Space the final frontier with the many great planets and other species to meet, explore, and if you’re a Star Trek fan maybe get a bit freaky with them. However the core focus in Space Engineers is that you can build ships, bases, whatever you want from the resources you find much like Minecraft; however the key difference is it’s set in space, and with zero gravity the game itself is a Sandbox, very linear in its mechanics, but very broad in its gameplay where you get to decide how the games played and even can mod it thanks to the Steam Workshop it.
If you want, you can even start on a planet and work your way up into space for exploring giving you time to learn and adhere to all the mechanics in the game. So you know, you don’t suffocate when you start building and trying to survive.
However, it should be noted at this junction that there are two game modes; the first game mode and the one the game has set to default on because the creative mode is still buggy and is disabled in the game’s options until turned on manually. The default game mode is Survival which entails building and also not dying because dying sucks and you can lose resources and time while you are working on a build.
Creative mode as it entails is being creative; here’s access to everything you want to do whatever you want with and you can even change the number of resources used to make your life easier, and different methods of putting things together to make things even easier or if you’re familiar with console commands from Minecraft; think that.
Now in a creative mode which I’m still learning but I’m screwing around with so I can learn at my own pace and not in its survival mode where I would have died probably a few hundred times at this point. It’s to be said that thanks to creative mode I have been able to enjoy this game without a lot of added stress, learning how thrusters work on ships, and by far my favorite item the jump drive which lets me pop around from giant asteroids at my leisure.
But don’t misunderstand me at any point during this; the game has a learning curve, a steep learning curve that eats a lot of time up, in Minecraft you have had to gather wood, use wood to make an axe, and so on. In Space Engineers it’s not as simple as that, because you got to gather ore and then refine it to then craft what you want to build, then to power your engines you need to acquire uranium ore and feed these engines so you can power your ship, and it goes on like this for everything even your own suit is powered by hydrogen and having to mine these resources in space from asteroids in zero gravity is a very challenging process.
I think the hardest part about playing Space Engineers is just its controls once you get the hang of building and the options they give you the game does become a lot more fun to play, but while you are out in space navigating everything it becomes increasingly more difficult as I have on several occasions flung myself out into space yelling “bye world” because there is no hope of me ever being able to get back to my ship.
Now in terms of things to do; the game remains like others like it is very open-ended the adventures, and experiences you have are generally crafted at your leisure from epic space battles with your friends to just casually screwing around and building into an asteroid there is no story and the game remains very linear in its approach to letting the player decide what they want to do. However, this does create the issue of having fun if you lack friends; unless you just want to listen to the relaxing music they have while building at your own leisure which I won’t lie I’ve done for a few hours.
I even grabbed a few of my favorite fantasy ships from their workshops like the Final Fantasy VIII Ragnarock, or the Outlaw Star there is even a mod for the T.A.R.D.I.S from Doctor Who if you are interested in that as well. The great thing about games is that allow players the control to both mod and develop their own method of playing; it means they have all the power hence why a lot of these games are labeled as a “sandbox” because the player gets all the control.
My only real issue outside of the controls is; since it’s an intergalactic set game you would expect something more like a programmable non-player character to help trade resources or even encounter; maybe even a mod for it. Visiting planets with no life on them can be quite empty except for the alien creatures that kill you in survival; those are common issues. But I’m not talking about enemies; I’m talking about creatures, aliens, whatever you want them to be maybe even a rogue robot A.I. that can help the players much like the Testificuts in Minecraft.
But since it’s a sandbox; I would feel it’s only a matter of time until someone gets this idea also and mods it into the game, after all this is the type of game where players can choose what they want to do.
In conclusion, though the game is enjoyable; as a single-player experience and as a person with attention deficit disorder it’s hard for me to just sit here and build away; because a lot of my friends don’t play or can’t play this so I have to rely on finding multiplayer servers and hoping people are nice and not kick me from being a constant screw up. It was nice to just relax at times and build away doing anything I want to do, but for its learning curve and my focus issues it was hard for me to enjoy the game as an ongoing process.
Eventually, I’ll probably pop back in from time to time, and just have fun exploring the cool ships people have built and pretend I am Captain Kirk on the Star Ship Enterprise or the Doctor traveling around the Universe helping people. But for now, there just isn’t enough that keeps my focus because it’s so broad. Now, I’m not saying the game is bad if I had more of my friends around hanging out with me I know we’d just be able to eat hours maybe even months away at the game.
But as a single-player experience, it’s not something I can actively dedicate time to; although there are people out there who can and see the joy in it.
I really do hope they keep improving the game’s interface, and its mechanics as a whole so as I continue to pop into the game through the next following years I can keep talking more about it and my experiences playing Space Engineers; because despite my issues focusing with it; I am still having fun with it.
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