Exploring new planets and turning a small galactic outpost into a thriving base or factory is equally challenging, engaging, and rewarding. There’s just something about starting from nothing and building everything by hand to ending with a fully automated city where everything you need is within reach.
So, here are the three best space-based exploration and crafting games you can play today.
Astroneer is a space-based sandbox game where you play a lonely spaceman sent to a planet to establish a base. Although the game offers a mission log you can follow, there’s no fixed way to play the game. It’s highly recommended that new players follow the first few missions to get to grips with how the game works. But once you’ve mastered it, the rest is up to you.
You begin the game on an Earth-like planet called Sylva. You can explore its surface and see the various flora on its surface and the varying landscape. But you can also dig down and probe its subterranean features to see for yourself what secrets the planet holds. There are also six other astronomical bodies you can fly to for further exploration.
Astroneer is a simple, fun game to relax after a hard day’s work. But it’s also challenging enough to keep you mentally stimulated as you play it. Since this is a sandbox, the difficulty level of the missions you undertake is up to you. You can keep your base as simple or complicated as you want.
No Man’s Sky is another popular space-themed exploration game. This game uses a procedurally-generated map, ensuring you’ll never run out of places to explore.
Although the game is primarily for the single-player experience, you can also play with friends in multiplayer mode. You can track them on your map and engage in various activities with them. TheGamer even shared a few activities you can play with your friends.
If you’re looking for a space exploration-themed game that offers multiple challenges, including exploration, exploitation, combat, and even trading, look no further. And if you bring your friends in, you’ll soon find yourself spending hours and hours building a base and exploring the galaxy together.
One more thing: No Man’s Sky allows cross-platform gaming. So even if you play on a PC and your other friends play on Xbox and PlayStation, you all can still enjoy each other’s company in-game.
Although this game no longer lets you travel between different astronomical bodies; you’re still acting as an explorer on an alien planet. Aside from exploration, you’re tasked by your off-planet company, FICSIT, to mine resources from the planet, build a space elevator, and deliver components to it.
As you complete the goals sent by FICSIT, you get access to even more advanced systems, materials, and buildings. Eventually, you can unlock automation, allowing you to create the most sophisticated parts without player intervention. Aside from mining and crafting, there’s also some limited combat when encountering hostile life forms on the planet.
In Satisfactory, your base will eventually transform into a sprawling and complicated factory. You’ll find miles and miles of conveyor belts when you build enough. With you implementing such systems, you’ll soon find yourself automatically transforming primary resources, such as iron and copper ore, into advanced buildings and equipment.
Although the game is still in early access, it has already found initial success. Stefan Hanna, the CEO of Satisfactory developer Coffee Stain Studios, said in a Game Rant interview that by mid-December 2021 the title had already sold over 3 million copies.
Satisfactory is best for players who want the satisfaction of building complicated machines out of nothing. So, if you like building stuff, consider joining the three million-strong Satisfactory community. But if you want to go from building a base to building a city, you should check out our list of the best city-building games instead.
Survive, Explore, Mine, Build, and Thrive
Exploration and crafting games are a great way of relaxing after a tiring day. With these open-world, open-ended games, you can play at your own pace. You don’t have to worry about surviving chaotic battles all the time, nor do you have to keep up with fast-paced scenes.
If you’re keen on trying out a new exploration game, dive into any of the above titles. They’re going to give you the time of your life exploring a new planet or two, and you’ll get the fulfillment of building something from nothing into a sprawling base capable of spitting out anything you can think of.