There’s nothing like the feeling of discovering something for the first time in a video game, whether it’s a new weapon, skill, or location.

Games have a way of exciting and delighting players, especially when they’re set somewhere as mysterious and uncharted as outer space. The best space games allow us to venture into the fray and explore worlds we would otherwise never get to visit.

Here, we will be highlighting some fantastic space-themed games available on PC and the latest gaming consoles. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future with new entries.

Lastly, if you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:

Table of ContentsShow

Outer Wilds

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

To kick things off, the first game we’re recommending is Outer Wilds, an immersive first-person space exploration game with a fantastic story to tell.

You play as the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, an active space program looking to expand its knowledge of the galaxy and uncover the truth behind their ancestors’ disappearance.

The game tackles many popular sci-fi tropes, including time travel, with the player character trapped in a perpetual 22-minute time loop. This is further complemented by a densely-packed open-world consisting of hand-crafted, explorable planets with an interesting lore and distinct hazards.

It may not be as scaled up as other big-budget space games, but if you enjoy works of sci-fi and solving mysteries, you should give Outer Wilds a try.

The Outer Worlds

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

Next up, we include The Outer Worlds, a game that people frequently confuse with Outer Wilds due to their similar-sounding titles. However, both games have little in common, aside from being set in space and played from a first-person perspective.

While TOW does feature exploration, it focuses more on action and traditional RPG gameplay with multiple dialogue options and a bevy of different skills to invest points into.

It also happens to be made by Obsidian, arguably one of the best developers for single-player driven action RPGs. You take on the role of The Stranger, an unknown variable assigned to determine the fate of the Halcyon Space Colony and its starving citizens.

During your adventures, you’ll travel to different planets within the Halcyon system and meet diverse characters with interesting stories (and usually a few quests) to share.

No Man’s Sky

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

No Man’s Sky has come a long way since its controversial 2016 release, which saw the game panned for “less than honest” marketing on the part of Hello Games Lead Director Sean Murray.

However, the developer has spent the last four years adding in an exhaustive list of requested features ranging from base-building to multiplayer and more, resulting in a resurgence of the game’s popularity.

It also helps that the game’s engine has been redesigned and upgraded over the years, ensuring NMS runs buttery smooth on just about any PC. Other refinements such as better procedural generation and broader mission selection have resulted in a much more engaging and varied experience for players.

If you were a fan of the original concept but felt short-changed, this may be the perfect time to revisit NMS and see how it holds up in 2020. 

Observation

Platform: PS4 | PC

Not many games with as weird a premise as Observation manage to nail the landing without making a few sacrifices along the way.

Here, you have a story-driven adventure game set aboard a seemingly abandoned space station with one sole-survivor, Dr. Emma Fisher. Unable to remember what happened to her crew who mysteriously disappeared, Fisher enlists the help of the station AI named S.A.M.

It’s through S.A.M.’s “eyes” that you, the player, get to witness the game’s events unfold. With access to the station’s operating systems, cameras, and logs, S.A.M. can piece together bits of information and uncover what exactly caused the crew to go missing.

Observation is a highly-atmospheric game that will send chills down your spine as long as you don’t mind putting up with awkward controls and some confusing puzzles.

Destiny 2

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

Although the game never really lets you explore space for yourself, Destiny 2 has all the workings of a phenomenal first-person space shooter.

Sure, the story is mostly forgettable, and all of the three classes feel pretty much the same. However, there’s no denying Bungie is one of the best developers when it comes to delivering satisfying combat across all skill levels.

The shooting in Destiny 2 is truly divine, with every weapon featuring subtle distinctions regarding weight, handling, and recoil. 

And while the most recent Shadowkeep expansion adds to the game’s narrative in some interesting ways, the main appeal remains the same: travel to planets, blow stuff up, get loot. 

Lastly, with the rollout of Destiny 2: New Light, you can now access the base game, all Year One content, and Crucible playlists for free.

Astroneer

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

Astroneer is a bright and charming space survival game that emphasizes player-driven exploration and over traditional story-telling.

Barren of any scripted in-game events, the set-up is quite simple: you are an astronaut who has crash-landed on an alien planet and must start scavenging for supplies to stay alive and establish a base of operations.

What sets Astroneer apart from other survival games set in space is the Terrain Tool, a piece of equipment that allows the user to physically alter the ground around them to form hills or valleys.

It’s a neat mechanic that makes traversing environments a lot more fun and encourages creativity. The game is continually being updated with content, including new planets, cosmetics, hazards, vehicles, and craftable items.

Deep Rock Galactic

Platform: Xbox One | PC

Deep Rock Galactic is a co-op focused first-person shooter where up to 4-players explore hazardous space caves for an intergalactic mining company.

It’s essentially a cross between Warhammer 40K and Minecraft, with you and your teammates each controlling a foul-mouthed, pickaxe-wielding dwarf. Additionally, the game features four character classes with special weapons and tools tailored for different playstyles.

Despite not reaching mainstream success, you’ll find DRG has a very active playerbase, making it easy to join a squad as you venture into bug-infested caverns in search of valuable ores and minerals.

Developer Ghost Ship Games has been supporting the game ever since its release, frequently adding new maps, enemy types, and timed events for players to check out.

Tacoma

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

Tacoma is a narrative-driven puzzle game that falls under the category of “walking sim” games, with a bulk of the experience revolving around interacting with objects and rummaging through characters’ emails and text conversations for clues.

The game is a follow-up to indie developer Fullbright’s Gone Home, another story-driven walking sim with top-notch writing.

The premise is as follows: it’s the year 2088, and you’ve been contacted by a shady corporation to retrieve sensitive AI data from an abandoned space station whose crew mysteriously vanished.

As you explore the various living quarters, offices, and hidden passageways that make up the Tacoma space station, things become a lot more complicated as new narrative threads are presented and carefully unraveled.

Heat Signature

Platform: PC

Heat Signature is a top-down 2D action roguelike that sees you playing as randomly-generated characters tasked with liberating space stations across the galaxy.

The game comes from Suspicious Developments, best known for Gunpoint, a superb tactical-stealth title that HS takes a few cues from.

The gameplay is centered on planning and executing intergalactic heists to free citizens from the empires that seek to control them.

However, this often proves to be quite challenging as you’re outnumbered continuously and underpowered. Thankfully, you can slow down time and give yourself some breathing room to plan your next move.

Other abilities expand upon this mechanic by letting you swap places with enemies and hack turrets to give your ship a fighting chance.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Platform: PC

FTL is an award-winning, top-down RTS roguelike set in space. In it, you control the crew of a Galactic Federation spacecraft carrying highly-sensitive intel that would prove valuable to winning a long-standing conflict with a group of rebels.

However, things quickly go south when you discover the enemy has decided to target your ship.

What ensues is a challenging marathon to safely reach your homeworld by “jumping” your way through waypoints in space. Combat in FTL is exceptionally challenging as you’re tasked with managing your ship’s various systems via issued commands to crew members.

Battles can get complex very quickly as your attention is split continuously between monitoring your ship, repairing any damage, and firing back at the enemy.

Alien Isolation

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | PC

If hiding in storage cabinets while a drooling Xenomorph tries to hunt you down sounds like a good time, you should probably seek counseling. But before you start contacting therapists, consider giving in to your twisted fantasy by revisiting one of the best horror games of the last decade.

Set within the Alien cinematic universe, Alien: Isolation offers a nail-biting experience whose enjoyment doesn’t require you to have watched any of the films.

Still, you should probably bring an extra pair of pants since it contains some of the most heart-pounding chase sequences you’ll ever experience in a game.

If you thought being trapped in space with no oxygen was scary, just wait until you find yourself trapped in a medical lab with murderous androids and a blood-thirsty alien hot on your trail.

Warframe

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | PC

There are a lot of space games about exploring different planets, killing aliens, and flying spaceships. However, there’s only one game where you can become a badass space ninja: Warframe.

This third-person shooter has been delivering fast-paced, non-stop action to players for years and seems always to be improving and expanding with every update Digital Extremes puts out.

Sure, it can be quite grindy and obtuse at times, a natural side effect of most free-to-play games. But with a little help from online guides, YouTube videos, and other players, you’ll find yourself gliding across maps and tearing through enemies in no time.

Prey

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

When it was first announced, Arkane Studios’ Prey was criticized for being a confusing and messy reboot of a series that had long since spun into obscurity. 

And while we can debate whether or not it was necessary even to name the game Prey given how much it differs from the original, it’s much harder to argue against its merits when it comes to writing and creative enemy designs.

The game posits an alternate reality where President John F. Kennedy was never assassinated, leading to more technological advancements in the space exploration field.

You take on the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard the Talos 1 space station, which becomes overrun by a species of violent aliens known as the Typhon. 

Battling the Typhon can be daunting at times, especially when dealing with Phantoms or those pesky shape-shifting Mimics.

Surviving Mars

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

Surviving Mars is a space strategy game that’s equal parts survival and city-builder. 

In it, you’re assigned to raise a Mars colony whose inhabitants require proper housing, factories to work in and produce goods, and commercial buildings where scientists can research new forms of technology.

Colonists possess individual strengths and weaknesses that can have either a positive or negative impact on your society’s progress.

In addition to standard playthroughs, the game includes a “Mystery” mode with unique game-altering variables that will keep you on your toes. 

This can take the form of finding yourself face to face with a greedy corporation looking to eliminate your colony to discovering microbial life on Mars.

Although some of its mechanics are never adequately explained, if you enjoy dissecting different systems and managing a city, Surviving Mars may be perfect for you. 

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | PC

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a co-op based shooter in which up to four friends work together to manage a spaceship and defeat enemies as they travel through outer space.

The game has a fun and upbeat vibe that’s further complemented by colorful 2D visuals and satisfyingly intense gameplay.

Here’s how it works: there are numerous stations throughout the ship dedicated to specific tasks like piloting, firing cannons, activating shields, and so on. 

However, each player can only operate one station at a time, requiring you and your teammates to coordinate who’s doing what at any given time. It can get very chaotic at times but is an overall excellent couch coop experience.

Space Engineers

Platform: PC

Some of the best and most immersive space games are those that let you feel what it’s like to visit the far ends of the galaxy for yourself.

Space Engineers does just that, presenting players with a massive sandbox filled with explorable planets, moons, and asteroid belts. But if you have any desire to reach them or even survive in space, you’ll have to put in a bit of work and gather the right resources.

The game contains a wide-selection of craftable space ships and vehicles which allow you to travel great distances to establish stations and planetary outposts for other players to visit.

Included are two Creative modes for those who love to build things, and Survival for anyone seeking a more challenging experience.

Oxygen Not Included

Platform: PC

Oxygen Not Included is a tough-but-fair space colony survival sim with quirky hand-drawn visuals. The game tasks you with establishing and expanding a colony seeking refuge in underground caves on an alien planet where oxygen is extremely hard to come by.

Your role sees you assigning crew members to different stations to keep things running smoothly, gather resources, and research new technologies.

It plays a lot like Fallout Shelter only with much higher stakes. One bad call can easily result in a large portion of your colony getting wiped from existence for good. 

Objects in Space

Platform: PC

Objects in Space is a retro-inspired point-and-click adventure game set in space. You take on the role of a pilot navigating the Apollo star system, a massive open-world light-years away from Earth.

As your ship’s captain, you’ll have to work hard to keep it in working condition by maintaining a steady supply of fuel and avoiding run-ins with space pirates.

Additionally, the Apollo system is controlled by a corrupt government that will try to force you into submission with sketchy laws you can choose to abide by or rebel against.

Combat is handled in-directly via sequenced commands issued from your battle station, resulting in “cat-and-mouse” skirmishes with enemies that take place off-screen.

Kerbal Space Program

Platform: PS4 | Xbox One | PC

While we wait for the developer Squad to put the finishing touches on KSP2, now is a great time to check out the first game if you haven’t already.

Categorized as a space flight sim, Kerbal Space Program sees you creating and piloting a wide selection of aircraft, rockets, rovers, and more with help from green aliens known as Kerbals.

Although the game emphasizes whimsical and slapstick comedy, usually the expensive of the Kerbals, it doesn’t mess around when it comes to physics calculations, as the game engine is highly capable of replicating real-life orbital maneuvers performed by NASA pilots. 

Like many space sims, KSP doesn’t follow a linear structure and instead encourages you to experiment and set your own goals.

Dead Space

Platform: PC

This list wouldn’t be complete if we failed to mention arguably one of the best space games ever made. Released over a decade ago, Dead Space is partially responsible for the mainstream adoption of survival horror games, going on to sell over 2 million copies.

It also turned Visceral Games – known as EA Redwood Shores at the time – into one of the most beloved developers in the industry. That is until EA shut them down in 2017.

The third-person shooter has you controlling Isaac Clarke, an engineer who finds himself aboard a mining ship that’s become infested with monsters. With most of the crew killed and turned into reanimated zombies, Isaac must fight his way to escape the ship and make it back home.

One of the unfortunate games to be trapped on last-generation consoles, Dead Space is best experienced today on PC.

You Might Also Like These