Early Access launch for Oxygen Not Included, the space colony management sim

ONI header

Oxygen Not Included [official site] is a space colony management sim from Klei, the guys behind the excellent Invisible Inc. It’s been in alpha since February but now it’s launched on early access, and I’m intrigued.

It’s got the aesthetic of Don’t Starve, another Klei game, and involves building up a settlements beneath the surface of a distant planet and battling through the inevitable crises, whether that’s clouds of poisonous red gas in your base or a shortage of pepper bread. A lot of it is in the style of RimWorld, except it’s all side-on.

Now, before you decide whether you suit up and blast off, it’s worth reading Brendan’s alpha Premature Evaluation, in which his colonists were forced to wade through ankle-deep puddles of human urine. Here’s his account:

“Sadly, the mopping was doing little to stop the failure of the colony. All these crises culminated and Yellow Water soon descended into absolute piss carnage. Stress levels among the colonists sky-rocketed and a man called Grub began to vomit from the anxiety of living in such a stinking yellow hell. Snores O’Duggan, a man who slept apart from everyone else because he snored so loudly that it kept the others awake all night, began to destroy batteries throughout the colony in a blind rage, systematically disabling filters, air pumps, the distillery and the mush machine. Even in the dark and quiet nights, piss dripped down from the sleeping quarters, going from level to level before finally getting into the water supply.”

That sounds like great fun to me, in a gross sort of way. Overall, Brendan thought it had promise but lacked some of the drama and personality of Rimworld.

Since he gave it a go there’s been a few new features implemented, and the early access launch adds a beefed up agricultural system that makes farming a more central part of the game. Read about the changes in detail here.

For what it’s worth, the Steam reviews are looking good so far. If you fancy solving your own piss crisis it will set you back £18.99/22,99€/$24.99, and if you own any other Klei games you’ll get a 20% “loyalty discount”.

Here’s the trailer. What do you reckon?


  1. Hoot says:

    I’ve got a lot of time for Klei Entertainment but after playing this and getting a refund on Steam the only conclusion I could draw was that it’s a more expensive, worse version of RimWorld.

    At least for me there is no reason to play it while RimWorld exists.

    • Ur-Quan says:

      By that sort of logic there should be zero reason to play Rimworld since Dwarf Fortress exists.

      This game has just entered Early Access OF COURSE it’s going to have less polish and content than Rimworld which has been in development for ages.

      • Hoot says:

        You could say that but it wouldn’t be true. ONI is in many ways a blatant rip off of RimWorld. Sure, similarities exist between Dwarf Fortress too but there’s a massive difference between an ASCII driven game and a 2D topdown game with an actual UI and actual graphics.

        ONI is just a side on version of RimWorld with less character and less emergent stories, in my opinion.

        Also, RimWorld is being developed by an extremely small team whereas Klei is a fairly accomplished development house these days.

        • ButteringSundays says:

          “there’s a massive difference between an ASCII driven game and a 2D topdown game with an actual UI and actual graphics.

          ONI is just a side on version of RimWorld with less character”

          Peppering your crappy argument with your opinions doesn’t make it stronger.

          How you can see ONI as a ‘rip off’ of rimworld is beyond me, and I’m sure anyone with cognitive functions.

          RimWorld is a layman’s DF. There’s no shame in that, and I’d never be caught using the phrase ‘rip off’, but if you can’t see the direct parralels between the games,including their presentation, then you’re being willfully ignorant. ONI is a different take on the genre, one that has existed for many a year.

          • Kolbex says:

            “Peppering your crappy argument with opinions doesn’t make it stronger.”

            *proceeds to pepper his non-argument with unjustifiably rude opinions about the person whose post he’s responding to*

          • Hoot says:

            You invalidate your own argument by presenting yourself as an uninformed, rude and uneducated social sloth.

            Learn some manners, you rude cunt.

            Also DF is ASCII, RimWorld is top down 2D. This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact. Learn to read.

        • burn_heal says:

          I don’t really see any of Rimworld’s original ideas in ONI. Their shared dna comes from both being based on DF. Both games seem to have their own approach and I look forward to making time for both.

          • criskywalker says:

            Exactly, just like Shadow Warrior and Call of Duty are based on the original Doom and they all couldn’t be any more different.

            I have no problem with enjoying different games of the same genre as long as they are not identical to each other.

        • airknots says:

          Based on what I’ve read and seen in youtube. Isn’t the gameplay loop of ONI more about the manipulation of various gases and liquids in the game? That really sounds different from Rimworld’s gameplay loop.

        • syndrome says:

          GODDAMNIT stop already.
          Rim-fuckin-World is a blatant ripoff of Prison Architect.

          From how it looks, to how it operates.
          How on Earth is Oxygen Not Included even similar to RimWorld, have you lost your mind??

          Unless you for some reason think that any non-FPS is a blatant ripoff of any other non-FPS, in that case this should be a court case.

    • cpy says:

      Rimworld 28EUR ONI 23EUR. Yeah ONI is DEFINITELY more expensive than Rimworld. Yeah and Rimworld is prison architect ripoff + DF ripoff. God damn trolls.

      • Hoot says:

        I bought RimWorld for £14, mate. And…just because you don’t agree about my OPINIONS on the game doesn’t make me a troll.

        ONI is IN MY OPINION a worse game than RimWorld. I’m fairly sure it’s ok for me to express that here, you know, given that I’m not attacking anyone else’s interest in the game, unlike some of the extremely lame passive aggressive responses I’ve seen in this thread.

        Typical internet craic it seems. Express an opinion that isn’t populist, get jumped on by rude, over-excitable clowns.

        • Fiatil says:

          Err yeah, but saying it’s more expensive isn’t an OPINION, it’s just wrong. You’re comparing a game you bought on sale to a game that is not currently on sale — that is not a fair or apt comparison.

          • syndrome says:

            @Fiatil He’s a class-A troll man, so elegant, so stylish.

        • cpy says:

          Prices are 28 vs 23, i don’t care if you had to sell your kidney to get it, right now it’s 28 vs 23.

          Yeah you can get bitcoins for few cents… oh wait not anymore. Now get your head out of your ass because using arguments from 1996 in 2017 is just moronic.

          • Trogdr says:

            Downbeat moronic utterly psychotic its what people do when their trolls.

    • Carlos Danger says:

      If you want to play the finished version of this but with Dwarfs, the game is called Craft The World. Nice little game and under $20 bucks.

    • Unsheep says:

      I think you are awarding Rimworld with far too much credit, it’s not as if Tynan/Ludeon invented the build & survive gameplay concept.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Right now it’s less about managing personalities and much more about building and managing infrastructure systems to keep the clones alive.

      Regulating heat, cold, air, food, liquids, pressure, etc. It already has more depth with the interplay of those systems than does Rimworld. You can push different gases and liquids around the base through various pipes and pumping/gravity schemes. You can literally pressurize a gas or heat a solid/liquid and change its properties.

      Rimworld is excellent in its approach to the colony sim genre. ONI is already proving excellent in pushing into different areas. The two games, while sharing some surface, easy-tto-make similarities, are providing very distinct gameplay. They may converge over time, but right now the comparisons are shallow.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    It’s not immediately obvious what this’ll do that Craft the World and hasn’t already done, apart from the gross-out factor. I think I’d prefer my subsurface colonists to be just a little smarter and the presentation a little less Heath Robinson. More like Hugh Howey’s Wool books.

    Rooting around looking for good examples of colony managers (this genre is littered with a lot of not-so-good ones) did enable me to stumble on Aven Colony so I’ll be watching that space for a review.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Oxygen Not Included is basically a lot more detailed of an environmental simulator. Things it includes that Craft The World does not:

      * Gasses – Colonists need oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, and there’s more gasses to consider as well, such as routing hydrogen to hydrogen generators.

      * Liquids – Yes, there’s water in Craft The World, but in Oxygen Not Included you actually need to pipe it around into a fully functional system to remote waste water and replace it with fresh water. Again, there’s other liquids, in fact I thnk you can freeze most gasses.

      * Temperature – A non-issue in Craft The World, in Oxygen Not Included you can dig into biomes that cool down or heat up things in the colony too much and must be dealt with. Machines (such as hot coal generators) also have an impact on temperature.

      * Electricity – Generating, storing, routing it to devices that need it with wiring.

      And so on. Not to put down either game, they’re both fun at what they do. But Craft The World is not really an environmental simulator like Oxygen Not Included is.

      Also, the setting makes a big difference here. Craft The World is a fantasy setting about fighting monsters. Oxygen Not Included is a sci-fi setting about exploring an alien planet from the inside. Both games leveraged the setting as something more than mere window dressing. The result is fundamentally different gameplay: even if you’ve bored of one, you still have not played most of what makes up the other.

      • syndrome says:

        I’m guessing people will lose their sense of perception entirely in 5-10 years. Everything will be a “ripoff” of some ass game, half of its users will receive free skins just to bot around with their stupid comments, trolling everyone into believing that the said ass game is awesome and everybody’s ripping it off.

        Lame bitches are not only destroying the value of genuine legit opinions from the crowd, but they’re demolishing common sense as well, as they’re massively replacing healthy perception with untrue statements.

        It’s obviously everywhere. The whole world is infested with a confusion aptly named ‘FAKE NEWS’ that propagates through filthy mouths, hidden behind their computers. Sometimes I think it’s the AI, making us all argue with a cloud of bullshit, until we all go batshit crazy or completely aggro against other people.

        • Trogdr says:

          Also known as the world right now, as everything is a ripoff of dark souls and all genres have been stripped of their meaning over the years, like a roguelike can be a game where if you die it restarts completely or you keep some things or a lot of things or you just get set back, and every game is a thief stealing from each other.

          We dun fucked up somewhere.

    • Jay Load says:

      Thanks for mentioning Aven Colony, Someoldguy. It looks like the city-builder of my dreams, and due to launch in a couple of months too. Awesome.

  3. Heavenfall says:

    I just want to chime in and say Klei’s track record for EA games is stellar. I played Don’t starve, Don’t starve Together and Invisible Inc. in their EA programs and content updates were always frequent and significant.

    I think ONI needs a better defined goal and/or endgame. It doesn’t quite scratch the marvel of a simulation with endless depth like DF. That is to say, if you tick all the boxes in the right order you’ll reach a point where the game doesn’t offer anything more. There aren’t any curve balls or obstacles to overcome. And the mechanics aren’t interesting on their own to compete with something like Factorio. I mean, it’s awesome the first time you manage to construct a polluted water steam purifier room by putting all the bits and pieces together, but that’s the one piece of complexity the game has at this point.

  4. Wormerine says:

    So far so good. It is a promising game. There seem to be a possibility to add a lot of depth to the game, as individual mechanics seem to be quite nuanced but it is simply not there yet. Every colony so far feels a bit same-y but I hope that as they keep expanding tech and bioms your interactions with the enviroment will become more and more varied. Already a creative mind can do some really cool stuff with what is there. Not me though.

  5. Voxavs says:

    I like Klei and I like these type of games, but this looks incredibly stale. The art direction is mostly a miss too, characters and buildings look nice, but the rest dosen’t seem to work in tandem with that, etc backgrounds and mechanics with repetetive base designs make it look weird and artificial. To me it just seems a less charming and less interesting version of 2001 Diggles.

    • syndrome says:

      Wow. How is that shit even comparable to Klei craftsmanship? Are you a sentient mole that learned how to use the internet?

  6. Angstsmurf says:

    Sure a lot of negativity in these comments. I just want to chime in and say that I love this game, lack of content or not. I could never go back to Rimworld.

    I must confess that I haven’t played Dwarf Fortress, but that and Rimworld certainly seems like a completely different style of game. ONI is mostly about building heating, cooling, air condition and sewage systems by joining up pipes and wires.

    I particularly like how crises appear naturally at regular intervals from systems stacked against you, rather than the semi-scripted random events of Rimworld.

  7. Chalky says:

    This game looks great and anyone comparing a game that entered early access this week with a game that’s been out for months and months in terms of content should perhaps include a little more oxygen in their thought process.

  8. DarkX2 says:

    Is anyone reminded of the early 2000s sideview strategy game Diggles? by Oxygen not Included.

    It was about Dwarves digging into a mountain from a sideview, building a base and exploring.