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Astroneer's Deformable Planets Are Still Pretty

It’s been nearly a year since I last posted about Astroneer, in which I purred with delight at its planetary landscapes, bouncy buggies and spaceships, and the terrain-deforming vaccuum that seems to fuel your creations. Development continues and last week’s PAX West brought a short new video.

Here’s that video:

I love how clicky everything is. The satisfying snap as you connect a physicsy cable to an unfolding machine, or the scrunching of the terrain as you swallow it up. That, plus the way light seeps over the distant horizon, is reason enough for me to want to play it.

You might need more. Here’s the objective, as described last year:

“As an Astroneer, you must find a way to dig out a life on one of a multitude of harsh new worlds. Blast through the terrain to uncover precious artifacts and materials you can use to fuel your quest to become a wealthy baron in the stars. Along the way, discover oddities, raise questions, and uncover mysteries.”

Which suggests that it may prove to be a now-familiar mine-and-craft survive-’em-up, albeit with very pretty purples and the ability to blast off into space. This is also enough for me to want to play it. Establishing mines and automating the process of excavating resources was always when I was most happy in Minecraft, comfortable to simply spend time in its pretty world doing slow, satisfying busywork.

There are obvious comparisons to be made to No Man’s Sky – not least because there’s a Steam page which mentions that the finished game will allow you to “Explore infinitely diverse worlds with unique atmospheres, biomes, and landscapes.” Astroneer seems much more concerned with having you hang around on a planet for a sustained period of time however, and another of the bullet points mentions that you’ll “Build and manage a working industrial base and leave your finger print of the galaxies economy.” Hopefully that helps deal with No Man’s Sky issue of planets feeling empty, while offering potentially more interesting obstacles than limited inventory space.

Of course, I have no idea! I haven’t played it. I will endeavor to do so when the early access release arrives this autumn.

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Graham Smith


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