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10 Best Video Games Set in Space

Space-based games are about as common as hot dinners. However, the very best space games do a lot more than just feature a setting among the stars. They excite, and provoke wonder, imagination and exploration.

And so, with No Man’s Sky just around the corner (yey!) we thought it prudent to explore the 10 of the very best space games in the entire galaxy. Strap on your space helmet and equip your blaster rifle – you’re gonna need ‘em…

  1. Kerbal Space Program

Buy Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program sounds like a college lecture, and… it sort of is. Not in an annoying, beat-you-over-the-head sort of way, but a more subtle, fun and informative way.

At its core, it’s a space flight simulator that has you building a rocket and piloting it up into the atmosphere – if you’ve got the skills to do so. Your unfortunate test subject – Kerbal – will be your guinea pig as you try out each of your space vehicle creations.

You’ll need to factor in gravity and a whole lot of other scientific mumbo-jumbo in order to give your rocket the perfect flight. Or, you could just watch it crash. And burn. Your choice!

  1. Alien: Isolation

Buy Alien: Isolation

If there are two things that Alien: Isolation gets right, it’s aliens, and isolation. The main thing it gets wrong is having a colon after ‘Alien’ in the title. Why?! It would still work without.

Branding aside, Alien: Isolation is a fun, tense, tactically-driven experience that has you exploring the abandoned Sevastopol Space Station while being stalked by a bloodthirsty alien. Alien: Isolation nailed the feel of the [first two] Alien Hollywood films perfectly without sacrificing a solid gameplay base. One of the best games set in space hands down!

  1. FTL: Faster Than Light

Buy FTL: Faster Than Light

Released in September 2014, FTL: Faster Than Light is a top-down spaceship simulator that really shouldn’t have worked, but did, oh so beautifully.

Players assume control of a starship captain, whose primary job is to destroy the enemy ships and manage your own ship correctly.

It’s all about strategy. Each battle or dialogue tree you encounter must be carefully planned, and with space guns blasting off and robots attempting to down your ship, things can quickly get hectic.

  1. Eve Online

Buy Eve Online

A video game set in space that started all the way back in 2003, Eve Online has magically endured to this very day.

And that’s a testament to it’s vast world, great community of players and the fact that you get to explore space. Yup. Eve Online is, as the name implies, an online world that’s packed full of other players, stars to explore and mine, and spaceships to destroy.

Prepare to lose all your free time. Every second of it.

  1. Elite: Dangerous

Buy Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous, like Alien: Isolation, features an incredibly annoying colon. This aside, it’s quite similar to Eve Online in many ways, but with perhaps just a bit less scale.

You can trade between space stations, discover new planets and star systems and engage in battles with space pirates. On top of this, you get to fly a heap of spaceships from a first-person perspective, which truly immerses you in the action. And explosions.

  1. Dead Space

dead space 1

Buy Dead Space

Part horror, part third-person action, Dead Space was a revolutionary title upon its release. It launched in the early days of the HD generation, and back then, we’d never seen anything like it.

The video game is incredibly atmospheric, and provides one of the most harrowing singleplayer campaigns in recent memory. Seriously, don’t play this if you have a nervous disposition, or hate good games. It’ll drive you nuts.

Dead Space also spawned a sequel that, while not quite as good as the original, continued the series in a truly gruesome manner. Alien babies FTW!

  1. Ratchet & Clank (2016)

Buy Ratchet & Clank

The most recent entry on our list, Ratchet & Clank is a whimsical, amusing action-packed third-person platforming adventure.

Players assume the role of Ratchet, a Lombax who has dreams of becoming a Galactic Ranger. He eventually gets his wish, and along with robotic sidekick Clank, embarks on an explosive adventure packed with sheep, lasers and rockets. So many rockets.

The Ratchet series is best known for its crazy weapons, and Ratchet & Clank didn’t disappoint in this regard. You can make enemies breakdance and even turn them into a pixelated graphical style, which is far more effective than it sounds.

  1. Destiny

Buy Destiny

A video game that needs no introduction, Destiny is an epic space-set first-person RPG that has spawned a fanbase of millions that clog up the servers to this very day.

Your main job is to explore the galaxy, finding new gear and upgrading your character into a bonafide killing machine. Players who love statistics will enjoy Destiny’s blend of shooting and looting, and find that it works incredibly well. A sequel is on the way too, so there’s never been a better time to jump aboard the bandwagon.

  1. Star Wars: Battlefront II

Buy Star Wars: Battlefront II

What is it with those annoying colons? Punctuation aside, Star Wars Battlefront is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best Star Wars game ever made.

It’s one of the best times you can have playing multiplayer, featuring shoot em up space battles with all your favorite Star Wars locations and characters. Battlefront looked gorgeous when it released on older consoles, and its effects can still be felt in shooter games to this very day.

  1. Mass Effect 2

Buy Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 had a… uh… massive effect on the gaming industry – without question.  Combining an epic story with some of the best cover-based shooting mechanics on the planet, Mass Effect 2 is a fine example (like Destiny) of how you can blend genres perfectly.

It’s part space opera, part RPG, part shooter and part adventure, all rolled up in one delicious package. It spawned a sequel in Mass Effect 3, and a new game, Andromeda, is on the way, but the appeal of Mass Effect 2 simply cannot be denied.

If you read this far, I’m guessing you love space – and we do to. In fact, IGCritic hopes to one day bring you articles from an office, based somewhere on the habitable side of Mars.

Until that point, you’ll have to make do with your Earth-based reading material – just be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when the day of our Mars trip arrives.

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