Astroneer
Official Xbox Magazine|May 2019

In Space, No One Can Hear You Go ‘Aww, So Cute!’

Alex Spencer

Fighting for your life in a hostile world has never been so adorable. From your Jelly Babyproportioned avatar to the pastel-coloured planets, all the way down to the menu’s chunky button prompts, Astroneer’s visual style is like a big inviting hug. But as it holds you close, and you start to asphyxiate because you forgot to top up your oxygen supply, you quickly realise that this cutesy exterior hides a universe as cruel and uncaring as any other survival game.

Astroneer is essentially No Man’s Sky by way of preschool. It generates a whole solar system, just for you to play around in, then crash lands you on the first planet with nothing to your name except an oxygenator and some kind of sci-fi hoover that lets you suck up assorted bits of scenery. Tearing chunks out of the polygonal landscape and building teetering Play-Doh towers provides an immediate rush of power. It’s like playing Minecraft on god mode, or experiencing The Sims’ build mode from ground level.

This is about the only way your astronaut is all-powerful, though, and these worlds aren’t just open sandboxes for you to play around in – there’s all the usual work to be done. Gather resources, use them to build power generators and tiny factories and refineries, which in turn transmute resources into more useful ones, to build bigger and better modules.

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