Space Engineers – Preview (PC)

If Minecraft was too simple for you and EVE was too boring, then Space Engineers has got you covered. With Minecraft-esque building mechanics and massive amounts of space to explore, ship to ship combat and online multiplayer; being an engineer has never been so rewarding.

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Space Engineers follows the dig, get resources, craft, and build formula. Though this time round, you are in space and are trying to build a spaceships and space stations. The building mechanics are similar to Minecraft in that everything is comprised of blocks but it is much more aesthetically pleasing; sloped blocks, corner blocks and the power to change the colour of blocks are all present. It is surprisingly easy to make good looking spaceships.

Gathering resources starts with just you, in your spacesuit, and a hand drill as you dig through asteroids collecting iron, silver, uranium and gold to build the various components needed to make a working spaceship. This can get a bit tedious as you are required to catch the chunks of ore that float away and press “T” to pick them up. If you don’t want to do this, then you could always start stealing parts from someone else’s ship. This may earn you a few enemies but it is quicker and more rewarding.

Flying feels very natural and even simulates the weightlessness of objects in space as you continue to float even after you’ve shut off your engines. If you attach a gravity field generator, you will come to a stop much quicker but then you’d have no honest way to crash into other people and watch the ships crumple and break. Crashing was definitely our favourite part of Space Engineers as the destruction is always great to watch. There’s a very strong feeling of catharsis in crashing a well built spaceship.

Creative mode gives you the freedom to test out new designs, be adventurous or to download and fly about in the Millennium Falcon. In this mode, you are given unlimited access to resources and can create whatever your heart desires.

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The game’s biggest drawback is that while the maps are huge, they have nothing in them apart from asteroids. The inclusion of more areas to explore would make this a much better title but as it stands it has lots of space but very little to actually see. So, at least its realistic!

The right music is very important to an experience and the wrong music can kill a mood faster than the harsh void of space. We say this because Space Engineers’ soundtrack contains lots of fast and heavy metal tracks that would be more at home in Halo than a spaceship building game. Often we found ourselves hurtling into other ships purely because the music made it feel appropriate. A few more ambient tracks would be appreciated for building.

With the inclusion of steam workshop and a decent amount of servers, Space Engineers is a fun title but has little structure and often you’ll build ships just to fly around. It has potential to be a great space and ship construction simulator, if that sounds good to you then keep an eye on it.

Space Engineers is available on Steam