Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. (Apart from the next week and a half while we hide in Horace's warm, warm fur.)
Normally when selecting games for HYP, I favour those that are at least a few years old, so that the suggestion comes as a greater surprise. But Astroneer [official site] is all I've been playing since it was released into early access earlier this month, and it's lovely enough that it deserves more words written about it.
Astroneer is a survive-and-craft game. What that means is that you have resources you need to collect in order to not die (oxygen, power) and resources you need to collect to craft into buildings, machines, objects which make the not-dying trivial and instead expand your goals towards exploration, creativity and more. As far as these types of games go, Astroneer is unusually generous, giving you plentiful resources and little pressure. It's also unusually feature rich for an early access game, with a large number of buildings to craft, research items to discover, large machinery to create, and planets to visit.
Since I last wrote about the game, it's the planets that have most impressed me. At the time of writing that, I had reached my first new planet after the colourful world you start on, which happened to be a tundra planet. That meant large expanses of white, but also a landscape and cave systems that were broadly similar to the planet I had just come from. In rebuilding my base on that new world, starting afresh, I wondered what the impetus to continue playing was.
Now I've been to an irradiated planet and an exotic planet however, and both are wildly different. The irradiated planet has a vast glowing sun in its sky, which looks incredible; the exotic planet, pictured above, is colourful and with strange plants, but also constructed of these high swooping arcs of land stacked one on top of the other. It is genuinely alien to look at, introduces new challenges in terms of traversal and mining, and excited me all over again about the potential of exploring this galaxy. Astroneer is a delight.