Best Space Games 2023

Can't get enough space? We're right there with you! Check out this list of the best space games you can play right now on PC and console.

There’s nothing like journeying across the stars, staring out of a spaceship cockpit, and marveling over the magestic beast that is outer space.

From 4X strategy to open-world RPGs and everything in between, space-themed video games seem to never go out of style among gamers.

To celebrate our love for the milky way galaxy, we’re highlighting the best space games to play in 2024 along with the best new space PC games to check out.

We’ll be updating this list with new titles in the future, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite games set in space!

Related:Best Sandbox PC Games 2023Best First-Person Adventure Games 2023Best Games With Aliens 2023

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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy offers a fresh take on the now-iconic band of misfit heroes as they travel across the cosmos stirring up trouble.

Players control Star-Lord as he leads his oddball crew through a series of catastrophic events and makes decisions that will shape the galaxy’s fate.

Armed with a pair of elemental blasters and rocket boots, Star-Lord is able to get around environments with ease and issue commands to his comrades to pull off powerful “tag-team beatdown” attacks.

Throughout the campaign, players will get to enhance Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians’ abilities using RPG-driven progression.

Revered for both its RPG mechanics third-person combat, the Mass Effect series has a rich and quite controversial history of releases, spin-offs, and most recently, rereleases.

In it, players take on the role of Commander Shepard as they fight to save the universe from a race of powerful machines called Reapers.

Shepard is joined by a squad of diverse companions with backgrounds in military, medicine, and engineering that are willing to lend a hand in battle and weigh in on important decisions.

Considering the series started in the early 2000s, the best way to play the original trilogy is through the remastered Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which adds visual, technical, and gameplay refinements.

Next up, Heavenly Bodies is a space-physics sim that focuses on replicating realistic movement while floating in zero gravity.

Designed with co-op in mind, it sees players working together to control 1970s-era cosmonauts as they navigate space stations and carry out various tasks.

This includes simple functions like opening doors and pressing buttons in addition to assembling and maintaining space telescopes, solar arrays, and gardens.

The way the game handles physics can be frustrating at times but there is an assist mode that reduces the level of realism for a more casual experience.

No unfamiliar to top games lists, Outer Wilds casts you as a recruit for a space program looking to expand its knowledge of the galaxy and its ancestors’ enigmatic disappearance.

The story tackles numerous sci-fi adventure tropes such as black holes, antimatter, and most notably time travel, with your 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 belonging to different alien races with interesting backstories and unique puzzle mechanics.

It may not be as scaled up as big AAA games but if you enjoy the sci-fi genre and solving mysteries, you should give Outer Wilds a try.

For more planet-hopping alien adventures, check out Obsidian’s comedic Fallout-adjacent action-RPG, The Outer Worlds.

In it, you take on the role of The Stranger, a blank slate of a character destined to decide the fate of the Halcyon Space Colony and its starving citizens.

Your journey sees you trekking across a solar system comprised of eight planets with unique settings, alien creatures, and challenges that can be tackled in a variety of ways.

During your adventures, you’ll get to meet, battle, and befriend diverse characters with interesting stories and a quest or two to offer.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a physics simulation game set in space where you salvage various cargo ships for materials and other resources.

As a member of LYNX tech, you’ll have to take on different contracts from wrecked spaceships in order to pay an outstanding debt before you can turn a profit.

Every ship you explore introduces its own set of challenges and hazards which must be avoided by strategically dismantling each of its components.

This relies on using your character’s unique toolkit to make precise cuts in hulls, maneuver fragile cargo, and trigger controlled explosions.

From panned by critics to critically acclaimed, No Man’s Sky is one of the best video game redemption stories we have and a great example for developers on how to make good on a less-than-stellar product.

Over the years, developer Hello Games has added several player-requested features such as base-building, crossplay, and mod support, resulting in an uptick of players and a greater sense of community.

Other refinements such as improved procedural generation and broader mission selection allow for more varied gameplay and alien encounters.

If you liked the first idea but felt disappointed, now is a great time to return to NMS and see how it is in 2024.

Like No Man’s Sky, Astroneer provides a lively celestial playground to explore while embarking on the mission to settle an extraterrestrial world.

The game features a unique crafting system that sees you creating a network of stations and power plants that can tether your character to provide oxygen as you explore the world.

What sets Astroneer apart from other sandbox games is its Terrain Tool, which allows the wielder to bend the environment to their will.

This has many applications that can benefit traversal, production, and creativity; lastly, Astroneer is continually updated with new explorable planets, cosmetics, hazards, vehicles, and craftable items.

Developed by Amplitude Studios, Endless Space 2 is often touted as the best-looking 4X space game on the market.

It sees you carving out your own galactic empire across a plethora of RPG-inspired quests and random events that force you to adapt to survive.

This affords a great deal of freedom in exploring different paths and strategies by the time you reach the Endless Space 2’s endgame.

It also happens to include some of the best in-game tutorials and UI elements compared to more obtuse 4X games, making it perfect for beginners.

Stellaris is another space-faring game that comes highly recommended and offers an enticing blend of grand strategy and 4X-inspired gameplay.

In it, players pick from one of several intergalactic races with the option to create their own before setting out to conquer an entire solar system.

While its scope may not be as large as some of the other games on this list, it does an excellent job at letting players use precision to determine the kind of empire they’ll be.

Much like the Civilization series, Paradox has released countless expansions and add-ons that introduce new mechanics and content to keep players coming back.

Part of the X series of space sandbox games, X4: Foundations has you starting with an original character with unique attributes that will shape their path.

After getting started, the game unleashes you on a living sandbox where you’re free to carve out a name for yourself in any area of your choosing.

This can mean dedicating your life to exploring the known galaxy and mining for goods, building your own empire, or becoming an intergalactic criminal.

It also places a big emphasis on acquiring and upgrading different spaceships, stations using the resources you gather from odd jobs.

Avorion is another space sandbox game that similar to other games previously highlighted on this list.

In it, you’re dropped into a vast and empty galaxy ripe for the picking where you’ll grow your own empire and build up space stations.

Most of the gameplay is centered around your spaceship, which can be used for exploration, mining materials, and gathering different resources.

Over time, developer/publisher Boxelware has put out consistent updates to keep improving the game’s already solid foundation.

Admittingly long in the tooth, Destiny 2 has had its fair share of ups and downs throughout its many seasons, with the recent Witch Queen among one of the better expansions.

In it, players pick from Titan, Warlock, and Hunter classes before setting out into the world to explore and save the universe from multiple alien factions vying for power.

The game features an assortment of planets to visit, each with distinct biomes, enemies, and activities to grind for experience, crafting materials, and loot.

Outside of the main storyline, Destiny 2 offers free-roaming exploration, public events, PvP modes, six-player raids, and more.

Deep Rock Galactic is an online co-op shooter in which teams of up to 4-players control foul-mouthed dwarves tasked with completing contracts for an intergalactic mining company.

Missions are focused on exploring diverse underground biomes filled with hostile creatures while collecting valuable resources that can be used for upgrading equipment and acquiring new skills.

The game features four character classes—Driller, Engineer, Gunner, and Scout, with each specializing in a different field.

Indie 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.

Originally launching on Steam back in 2013, Warframe has been running ever since and only gotten better with every update.

In this sci-fi space MMO, you play as a deadly space ninja traveling to different planets and waging war with different alien races.

The game is revered for its fluid character movement and open-ended combat that allows you to wield a wide range of abilities depending on your class, or warframe.

While it definitely falls under the category of grindy live service games, pretty everything can be obtained for free with enough time and patience.

Dual Universe is a new subscription-based MMO set in outer space that shows a great deal of promise.

In it, players are free to create vehicles, ships, buildings, and even full-sized cities that remain as permanent structures in an ever-evolving universe.

Additionally, the game boasts its own player-driven economy, politics, trade, and warfare systems for a truly immersive experience.

While games of this magnitude typically fall victim to technical trappings such as server issues, so far Dual Universe has managed to provide a seamless experience that connects players in real-time.

Easily the most slept-on immersive sim to come out of Arkane Studios, Prey sees you taking on the role of a science researcher aboard a space station overrun with hostile aliens.

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

Throughout its branching story, you’ll encounter various species of Typhon, ranging from shape-shifting Mimics to warping Phantoms and more.

Learning how to deal with each one is crucial for unlocking new areas, saving other survivors, and making it out of the Talos I station alive.

Surviving Mars is a space city builder that incorporates survival game elements in order to raise the stakes and add some weight to every decision.

In it, you take on the role of overseer for a Mars colonization project, providing both current and future inhabitants with proper housing, factories to produce goods, and buildings for researching new tech.

However, since this is Mars we’re talking about, things aren’t as easy as just picking up a shovel and digging, as the red planet loves to throw new environmental challenges your way.

Additionally, your colonists can fall ill and even perish if certain needs aren’t met, with the most basic ones being steady oxygen and clean flowing water.

Oxygen Not Included is a challenging space survival sim that sees you commanding a space crew living beneath an alien planet’s surface.

Gameplay entails assigning crew members to different stations to keep things running, gathering resources to keep your colonists alive, and researching new technologies to improve your base.

With oxygen extremely scarce, the stakes are considerably high, and one lousy call can easily result in a large portion of your colony getting wiped from existence for good.

Temperatures can also rapidly rise or fall, pollution will start to build up quickly, and the mental states of your colonists are constantly in flux.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a fantastic couch co-op game about teamwork that offers a unique blend of shoot ‘em up combat and management sim gameplay.

Supporting up to four-player local co-op, it sees your ragtag team of astronauts piloting a ship across the deep reaches of outer space.

The spaceship is comprised of various stations dedicated to tasks like piloting, firing cannons, triggering shields, and more, that can only be manned by one player at a time.

This forces you to divvy up the work with your partner and decide who’s assigned to which station at any given time.

Space flight sim Kerbal Space Program sees you building and piloting an array of aircraft, rockets, rovers, and more with help from little green aliens known as Kerbals.

Anything you build can be test-driven in the game’s open sandbox, which extends past Earth and into outer space.

Since the goal is to get the Kerbals into space successfully, you’ll find yourself taking to the skies again and again only to run out of fuel or make a wrong turn and end up plummeting to Earth.

Since the KSP engine can replicate real-life orbital maneuvers, you can even use it to train yourself to be a NASA pilot…or just chain together as many rockets as you can. 

Anyone who enjoys Kerbal Space Program might also have fun building rockets in Spaceflight Simulator.

True to its name, the game sees you constructing a wide selection of customizable spacecraft before launching them into space.

The goal is to successfully build, launch, and land your creations on various planets without having the entire thing blow up in your face.

Much like Kerbal, the game has a steep learning curve surrounding its controls, mechanics, and techniques but once it all clicks together you’ll feel like a genius.

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Samuel Stewart

Samuel is GamingScan's editor-in-chief. He describes himself as a dedicated gamer and programmer. He enjoys helping others discover the joys of gaming. Samuel closely follows the latest trends in the gaming industry in order to keep the visitors in the flow.

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