As I launched from orbit and watched the world fill in below my drop pod, my senses starting to tingle. What will I do first? What will I find? Who will I find? The answer was actually to stare off towards the horizon and gaze at the beautiful scenery. Then I got to work.
ASTRONEER is a cute looking survival/crafting/exploration game that literally drops you onto a procedurally generated planet and let’s you run amok. What makes ASTRONEER special is the casual approach it takes to a lot of it’s concepts. A practical tutorial teaches you how the game works, and if you make a mistake you get a big icon guiding you back to your lost materials. It takes the “get in and get dirty” approach to crafting games where most linger in the “how do you build anything” phase.
The first thing I did was use my space vacuum to suck up some power and oxygen, the two things you need to keep an eye on. Displayed cleverly on your backpack (think Dead Space), your power and oxygen gauges are front and center. You can only wander a short distance from your drop pod before your oxygen runs out. By dropping tethers you can create paths that keep you breathing. They also serve as light sources in caves, and guides to help you find your way back to your pod. It’s a realistic limitation that stops you from immediately running across the whole planet.
“The main loop of ASTRONEER, at this point, is to search the planet’s surface to find the materials you need.”
It wouldn’t be a crafting game without materials, and there are plenty of materials to collect. As you build your pod out you build modules that give you access to new technology, vehicles, and items. All these things need a variety of elements and power sources that you must use your vacuum to suck up. The main loop of ASTRONEER, at this point, is to search the planet’s surface to find the materials you need. Eventually you can build a variety of vehicles that make traversal a lot easier.
I can’t wait to keep exploring the gorgeous world of ASTRONEER. It’s in Early Access right now on Steam and is also available on Xbox One and Windows 10 as part of the Xbox Preview Program. The Xbox Preview Program allows you to play a full hour of the game for free, so it’s a great way to jump in and try it out right now. It’s also an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so if you decide to buy, you can play it on both a Windows 10 PC and an Xbox One.
Keep your sensors pointed at Voxel Voice for more on ASTRONEER as its development continues.