ASTRONEER – Review
Follow Genre: Sandbox, Adventure
Developer: System Era Softworks
Publisher: System Era Softworks
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

ASTRONEER – Review

Site Score
8.8
Good: Relax while exploring beautiful planets
Bad: Doesn't tell you how to save anywhere, a few glitches are still present
User Score
9.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

ASTRONEER has been in beta for a while and recently it finally got released. When still in beta, even with a few glitches, the game already got praised a lot. Now the developers are still working on the game, but it is actually out and has gotten a lot of extra features already. With ASTRONEER you will take on the role of an astronaut and explore a planet until you are ready to build a rocket and explore the planet’s moon or even other planets. ASTRONEER has been developed and published by System Era Softworks and we got a chance to review it. So, with our astronaut suit equipped, we were ready to explore.

Story

There isn’t really a story present in ASTRONEER. You are, however, able to make your own story if you want. You are an astronaut that will be able to explore multiple planets, once you make your rocket. Meanwhile, you are able to explore the planet you landed on from the space station.

Graphics

ASTRONEER’s graphics are quite beautiful while still remaining simple. The developers used the beauty of space and combined it with a nearly storybook-like art style and it makes ASTRONEER incredibly charming to look at. Most of the colors used in the game are more on the soft side, which makes it pleasurable for the eyes.  There are different suits for your astronaut to wear with some a bit more ridiculous than others but they are all nicely designed though.

There aren’t really any living creatures besides a few plants that might attack you. You are mostly surrounded by plants, trees, and other organic life. Some plants are more brightly colored, these are mostly the harmful ones. It’s nice that they designed it, so you can be suspicious of really bright colored plants. The different areas are well designed, with logical designs for each area. More grass around the trees in the forest and more rocks and only a bit of grass in more rocky/mountain-like areas. At times there are some rendering problems where pieces of the ground don’t render creating some sort of “black hole”. It’s sometimes also a bit hard to shine your light from your equipment on something when you’re in a tight space.

Sound

The music from ASTRONEER is really calming and atmospheric. When you are mining in a cave, it seems like the music adjusts itself and becomes a bit more dooming or sometimes just stops, making it even more creepy.

Sound effects in ASTRONEER are well done and helpful. They perfectly support, what you see on the screen in case you might have missed it. For example: when you are suffocating, you will start to hear your heart thump harder and harder, so if you didn’t notice it before, you would with the sound.  A few of the machines you make give a sort of “ding” to tell you that they are done scanning or printing. Your astronaut will also make a very cute “woo” sound while he points at an area you pinged. There is however no real voice acting present in the game, but this isn’t really missed.

Gameplay

ASTRONEER is a sandbox adventure game where you will explore a planet, discover recourses until you can build a rocket to travel to the moon or even another planet. As you start up ASTRONEER you get advised to first play the tutorial, which actually has your astronaut accidentally crash on a planet. You learn the basics by trying to get off the planet with a rocket that was already there. Your astronaut always has a backpack which allows him to store things, as well as monitor his oxygen and power level.

The terrain tool will allow you to suck up resources. Default, the terrain tool will only dig holes, but when you equip a canister and suck up some soil, you will also be able to flatten and add terrain. It seems like your astronaut is also equipped with a sort of anti-gravity ability in his suit since you are able to pick up several things from a certain distance. If you pick up something with the beam, you will walk slower, however some items you are actually able to put in your little person’s hands which allows you to walk a bit faster.

As you start out the actual game, You will not crash, but you’ll just arrive on a planet in a normal fashion. You even get a starter pack which contains a medium printer, a large platform, and an oxygenator. This pack together with the shelter will allow you to already have some sort of base. As soon as you start exploring, you will notice that when you go further away from the shelter, you will not be supplied with oxygen anymore and have to use your little tank in the backpack. Once this runs out, you start to suffocate and die.

Even though you do respawn in the shelter, it does make you lose all the resources you had stored in the backpack, along with the canister if you had one. Luckily if you know where you died, you can go retrieve everything. To be able to more freely move around without losing oxygen, you will have to use tethers. You can easily craft tethers in your backpack, but you will need “compound”. Compound is a resource that is quite common, but you will still have to pick the right spot to look for it.

Once you have found compound and crafted tethers, you will be able to go further away from your shelter and look for more resources. The third most common resource, with the first being grass and plants as organic and the second being compound, is actually resin. If you have compound and resin, you will be able to start printing some things with your medium printer. You can print more platforms to start building a bigger base. In ASTRONEER it is best to explore a lot since you might be able to find different resources which you can use to craft more things.

Your backpack contains a small computer, which is actually the “catalog”. In the catalog, you will find all the different things you will be able to make, arranged by the different printers that are used to print them. However, some items are still locked and need to be unlocked by something called “Bytes”. Bytes are points you receive for researching things. When you are out exploring you might find for example a plant with weird things sticking out of it, these are actually scannable and will give you some Bytes. To get the most Bytes, you will have to build a research chamber to scan different compatible samples that you will also find while exploring. There are many different kinds, with organic ones, mineral ones and more.

Since ASTRONEER is a sandbox game, it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want and just gives you the resources and craftable items that you could work towards. You can set your own goal, like for example to travel to the moon first and then to other planets. This will give you your own checklist to start at, or you could just mess around and start building random things. The multiplayer will allow you to mess around with friends and even though it might give a few more glitches it is still fun to be able to play together.

Besides the starting tutorial, you are also able to check an image tutorial in the options. These tutorials have, besides the basics, also more explanations about crafting, resources, planets, base building, and power. Even though these tutorials include everything, the developers seem to have forgotten to put one thing in and this is “saving”. Both in the starting tutorial and image tutorial, it doesn’t mention anything about saving. So, one could assume that the “save and quit” option is the only way to save, which it actually isn’t.

You can save by going into your shelter or when you start driving a vehicle. However, it might take a while before you craft one of the vehicles, and you don’t actually use the shelter for anything, so before you find out that that is the way to save, it could take a while. There is also no autosave in single player so if you didn’t know how to save and you happen to crash, you might lose a ton of progress, so it would be nice if they could add that to the tutorial.

Conclusion

ASTRONEER is a really fun and relaxing game as it allows you to totally play in your own way at your own pace. Just exploring around the planet is quite calming, although the opposite is also true when you accidentally fall into a cave. ASTRONEER is perfect for every age and is even more fun when you play together with friends. It is certainly a recommendation for anyone who likes space, exploring and is looking for an amusing anti-stress game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
ASTRONEER - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Theotakutem


The one and only slowqueen! -student multimedia-

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