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.

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