What is Astroneer?

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Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -
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If you had asked me to describe Astroneer, you’d probably be disappointed and generally uninterested in it. That’s because at it’s core it is an early access, space exploration, crafting and survival game. I’d completely understand if that sentence turned you off, but I promise you, Astroneer is different.

Well, it isn’t that different. You’ll still need to scavenge for resources to craft new items and build up your home base. You’ll have to travel a long way from where you started, and ultimately bring what you find back home. Astroneer does not revolutionize the entire genre in that way.

Even my gun is adorable
Even my gun is adorable

What Astroneer does do however, is be a little more forgiving on you. Resources aren’t particularly hard to come by, you don’t ever have to worry about hunger or stamina, and there aren’t any real enemies in the game. Unless you count storms and toxic plants as enemies, you’ll end up just killing yourself most of the time.

This emphasis on a more peaceful journey through space is a welcome deviation from most of the other survival games out there. Astroneer encourages you to take your time and go at your own pace, never really directing you on what to do or what to build. It’s aimless in a sense, but it never feels overwhelming.

In space, we only use Helvetica
In space, we only use Helvetica

That’s partly due to the very visual and diegetic nature of the interface. There aren’t really any menus to fumble through in Astroneer. Everything you can interact with is done so through in world prompts with simple text and imagery to aid you. Your oxygen and power meters are built onto your character’s backpack, a backpack that visually displays what, and how much of something you have. It’s all very clean and wrapped up in a beautiful art style that uses tons of color and brightness to welcome you and encourage exploration. The cartoon-like quality of it all is very inviting and never felt daunting or intimidating. Simply put, everything about the aesthetic is warm and pleasant.

Space Truckin
Space Truckin

Considering it is an early access title, it has a fair amount of jank to it. The physics might freak out on occasion, things you’ve built might disappear on your next load, or it might even just crash on you. But that’s all to be expected from a game that isn’t finished yet.

With that being said, I’ve seen some people complain about Astroneer being a thin experience. To that point, I can’t really disagree too much. After a few hours I’ve seen a lot of what it currently has to offer. Personally I hope Astroneer focuses more on exploration and discovery instead of being a hardcore survival game. I’d rather see more variations in planets and environments than getting hunger and stamina meters implemented, but who knows what lay ahead in its development.

Astroneer is currently available for $19.99 on Steam via early access, and is also a Play Anywhere title for Xbox One and Windows Store versions of the game.

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#1 Posted by dudeglove (12575 posts) -
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#2 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3165 posts) -

I picked it up for a while on Steam but needed to get a refund as it ran so poorly on my machine I couldn't enjoy it. I'm still interested in it but I just need it to run better/need to get better hardware.

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#3 Posted by ThatOneDudeNick (1454 posts) -

I've been having a blast with it. I like that I"m not digging in menus or worrying about being murdered for everything I've built (as someone that has 400+ hours in Rust and have played the asshole myself, this is a welcome change). The game doesn't teach you anything, but everything works like you'd expect it to. Space is dope too.

I haven't played with anyone else (I don't even see the option), but I'd like to try it with a few people.

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#4 Posted by geirr (3308 posts) -

It's so good!

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#5 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3006 posts) -

I've seen people say stuff like "Astroneer is what No Man's Sky should have been" which is baffling to me.

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#6 Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -
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#7 Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -

@jesus_phish: The game was definitely poorly optimized when it first launched. But they were issuing patches daily till they fixed it. So it may have not been entirely your systems fault.

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#8 Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -

@thatonedudenick: Yeah, I'm not sure how the multiplayer starts either. Maybe it's just as simple as inviting a friend via steam, and they just drop into your game. But this game is super relaxing, and I love it for that.

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#9 Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -

@jonny_anonymous: I mean, I get that a little. After all that's been said about NMS, the consensus seems to be it would've been okay if it was an early access game that was cheaper. Along with that, they both have unique and colorful art styles. I think people are willing to call anything what NMS should have been at this point.

"The Last Guardian is What No Man's Sky Should've Been" - my next article

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#10 Posted by beardslyman (24 posts) -
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#11 Posted by Capum15 (5694 posts) -

The word that comes to me is 'pleasant'. It's a very pleasant game to play. I've only played twice (Xbox One version), but both times were with friends and it was a fun romp around space.

Also the first time we played I made me a space car and then one of my friends managed to glitch-launch it into the air where it got stuck floating there somehow, about 2 minutes after I made it. Attempts to rescue it were not successful, but they were hilarious.

Also the first time we played only the host could put down working tethers so we were forced to make him run around for our pleasure survival needs. Second time it was fixed though so I could explore freely (and also be stranded on a weird new planet after he took the only shuttle back to get stuff, and promptly got lost and almost ran out of fuel).

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#12 Edited by scrappypixels (187 posts) -

So i picked this up on Saturday with no real look into it except for i liked the quick look and the upload from Brad's stream reminded me of it. I've had a brilliant time of it so far, it's the perfect game to pick up after a hard day, delve into for a few hours and clear the mind. It's also a lot of fun and doesn't seem frustrating at all.

I would highly recommend this, it's nice to make slow progress through this and seems to be fairly rewarding no matter what.

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