Astroneer, An Early-Access Game Review

Hello Everyone!

The new year is… well I hope it is going good by this point I am currently still writing from the past.

Today I will be doing a game review over an Early Access game over on Steam called ‘Astroneer’.

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I will readily admit when I first heard about Astroneer I was a bit hesitant on it. It is of the same vein of games that spawned us what turned out to be the disappoint game of the year (for me) known as No Man’s Sky (don’t let my previous review of NMS confuse you, while I did like it when I wrote that piece it was shortly after I fell off the bandwagon hard).

But due to receiving some funds over the holidays I thought I would go ahead and try it out with a friend of mine. Now there are many things inside of Astroneer right now but as it is in early access any number of these could disappear from existence but it also means plenty more can show up as well.

Gameplay:

The gameplay of Astroneer as it currently stands can be divided up into a few subcategories. But while each of these are in a way unique there is no way to do one without the other.

First there is base building, which is limited when compared to other games with a base building aspect but is enough to thoroughly entertain me. You start the game in a small pod called a habitat that is the starting point of your game and your base. From this habitat you can create small nodes that can either be expanded into a large node for use of building large modules or be used to create another node so your base can expand further.

Bases are important as they allow you to do essentially everything needed for the other parts of the game. Want to create a vehicle? Well you need a Smelter to create the ingots needed to build up the vehicle bay that can then create your Rover, Truck, or Spaceship. Running out of energy too often? Probably need a Battery which requires a Printer to be built before hand.

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Creating 4 large nodes from one habitat is a quick way to stop expanding and stall your progression quickly.

Second in line would be the exploration which takes many forms.

First is the simple, and most used, hiking on foot method. Now there are some drawbacks is you have a limited amount of Oxygen and Energy on your sturdy backpack. While your base has an unlimited supply of both the only way to draw upon this energy as you run out into the wilds is by tethering your base to you. This is done simply by creating the items required and dropping them every few feet in order to keep a life line to your base.

Second is using a vehicle. Vehicles are essentially mobile bases in a sense with limited energy, unless you set it up properly so that it creates its own energy while you are out. This allows for further exploring without having to have tethers all over the planet. Not to mention the speed is so much better.

Lastly there is the spaceship. Which simply allows you to get to other planets which when compared to the first planet you start on currently only allow varying degrees of difficulty for starting up a base as some planet will lack certain resources but be overflowing with others.

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Lastly and this ties in the most with both of the other points I think is crafting. There are multiple points of crafting in this game all requiring various resources you will find across the planet(s). First is the crafting done from your mini-printer on your backpack. This creates various things that you use such as Filters, which give a small boost of Oxygen when you run low, Tethers, which connect you to your source of Oxygen and Energy, or even small Wind Vane and Solar Panels which when connected your backpack create a small source of energy.

Then there are the various things done at the large nodes at the base. Such as at the Research Station you can place various research items found on the planet to learn new recipes or find rare resources. The Smelter smelts down raw ore into ingots. The Printer allows for larger crafting such as a battery to store large amounts of energy, the large solar panel and wind vane that create energy, and similar things like that. The Vehicle Bay that creates vehicles and parts for the vehicles. As well as the Trade Post which… honestly probably needs to get some work from the devs because at the moment it is a bit over powered in its use.

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Now as with almost any Early-Access title there are bugs to beware of as well as updates that potentially could at any time overwrite old saves. Now while many of these bugs are hilarious to see some can potentially ruin your game completely. There are also many other things the game could use (like a way to delete old saves) that could help with many things but its all a waiting game given the game is not even a month old yet.

So as Astroneer currently stands I would give it a pretty solid 8 out of 10 it has the potential to go pretty far right now and the great thing is the devs seem to be fairly active (again though it hasn’t even been out for a month yet).

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