Steam's Latest Hit Lets You Explore Space, Land On Planets

Steam's Latest Hit Lets You Explore Space, Land On Planets

Steam-style survival with traces of No Man's Sky? OK, you've got my attention.

Empyrion: Galactic Survival is Steam's latest out-of-nowhere top seller, and while usual complaints -- "Ugh, more survival? Really? That's already my full-time job" -- apply, this one's got an ambitious streak the size of the Milky Way. It's still in Early Access, but already you can build a spaceship and blast off to explore the cosmos. Granted, you start on a dull dustball of a planet with only the most basic of supplies to your name, but exciting, No-Man's-Sky-style planet-exploring antics happen, you know, eventually.

Here are the things Empyrion currently has going for it:

Space and planet exploration: An absolute free-roaming experience awaits you: fly across space, land on planets and freely walk around.

Building and construction: You can build everything out of blocks & building parts: capital vessels, small vessels, ground vessels as well as space & planetary stations.

Survival mode: Survival is key - try to stay alive in a hostile environment. Food and oxygen are rare, resources scarce and dangers lurk around -- be well prepared.

Creative mode: Freely build on planets or in space and do not care for food, resources or enemies.

Space and land combats: Empyrion features a variety of enemies reaching from (peaceful and hostile) creatures living on planets to aggressive robot drones that can attack you in space and on planets.

Single and co-operative: Besides single player, Empyrion supports co-operative gameplay with your friends.

Mining and resource gathering: For building and construction, you must gather and mine resources that you find on planets and asteroids.

Extensive crafting system: Using and combining resources, you can craft your own equipment and weapons.

Farming and food system: Grow your own vegetables and fruits or hunt creatures for their meat to prepare yourself a delicious meal. Find rare plants to prepare medical supplies.

Terrain deformation: You can entirely modify and deform the terrain. It's a true sandbox game!

So a lot of standard survival stuff, but also... space! To be completely honest, I'm a sucker for games that let you take a ship from surface to space and back again. I mean, that's the space game dream, right? That's what makes us whimper and swoon even when games like No Man's Sky and Star Citizen serve up pie-in-the-stars promises they might not be able to deliver on. Empyrion looks significantly, um, less good than either of those, but what it lacks in the audiovisual department, it makes up for with a) potential depth and b) existence.

In the future, the developers plan to add a whole solar system of fully (instead of partially) procedurally generated planets. Right now, though, there already seems to be quite a bit to do. Problem is, it's kinda... boring. I've played for about an hour so far, and I've spent that time in a typical survival rhythm of supply collecting and slow-but-sure base-building.

Steam's Latest Hit Lets You Explore Space, Land On Planets

On the upside, Empyrion starts you out stranded on a planet, but not high and dry. I haven't felt like I'm lacking for supplies... yet. Unfortunately, it's all pretty clunky, and -- even with the help of a developer-endorsed wiki -- it's taken time for me to get up to speed with where all my life support and construction systems are, what I need to make base parts, and things of the like. I feel like I've got it all figured out now -- an hour later -- but it often feels like Empyrion has two systems or sets of menus where it could've had one.

I'm still working my way toward the whole spacefaring Han Solo fantasy thing, so I'm sure I'll have more to say about the game soon. For now, though, I'm definitely interested -- though perhaps a bit more in the concept than its execution. Expect another report when I make it to space. (Note: I wish I could end every post with that sentence.)

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To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @vahn16.


Comments

    So it's starforge/No Mans Skies/minecraft all bundled into early access? I'll pass till full release. Game like these are fun for an hour or so.

    Was looking at this today, looks like a nice filler until no mans sky comes out.

    Things I would like to see in this game however are, 1) Planet clouds rendered from space so when you enter into a planets surface it doesn't pop-in clouds like it does now. 2) Smaller/smoother block options. 3) More players supporter, get that up to 64players :)

    The AI could do with animation enhancements etc also (for the ground creatures at least).

    And yes this is basically what Starforge was meant to be if CodeHatch didn't BAIL like what their probably going to do with Reign of Kings, they have a very short attention span and when the positive reviews and sales trail off they often leave a project half finished to find something new. Just wait and you'll see what I mean.

    Last edited 09/08/15 5:00 pm

      I was wondering why I hadn't seen any starforge update? Did they leave the game did they once it hit 1.0???

        They didn't just leave the game at 1.0, they basically took the 0.5 alpha/beta build and renamed it 1.0, released some minor crash patches and left leaving it void of many key features people were expecting to be in (they had plenty of videos showing these features off).

        Last edited 10/08/15 12:38 pm

    Soooooo it's Space Engineers with the abillity to land on planets?

      Except these guys are approaching the game from the explore/encounters side of things whereas SE still doesn't have persistent solar system or larger, nor does it have any AI encounters except basic script pop-ins.

      Space Engineers is working on planets last time I checked.

    Kinda have Fallout New Vegas feel to it don't you guys think? I certainly do.

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