Version Tested: PC
Available On: Xbox One, PC
Developer: System Era Softworks
Publisher: System Era Softworks
Genre: Sandbox, Adventure
Official Site: http://astroneer.space/
Release Date: 12/19/16
Where To Buy: Xbox Live, Steam
“To infinity and beyond” or “Space…the Final Frontier.” Those are phrases that immediately come to mind when loading up the game Astroneer. Astroneer, a game described by one of our writers as a combination of The Martian and Minecraft, was developed by System Era Softworks. This early access game is a space-based adventure sandbox game with minor survival elements. It somewhat reminded me of a flip side of The Solus Project. Now, before you start thinking this is Minecraft in space…it’s not. Astroneer still has a little way to go but this is certainly a title that captivated my interest from the moment I started playing. I quickly found myself up until the wee hours of the morning, after initially having the idea of just giving it a shot 20 minutes before bed.
Astroneer is set in the 25th century where your astronaut has set out during a “gold rush” period to explore strange new words, scavenging for precious minerals. You’ll start off on the planet Terran. Upon exiting your habitat and setting up shop, you’re almost immediately on your own with limited resources. In order to expand your habitat and develop equipment needed to move further, you’ll have to explore. This is where the survival element plays its biggest role. Your oxygen isn’t unlimited unless you’re at the habitat. As you explore, you use up your oxygen and you’ll have to head back before suffocating. As you find various other resources, you’ll be able to build extra tanks for oxygen, power and even tethers that allow you to explore more of the planet and eventually… other worlds.
One thing you’ll immediately notice when heading out to explore the unknown is how mesmerizing the world looks. Astroneer has somewhat of a cartoonish style but it absolutely works here. In a world where realistic graphics seem to be pushed more and more, it’s very refreshing to see such captivating landscapes that are not going for that realistic look. During my first few playthroughs, I actually stopped to watch the sunrise over the horizon of this foreign world… it looked that good. Now, while you won’t run into any alien life here or have to pick up a blaster, these worlds are not without their dangers.
Each world in Astroneer has its own unique environment which will present a variety of challenges to overcome. Some will have treacherous storms you’ll need to take shelter from, while others will have dangerous plant life you’ll need to avoid. Where one world may by plentiful in resources on the surface, it may be incredibly scarce on the next. You’ll also need to adjust to a variety of changing conditions, for instance, the day/night cycle. Terran, for example, is essentially the happy medium. It has an equal day/night cycle. Therefore, creating a solar panel to harness power will work here. On the Tundra world, however, the sun never comes out and will render a solar panel useless.
Your most crucial piece of equipment in Astroneer is your terrain tool. This bad boy will help you mine resources, build bridges to hard to reach areas and transform the landscape around you. Just like how you have a limit to the amount of oxygen you consume, there’s a limit to how much power you can use while away from your habitat. Like your oxygen, you can expand your power bar by acquiring rare minerals, in this case, lithium. Astroneer also offers a co-op mode. This mode can be accessed with the Steam overlay and is not PVP. I did not get a chance to try the co-op mode but it plays exactly like the single player except with friends. You can construct multiple seats on each vehicle so you can all travel to other areas and worlds together.
The most frustrating aspect of my play through was with using the drill on the truck. Anytime you exit a vehicle, the vehicle will remain stationary, even if it’s on a hill. Once you build a crane and attach it to a truck, it’s supposed to make the mining process easier. However, I often found myself struggling to find the sweet spot to enter myself into the crane, instead of back in the driver’s seat. Then, once in the crane seat, the vehicle began to slide constantly. I would like to see some sort of stabilization when using the crane.
Astroneer is going to be a very exciting title to watch. At the current moment, I have established habitats in each world. Two of them could be built up a little more but right now I’m at about 20 hours of playtime. I would like to see more worlds or more options to play with down the road. One of the reasons you could play a game like Minecraft forever is due to the seemingly infinite options available. You can create something entirely new and unique each time you play. I feel as though once you’ve established yourself on each world in Astroneer, you’ll become limited in your options.
Have you played Astroneer? If so, what did you think? What are some things you’d like to see added to the game in the future? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. If space adventure is your thing, also be sure to check out our article regarding the Han Solo movie that’s now shooting.
- Gameplay: Minor frustrations with crane but otherwise adventurous and enjoyable
- Graphics: Distinguished, colorful and unique on all worlds
- Sound: Solid storm sounds and fitting music
- Presentation: A space adventure sandbox is certainly what you get
- Fantastic environments
- Terrain Tool
- Crane use frustrating
- Potential limitations after establish on all worlds
Former professional wrestler, father of entirely too many kids but a gamer forever. I live just south of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. I went to school for Game Development and have been following my passion for gaming in top gear recently.
–Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever