elite Dangerous takes place in our very own galaxy that’s been recreated in amazing detail. The series isn’t new by any means, it first appeared on our computers way back in the mid 80’s. Elite Dangerous puts you in command of your own ship, and there’s a lot of ships for you to choose from once you have the finances. You can trade which turns the game into a sort of space themed Euro Truck Simulator. You can be a space pirate or you can clean the galaxy of those with a price on their head. If they aren’t your thing, then you can explore the vast expanses of our galaxy and unlock its secrets. There’s so much to see and do and so many mysteries to unravel. There is a deep story if you want to immerse yourself in the lore or you can just do your own thing. This is a game that isn’t going to be for everyone but I highly recommend giving it a go. Elite Dangerous is available on PC, Xbox One and is coming to PlayStation 4 this year.
Kerbal space Program:
Not on the same scale as Elite Dangerous, Kerbal Space Program takes place in one fictional system. Orbiting the star in the habitable zone is a tiny blue planet called Kerbin which is home to the Kerbals. You take control of the Kerbal’s Space Program right from the first rocket reaching a mere few thousand feet in altitude to exploring the system’s planets. You can construct satellite networks and space stations and there is no limit to what you can achieve. One of my favourite games, Kerbal Space Programme can even teach you a lot about the physics involved in getting a ship into space. Kerbal Space Programme is available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Currently in early access on Steam and Xbox One, Astroneer is one hell of a gem of a game. Its polygonal art style is both charming and beautiful and gets the exploration of planets spot on. You arrive on a planet and must gather resources so that you can expand you home base and eventually leave your planet to explore other strange worlds and moons. You can even team up with 3 friends and pool your efforts, this I feel is going to be one of the surprises of the year.
Star Citizen is an upcoming Space sim video game for Windows and Linux. Whilst it is still being developed the final game will consist of four main components: first-person space combat, mining, exploration, and trading with first person shooter elements in an MMO persistent universe. Set in a 30th-century Milky Way and centred on the fictional United Empire of Earth (UEE). The game centres itself around Citizenship– or lack thereof – in the UEE, which must be earned through player actions such as completing a period of military service. It is anticipated that citizens will enjoy certain in-game benefits, like paying a reduced tax rate, but the exact details are yet to be determined. This is certainly one to keep an eye on but you can get into the game now and enjoy the parts of the game already up and running.
Everspace entered early access on Steam, Xbox and GOG.com last September. Everspace is an action-focused single-player space shooter combining rogue like elements with top-notch visuals and promising a captivating non-linear story. The game is being developed by Rockfish games who mostly worked on mobile games in the past. Everspace was the first game to take advantage of Microsoft’s ‘Play Anywhere’ initiative. It really is a nice change of pace from other Space themed games and certainly one you should check out even if the space theme isn’t necessarily one of your things.
Perhaps you want something that isn’t as chaotic or fast. Maybe you’re looking for something more strategic? Well Stellaris could be the game for you. It makes a great first impression as it allows you to create your own race and the game randomly generates the empires that you encounter. You must explore your system and those that neighbour it. You might encounter friendly races looking to trade or those who wish to conquer. Space dwelling creatures could even spoil your day. A beautiful looking game that is worth a look. Stellaris is out now on PC.
The Eve universe has changed an awful lot since it released with developer CCP struggling to keep control as competing factions took control of various sections of its space, betrayed each other and regularly sparked wars that destroyed thousands of Dollars’ worth of in-game spaceships in spectacular style. Despite its age, Eve still looks gorgeous. Player numbers are still healthy thanks to regular update from the developer and a dedicated community. If you’re looking for a social, intelligent game that will soak up 99% of your free time for the next decade, then you should look no further. Eve Online is out now on PC
Fractured Space is an award winning free-to-play space combat game. Fight solo in PvE, in co-op or 5-v-5 PvP. Brought to life in the stunning Unreal Engine 4, giants of interstellar conflict fight in spectacular close quarter battles for dominance. You captain a vessel of unmatched combat authority choosing from an ever-increasing number of specialised galactic warships. Understand your own capabilities and that of your team before taking the fight to the enemy. Experience will expand your ability to choose which victories to chase and how to then leverage them. Mastery of a single ship is your first step, dominance in the war for space coming as your knowledge increases. Think of this as a sort of World of Tanks in space. Fractured Space is free to play and is available on PC.
Universe Sandbox 2:
Universe Sandbox takes space and lets you do with it as you please. Want to collide galaxies to see what happens? Fancy firing an unlimited supply of Moons at Earth? Then this is the game for you. Universe Sandbox 2 is much more than a tool for destruction. it’s a tool that can teach. It can show you how orbits work, it can teach you about our solar system, galaxy and as the games title suggests, the Universe. it has some gorgeous visuals and really is a great tool to sit down with and geek out too. Universe Sandbox 2 is out on PC.
The game whose name shall not be spoken:
Right first off let me say I debated long and hard as to whether to include this “game”. I sat staring at my monitor for a good 20 minutes and drank half a bottle of brandy trying to weigh up the decision. Do I let my hatred and disgust at the game and those who lied about it prior to release take precedence or do I write a balanced article and realise that one man’s turd that refuses to flush unless you pummel it with bog roll can be another man’s Ferrero Rocher… well I’ll let you decide for yourself what path I chose but if you like questionable space ship mechanics and AI statues, if you like documenting creatures that look like they’ve been torn apart and reassembled by a toddler then look no further than Hello Games’ attempt of a “game”.