[PlayStation 4] Astroneer Review
Astroneer from System Era Softworks is set during the 25th century as you are tasked with exploring the frontiers of outer space. Check our Astroneer review!
Astroneer from System Era Softworks is set during the 25th century as you are tasked with exploring the frontiers of outer space. If you like base building, exploration, crafting, and more. If these things tick all the boxes, then sit back and relax because Astroneer could be the game for you. It’s a planet-exploration game, kinda like No Man’s Sky, with base building, kinda like Minecraft. Not a bad mix, right? You land on what appears to be a deserted planet called Slyva. You will need to use your available equipment to set up your base. Since this is a foreign plant, you’ll have to set up an oxygenator, and then you’re kinda free to basically do whatever you please.
You can follow the missions in order if you prefer, or you can deviate and do whatever you prefer to do. Bear in mind that until you are able to explore further away from the base, your oxygen is pretty limited at the very beginning. The good news is that even if you don’t make it back to base in time before you suffocate, you simply respawn, so there are no game overs to worry about! Every time you have made some progress, be sure to save at your base. You can do this by simply entering the cabin, and the game will take care of it. Manual saving is something I would like to see added in a future update.
So in order to expand your base and upgrade your equipment, you will need tons of resources, and this is where the exploration comes in. You kinda have to figure this out on your own. Even if there is an objective mission list, it isn’t compulsory, and the game doesn’t tell you what you should do next. There is no handholding at all. No tutorials either. It is all in pictures, which is kinda strange in a game like this. I felt pretty overwhelmed at first as I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or how to do this and that. I would have probably preferred the game to be broken down into sections so that you learn the ropes as you go along. The term “out of the frying pan and into the fire” very much applies to Astroneer. Once you land, you are basically on your own. I would say experience with playing these kinds of games is helpful. I have played No Man’s Sky – since the launch version – for dozens of hours so that definitely helped me.
Astroneer has so much stuff to learn. Your Ray gun is the most important tool in your arsenal. You can use it for terraforming land with the Triangle button. You will be using this tool a lot in order to find materials you need to expand your base of operations and get better tools via crafting. Some of the countless things you can craft are a bigger 3D printer, rover gear, and much more. The controls do feel a bit clunky and not really designed for a console, which is usually the case for games like this one that make the jump from PC to console.
There are cords and tethers to plug into stuff, and it’s not very fluid, so several attempts may be required. I found it a bit annoying since the base building is a major part of the game, and if you can’t get things to snap together on your first try… I think a second cursor is needed solely for base building rather than using the same gameplay mechanics over and over. The exploration is where the chill relaxation is. I loved going around and discovering new items with the Triangle button, so it is logged, and collecting stuff to take back to the base. There are no time restrictions, no stamina to worry about, or a hunger meter. Just be sure to upgrade your oxygenator so that you can explore further away from your base.
There’s a lot of stuff for you to do during your time with Astroneer. And as you work on this or that, you’ll also be working on adding a new Platinum trophy to your collection. The list includes 41 Bronze trophies, 13 Silver trophies, and a single Gold trophy. You’ll be getting trophies left and right as you complete the training missions, research items, extract resources, build yourself a rover, use a drill to deform a harder type of terrain, plant a seed, dance on every planet, or spend more than 4 hours in multiplayer sessions.
Astroneer is an interesting journey. Apart from a few game design flaws, it’s a pretty fun, chill, relaxing exploration game. There’s a lot of content to enjoy as long as you take your time and learn all of the stuff that you can do and make the most of the controls that are certainly not ideal for a console release but manage to get the job done. And on top of all that, you can now enjoy the extra content from the free Awakening update that is now live on Sony’s console. Astroneer is out on PlayStation 4 with a $29.99 asking price.
This Astroneer review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by System Era Softworks.