[Top 15] Best Space Exploration Games To Play Right Now

Best Space Exploration Games
Explore these games at your leisure as you travel through the stars!


A good space game featuring some in-depth exploration and well-thought out progression is always a welcome addition to a game library. Escape for a few hours to a far-off planet where life’s rules change, and open up your mind to amazing new concepts, alien life-forms and technology. Here are some of the best space exploration games to play currently:

 

15. Universe Sandbox (PC)

 This isn’t your typical first-person shooter or RPG – Universe Sandbox is a true to its name simulator. Play around with real-time gravity, adjust climates, cause collisions and allow materials to interact with one another for life-like results!

  • Experience the strange universe that we live in through this amazing simulator, and garner a greater appreciation for our own planet
  • Supports VR, which allows for a vibrant, interactive experience
  • Create and destroy at your own whims – the options are limitless
  • Remember, Universe Sandbox is a simulator: if you’re looking for a more traditional instance of a game, you likely won’t find it here. However, if you’ve been longing to play around with the universe in an endless amount of ‘what-if’ scenarios, this will be a fun pastime for you!

 

14. Surviving Mars (PC / PS4 / XBO)

It’s finally time to call the Red Planet “home” in this city-builder. Learn to survive on Mars’ harsh surface and build a colony that works as a well-oiled machine. Become funded by a space agency, design your colony’s layout and provide infrastructure for your new colonists!

  • Planning is key in this game: your choice of layout and agency will sometimes make or break your colony’s survival. Become a sustainable city, or perish on the unforgiving surface of Mars
  • Your colonists, like many building-focused games, will each have their own personalities and issues, strengths and weaknesses. This adds the human element into the fray – you never know what turn things may take!
  • Things will feel nostalgic and hopeful with the 1960’s futurism design of this game’s buildings and aesthetics

 

13. Breathedge (PC / PS4 / XBO / Nintendo Switch)

Following the mysterious crash of the hearse spaceship you are a passenger of, you’ll have to learn how to survive in the cold of outer space. Scavenge wreckage, craft better tools, and build in this humorous, exploration-centric game. Your best tool? Your immortal chicken. No joke.

  • Many reviews of Breathedge compare it to Subnautica, for the survival aspects alone. They’re very different games with different outcomes, but if you’re looking for that sort of survival feeling, Breathedge might be for you
  • Stay alive! There are lots of challenges to overcome out in space, including but not limited to suffocation, freezing, incineration and even severe depression. Thankfully this game is humorous at its core, which keeps the total morbidity at a low roar
  • Create your own space station, equipped with all the vital systems needed to keep you alive and (somewhat) happy!

 

12. Osiris: New Dawn (PC / PS4 / XBO)

This open universe space survival game takes place during the year 2078, and you are a part of the Osiris expedition, sent to explore the far reaches of the Gliese 581 system. When you are forced to make an emergency landing on a planet’s surface, you will be tested time and time again. Fight for survival as you combat not only alien creatures, but the elements and suffocation itself.  

  • Build up a base, sustain yourself with your own greenhouse and research new technology as you work to colonize this strange new alien world

    • The animations in this game are truly spectacular. Your character model will react and move in very life-like ways. Each alien creature you encounter also comes with their own horrifying set of animations that will trick you into believing you’re really face-to-face with them!
  • With enough time, you will be able to build a spacecraft to explore nearby planets and learn their secrets as well!
  • Remember: New Dawn is currently in Early Access, and isn’t fully polished. You may experience some bugs or crashes because of this, but this is simply a risk taken when trying out an Early Access title such as this

 

11. Everspace 2 (PC / PS4 / XBO)

This single-player game will plunge you into a world focused on deep space exploration, on and below the surfaces of alien planets. Meander through the open-world setting of Everspace 2 and uncover countless puzzles, loot and secrets, all for the taking.

  • Defend yourself against outlaw gangs as you discover hidden alien treasures on far-out planets, come face-to-face with aliens and uncover vast mysteries
  • This game is set to your pace – you decide how fast or how slow you want to dive into this incredible world. Design your ship exactly as you want it, equip it with weaponry and upgrades that best suit your playstyle, and learn to become an exemplary pilot!
  • Featuring a main campaign as well as numerous side-quests, this game will keep you occupied for hours on end, with interactive characters and engaging storylines

 

10. Starbound (PC / XBO)

 Practically a Terraria, but in space, Starbound features fantastic exploration paired with beloved sci-fi themes. Following the destruction of your home, you are tossed into the endless unknown with just your trusty spaceship, which has suffered severe damages. The only way to repair it, is to look for materials on the alien worlds below.

  • Customize your species and view this game’s world through their eyes as you interact with alien hubs, come fact-to-face with transients from other planets and uncover incredible secrets
  • Face boss fights, uncover new and powerful weaponry, or simply just exist. The path you can take in Starbound is truly up to you. Fighting not for you? Maybe managing tenants in your constructed town is more your speed!
  • Answer the call to heroism, or settle down to a life all your own

 

9. Oxygen Not Included (PC)

Deep inside an asteroid adrift in space, you’ll start out with three colonists who must learn to survive in this harsh environment, with only you to save them. Meet the needs of your colonists, and attempt to expand outwards to allow a better quality of life for them. Remember: oxygen isn’t included – you’ll have to figure out how to provide it yourself.

  • Planning is key here: if you fail to take into account one challenge, it may be the end for your colony as you know it
  • Manage different systems with the help of your colonists, each of which play a part in the success or failure of your colony as a whole
  • Your only enemy in this game is… yourself – and the lack of oxygen

 

8. Outer Wilds (PC / PS4 / XBO / Nintendo Switch)

 Your solar system is somehow trapped in a mysterious time-loop. As the newest member of Outer Wilds Ventures space program, it’s your job to dive headfirst into the mysteries presented to you, and find the answers. Will you be able to stop the endless time loop?

  • Planets in Outer Wilds will change over time – some locations may even become inaccessible as they become tattered by age or swallowed by the environment itself. The most exciting secrets are usually in the most dangerous areas!
  • Track down signals as you camp out on alien worlds with nothing but your intergalactic hiking gear
  • It’s all about exploration with Outer Wilds. You can travel to any object in space in any order you desire – the choice is all yours. But remember: you are stuck in a 22-minute time-loop, and while this makes for a severely interesting mechanic, you’re constantly in a race against time itself
  • This game is heralded as a must-play, with many reviewers lamenting the fact that they wish they could forget everything and play it for the first time again 

 

7. Star Wars: Squadrons (PC / XBO)

If you ever grew up with the original X-wing games from way back in the day, Squadrons will feel like a modern take on the beloved games from your childhood. Become a top-notch pilot and master the controls of different space vessels in this multiplayer dogfighting game!

  • Taking place after the events of Return of the Jedi, you are able to see the state of the universe from two different perspectives: the New Republic and the Empire. Both sides have their own unique stories with their own rising stars and leaders.
  • With VR support, it will truly feel like you are an actual pilot in the Star Wars universe as you fly each vessel!
  • Modify your ship with new weapons, engines, shields and other cosmetic items as you progress through simple play!

 

6. X4: Foundations (PC / PS4 / XBO)

With a sophisticated universe simulator on board for the ride, this game allows you to fly through life-like solar systems and land on amazing new planets from a first-person perspective. Trade, explore, manage an empire all your own – your options are nearly endless in X4: Foundations!

  • Featuring a realistic economy with a slew of life-like NPCs and stations, it’s easy to get lost in the magic of this game
  • Build a space station all your own as you collect every available ship and learn to pilot it to the best of your ability. Upgrade them with new tech found in your explorations!

 

5. Astroneer (PC / PS4 / XBO)

A loveable and undeniably cute game, Astroneer is able to captivate vast arrays of audiences. With it’s bright, almost squishy-looking art and comical interactions and animations, it’s easy to be invited into this game’s charm. Your goal is to survive on the surface of a new planet, and harvest all the resources you can, in an attempt to get to the planet’s core.

  • Construct a base that is perfectly suited for harvesting the riches of whatever planet you land on. With enough resources, you’ll be able to construct a rocket that will take you to other worlds nearby, where you’ll get new and exciting research that allows you to craft and build new technologies on your hunt for the planet’s core
  • Earn emotes and astronaut skins, as well as custom suits. There are even fun toys, such as horns to be found while out exploring!

 

4. Space Engineers (PC)

A sandbox game whose main focus is on engineering and construction, you’ll be set down on fantastic alien planets and forced to survive. Create spaceships, vehicles, stations and even planetary outposts across the surface of newly discovered planets!

  • Play alone or with friends in this interactive game: assemble anything you want, deconstruct it on a whim and repair damage – it’s all up to you
  • This game works hard to follow the laws of physics to a T, so you’ll receive a very life-like and immersive experience as to how the objects interact with their environment in Space Engineers!
  • Though it focuses on building and exploration, there are also some shooter elements to this game as well, typically a last-resort option. This game isn’t really about a military presence, but about the incredible machines you construct along the way

 

3. Dyson Sphere Program (PC)

Harness the power of the stars themselves as you construct your very own intergalactic factory. Set in the distant future, the main problem humanity faces is the fact that the entirety of planet Earth is unable to power a new supercomputer that makes space and time effectively obsolete, and will ultimately set the human race on a path of extreme technological evolution. As a space engineer who is in charge of a team sent to solve this problem, you are tasked with creating Dyson Spheres around stars to siphon their energy and provide the much-needed resources to undertake this endeavor.

  • Design your very own interstellar factory and create an automation system that turns your sphere into a machine of enormous efficiency
  • The universe in the Dyson Sphere Program is procedurally generated, with countless stars and celestial bodies to discover and harvest
  • Research new technologies to improve your Dyson Sphere, and use them to unlock the secrets of the universe itself. Humanity is counting on you
  • Dyson Sphere Program is also another game that is still in Early Access, so be sure to keep this fact in mind when consuming the experience

 

2. Elite Dangerous (PC / PS4 / XBO)

Featuring none other than the Milky Way itself as your playground, this game will allow you to speed through the heavens in your very own spacecraft. Adapt to the changing power dynamics of this vast universe and work your way towards becoming one of the Elite in any way you can.

  • Your actions in Elite Dangerous affect the outcome of the storyline. Whether you’re exploring or mining, the option to attack others often comes with a cost. Flee or fight, the choice is up to you
  • The real stars of our own solar system are featured in this game, making it an alien, yet somehow still very familiar experience
  • Upgrade your vessel, strike up negotiations and survive through the stars at your own pace 

 

1. Stellaris (PC / PS4 / XBO)

 The path set before you is all your own in Stellaris. Gather science teams to explore newly discovered planets, extend the reach of your empire out across the galaxy as a whole, and recover mysterious alien artifacts at your leisure. The stars really are the limit!

  • Prepare to be amazed by the truly spectacular graphics of Stellaris
  • Forge alliances, start galactic altercations and play exactly as you wish
  • Featuring procedural generation, Stellaris will allow you to come fact-to-face with a nearly infinite amount of new alien races, who will react to you in their own unique manner
  • Stellaris features free update history at all times, which allows you to keep up with the game as it evolves on its own. There’s also DLC packs available that can add some interesting dynamics to this already exemplary game

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A druid where one would least expect it -New Jersey- Morgan is happiest when immersing herself in the magic of another world, whether in the pages of a book or the technicolor of a beloved video game.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Top 3 Favorite Games:Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, Sea of Thieves, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


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