We’d love to defend indie space adventure No Man’s Sky to the death, but if you’re going to charge £40+ for an indie game, you really do need to come up with the goods
Many gamers seem to be disappointed in No Man’s Sky, but there are plenty of other space simulation games out there.
Here are the very best alternatives to ease your interstellar needs.
Unlike No Man’s Sky, Elite Dangerous focuses on your playable character heavily, even giving you the initial choice of which career to follow – making it part space-sim and part RPG.
Your pilot can be a galactic trader, a combat ace, or even just a wily pirate; a feature that greatly boosts the game’s replay value.
Elite Dangerous doesn’t force you to exclusively explore or ferociously fight an indefinite enemy, but gives you the choice of multiple different activities including but not limited to cargo trading – a money making gameplay feature that’s stupidly in-depth for a game its size.
Where can I play it? Xbox One, PC (coming to PS4, TBC)
Kerbal Space Program
Construction is the name of the game in Kerbal Space Program, a game that actually has you hand-make your rocket on Earth before you’re permitted to wander into the far reaches of the cosmos.
Once you’re out of the atmosphere, you should be looking to create your very own space station, from which you can manage your galactic adventures with absolute ease.
It also features three separate game modes (Sandbox, Career and Science) that cater to the needs of the player respectively, so for something a little more whimsical than your average space-sim, we strongly recommend this one.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U
If break-neck combat is what your thing, then Rebel Galaxy is sure to serve you well.
More of an interstellar RPG than your stereotypical simulation game, you’ll be accepting quests from NPCs, upgrading your ship at docking stations and regularly choosing between speech options that will either lead you into new opportunities, or anger-fuelled dog fights.
Think Fallout in space, and you’ll be pretty close.
Where can I play it? PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
If it’s the construction of ships that you enjoy in space-sims, Space Engineers was made for you, having the player initially design their own space ship and regularly giving opportunities for base building.
The game plays more like Minecraft than Star Citizen, letting you create your own vessels and bases via a simplistic block-based creation system.
As of November 2015, you can now explore planets in the game, meaning that although the level of detail won’t be up to the standards of No Man’s Sky, all of the core gameplay mechanics are there, and it’ll cost you about £20 less.
Where can I play it? Xbox One, PC
Paradox Interactive’s 2016 space-simulation game is more about controlling planets than exploring them. The story puts you at the head of a massive space program, led by Earth’s brightest minds, with the purpose of getting a foothold in the universe.
You’ll be competing against numerous alien species in this race for supremacy, and the threat of military intervention gets greater as your empire expands.
Stellaris rewards political savvy more than brute force, but that doesn’t mean a powerful arsenal won’t serve you well.
Where can I play it? PC