We’re over half way through 2016 and it has been a great year for Indie titles. Everyone knows of our love for space and Sci-fi games and this year has had some excellent examples. Following on from last years port of PC favourite Elite: Dangerous, we have seen a number of great titles make their way over to the Xbox. Those of you that haven’t tried Kerbal Space Program I suggest you get on it quickly. It’ll make you wish you paid more attention in science classes, but it’s a rewarding and worthwhiile game to play.
We’ve seen a rise in sand box and survival games set in space or on other planets really start to take hold on our dear Xbox. Here are our highlights and the games I’m still looking forward to.
It must be your first time here if you didn’t know how much we love Elite Dangerous. From the sheer size of it’s open universe sandbox to the great community it has bred, Elite is the game that keeps on giving. We recently attended the fan organised convention “Lavecon” for the game that has grown in size over the last four years and the developers (who are forever loyal to their fan base) have ran a panel for the last two events giving the fans a sneak peak of what’s in store! I’d tell you more but as they say “What happens at Lavecon, stays at Lavecon.” All I can tell you that Frontier developments really want to take you on their journey and this jaunt into the distant future is about to take a very dark turn in terms of narrative. Pick it up soon and the existing player base will help you get started. Hell you could even join our in game faction and community, more information on that just over here
Ark: Survival Evolved
Another title our whole group has been participating in is Ark. This is a game preview title and currently in development, but it’s one which has seen a good few hours set aside for it already. Awakening to the blaring sun of your new island life, you’ll learn to survive off the land, create tools to help you to defeat the dinosaurs (DINOSAURS!) and other creatures you share your world with. Some are useful for foraging, some really just want to eat you, and as you create a home on the sun-kissed beaches of Ark Island you’ll have to learn to distinguish between the two. Lots of crafting and learning new skills in this one, as you work your way up the food chain with your very own survivor.
Kerbal Space Program
Like Elite, this game throws you in at the deep end and expects you to do a lot of homework. It does have a tutorial section, but it’s certainly one which you need to pay close attention to, and it’s night on impossible to just jump into playing, without some form of assistance It’s cute, fun and damn frustrating as you attempt to send the adorable Kerbals into orbit and beyond with your own brand of rockets, space planes, and luck. You can try and send anything you like into black abyss of space but you’ll have to spend a lot of time test flying your craft and expect to see a lot of explosions! it’s hard work, but the best kind. My first orbit was such a pay off and I can’t wait to send a Kerbal to the moon!
Definitely another “fire them off into space and forget about them” title here, but another one which we”ve really got on with. It’s currently in the Xbox Game Preview Program, meaning it’s not finished yet, and isn’t likely to be for a little while, but I’ve invested more time into this than I probably should. Stranded on a planet out in deep space, you’re left with your escape pod, crashed into the sea, and that’s it. Using a little guesswork, a lot of exploring, and again some luck, you’re left to your own devices as you learn to live off the land to survive, and eventually thrive in your new aquatic home. Your on board fabricator will get you started on your way to getting fresh food and water, new tools and eventually to creating new underwater vehicles and homes of your own, as you explore the expanding (and really quite deep) biomes. Our Community page for Subnautica can be found just over here
We Happy Few
Not a space setting, but it’s just weird enough for us to add in here. We Happy Few released just yesterday, again within the Xbox One Game Preview program, meaning it’s not finished yet (an according to the development team they only have half of what they want in there at the moment. We’ve had the privilege of being given some time with the title and we have to say, though it’s not complete as yet, feeling a little empty in places, it’s a solid title, and a great concept. Another Survive-Em-Up We Happy Few is set in the 60s, in the very British town or Wellington Wells. It’s been taken over by a drug called joy, which simply helps you forget things and be happy. The kind folk of Wellington Wells however, do not take kindly to Downers (people who don’t take their medicine) and as you come out of your Joy-driven disillusion, you’ll find the town isn’t quite as perfect as everybody thinks it is. There’s no story in the game as yet (this is being put in before or on release) but it’s still just creepy enough to haunt our dreams!
I’m incredibly excited about the upcoming release of Keen Software Houses “Space Engineers”. With a growing fan base on the PC this game follows suit with games such as Subnautica and The Solus Project with its survivalist gameplay. What excites me especially is the sandbox mode in which you can create gigantic space craft… Think Minecraft in space. with an explorable solar system filled with planets, moons, crashed space ships and mineable asteroids. It has multiplayer so you can team up with your friends and work on your creations. The other games in this genre that I have mentioned don’t include a multiplayer facility so I think this might be a game changer when it lands. No date yet as it was recently delayed. but keep your eyes peeled here at Pixelbandits.org for more news!
We’ve not even gone over a lot of the Sci-fi releases from the AAA studios here, but you can see that it’s been a busy enough time for the Sci Fi genre even with just the smaller studios getting involved. We’d love to see more IPs coming and we’re happy to see the likes of Re-Core and Horizon: Zero Dawn on the… well on the horizon, it’s certianly going to be an exciting year. You can keep your eyes on our Release Schedule, as ever and we’ll be keeping you up to date with new releases, as ever, as we move forward.