The 10 Best Space Games of All Time

Best Space Games of all time
Nothing like some explosions in the morning...or in space.

10. Mass Effect 2

Starting this countdown was a little iffy, but it's hard to ignore what is in my opinion the best trilogy of science fiction of games ever released. The Mass Effect series has always been a touchstone, since the first game was released back in the early 2000s by Bioware and they are continued to be hailed as triumphs (ignoring ME 3’s controversial ending). The games are centered around John Shepherd, who flies around the Milky Way fighting the existential threat of the civilization-annihilating Reapers.

I singled out Mass Effect 2, not only because it is largely viewed as the most successful and best game of the series, but because it is also the most space driven of the games, since the gist of the game is you recruiting a new team to go through the broken Omega relay. This game really opens up the world of Mass Effect in ways that not even the 3rd game did, with exotic locals and fun explorations of not only the politics of space, but the cultures through the galaxy. It is a must play for anyone who favors space/science fiction games.

9. Space Engineers

I hesitated putting an early access game on this list, but this concept is not one that can be ignored. A sandbox exploration, survival, construction, and engineering game, Space Engineers virtually has it all. Players have all kinds of freedom to design and build whatever they want, provided they can stay alive that long. The coolest thing about this game, is that it only uses tech that scientists believe will be viable in the future, some 50 or so. This creates a heightened realism that should help the immersion for players and give them some real tactile goals. You can virtually build whatever your heart desires in this game, as long as it works, from space stations to ships, to vehicles on planets, players can launch themselves to orbit and mine asteroids or remain content building on an Earth-like or Martian-like planet. The possibilities all stem from you.

8. Homeworld: Remastered Collection

This game is an old classic and Gearbox has actually brought back the old developers/creators of Homeworld to remaster both 1 and 2 into this new collection. What marks Homeworld as a great game, is that the campaign is vital to the experience of the whole game. Most RTS games get away with making multiplayer or AI modes overwhelmingly important, but this one brings the focus back on the campaign with an enthralling narrative. With the updated visuals this will give newcomers an introduction to the series and old veterans something to enjoy anew.

7. FTL

Switching grears for a second, FTL: Faster Than Light

Indie FTL by Subset games, deserves a spot on this ranking, given how clean and innovative the game is. A simulation, roguelike set up gives this one a much more chill, but still interesting feel when playing. You are the captain of ship, which is on the way back to its fleet to warn of an invading fleet, in which you then battle the enemy capital ship. Over the course of the game, you are in charge of managing your crew and managing the ship’s systems as they either rebuff attacks, become damaged, and lash out yourself against other ships. Each time you play through a ship type, you unlock a new one, giving you virtually tons of replayability, and coupled with a solid soundtrack, this game gives and gives.

6. Stellaris

It wouldn’t be a space game list from me without Stellaris and if you haven’t heard me gush about this game before, well here we go. In this 4x grand strategy game by Paradox, players take control of a civilization and explore the galaxy. As they come into contact with opposing civilizations or strange anomalies it is up to the player to decide what to do within the limit of their civilization’s values and beliefs.

Players can make custom races from the ground up and play them against their own custom races or what the developers have already placed into the game. Stellaris has also had numerous changes to the game, that drastically change how it plays as compared to when it was released in 2016, but with each new patch and DLC the game has only gotten bigger and better. Jump in! The dark matter is fine!

5. Kerbal Space Program

Have you always wanted to take control of space program? Well, Kerbal Space Program lets you do just that! In fact, you have to design a functional craft to get off the ground! The game does very little hand holding and you won’t even experience parts of the game, if you cannot get past designing a rocket that works. This may put off some users, but the dynamic and realistic physics of Kerbal should intrigue players. Even if you can’t get past that more challenging bit of the game, it has two other modes for you to try; scientist mode, where you research new technologies and advance the knowledge of your people or sandbox where you have access to everything and can virtually build whatever you want. This is a must, especially for people who are a fan of NASA.

4. Fractured Space

I’ve always been a sucker for giant capital ships fighting one another and in this game that is exactly what happens. With graphics that look amazing in Unreal engine 4, Fractured Space is a game, where players can choose to do PvE co-op or 5v5 PVP match for various objectives. The game may sound pretty simple and it is, until you get to the wide variety of ships and manufacturers you can choose from. Want to play a hulking dreadnaught? Do it! Want to play a stealthy freighter? Do it! And all of this is set in amazingly detailed spaces of war, complete with nebulas and hazardous asteroids.

Out of all the games on my list, this is the single one that is free-to-play, so what do you have to lose? You should try it!

3. No Man’s Sky

You might roll your eyes at my number one spot here, but after three huge updates that Hello Games has redeemed themselves. No Man’s Sky is where it should have been at release now, roughly a year and a half later, but I say better late than never! The game is in a fantastic spot, with quality of life updates such as the star map with conflict and economic filters, to the actual gameplay. There is a new questline players can take, (if they so choose). There are even updated graphics and new biomes that weren’t around with release. The art design and soundtrack make this game that much better and overall the procedural generation of planets and animals (though still has some kinks) is unparalleled in the genre. Do not let all that bad press keep you away. You need to play this game now!

2. Eve Online

This is another game that I couldn’t ignore on this list. Eve Online has gone through a lot of changes over the years, including a new free-to-play model as well as releasing two expansions a year now. They have been around for almost as long as World of Warcraft and the wars that go on Eve Online are legendary among the gaming community. The only true drawback is how PVP focused this game can be. You can virtually do whatever you want in the game, but you are restricted by money, which you can only get from mining or running missions for “agents”. Either way, despite the reputation of this game being a “spreadsheet sim”, there’s a reason this game has been around since 2003.

1. Elite Dangerous

In some ways, Frontier Developments invented the space pilot sim genre and here with Elite Dangerous they have continued to wow and amaze players. With a galaxy that is to scale inside the game, players have a choice to play as they want, whether as a mercenary, trader, pirate, or explorer. The galaxy is virtually open to players with an evolving narrative that is still going even today. The learning curve on this game is steep, but once players get the hang of it, it is deeply immersive and some of the best dogfight gameplay I’ve experienced in a game to date. A truly fantastic and unique experience.

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Always fascinated by the night sky, Alex has spent plenty of time developing and writing stories about rocketing to space. When he'd rather stay planet-side, he enjoys an ice cold PBR.
Gamer Since: 1998
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: World of Warcraft: Legion
Top 3 Favorite Games:Stellaris, Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void, Mass Effect 2

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