Best Space Exploration Games
The best space exploration games that will take you on a deep space adventure
Looking to explore places where no man has ever been before? Then check out this list of games that will let you explore the far reaches of space, deep into the unknown.
Starsector is a single-player, 2D open-world space exploration and role playing game that puts you in a procedurally generated sector, a quarter of the galaxy that contains many star systems 6,000 light years from Earth. The game isn’t finished yet but you can get it in its current Alpha state.
Lots of exploration is to be had, even if it the game still isn’t finished. With the sector being different each time you start a new game, you’ll never know what to expect in these dangerous star systems. Get ready to explore hundreds of locations to find habitable worlds, rich resource deposits, and lost technology.
You can salvage various things such as a survey probe, a derelict ship, or an orbital station. Planets can be surveyed and you can even create outposts.
Many different planets can be found throughout Starsector.
While the game is still in Alpha, it is still packed with content. You can customize your ship, lead your own fleet, and there’s even support for user-made factions, missions, ships and weapons.
Watch out, exploration comes with many dangers.
2. Elite Dangerous
Elite Dangerous is a realistic space exploration and roleplaying game that puts you in our massive Milky Way galaxy. You can play alone, with friends, or with thousands of players in the multiplayer mode.
Jump in and be whatever you want, from a space pirate or bounty hunter to a trader or smuggler. There are over 25 ships and each ship is specialized for a specific play style. If you happen to go for an aggressive role and play as a bounty hunter, assassin or mercenary then you will be climbing up the combat ranks by destroying higher-ranked pilots. Start from the Harmless combat rank and hunt your prey to one day achieve the highest Elite combat rank.
This is truly a huge game to explore. There’s no stopping here with the amount of exploration and content the game offers. There are 400 billion star systems to explore. That’s right, 400 billion star systems. The planets, moons, asteroid fields and black holes are all built in massive proportions, true to real life. It is amazing and beautiful.
The enormous, beautiful Milky Way
Someone has calculated that it would take 381 years to explore the whole game alone. That is just incredible and shows how truly massive this game is.
You can even explore planets, but you will have to buy the Horizons Season Pass to do so.
A long adventure awaits.
3. No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is a massive space exploration game that puts you into an infinite procedurally generated universe. It’s a game all about exploration and survival. Land on any planet you see and explore freely at your own will, discovering many unique life forms.
The amount of exploration this game offers is endless. You can even land on planets and explore. Each planet is different, with different creatures and different resources. You may even find an ancient artifact no one has ever seen before, who knows. Maybe you will be the first one to uncover a new language. You can also name planets if you are the first one to discover it. Even the creatures can be named differently if you discover them first. No loading screen will bother you while exploring the galaxy. Even when trying to land on a planet, there is no loading screen to go through to be able to do so. You just simply fly wherever you want without any loading screen stopping you.
The game isn’t actually infinite, but it’s so huge that it would be impossible to explore everything alone. There are about 18.4 quintillion planets, or, to be specific, 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets. Yeah, you’d have to be immortal to explore all the planets. If you really want to know how long it would take, well…..you don’t want to know. But if you do, here you go: 584 million years if you spent 1 second at every planet.
One of many planets you will stumble upon in the game.
No Man’s Sky releases on August 12, 2016.
Are you ready for one of the biggest journeys ever?
4. Rebel Galaxy
Rebel Galaxy puts you in a galaxy that is filled with people you shouldn’t trust. Take control of a spacecraft called the “Rasputin” and set out in a galaxy full of liars, thugs and thieves. Be careful who you negotiate with, as every action has consequences in this single-player, action-packed, exploration and roleplaying game.
There are lots of dangers to be had in your exploration. Space pirates are lurking around every star system with aliens and shady people looking to do some illegal business.
Would you trust this guy?
Unfortunately you cannot explore planets but there are still plenty of other things to do. Explore anomalies, scavenge wreckage, mine asteroids and discover artifacts. You never know what to expect in this procedurally generated galaxy full of beautiful views and plenty of secrets.
Buy better ships to keep you safer in this dangerous galaxy.
5. Star Citizen
Star Citizen is a massive space simulation game with lots of exploration. It is currently in-development. You can buy it and support it in its current Alpha state, which doesn’t have all the features packed together yet.
The game has a wide variety of careers to choose from. You can take on careers such as a trader, a space miner, an explorer, a bounty hunter, a space pirate, a smuggler, a spy, a hacker or even a police officer. Each career has its own goals. A police officer can do missions for police forces and must stop space pirates while a hacker will use a small, armored space ship called the Drake Herald designed to intercept communications and steal information.
In Star Citizen you not only explore the massive galaxy using your ship, you can actually walk inside your spaceship and even explore space stations on foot. You will even be able to explore planets.
Be the first one to find a new species, new solar system or a rare artifact. Lots of planets, anomalies, abandoned space stations and derelict ships are waiting for you to discover and explore.
It’s a beautiful galaxy out there waiting to be explored.
The game has received over $117 million and continues to receive more on the RSI website thanks to crowd-funding support.
Wow, look at that!
6. Starpoint Gemini 2
Get ready to explore the Gemini system in this single-player space RPG filled with dark secrets and surprising twists. After two years since the end of the second Gemini war, something is still wrong. Set out on a journey to find out the shocking truth hidden deep in the Gemini system.
There are many ways to explore. You can use T-Gates, wormholes and riftways. With over 70 ships, each of them upgradeable, you are sure to find one that suits your play style. Find artifacts and be prepared for any attacks that may come by in your fearless adventures.
The game has a complex but easy-to-use RPG system mixed in with some nice space combat.
A spin-off is currently in Early Access on Steam called Starpoint Gemini: Warlords. The developers have listened to the community and are now working to put all the community-requested features in the spin-off which weren’t possible in this game due to engine limitations.
The Gemini system is filled with various different sectors.
Rodina is a single-player space exploration game currently in Early Access on Steam that lets you explore an entire, full-scale solar system, with no loading screens. Find various books, emails, logs and decrypt encrypted messages to uncover more about the story that is currently not finished.
The game has a full-scale, procedurally generated solar system with 4 full-size planets, one gigantic star, 50 randomized large asteroids and about 45k smaller asteroids. You can fly straight down to a planet, land on it and walk around. You can even walk in your ship and customize it how you want.
Houston, we have a problem.
The developer is focusing towards the direction of “Daggerfall in Space”. He wants to make Rodina a much bigger, procedurally generated space RPG.
Destroyed spaceships crashing on that big planet
8. Empyrion – Galactic Survival
Empyrion – Galactic Survival is an open-world space sandbox that lets you freely roam the procedurally generated solar system. Uncover the mysteries of Empyrion and save the Earth from apocalypse before it is too late.
There’s lots of exploration to do. You can warp between planets, fly from planet to moons, land on planets and freely walk around to explore and discover the native fauna and flora. There are many different kinds of vivid planets to explore: desert planets, alien planets, lava planets and more.
A lava planet is not the best place to live in.
Each planet has a variety of characteristics, such as the planet type, its gravity, atmosphere, number of moons, terrain, surface, vegetation, climate and resources. The game can be played both in single-player and multi-player mode with your friends.
You can build any kind of ship you want.
9. EVE Online
EVE Online is a sci-fi MMORPG that puts you in a massive galaxy called New Eden that has over 7,000 star systems with tons of players exploring, fighting and conquering. The natural wormhole humans used to get to the New Eden galaxy was stabilized by a giant gateway called “EVE”. Unfortunately, the wormhole unexpectedly collapsed and destroyed the gate, leaving the colonies on New Eden to survive on their own.
Exploration in EVE is very profitable as a profession. It can be highly rewarding going into dangerous parts of the galaxy.
You use scanning probes to locate Cosmic Signatures in space which may contain hackable containers with items inside, resources like ore or gas clouds, wormholes to faraway star systems, or a number of NPCs which may drop some rare items and income if you destroy them and salvage the wreckage.
How far will you go?
This game is a bit more complicated than usual and requires a lot of your time but it can end up being really fun to play with a group once you get used to it.
You may stumble upon large battles in your adventures.
10. Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online is a free-to-play space MMORPG that puts you in the Start Trek universe as a captain that controls his customizable ship and crew, exploring star systems, completing missions and discovering new life.
The game lets you explore over 200 star systems in which you will find strange new planets, new species and new civilizations in this big, expanding universe.
On whose side are you on?
If the missions in the game aren’t your cup of tea, then you can play one of the many missions created by players using The Foundry. Some might even be better than the main missions in game, and may highly satisfy your appetite for exploration.
The Starfleet Academy
A new expansion pack called “Agents of Yesterday” launched recently. It features new ships and new missions to do, giving the game even more content and more places to explore.
11. X3: Terran Conflict
X3: Terran Conflict is a single-player space simulation game, a stand-alone expansion to X3: Reunion that puts you in the X Universe in the year 2938. Explore, build and fight against many races that inhabit this universe.
You can explore more than 225 sectors, most of which are unlocked by progressing through the story. This expansion adds more than 100 new spaceships, new ship classes and weapon systems to help you on your journey. Sectors are connected through jump-gates, which you use to fast-travel.
Jump-gates connect each sector.
Lots of races are fighting to take over all the sectors. You will probably stumble upon them fighting each other trying to take control of a sector. Be careful in which sector you go, an unfriendly race might be in control of it.
Each sector is large and may have lots of space ships, which may be hostile or friendly.
Stellaris is a grand-strategy 4X game that puts focus on deep and rich galactic exploration.
Get ready to explore huge procedurally-generated galaxies that have thousands of planets. Gameplay rewards exploration as you navigate, discover, interact and learn more about the many species you will encounter. You never know what to expect. A fleet of space pirates, a hostile empire, or a species in need of help? It truly feels exciting to explore the vast galaxies this game offers, filled with various races you can negotiate with.
Here you can see many different empires fighting for galactic domination .
There are many different civilizations you will come across in your endeavors. Some will greet you nicely, others, not so much.
Engage in epic, galactic battles.
13. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a third-person space action RPG developed by popular RPG developer, BioWare. This game does not continue the story from the Mass Effect trilogy, instead, it starts new, with a new protagonist. It is also the first game to feature a fully open world.
The Mako is back!
The good old Mako armored vehicle from Mass Effect 1 is back and will let you once again explore various planets with it. Hopefully they improved navigation on the Mako and won’t get us get stuck in rocks that make us fly halfway across the map. A spaceship called the Tempest will also be in your command and will let you travel to many different types of planets.
Are you ready, Commander?
Mass Effect: Andromeda releases on March 2017.
Space is waiting to be explored. There are many more games that offer great, exciting space exploration. This is just some of them. I hope you found one that satisfies your need for galactic exploration. Thanks for reading.