Be it first-person shooter, survival horror, strategy, or simulation, there’s no shortage of genres to be found across the endless expanse of space. No Man’s Sky and its recent NEXT update have successfully managed to capture the fun to be had in this setting through exploration, survival, combat, and trading mechanics. The open universe and varied planetary environment exemplify how truly limitless space games are.
The following list contains the best space games of 2018. Whether it be hunting space pirates or building colonies on Mars, there’s bound to be something that suits your outer orbit fancy this year.
Best Space Games 2018 – War Tech Fighters
If you still find No Man’s Sky‘s spaceship mechanics a little lacking, War Tech Fighters may work as a good substitute. The game combines the vision of Japanese anime with spectacular Hollywood action to give players the thrill of battling in their own customizable war robots. Long-range and melee combat are both viable options here. What’s more is that playstyles are completely reliant on player choice, as perks tailor the experience depending on a user’s affinity for missiles or swords.
Best Space Games 2018 – Objects in Space
Objects in Space takes a page from No Man’s Sky’s trading mechanics, so if you’re into the intricacies of resource management, this way be worth your while. As a ship’s captain, players must buy and sell wares in order to keep their space vehicle afloat, as well as defend it against outside threats. These include anything from pirates, organized gangs, and even shady government officials. There’s also a rich assortment of characters to meet, each with his or her personal stories that fleshes out the game’s space setting that much more.
Best Space Games 2018 – Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest
No Man’s Sky fans looking the same exploratory fun with a more streamlined narrative should look no further than Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest. The pixelated adventure stars an unlikely hero named Odysseus who’s charged with managing his crew’s spacecraft while everyone else is off on a mission. Things go awry when the ship drifts too close to a black hole, however. It’s up to the sarcastic man and his service robot companion, Barton Quest, to navigate the craft out of harm’s way before it’s too late. Between dramatic moments, the game will almost assuredly make you laugh and fall in love with its characters.
Best Space Games 2018 – Star Traders: Frontiers
Star Traders: Frontiers released earlier this month and relies heavily on RPG mechanics in order to tell an evocative story set in space. Similar to No Man’s Sky, the game offers players freedom in choosing what exactly they would like to be. Anything from a pirate to a military officer is on the table, allowing users to become either a terrorizing force or an esteemed hero. What’s more is that maps are procedurally generated and each character is unique, further immersing players into the limitless possibilities that space provides.
Best Space Games 2018 – Phantom Signal
Just like No Man’s Sky, Phantom Signal’s approach to gameplay is non-linear. In addition to that, the title also shares traits with the aforementioned game in that it’s incredibly replayable. The plot has players awake on a space ship after encountering some unusual interference in space. Immediately after this, an unknown entity attacks the vessel. This tower defense game tasks users with constructing an energy grid, procuring resources, upgrading the ship, and destroying enemies all as a means to survive. A great deal of strategy is needed to circumvent the odds and live to see another day in outer orbit.
Best Space Games 2018 – Space Stories: Darth Star
Space Stories: Darth Star is a neat game aimed toward child space game fans. It’s similar to No Man’s Sky in that it contains an addictive gameplay loop that revolves around utilizing all the resources you procure from battle to your advantage. This arcade shooter’s similarities to a certain film franchise are uncanny, too, which is an added bonus should you happen to be familiar with a galaxy far, far away. Adding to the fun is the ability to install additional defenses and upgrade your weapons, bringing in even more chaos to the fights at hand.
Best Space Games 2018 – Far Out
Far Out describes itself as a “hardcore retro-futuristic immersive sim adventure game.” Its biggest similarity to No Man’s Sky lies in the fact that there are no map arrows, people, or indicators telling players where they need to go and what they should accomplish next. Technically, this gives users the ability to do whatever it is they deserve, though they should also keep in mind that environments are always out to kill people. Like in No Man’s Sky, survival is key to achieving any one of the title’s many endings.
Best Space Games 2018 – Overview: Scale of Our Universe
Overview: Scale of Our Universe takes the exciting exploratory possibilities of No Man’s Sky and grounds them in reality. That’s not to say that the game is boring in any way, as this virtual reality experience includes over 30 minutes of cinematic narration guiding viewers from Earth to the cosmos. The title is as every bit educational as it is fascinating, as photorealistic imagery is rendered through actual data from NASA, ESA, and other space-oriented organizations. There’s also a live model of the solar system to explore, complete with all of its planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.
Best Space Games 2018 – Overload
The shooting mechanics in No Man’s Sky aren’t the best the genre has seen. Luckily, Overlord fills that gap remarkably well. This first-person shooter combines intense action with awesome graphics and effects to create what its developer’s call “the ultimate zero-gravity” experience. The game includes a survival mode that’ll test your hand-eye coordination skills to the highest degree. It helps that it’s entirely playable in virtual reality, too – a feature that No Man’s Sky still lacks.
Best Space Games 2018 – Surviving Mars
Though Surviving Mars is a city-builder game, the title does rely heavily on resource management, just like in No Man’s Sky. Players are tasked with colonizing Mars and ensuring everyone involved survives the process. Choosing a proper location and determining what infrastructure needs to be built first is integral to the experience. That’s not to say that the game constantly involves intense strategy, as unlocking more mysteries to the world that surrounds players is also key to understanding how humanity will survive on Mars for years to come.
What space games like No Man’s Sky are you playing this year? Let us know in the comments below!