Earlier this month, we asked you to vote for your favourite space games of all time, and man alive did you lot come out swinging for this. Hundreds and hundreds of votes have been beamed in over the last few weeks, resulting in an overwhelming favourite that was (no word of a lie) several thousand points ahead of its nearest rival. Not hundreds. Thousands. When you see it, you'll probably go, 'Of course, of course that's number one!' but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Come and find out what other games made the cut as we count down your 25 favourite space games of all time.
Naturally, with so many votes for the number one spot, I haven't been able to include every last reader comment that was sent in, as otherwise this list would simply never end. So I've pared down the almost 800-strong comment list to a (still quite lengthy) selected highlights, so I hope you'll forgive me if you don't see your comment listed below. I've also combined the votes for another couple of games in this list, as one literally had a three-way tie for what essentially amounts to different versions of the same game. For these, I've once again only included selected comment highlights here, because there were simply too many to keep them all in. Apologies again in advance.
And just before we dive into the list proper, you might be interested to know there's a fair amount of crossover between your list and our own list of the best space games on PC right now, although I'm not going to spoil exactly how much. This list goes a little broader than our one, incorporating games with space-themed locations as well as those actually set in space, so I'll be interested to see what you make of it - and if you spot any outrageous omissions or obvious injustices, then, well, you've only got yourselves to blame here. But do let us know about them in the comments below, too. For old times sake.
25. Endless Space 2
TheAngriestHobo: Horatio! Probably my favourite faction from any 4X game, period. I always enjoy playing as a beautiful villain, and Horatio has that in spades. They're biological Borg, dedicated to assimilating the finest qualities of other species before converting the biomatter of the survivors into more Horatio like themselves. Where else can I play a villain so insidious and horrific? More generally, Endless Space 2 has phenomenal art, music and UI design, and every detail has that trademark Amplitude creativity baked in at the atomic level. But best of all? There's a spin-off called Love Thyself, which is a dating sim with an all-Horatio cast. Which of your clones are you gonna smooch?!?
Centura: Turn based greatness that gives best single player long term re-runable experiences.
UmmICantThinkof1: With a 4X-in-space, I'm hoping for some interesting sci-fi vignettes. Technologies that sound plausible and intriguing. Variations on classic sci-fi tropes that are recognizable but given a unique spin. The Horatio are my favourite race in any 4X game I've played - an entire stellar empire consisting of the clones of a Narcissistic trillionaire. It tows that line of being fantastical yet all too true to our own world, and each race has its own unique mechanics above and beyond +10% to science.
Jambe: Masters of Orion for the modern era.
weregamer: Each faction plays differently, and custom factions can mix and match, so the replayability is very deep. Some very nice mods add even more. A couple of the DLCs are great, a couple are lacklustre, but it's a game I end up installing on every new machine.
24. Master Of Orion 2
Cynan: Master Of Orion 2 is one of the games that defined my childhood and it's still a masterclass in how to make a compelling space 4X. What I love most, still, is the ship design: the sheer variety of things you can pack into a ship, and the joy of trying out all those systems (gyro destabilizer, anyone?) in tactical battles.
Surevalla: Being able to design ships was a completely novel degree of freedom for me, but the best thing was the animation that played every time you decided to make a planet go pop.
Jinx De'Caire: Master of Orion 2 shaped my early years and cemented my interest in science and technology.
23. Destiny 2
Eauxemgee: I played Destiny from launch with a group of friends and spent about seven years in the same clan. Great game, first community I was involved with on console, felt big and killing raid bosses gave that old World Of Warcraft raid feeling even with such a small group in the raid. I had to drop it down the list though because it's just too overwhelming today. The games simple feel was lost to years of expansion campaigns and ways to spend your money. It's not as easy to jump right in anymore.
Meepx13: Destiny 2 is an amazing online shooter game with amazing PvE and good PvP. I love to run strikes with friends. I don't love the newest DLC though.
Langaidin: All around get lost and spend time with friends game.
Mako: Being a para-causal death god is fun sometimes. So what if we are genocidal loot hungry wannabe fashionistas with access to godlike powers. Not a fan of The Taken though.
Gorn Vander: I wanted to put Destiny 1.
22. Space Engineers
Raven Carci: Space Engineers is, on a basic level, Minecraft in space. Although the modability is limited by what the developers have added support for, it still allows for a lot of creative freedom in building. Survival gives you the challenge of resource extraction and parts production, and creative mode allows you nearly unlimited potential in building the spacecraft of your dreams.
VictorOgarok: In this game, you can really feel like a space engineer. Although there are a lot of opportunities in this game initially, there are very few entertainments and interactions with anyone in it. Here a huge number of mods come to the rescue that allow you to change this beyond recognition.
DoctorO: Now, I may be a little biased - but the REALISM. Work in all three dimensions, with gravity, explosions, and really, really big spaceships if you have the time and patience to build them. Like seriously, the creativity and dedication of this small but tightknit community is awesome. Devs like to push DLCs... a lot... which is why this took my #3 spot. However, if you don't mind the occasional shameless plug and really like building spaceships, blowing things up or otherwise just messing around in null G, definitely give this one a look.
Willow Dalton: You can build anything you want, very fun and creative game, literally Minecraft in space.
Favan Core: This game is a long term labour of love supported by an excellent developer, and a modding community, making sure there's something there for everyone. With realistic physics, and block by block building, you can have endless fun surviving on alien planets, or battling your friends... and of course, crash-landing your favourite ship on a strange new world!
Triggers0: Great physic simulator that allows those with fantastical imaginations to bring their space ships and stations to life.
AyyDee: Being able to build custom engineering marvels is pretty pog.
Zunum Ren: Having spent over 2000 hours in Space engineers, exploring, building, and pondering the vastness of the game, I came to the conclusion that I may just like it. :)
21. X3: Terran Conflict
tyvw: One of the first space games I ever played. It really gave me the feeling that I could go anywhere in the universe and leave an impact. You start with a small ship and can fight/trade/pirate your way through the universe and build your empire along the way.
Samantha G: Who doesn't like being thrown into a universe with little to no instructions?
MoonlightMassacre: Base game is already pretty good. Mods elevate it to amazing.
Morphisor: Still the best iteration of the 'create your own empire and actually fly in it too' simulation genre.
Ian Clauser: I could spend DAYS immersed in this starfighter-cum-empire building game. I never got bored.
Fly Peanut: And now X4. Just a single player EVE Online.
espenhw: Want to be a space pirate? Or an itinerant trader? Or maybe build a galaxy-spanning business empire? Maybe you want to command a massive fleet and hunt rogue AI ships? Or all of the above? The X series has you covered, and X3:TC is probably the best-realized iteration yet.
Chris: Huge universe, compelling story. Do anything, be anyone. Live small or dream big.
Paul Martin: EVE offline.
PaidProgramming: RimWorld is the best story generator game (after Dwarf Fortress). It has one of the best modding scenes, many of the mods get integrated into the game and other mods feel like legitimate DLCs.
Sceither: It is a brilliant story generator. The wildest stories can be made, and told by both you and what the game throws at you, even when some things that happen are stupid or nonsensical. You can also decide to play it as an interesting strategy game, with a deep health system, it allows a character you start with become a character with depth.
RedStar: Not spacey-enough for me to call it a true Space Game, but still one of the best PC games out there.
Oneleg: Cozy and brutal. With the multiplayer mod, it's one of the best co-op games I've ever played!
Eddie Kay: Actually Rimworld and EVE share the no. 1 place in my heart. There's as much as I enjoy in Rimworld as there is in EVE.
Dalts: The re-playability is excellent, and you can end up really caring for the pawns under your control. Each game provides different challenges or benefits to help keep it fresh and interesting.
caff: Learning how to build a clean, working food fridge with a steel floor and an air conditioning unit is an amazing experience. And then a bunch of ancient beasts pop out of the rocks and shred through your colonists like a bunch of kids chomping Happy Meals at a McDonalds party.
sjuski: I hate this game. but it's amazing.
Ajax: The possibilities are endless with such a vast set of DLC, mods, and modding tools to let you add whatever you want into the game, and let your colony live out its best life by fighting off any number of different factions. Also the clash of primitives and ultratech is a theme I adore, and RimWorld does it well.
19. Deep Rock Galactic
Xaviourm: Space dwarves squashing bugs and mining space rocks. Enough said.
SirSamuelJoseph: Deep Rock Galactic is a game about the horrors of intergalactic capitalism and the joys of your buddies riding in on a zipline to save you from a bug the size of ten dwarves stacked on top of one another.
Mark Rimer: The community. Rock and Stone!
Michael Howald: Dwarves, grinding, mining. The personality of the dwarves makes this awesome, but the pick-up nature makes it casual enough to approach whenever.
Ryann Beal: Deep Rock has re-captured the lost art of multiplayer that hasn't been seen sense split screen co-op.
KrisD: Most positive community in all of gaming. Gold standard for non-toxic coop games.
Flying Nun: I cannot conceive how the developers made this - new levels every time, engaging mission types, and classes that actually bounce well off each other. Rock and Stone!
cantdecidebetweennmsoreve: The most fun, most diverse, most witty, smallest disk space game of all time. So much fun.
Jebus1812: FOR ROCK AND STONE!!!!!!!! I AM A DWARF AND I'M DIGGING A HOLE, DIGGY DIGGY HOLE!
18. Sins Of A Solar Empire: Rebellion
Brady B.: Sins Of A Solar Empire is everything I want in a space RTS. Huge fleets of spaceships, some minor planetary management and lots and lots of explosions.
RandomNPC: Mods. Mods. Mods.
Krops Vont: Sins of a Solar Empire revolves around players managing their empire, expanding their territory, researching technologies, building fleets, and engaging in combat with other players or AI opponents. The game's strategic depth comes from the careful management of resources, strategic placement of structures, and smart utilization of unit abilities. It has stunning 3D graphics, a dynamic diplomacy system, and an extensive modding community, allowing players to customize their gameplay experience to their liking. Overall, the game provides an enjoyable and engaging real-time strategy experience that rewards strategic planning and tactical decision-making.
Joseph Gh0sty: Excellent space-based 4X game. It was the king of space RTS/4X until Stellaris was released.
Lord Kalus: Pretty solid space RTS.
Stark: Nothing beats Sins for scale in my heart. Forging a vast interstellar empire and building a robust economic and logistic system in addition to developing tactics to defend said system while expanding it in a hostile universe... sign me up!
MajorFreak: Super campy and replayable.
Rusty Shackleford: BIG! REAL TIME! SPAAAAAAACE!
17. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Azalas: It's no Star Wars Galaxies but it's close enough. Take your class, travel to iconic locations and shoot or use the Force.
Benjamin M.: This game offers an immense quantity of lore and opportunities for roleplay that can't be found much elsewhere. True to an RPG game, your role determines your character's story, and your decisions will go with them as they grow. Though it is old both in age and graphical design, it retains a nostalgic familiarity in the seasoned player, and a reliable experience of the Star Wars universe which lays within a grey area of its galactic history.
Mele: By far the best class stories I have ever come across and one of the best PvP things I have ever experienced.
Neith / Love 5445: A truly immersive space opera that offers many different perspectives in the universe. I'm not even a Star Wars fan, but The Old Republic is some seriously good gaming if you're looking for mostly-customizable serialized drama amongst the stars.
Shon: Classic, engaging and operatic. It's Star Wars before the fall.
Yves: Though I did state when asked what it would take to return to the game (a million dollars), I did actually revisit this when it was free(ish) to play. It's still fun and you get to go around the Star Wars universe as a Bounty Hunter.
sqid: Just an overall great story and combat MMO space game.
SureValla: The perfect game in its genre, unrivalled to this day, especially since it had proper multiplayer! Where is my multiplayer, you Everspaces, X's and Rebel Galaxies? WHERE?
Durkonkell: Sometimes I'll leave the trade lanes and set off deep into the system to see if I can find anything. Even now, I usually do! Remote research stations, asteroid fields full of corsairs, a wreck hidden in a pretty purple nebula, a jump hole that lets me cut the corner off a trade route. The question of 'how do we do space exploration in games' is usually answered by things like 'three billion procedurally generated star systems', but that's not it. The real answer, I reckon, is to carefully place interesting and marvellous things to find, even if there aren't quite so many of them.
Erik Mekkes: Brilliant soundtrack, an intriguing single player campaign that leads into a sizeable open world with random encounters, missions and trade routes, where the pirate and navy factions in each region can remember your actions and act accordingly! A space fighting sim with many types of ships and equipment, with great sounds and fun styles of flying and combat. Fight for the states, become a pirate, trade and move goods or explore the outer and unknown solar systems like a nomad. On top of that it has multiplayer, private servers and modding support which turns the base game into open world RPGs where you can work with or against others to control regions, form your own factions and have endless choices. And this was out in 2003! Published by Microsoft! A true hidden gem of gaming.
Haru: The storytelling is top notch. It may not have much depth, but its twists are fed directly into the gameplay in a way that is breath-taking.
Henry from Berlin: Best idea ever in a space Game: tell Chris Roberts when to stop. A perfect piece of space flight-dogfight-trading and just flying from A to B.
VrtniPatuljak: The last game Chris Roberts made. A great space RPG with interesting universe and fun combat.
kermat 6341: Great story and acting (during the cutscenes, anyway!) make this game into a cinematic experience done well. The space exploration that Freelancer is still unmatched.
Keroloth: It was the last Chris Roberts' game before he turned to the infinite development cycle of a worse EVE Online.
MrEvind: Best story driven space game IMO.
PeanutJaygee: Excellent atmosphere, aided by a fantastic ambient soundtrack; radio chatter helped make it feel like a living world, and served as a perfect contrast to the silence at the edges of civilisation. The inaccurate scale of space actually helped keep the game from feeling too empty and boring. Exploration was the best in any game I've played other than Subnautica or Outer Wilds.
Wang Tang: It's Freelancer.
15. Freespace 2
ATrifleMiffed: What if a space sim could have a story that was good, and also not Literally Just Star Wars? Freespace 2 is the answer, the game that made escort missions fun. It is the epitome of fun, cinematic space combat, with a tightly written and produced campaign that balances challenge, sheer spectacle and emotional investment like nothing else. Also spawned a fantastic modding scene, with Blue Planet being a particular highlight.
Anton: The absolute sense of scale. Dogfighting between the massive blasts of capital ships duking it out was mind-blowing.
Jason: Freespace 2 has never been exceeded. Its campaign never drags, the gameplay is tight, its storytelling dynamic, and the scale of your enemies often massive. Few games since have done as good a job at making you feel both insignificant but also consequential.
Dan B: The ultimate space sim, the scale of the ships, the feeling of being a small cog in a large machine. Some of the special stealth missions as well were excellent. The modding community is huge with the blue planet series being easily the best modded content I have played and as good as any other game on its own.
SuicideKing: Top notch world building, mission design, memorable dialogue and characters, tight controls and gameplay, extensive moddability out of the box, and a powerful yet easy to use mission editor. The game basically got me into programming. The FS2 Source Code Project has kept the game alive for over 20 years now, and it has received significant visual and functional upgrades over the years. Volition did fantastic work on the original.
kermat 6341: Up to this day the ultimate, uncontested adrenaline-filled space shooter experience with a great story that grabs you from the moment you start the game. Freespace 1 is definitely worth playing beforehand.
Otto3d: The best combat space simulator out there! There is nothing like flying against a typical enemy with your standard weapon for a war that has been going on and on to later have an unknown faction come in with superior firepower and shields to take you all out for no reason. An enemy of my enemy becomes my friend against this unknown race that is killing everybody. Best storyline ever!
Thomas Johansson: This space fighter sim is still unmatched as far as I'm concerned.
Mead: Great game to begin with, and the modding scene over the last 20 or so years has put out so much amazing content for it it's unreal!
Revolvacron: The best campaign of any space sim I've ever played. I still get goosebumps when the Sathanas appears in the Nebula for the first time!
Vince Black: This still is the definite Space Flight Sim. The original version is great but looks a bit aged now. But gameplay and Story are not affected. The engine received a lot of work from modders, and runs perfectly fine on new machines.
Werthead: The original Freespace was good. Freespace 2 remains pure brilliance. It's a game that makes your fighter feel like the tiniest spaceship in the universe (next to the thousands-of-metres-long Sathanas or Colossus) and you like the most important warrior, with the fate of entire civilisations hanging on your missions. The final sequence of battles, with the stakes getting larger and more bonkers in each one, remains unmatched in the space combat genre. And that unexpected ending remains fascinating to this day.
shoefish: DIVE, DIVE, DIVE, HIT YOUR BURNERS PILOT!!!
14. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords
h3rz0g_zw31: The cool Star Wars to like. Really enjoyed the vibe and how the whole party hated you and each other. Also the only game to explain why they all still obey your every command in combat. Good villains too.
Obojo: I will never not put this game on any list when offered. I have very fond memories of playing this on launch day, encountering its janky systems, and being absolutely fascinated by its characters. The first KOTOR was so very Star Wars-y and its sequel flipped all that on its head with its deconstruction of the Force.
Polish Lager: An unpredictable story, characters who would disagree and agree with you in equal measure AND have it make sense with their personality, and some really interesting quests and story interactions. The most interesting Star Wars game, if only for the "what if the Jedi aren't actually very helpful" strand running throughout.
Arca: It's an immersive sim in space made by Arkane, what more could you want? I was hesitant at first because I was afraid it looked too much like an FPS, tried the demo anyway because, well, it's Arkane so I had to, and got hooked immediately. It's fun, ingenious, gorgeous, and I had a great time with it. Still wary of abandoned mugs though...
Faxmachinen: Prey is the gold standard by which every supernatural slow-burn horror FPS is measured. Like Control, and... uh... it's a pretty slim category.
Mallorean: Fun mission and storyline, neat progression.
quasiotter: I enjoyed the System Shocks and Dishonoreds, but Prey is what made me realise immersive sims could be so special.
Krogerg: Prey's vibe combines the wonder and optimism of the Voyager and Apollo projects with the cosmic horror of Lovecraft.
RoggaBomb: Simply the most immersive romp around in a space horror funhouse there is. The beautiful architecture and the real world feel of the space station make it so wonderful to explore and it strikes the perfect balance between feeling like a free sandbox and the guided cinematography of a more on-rails experience. The feeling of space claustrophobia is baked into the identity of every single environment, through big windows showing you the beautiful void, industrial spaces like the gravity free cargo corridor running the length of the station, high tech energy labs and most spectacularly, flying around the station itself. A masterclass in immersive world design.
Thomas Johansson: I love the attention to detail in this one. Really creepy.
springs_eternal: It's not about zooming around in space, but Prey really nails the vast, loneliness of it. Talos station is eerie, but the feeling of solitude is ironically so much heavier when you step out of an airlock and into zero-G. The melancholy music kicks in, there's faint radio distortion and the sound of your breathing loud in your helmet. You slowly float out, avoiding debris, a broken shuttle frozen in place as the Earth and the moon crest into view. Beyond them, there's so much nothing. You could drift out there, into the black, forever.
zeonchar: Being stuck on a silent space station while unravelling the mystery makes the vastness and loneliness of space hit home. Hidden enemies disguised as common items is a fun gimmick while the powers you gain feel meaningful.
I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze: Is that a real cup or is it an alien? It's neither. It's me. I am the cup.
12. Dead Space
Connor Sestrom: The atmosphere of Dead Space felt terrifying on a whole new level back when it had originally released. I remember as a much younger child loading the game up and feeling like I was truly trapped in the universe. It's a feeling I had never experienced prior to playing it.
Gurex: The way this game scared me was amazing, I remember being immersed into the story and captivated by the style of gameplay and the graphics that with the combination of great music and sound effects made the experience like a horror movie I was a part of and just had to watch through. Of course I face-planted the keyboard a number of times playing this game, but only to find myself catching my breath, getting a drink and then load the previous save and try again.
Issac Taredi: The perfect blend of immersion, storytelling, narrative, and game play. Make us whole again!
Icemann: Great horror game with Event Horizon vibes.
Manuel: It is simply the best space FPS out there. Progression, Jump-Scare moments, combat... It has it all.
Jebus1812: The tension, the zero-g combat were amazing. I also enjoyed the dismemberment to take out the enemy as well. It was rather unique at the time.
Mike: Classic eldritch horror with space twist, yes please.
Witchdoctor: Just an amazingly immersive setting. Terrifying on a new level.
Henry from Berlin: Stomp!
11. Star Wars: TIE Fighter
Heroes of Light and Magic: Young folks may not appreciate how a janky-looking relic of the 90's could be so thrilling, but at the time, this game was magic. Our perceptions of space are so heavily coloured by popular media, such that Star Wars is, for many intents and purposes, space. Has the game aged? Certainly. Have we aged? I resent that question! But has the imagination of flying around space shooting bad/good guys in your spaceship aged? Not at all. And the era-weighted success of vision and gameplay in achieving that dream peaked with TIE Fighter. If the purpose of a space game is to capture the imagination of being in space, TIE Fighter will always live long and prosper.
Anton: Tie Fighters make the coolest sounds in the galaxy, and are just badass.
Dan B: Nothing like playing the bad guy in a ship that can take three shots, and then upgrading to a TIE defender or missile boat and really wreaking havoc on the rebel scum.
juan_h: TIE Fighter delivers nearly perfectly on a certain space pilot fantasy. You’ve got a whizzy spaceship - several whizzy spaceships, actually - bright green turbo lasers, dozens and dozens of varied and interesting missions, and just enough mechanical complexity to make you feel like a real space pilot. Also, you’re the bad guy. That’s not really a selling point, but the way that the game goes about reminding you of that fact without being obnoxious about it very much is. It's an utterly fantastic use of the Star Wars license, and all without a single laser sword or space wizard.
HyperTextHero: The iconic sound design and music of the series, the mission design, tricky but fair and rewarding difficulty curve.
horsehawk: PEW PEW. Hope I impressed you Darth, can I fly with you again?
Keith: This was my first ever space game, ran it back when DOS 6.2 was the thing and Windows 3.1 was just cutting its teeth (uh oh, I'm getting old). The campaign story was fantastic and was one of the first games I had played with optional objectives that added to the storyline.
Mark Rimer: Best space combat sim ever made, and the campaign was one of the most incredible of all time. Becoming the Emperor's best friend was pretty cool for a high-school kid...
kermat 6341: Amazing space combat game with deep mechanics and a good story to support it. Definitely worth a play even if you're not a Star Wars fan.
Mead: Just feels amazing to fly a TIE defender of the Empire!
Moorkh: The best part of Star Wars films all in one game (or two, really). The big battles - and me in a delicate TIE without shields. Used to play this cooperatively on a single PC, one pilot, one gunner (and all the other buttons/keys!). Good times. Just imagine if they had combined that with the freedom of Elite or at least Privateer...
Pascal Gauthier: My first Star Wars game in "3D" as far as I can remember. Surely over estimated due to good memories.
Scopique: I always loved space sims and Star Wars, so this is a no-brainer.
Procyon Darkstar: This was the first Star Wars game I played on the PC way back in the 90s. You have to use a joystick to get the most out of it.
Reznick314: One of the best space fighter games ever. Always used my joystick. I spent many many hours of my life as a teen playing this.
Sebaa: They don't make games like this anymore. Immersive, fun and rewarding. It definitely has been dated now, but the memory has lived on; decades later.
springs_eternal: It's hard not to love space dogfights strapped into a ship that would crumple from an ill-timed sneeze. Then there's the sense of pride when you rank up and are not only rewarded with greater ships with which to hunt down rebel scum, but membership into a secret club only for the most elite that gets you a cool tattoo (look, it's not a cult, you guys). Convoys, space stations, scanning things for contraband, it has all the best space bits wrapped in a Star Wars blanket. Bonus points for a consistently disappointed Imperial officer telling you what to do.
SureValla: Impossible to decide, so many different TIE Fighters which I had never seen before, the cutscenes, the manual - just a really great game.
Steve Schmit: These ones were my first real space games in the mid-nineties and I'll be thankful for those hours until I leave this planet.
10. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Procyon DarkStar: The very best single player RPG I've ever played. I've played through this game no less than a half dozen times and enjoy it every single time. This was BioWare at their height.
Darth Gangrel: This game can fit in so many favourite/best of categories, so I'll just say that I really liked going between planets, watching the cutscenes for disembarking from your landing pad and landing on a new place. The characters, soundtrack, dialogue, story, Force powers, combat and lots of other large and small things all make it a wonderful game and one of my favourite games, all categories.
Eauxemgee: Probably the first space game I was completely obsessed with so fun and interesting. Great memorable characters and the choice system really made you think about how you would answer questions from NPCs.
Failsafe: One of the best RPGs ever made. It kept my interest throughout the game which says a lot.One of the greatest Star Wars stories, period. Full stop. That's the headline.
Hammering Hank: One of the best storylines of any single player game ever played. And the gameplay was just right, not too easy or too hard. Kept me interested from beginning to end.
Keroloth: Who doesn't love a good soap opera in space from time to time? Nestled comfortably in Bioware's engine, it opened up a new era in the franchise.
SuicideKing: Although it was a bit clunky by the time I played it, it was still an enjoyable Star Wars RPG that sucked in many hours of my time.
Mickey Lee: KOTOR was an amazing combination of a classic D20 tabletop game and a visually appealing video game. It had great story and replayability, with many choices to make in the Star Wars universe. It was also the first game I played where you could use a lightsaber and not just that customize it. This game was revolutionary when it came out to the point it spawned the MMO.
Isaac Taredi: Absolutely amazing storytelling. Worth all the weeks of my adolescence spent on this game x2. One of the greatest Star Wars stories, period. Full stop. That's the headline.
Rob Johnson: Just another favourite of mine I find myself playing over ever few years. The story and characters are still unrivalled to this day.
Seraph Essael: Pure story brilliance. The Old Republic has some great stories.
Saanti Otoe: It set the standard for what a sci-fi RPG should be doing.
9. No Man's Sky
Justin Figueroa: Despite the rocky launch years ago, I have been an avid fan of No Man's Sky and I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring an endless universe, and even after years of playing I know I have only scratched the surface. In addition, the developers continue to add content packed free updates.
cantdecidebetweennmsoreve: I enjoyed it at the start and I'm not afraid to say it.
MrEvind: It's been a surprise to me how fun this game can be, and how many hours you can spend building and wandering!
Nils #2348: It's the fulfilment of the dreams of my youth: you can enter a spaceship and simply fly to another planet/system or even galaxy. And land anywhere. Without a loading screen. Sure, most of the planets are mediocre and not worth a second look. But once in a while you find that truly inspiring gem: the arctic world, populated by robot animals. The world of giant mushrooms. The bubble canyons and so on. The ability to shy away from combat makes it the ideal game to just build a garden on your star destroyer. What more can anyone want?
Cody: An amazing game that just gets better and better with time. It will surely go down as one of the greatest.If there ever was a game that - pardon the extra-nerd reference - Neville Longbottom'd, it's No Man's Sky.
David M: A rough start, but a great comeback.
Richard Coghlan: What actually sticking and supporting a AAA game looks like. A horrible launch but the team have more than made up for it over the years.
Torche Enflammee: Beautiful, really fun game. Building, exploring, building, flying, building cool bases, interesting alien creatures, cool planets, building cool bases... :D
Dreadnought WA: I love the graphics of this game and all the different creatures and planets you come across. It gives me hours of pleasure.
Spud Mills: Another fun Wild West-style planet bouncing game - wide variety of replayability and able to change the outcome.
tyvw: It's such a pretty game and the exploration aspect is wonderful, there are so many places you can go and discover. When the game was released it felt really empty, but the updates keep coming and the universe gains more depth with each one.
UglyBoy Phosphane: What can I say, a friend introduced me to this gem a while back and I found it remarkably fun to play. The storyline is awesome, and the base building quality is out of this world. I love this.
Vermillion Sands: Infinite options for ships, planets and all the exploration and interaction that it involves. But it felt far too cartoonish.
Xero: Four words - random number generation simulator. One aspect I find myself attracted to in space games is exploration of the unknown. No Man's Sky for me ignites nostalgia for things like Star Trek: The Next Generation. Like the TV show, every time I play, I never know what I'm going to find, or discover on the next planet. Did it have a rocky start? Absolutely. But if there ever was a game that - pardon the extra-nerd reference - Neville Longbottom'd, it's No Man's Sky.
8. FTL: Faster Than Light
H0l0: FTL is one of the few games that I can just come back to after a year, boot up run and have whole new chill adventure. The combination of the random events, the amazingly chill music and just seeing your little dudes/aliens scramble around brings this sense of relaxation in chaos that's so rare yet so precious.
Jenny Hojnacki: It's an example of simple yet brilliant space ship management with an engaging environment.
Dave: Defined a genre, still provides a challenge and surprises.
Fambeagle: My all time third fav space game goes to this amazing game. Loved to play it when I was younger and I just had a laptop. So many good memories.
Ian Clauser: Well written, and has a lot of heart.
Eden: I think this was made by two people in about a year. For me it's one of those quintessential 'you can do it' stories, like Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. This is dangerous: FTL is a game that tells me, yes, you can quit your job, grind out your passion, become a legend. Sometimes I wish there was more to this game, like more weapons or alien types or ship functions. But then I remember that what they made is so neat, so tidy, so carefully constructed... no chaff, no muddiness. A brilliant little thing.
Kristina Robinson: Another great exploratory space game. I've played with my family, and had tons of fun doing it.
Malthraz: It's FTL, it's the best. The gameplay is great. RNGesus is a cruel master. But it keeps you coming back.
ElderBeagle: It's a game I go back to over and over again. I've been playing this game off and on since 2015! A prime example of a perfectly tuned game.
Krogerg: Captures both the episodic planets of Star Trek and the battle against an enormous implacable foe of Star Wars.
Obojo: Bite-size (ok, maybe a few more chews than your standard bite), genre-inspiring, tons of lore scattered about, what more can I say? Suffocating enemies and putting out fires simultaneously is a an amazing feeling too.
Old_Man_Gaming: It was tough to place this second, but it lost out because this was just one ship. Nevertheless, being in space is integral to the game's appeal. You couldn't be anywhere else as the air leaks from your craft and your crew race against time to fix enough of the ship's equipment to keep them alive. The real time battles are tense coupled with the surprising amount of 'otherness' achieved by the choose your own adventure type encounters you are faced with. A superb game just a few rungs short of greatness.Captures both the episodic planets of Star Trek and the battle against an enormous implacable foe of Star Wars.
Rusty Shackleford: It's like Star Trek without the meatloaf slathered onto people's foreheads.
SeekerX: The most joyous "Star Trek gone stressfully wrong" simulator there is. Open the bay doors to introduce unwanted boarders, flames, and hopefully not your crew to some hard vacuum!
TheedgeMc: Excellent time-sink easy on the brain.
sjuski: Best space game in the world. Period.
Salty: I'll never be good at it, but I'll always think "this time I'll get further". I'd love to experience more of this universe.
SirSamuelJoseph: FTL succeeds because of its narrow focus on a specific experience - being the tiny guy outracing a galaxy wide destructive empire, encountering things beyond your comprehension only long enough to sell them your shittiest laser.
7. Outer Wilds
Cynan: Outer Wilds is on the very short list of games I've purchased a device specifically to play (the Steam Deck) and it was worth every penny. Can't even describe the range of emotions I experienced playing it: I was shocked, exhilarated, melancholy, terrified, and relieved in equal measure, not to mention puzzles that made me alternate between feeling very clever and very dumb. Unequivocally recommended.
Faxmachinen: Outer Wilds doesn't have the extremely detailed Newtonian physics, the satisfying 6DOF combat, or the solution to the travelling salesman problem. But what it does have is the fear and wonder of exploring the frontier, and it has it by the buckets. Exploring and figuring things out on your own is such a core mechanic of the game that saying too much would be spoiling it. So all I'll say is that you can take "space" out of "best space game" and it's still Outer Wilds.
horsehawk: I'd tell you, but I'd have to tell you again in twenty two minutes, and I've got stuff to do.
Mapletea: Outer Wilds is the pure thrill and joy of exploration and discovery, distilled into an expertly-crafted solar system. At once vast, unknowable and nihilistic, and at the same time tightly-focused and deeply personal, it posits that even in a vast, finite and uncaring universe, it is the personal connections we make which create meaning, purpose, and shape for the future. For me this perfectly encapsulates humankind's fascination with exploration of space and new frontiers.
Morphisor: The best fantasy solar system ever designed, by far. Ingenious, realistic and magically absurd all at once.
pat: A game where the vistas really are awe inspiring, and become more so as you learn and explore more. The core game loop is amazing, and so many discoveries hiding around. Flying is fun and satisfying too.
ElderBeagle: It's one of those rare games that you wish you could wipe your memory and experience it fresh multiple times. The sheer amount of discovery in this game is unmatched. Piecing together the clues from the Nomai feels completely organic, and it slowly builds to a cohesive story. Truly a masterpiece!
Sampo Vesanen / Blade: It's a really great game and one of those "I wish I could experience my first playthrough blind again" games. There is again a common thread for me here – the game evokes a larger world than the player can access. It speaks of the writing that the player can access any corner of the solar system. In addition to its amazing plot, writing and nice art style, it's a technological marvel. I will be recommending this game until the rest of my life.Outer Wilds is equal parts existential crisis and 'gosh I'm clever for figuring this out'.
Dating: I've had a dream space game in my head since I was a kid. Then when I was 30, that dream space game suddenly existed for real. There's nothing like it, and I don't know if there ever will be anything like it again. As if the base game wasn't enough, they truly went above and beyond what you'd typically expect from DLC. It's as good, if not better than the base game.
Flying Nun: Outer Wilds is equal parts existential crisis and 'gosh I'm clever for figuring this out'. Even when many others solved the mystery ahead of you, you still feel special for having divined a solution, learned of those who came before, and get a sense for finding out what comes next. Also, spaceship goes weeeeeeee spalt!
ggscv: Probably the best game ever made in the history of gaming, let alone the best space game.
Durkonkell: I like replaying games. I like it TOO MUCH, which is the main reason why big important titles from ten years ago still languish in my libraries, waiting for their day in the sun. Experiences are different the second or third or (etc) time, but I don't feel like they are diminished. I wouldn't erase my memory of playing any of my favourite games... except for one. Uncovering Outer Wilds' secrets and systems is a joy I've not experienced anywhere else. There is literally nothing to stop you from completing the game immediately except for the fact that you don't know what to do yet! It's a quest for understanding the past - who were the previous inhabitants of this place, what was their story - the present - how do I navigate these worlds - and the future - what is happening to me and, indeed, the universe. Extraordinary work.
SeekerX: The time loop structure of the game gives it the freedom to let the player get the relatively simple astrophysics really wrong. It's great!
Gery: It is a clockwork solar system simulation. Everything is physics based and quite realistic (albeit scaled down). The puzzles are extremely well thought out and can make you feel like a genius when you solve them. The story is a thing of beauty (for sci-fi fans).
Hayden: This game tells a story that's impossible to tell in any other medium, and yet it's completely unlike every other video game I've ever played, while somehow barely feeling like a video game at all. It's the perfect blend of cosmic wonder and discovery, mystery and deduction, and all-around brilliant game design. I mean it when I say that Outer Wilds is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Marsican: This game is phenomenal in every respect, worldbuilding, storytelling, characters, pacing, gameplay... I loved the concept of unlocking new areas with knowledge instead of power-ups. One of the best game of all time.
SirSamuelJoseph: Outer Wilds doesn't just capture the beauty and emptiness of space, but the sense of wonder that comes from imagining what could be out there. Both its tremendously personal story and minute to minute gameplay deliver on a sense of isolation and wonder, of the joys of discovery and the pain of loss. It's not just the best game ever made, it's also clearly the best game that captures what the stars mean to a small being looking up at them.
UmmICantThinkof1: Exploration is central to our cultural ideal of space, and Outer Wilds is the best exploration game I've played. They found a way to tell a coherent narrative despite giving you the freedom to explore in the order you'd like. They tease with intriguing locations just out of reach, and build satisfying narrative hits when you arrive. My favourite game full stop, so obviously far and ahead my favourite space game.
Slogo: Outer Wilds doesn't even make an attempt at space realism, but in exchange is one of the most emotionally engaging depictions of space. It also fills the wonder of travel and exploration without a goal of destruction or conquest.
V. Kosmos: Outer Wilds is in my opinion, one of the most unique games ever made. Progression in this game is based on gaining actual knowledge about certain systems and mechanics through environmental storytelling. I've never seen or experienced anything like this.
TheAngriestHobo: Outer Wilds is an incredible game of self-directed exploration, but its true brilliance lies in the way it takes deep, complex concepts like determinism, quantum entanglement, or the black hole information loss paradox and turns them into intuitive game mechanics. It does this without loredumps or cutscenes, trusting the player to slowly come to the right conclusions with only a few scraps of ancient knowledge and their own observations of the universe around them. I can't help but feel like there's still a lot of fertile ground in the realm of theoretical physics and astrophysics that could provide the basis for a sequel *crosses fingers*.
Wiggle: A magical experience. It made me feel really tiny not only in space but also in time and not only in-game but outside of it as well.
quasiotter: The most obvious choice.
6. Homeworld Remastered Collection
Old_Man_Gaming: No game has captured the feeling of being in space as Homeworld. Most games see you trapped on something in space but this makes the vast acres of three dimensional nothing, your canvas. The space battles are epic, the story is surprisingly deep and the production values of the original game were the equal of any game at the time and many since. Each individual encounter felt spacious and gave you enough room to play around - vector your ships to the right position so they could attack the enemy from above. Watching as your plans come off and the enemy fighters scatter is gaming perfection. This was an exceptional game.
Werthead: Adagio for Strings. Kharak burning from space. Heart-breaking narration about the fall of a civilisation. You yelling as you try to master the 3D camera controls for the first time. A game (well, five now) dripping in atmosphere and story, and with barely a recognisable human character ever seen on screen. A series that celebrates space, and the glory of massive spaceships, and how cool it is to blow them up.
Salty: This is the only game to really capture the vastness of space for me.
Plato_Karamazov: Homeworld presented an excellent atmosphere and expertly portrayed the isolation and terror of deep space. While it was not a horror game, some moments were truly terrifying, particularly during the Gardens of Kadesh mission.
TDA: The vibe, the story, the gameplay!"Kharak is burning" is possibly the most emotional moment I've ever experienced in a game.
Luke S.: Scratches the whole space fantasy itch with its Chris Foss-like ship designs and preponderance of evocative proper names. The original blew my mind in third grade, when I was more used to Pokémon and Math Blaster. You're telling me that a video game can be filled with tragic awe and the ache of loneliness against the infinite cosmos? And then have a cool Yes song in the end credits? No way. I don't believe you. Now let's just get a Cataclysm remaster, alright? Or, sorry Blizzard, a Homeworld: Emergence remaster.
hatsuma: Homeworld was something special. Maybe it existed at just the right time before the ancient art of game manuals fell off, maybe it was the soundtrack, maybe it was the story - but the sheer vibe of this game hit hard. There was something to the desperate search of humanity for its origin across the stars that just hit home for me. Add on to that a compelling mix of tactical RTS (with breath-taking 3D formations, I might add) and resource management (that cut across games, harvesting resources from every scrap of asteroid bit you could find to fund your push to the centre of the galaxy) and you have a timeless classic of a game.
Captain Benzie: Even out of space, one of the greatest videogames of all time - one of the most epic and amazing stories ever told, with one of the most satisfying and rewarding RTS experiences.
LordFacepalm: Probably the only RTS game that has a story as compelling as something found in an RPG. The gameplay aspect of carrying over your surviving ships from one mission to the next matches the tone and gravity of the story and makes you feel like every last survivor counts.
Gabriele Svelto: Homeworld made space combat interesting and fun while adding a fantastic layer of world-building and an intriguing story. The combat was thrilling and every decision was meaningful. What angle you'd use to attack the enemy ships, the mix of your own fleet. Three-dimensional movement meant strategizing required more thought than in other strategy game. Last but not least the art was gorgeous and the score really immersive.
espenhw: Homeworld was perhaps the first RTS to fully embrace the 3-dimensionality of space. And "Kharak is burning" is possibly the most emotional moment I've ever experienced in a game.
Hannibal Ticel: TOPSHELF strategy.
CH47GOD: The one that started it for me. Age of Empires in space.
5. Kerbal Space Program
0level: Going to space in a litho-hard SF simulation sandbox, packaged as cute green child’s toy – and as much fun to play! Endless possibilities and a cliff of a learning curve forged a lot of memorable moments for me (as in almost-disasters). KSP is a fever dream of huge endeavours, ridiculous accidents (explosions!) caused by pesky mistakes and the drive to fail forward. It’s a near-perfect dopamine refinery for my neuro-setup.
ATrifleMind: The game that created at least 50% of the current generation of aerospace engineering students. KSP will teach you how rockets work, and it will make you fall in love with the weirdness and complexity of real spaceflight. It has also spawned the nerdiest modding scene I know, a testament to how deeply engrossing it is. And yes, you absolutely should check out those mods.
Fambeagle: Just an amazing little game where there is so much to do and learn. Just a perfect game to chill and relax too.
Jenny Hojnacki: The game combines entertainment, adventure, and education into one fantastic game. Landing on the Mun for the first time is still one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in gaming.
WaffleFries: I love trying to build flimsy rockets as my friend who is practically a rocket engineer laughs at me. In all seriousness, very realistic gameplay and I have learned a lot about how real life spaceflight actually works.The game that created at least 50% of the current generation of aerospace engineering students.
Faxmachinen: The perfect toy for space nerds. In reality, getting to orbit might take a wee bit more than doing some TWR calculations and sticking some prefab rocket parts together, but that doesn't stop you from feeling like a big-brain rocket scientist when you do. It took me two weeks, but it was the most beautiful circle I've ever created. And, once you're up there, there's no better way to learn orbital mechanics.
Deakgu: When you accomplish a mission in KSP it feels like you properly earned your place in space. The depth involved in the physics and the modding community encourage learning more about space travel as well, sating that space curiosity for this genre that lures us in in the first place.
JohnR: I once stranded Bill Kerman in a Mun crater after having to abandon a doomed ship 10km up and slow his descent using only his backpack. Then landed the rescue ship just 100m from where he’d waited patiently for days.
horsehawk: There may be more thrilling games about space, but this is real, proper, space, not non-real space with space aliens and space lasers and space empires and space magic. Delta V is magic. Landing on the Mun is magic. Landing on the Mun and GETTING BACK HOME is magic. Nothing else has ever come close to capturing the beauty, the insanity, and the real, proper space magic of the real thing.
Mapletea: KSP taught me everything I know about rockets and orbital mechanics. Now I know why rockets shoot off sideways at launch instead of going straight up! Simple but brilliant. My partner got tired of me waxing lyrical about various orbital transfer methods at 6am on the way to work, but they eventually recovered.
Morphisor: The only game that teaches us just how it hard it actually is to do anything in space. Impressively in such a way that even us simple folk who didn't study astrophysics can have a good time!
PizzaKrydder: A great game that ignited in me a dorment interest in orbital mechanics and physics. The feeling of planning a mission and successfully pulling it off, whether that be docking in orbit or landing on a different celestial body, gives a satisfying feeling that few games can achieve.
Zeeroak Ool: Who knew taking off could be a gameplay learning curve lasting several days?One of the main contributing factors to my career choice of aerospace engineering was this game. It was strange walking into a class on orbital mechanics and thinking, "Huh, I already know how to do that."
UmmICantThinkof1: Whee! Strapping irresponsible quantities of rockets together and seeing if you can keep the monstrosity pointed up! Combining cute aliens with robust orbital mechanics creates an approachable but deep game that can be treated as quick sandbox jaunt or an involved launch simulator.
Raven Ceri: Kerbal Space Program is incredibly fun. Playing this game taught me basic orbital mechanics and rocketry, in a fun and engaging way. The modability of the game makes it extremely flexible in what kind of game it is. From miniature planets to the full-size real solar system with n-body gravity simulation and real aerodynamics, mods let you expand the solid foundation KSP lays to appeal to any skill level. Even without mods, there’s a huge amount to accomplish, and the recently released KSP 2 has greatly improved the accessibility of the game.
superwafflefry: One of the main contributing factors to my career choice of aerospace engineering was this game. It was strange walking into a class on orbital mechanics and thinking, "Huh, I already know how to do that," simply because I did it in Kerbal. Another long-time game of 9+ years for me, hoping the second one meets the high bar set by the first.
Consul: Rockets go brrrrrrrrrrr.
Saeger1737: Building till explosion is the way to go.
4. Elite Dangerous
Werthead: Five-year-old me remembers clearly the joys of flying a transparent hexagonal spaceship through empty space in the original Elite on the BBC Micro, dreaming of what that would really look like. Thirty years later, Elite: Dangerous made those visions real. Sure, it's a flawed game, but it does what it set out to do - American Truck Simulator in space with occasional shootouts with insectoid aliens - with aplomb.
ATrifleMind: Still the greatest space sim for my particular brand of aimless sandboxing, and also just an incredible feat of immersion. Few games since have sounded as good, and no space sim makes flying a ship feel as good. And there is just something to the incredible scale of the game and being able to wander around our entire galaxy and see distant worlds and stellar vistas that has never been matched.
Ajax: Raw potential and variety. You can be a hauler, a bounty hunter, a hired gun, a miner, and all with so many options for how you build your ships, customising pretty much every important element of it. Plus, the galaxy is so vast and open that you can make a name for yourself anywhere inhabited, with a decently complex reputation system and a large variety of missions to complete.Few games since have sounded as good, and no space sim makes flying a ship feel as good.
Dewrick Charante: Just a fun game to play when you need some relaxing flying time. I love that you have to dock your ship and are responsible for piloting every aspect of the ship.
HyperTextHero: There are many things to love in Elite. To me, sound design is number one. Staccato popping-and-buzzing of directional thrusters, twanging of a 1970’s cross-between-VW-bus-and-space-shuttle Hauler ship engine, heaving machinery opening cargo bay or landing gear doors. Crunching of ice crystals forming around cockpit glass panes when switching off systems to reduce heat signature and disappear from sensors. Elite puts us inside a ship flying in space, our hands and feet on the controls, cockpit’s metal frames moving with inertia casting dancing shadows in pools of coloured light from stars, stations, other ships, their engines glinting, tracing a disappearing line in the immensity of our 400,000 billion star Milky Way galaxy, one of trillions of others in the cosmos.
Jumpyspider: Exploring the ever nearer the galactic core feels so lonely, so exhilarating, so far from home but when you find a planet no one else has ever seen - wow!
LBD: Such a great and endlessly playable game. It's let down by the lack of high end content and ship selection, but it's still one of my go-to games that I can pick up again and again. The scale of the universe is breath-taking and the vastness of it really gives you that sense of space exploration which no other game has ever delivered for me.
Dating: I've spent many an hour soaring from star to star, looking for beautiful views and people to shoot other people with. When you hunker down with the lights off and nothing but you and the game, time truly flies.
Gerald H.: No game I've ever played so beautiful evokes the vast emptiness and beauty of space. And, no game so deeply immerses you in the act of flying your ship. I just wish it was more engaging.
Vasili Zaitsez: Elite Dangerous allows you to take hands on control of your ship and get up close and personal with an FPS space MMO experience. The ability to manually land your ship in a station or on the ground, deploy fighters and ground vehicles enables deeply immersive game play. If EVE is the big picture MMO, Elite Dangerous is the up-close zoomed in MMO. The level of detail and interaction of this space sim MMO is nothing short of amazing.
Nick B: Elite is a staple in the space game genre, and while it can suffer from inch-deep-mile-wide syndrome, goal-driven players are consistently drawn to this game, whether it be to reach the furthest reaches of the galaxy, or to reach Elite rank in their chosen profession, there is something for everyone. And unlike Star Citizen, it works.I've spent many an hour soaring from star to star, looking for beautiful views and people to shoot other people with. When you hunker down with the lights off and nothing but you and the game, time truly flies.
PeanutJaygee: The best audio design I've seen in a space game, that makes mundane activities like simple travelling more enjoyable than they have any right to be. The graphics are also impressive, and the celestial bodies are awe inspiring and intimidating. However, it imitates space too successfully and feels incredibly empty. The game is aptly described as a mile wide and an inch deep, combat isn't engaging or rewarding enough, and progression is incredibly grindy, and the (frequent) travelling becomes tedious after the spectacle of space dies off.
Oneleg: Some say an inch deep, but it does it all! The sound design is worth the entry fee on its own!
Moorkh: The universe in my PC. Not just a universe, but our universe, or as close as it gets. Do whatever you want, just a small ship among billions, and yet still have an impact. In essence, everything that went on in our heads when we played the original 30 years earlier. Grand feelings.
Red Sains: Blown away by an actually simulated galaxy of millions of stars you could try reaching. Vast. It really gave you a sense of wonder.
Morgan Parmala: This was the game that started it all for me in the space adventure-style games. I had Elite Frontier and played that for hundreds of hours. I got Elite Dangerous for nostalgia and fell in love with the graphics. I like the more challenging combat and mining system. I'd also like to try it out in VR one day. I really enjoy flying through all the solar systems and just taking in the view. This game allows me to experience something I will never do IRL.
Shae W.: This game is truly just about spaceships and no other game offers the true scope of a galaxy. The graphics are stunning and the defunct VR support will be greatly missed.
Vermillion Sands: Elite is a space simulator that I enjoyed both in 1986 and 2022. Spoiled only by aliens.
Therem Harth: It's a brilliant flight sim, presenting beautiful and intriguing humongous space with real sense of distance and time, and an excellent community, Fuel Rats alone are worth a ton.
Torche Enflammee: For full on immersive action, I love Elite Dangerous. Exploration, SRV jumping, MINING, hauling... It's a great game. I love that you can modify and change your ship. Multiplayer is fun and I've had a blast with it.
Iszak: I'm from the 80s... I played Elite on the C64.
Wilhelm Arcturus: Take pride in merely being able to dock your ship successfully for the first time.
VictorOgarok: A very well-developed space strategy in real time. It surprises with its number of mechanics and freedom of action. You can try yourself as galactic smugglers and spread crime throughout the galaxy or as ruthless killing machines who want to destroy all "organics".
xCabalx: This here needs no words. Very complex and big strategy title delivering hundreds of hours of fun.
Vacuity729: I have a love-hate relationship with this grand strategy/4X/roleplaying sim. There's so much to enjoy in both its scripted events, and in its emergent scenarios, but at the same time, anything but the smallest galaxies struggle badly performance-wise in the late game. And why would you play a galaxy-spanning game in a galaxy of a tiny handful of stars? Still, I can't stay away from it for all that long before the itch returns to conquer, or make bebbies with, the galaxy once again.
Nasuul: A game that also develops and where you can see that those who make the game think about the players. There are some really cool stories and there are also new expansions for this game all the time but it will not compare to EVE Online.
Jesse E.: It's less a space game as it is an empire-building game, but it is very good at what it does.
Cynan: I have nearly 600 hours in Stellaris and I've never seen the endgame — but they nailed the early game so well that it doesn't matter. The sheer number of ways you can customize your species and your empire boggles the mind. Plus there's the joy of seeing this game evolve over the last seven years; every time I come back, it's like an entirely new experience.The one and only grand strategy game in space. The simulation is just so pleasingly intricate and complex. The first steps of exploration feel a lot like the first dozen turns of a game of Civ.
Jason Erickson: While I think overly complex grand strategy games are definitely an acquired taste, the infinite replayability of Stellaris makes it one of my favourite space games that I keep coming back too, because of the setting and the procedural nature of the galaxy there is an infinite number of things that can happen when you load up into a new campaign.
TomorrowYesterday: My favourite Paradox GSG, and the only one that doesn't feature humans as the main protagonists.
Randy: Infinite replayablility. Great mod support and vibrant modding community. Grand scale of managing an interstellar empire and exploring the mysteries of unknown space. On every playthrough, the challenges will be different. Stellaris is not original, as it rehashes mechanics from older space 4X and various sci-fi tropes - but it does so, with the most perfect overall execution so far. It's a masterpiece of the genre.
nylki: The one and only grand strategy game in space. The simulation is just so pleasingly intricate and complex. The first steps of exploration feel a lot like the first dozen turns of a game of Civ.
TDA: Playing Star Trek in your own sandbox.
R.S.B.: The incredible scale of Stellaris creates a universe with amazing possibilities. The amount of content and variety of tasks a player can pursue in this massive 4X creates a game with amazing replayability and ensures that a player will never experience the same scenario twice.
Snike: Stellaris is a RTS galactic empire game with loads of detail. It's fun but it can still be challenging if that's the mood you're in. Yes please!
Joseph Gh0sty: Best 4X game, let alone space game. Ever want to roleplay as the ENTIRE Borg collective? Dis be your game.
Killer_Whale: 4x game that lets you play as almost every single sci-fi space fantasy. Constant support and free updates alongside the DLCs. It also has native Linux support.
Captain Benzie: The ultimate space strategy game - build an empire across the stars with ludicrously in-depth mechanics and more DLC than you can shake a photon torpedo at!
Mister Dinosaur: It does the second best job at simulating a galaxy, replayable but not quite an EVE Online.
Rusty Shackleford: Oddly enough, it's probably the 'role play' elements. I love the emergent stories that come out of my empires - whether I'm conquering the galaxy through force or being a bunch of hippy space plants, I get a lot of joy seeing the stories of my galaxy unfold.
Benjamin M.: The game offers a polished take on empire management set on a galactic scale and is constantly improving upon its content and features to shape it into an immersive experience, making it an enjoyably repeatable experience. The experience is always fresh, and no two campaigns are the same.
Andy Milky: A well rounded, though expensive, experience for any RTS lovers. Stellaris is a complex game with loads of customization elements for your ships. It is a big game that feels even bigger due to the interconnectivity of choices and actions.
Ajax: Conquest of a galaxy doesn't get much better than Stellaris with its incredible customisation options and such a vast set of mods that you can play in whatever universe you want. The playstyles are also endless, you can protect the galaxy, participate in a federation or attempt to end it all with violence.The hulking, void dwelling galactic Kirby of space games.
Selena Luzerrante: A great concept for a game, with a large community of modders that make this game one of the most enjoyable, and relaxing games... it manages to make me sleep sometimes! (Pure relax)
Paul Z: Oh, oh, oh, oh baby it's just vicious in the best way. Gets the whip and chain out and punishes you using your own race designs.
RoggaBomb: The hulking, void dwelling galactic Kirby of space games - every galactic simulator you've ever loved from Master of Orion to Fragile Allegiance has been swallowed by this monstrosity and forms part of its all-encompassing DNA. It simply has it all, and still manages to be more than the sum of its parts. The innovations that it adds to its monster mashup propel the whole package forward as more than just a greatest hits compilation of 4x space strategy. Your galactic civ truly develops its own story and builds a new narrative every single game thanks to the brilliant exploration and anomaly system. Somehow the ultimate galactic simulator keeps everything functional with exciting asymmetry and randomness in every game.
Revolvacron: Amazing soundtrack, great little stories espousing some of sci-fi's headiest concepts and a fantastic 4X game all wrapped up in a single title.
sadakarr: I love the tactics and how you can win so many different ways, make friends, be a warlord, be human, be a robot overlord. It's also a game you can play multiple times and be different.
Amstrad: For me Stellaris is the epitome of the 4x genre. The exploration aspect is probably the best bit in that you're not just discovering new systems and planets but also encountering interesting stories via the anomaly and archaeological site systems. The game is also great for the fact that it continues to evolve and expand through free updates and expansions. There are several entire new game systems in the game that were not in place at launch.
Overload-J: Stellaris is (currently) the ultimate expression of the space 4X game.
Supico6073: It's Stellaris, what else needs to be said about this piece of art? XD
Jenny Hojnacki: Paradox in space. Enough said.
2. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Ben M.: Mass Effect may be the best game if you want to explore new worlds with branching stories with a trusty crew at your side a la Star Trek. It's the pinnacle of the 'exploring captain space adventure' in which you can deviate from the main story and explore new stories. Along with an emphasis on small team tactics, your relationships with your traveling crew are entirely up to you. Aside from the social aspect, the gameplay varies depending on who you enlist to follow you and how your team approaches to combat. Mass Effect truly gives the Star Trek experience of exploring new planets and horizons, forming bonds with your crew, and decision-making that could sway the fate of numerous individuals.
Dyvim1Tvar Khandr: Just a fabulous story-line FPS.
ElderBeagle: I called in sick to work the day Mass Effect 2 was released! It was the best story driven sci-fi game I had ever played at the time. I felt connected to my companions and was really distraught with the decisions I had to make during the finale.
Killer_Whale: It has a long, detailed story, and while you can't change much, there are little details from decisions made in the first game that carry through to the last game. Some even have a narrative effect on how the final fight goes down. It's all very satisfying.
BlueViper8907: The best space opera story since Star Wars, and the best written story of the 21st century.
LordFacepalm: Pretty much the greatest story of all time... easily rivals the greatest of Tolkien, George RR Martin, George Lucas, Tolstoy, Orwell, Dostoevsky, Mark Twain, and Shakespeare... at least, once they made the alternate ending in ME3... Amazing worldbuilding. It does a great job of getting you involved in the universe and making it feel alive and populated.
JohnR: Unrivalled as big, apocalyptic space opera - with LE correcting some of its old bumps - and does the 'mixed bag of individuals in a fancy tin can surrounded by vacuum' crew side like nothing else. Even if in the first game they’re all hilariously over-horny.
PizzaKrydder: Not much needs to be said regarding this one, if you have any knowledge about the games. It's a fantastic adventure with an unforgettable cast of characters and settings. And while the conclusion to the trilogy might not be perfect, it's none the less a solid action RPG adventure space game.Mass Effect is your Star Trek model of space opera, where you go on big adventures with your Space Crew who become your Space Mates and eventually your Space Family.
Durkonkell: I didn't finish Mass Effect 3 until late last year! I bloody loved part one and two, but didn't get around to three for ages due to The Controversy. Let me tell you, I thought it was the best game in the series and I even liked the ending. Hark at me with my cryogenically frozen takes. Mass Effect is your Star Trek model of space opera, where you go on big adventures with your Space Crew who become your Space Mates and eventually your Space Family (your Space Family includes the ship itself). I loved it for that. Reckon it might be BioWare's best work, even.
h3rzog_zw31: Pretty hard sci-fi for my tastes (I like it as soft as a lovely cushy pillow), but still a blast. The ending was fine, you babies.
Saani Otoe: When you want to have your cake and eat it, too.
Thomas Johansson: This space opera hits all the right notes most of the time. Just quality through and through.
Darth Gangrel: It feels a lot like Knights of the Old Republic, which is high praise if you know that I picked that one as number one in this list. I haven't played more than the first one and only once, but I got to say that its vision of space, with all the alien races coming together, is quite intriguing and very interesting to explore.
Eulrich: The story of the Quarians and the Geth is well ahead of its time and just so well executed over the trilogy. The world building as a whole is also just a vast galaxy, but everywhere is life and details. Certainly not just the best space game.
Vurkuran Tyes: The Mass Effect series is without any doubt in my mind the best game series period. Incredible storyline, amazing action, original graphic design, incredible soundtrack. I cannot say enough good about them all! If I could only play one space game for the rest of my life, Mass Effect would be it.
Ergonomic Cat: The Mass Effect trilogy is a masterpiece. It's moving, funny, engaging. Mass Effect 3 is possibly the best, but without Mass Effect 2, it doesn't hit the same. Mass Effect 2 is where you get to revisit your favourites from ME1, meet Mordin, and really form connections that are all setup for 3.
Heroes of Light and Magic: In Mass Effect, everything has lore. Why is there a large, empty space station? How does your ship cloak? What's the deal with these guns? Are these monkeys on this planet? The later entries to the series may get more love, but ME1 gives you a fleshed-out world not yet buckling under the weight of its narrative choices, with a galaxy to explore and mysteries to uncover. Re-used assets and open terrain show that the design was already pushing the limits of human-curation, but it manages to strike a balance between the blandness of procedural generation and the limitations of having only a few highly-crafted spaces. If a space game is supposed to capture the wonder of discovery, Mass Effect is my favourite on the Citadel.
Zaltarian: This is hands down the most fun, most invested and great story of all time, got sucked into this game and I been playing games since early 90's this trilogy is amazing! The original was fun, but Legendary is worth the time to play through again.This is where modern sci-fi began. Also, Wrex, Garrus and biotics.
Mako: The series as a whole is an example of great story telling. I'm including Andromeda in this. I know, something something facial animations. Nothing is inherently perfect.
Flying Nun: I felt genuine stress that my crew might perish in the final mission of Mass Effect 2, very real joy as Mordin sung to me, and some other feelings I probably shouldn't put in print. Also, Martin Flippin' Sheen.
R.S.B.: Mass Effect pushed the boundaries of what was possible in spacefaring games at the time of its release. It was a remarkable, large-scale experience that will be fondly remembered by millions of players to this day.
Raubery: This is where modern sci-fi began. Also, Wrex, Garrus and biotics.
puiucs: If you're a fan of story-driven RPGs and sci-fi, then this offers the best of both worlds.
Wang Tang: THE definitive space opera game. You shoot aliens, you shoot with aliens, you mate aliens. You save aliens and humans from aliens and humans and Lovecraftian horrors. The real ending is the friends we made along the way.
I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze: Mass Effect 2 might not have been the space orgy Fox News feared, but Garrus definitely knows his way around those calibrations.
PolygonClassicist: We'll bang, ok?
1. EVE Online
Zunum Ren: EVE is a vast universe to explore with no end of things to learn. Fitting your ship is a veritable artform, once you have mastered that, then you can master fleet composition - the so called "Doctrines". If you get bored with that, one of the most complex things in the game, you can delve into logistics on how to supply the myriad of parts for the hundreds of real-life people now flying your doctrine.
Zugger: I've played this game for almost 20 years. Nothing is like it. What you do has real meaning, loss has real meaning. While games like World Of Warcraft inadvertently reduces the social construct with instant queue mechanisms, EVE naturally promotes it. It is a very social game with many bonds forged by conquest and loss.
Yell Dorado: I love the real sense of risk that EVE offers. EVE stands for Everyone Versus Everyone, and there's full loot PvP in all sectors of space. I worked for my first billion Interstellar Kredits (ISK) by mining and hunting pirates. Now I explore the cosmos and hunt other explorers in the labyrinthine network of wormholes -- connections ever shifting. Great game, and great fun solo or in a group.
30012930: The only true open sandbox in my opinion. The only restrictions are the laws of physics and coding. The friendships you make in your journey on EVE are phenomenal. I have genuinely made lifelong friends through the game. You never know what to expect, yet you can mould your day to how you want it. Amazing.
Stark: Aside from playing since the beginning (20 years!) the moment that sold me for good was when a friend of mine's son passed away and several people put together an 'in game memorial service' for him. A bunch of us grouped up around a cyno and just hung out on chat for a few hours talking. Some PVPers showed up and after we said why we were there, they joined our chat and we all talked about life and loss. The next day right back to blowing each other up. That's EVE for me.I have genuinely made lifelong friends through the game. You never know what to expect, yet you can mould your day to how you want it. Amazing.
solosmate: This isn't a space game, it's a space ecosystem.
Walkalino: 2010 is the year I met EVE Online. Everything has changed in those 13 years, but EVE is still the best space game ever. There is no space game with so many options to play, besides being the only one that when starting a PvP your heart races, because the feeling of losing is almost real.
Shon: Other games may be set in space, but EVE IS space. The graphics and immersion have been constantly updated over the many years it has been evolving. When it comes to space games, it's the grandfather and emperor.
RolandDeschainGilead: Dead means dead. There are no do-overs, no revivals, no additional lives, or any of that stuff. Open world, do as you want, live the space you want to live in. It's what a space opera needs to be like.
Sakura Nihil: EVE is the only game that's ever gotten me so anxious, excited, and nervous about an upcoming fight that I feel my nerves getting rattled. That's a good thing, games are supposed to get you invested in their world and conflicts, and EVE does it the best I've found.
VictorOgarok: This is more than just a game. It's a virtual world with its own laws and rules. This is the most lively game I've played. Yes, it is difficult for beginners to understand. But it brings a huge amount of gameplay and forms a unique community. In this game, you can not only engage in pre-prescribed activities, but also look for your way to fortune and glory.
UglyBoy Phosphane: The overall ambience of this game is truly breath-taking. With an almost limitless environment you can engage in a numerous types of game play like mining resources for your corporation or sell on the market, exploring wormholes and ancient relic sites, take on your fellow players in intense PvP combat, create your own base to take over a star system and build your own corporation and fleet. I have loved this game since I first started playing it back in 2013 and although I had to take a lengthy break, I am back and will be here with the EVE community for the rest of my life, where possible.
Xero: I've done a lot of things, but the sandbox that is EVE is one of those things that I always find myself coming back to. I've never "won" EVE (the metaphor for quitting the game completely), but I've tried a few times. Because the intrigue, the warfare, and as loathe as I am to say even the politics keep pulling me back. There simply isn't another experience like it. As much as people find out just how harsh it can be, you don't have to look very hard to find out that this game is also one of the most tight-knit communities I've ever seen in gaming. Between giving to charity, or a literal in-game memorial for players that have passed away. There really isn't another community like it. Because of this, EVE Online is my #1 space game. Simply nothing else compares.
tictacticus: Pew pew at its finest. No other game comes close.
Sussurro: Most space games are more fantasy play than sci-fi. You're put in an environment that ultimately confirms modern assumptions, be they ethics or morals. EVE does away with that nonsense. It is a sandbox of submarines in space that have forgotten all aspects of humanity. Instead there is only the cold competition for resources, be they minerals in game or pilot brain-space in real life. It provides gameplay that challenges the user and simulates useful scenarios for philosophical engagement. Come and try it, I doubt you'll make it far...
Stephen Garner: EVE is the most in-depth game I've ever played. It has taught me so much about real life; finances, planning, markets, patience, leadership, teamwork, even how to recognize a scam. I owe so much to this game. It's given me lifelong friends.It is a sandbox of submarines in space that have forgotten all aspects of humanity. Instead there is only the cold competition for resources, be they minerals in game or pilot brain-space in real life.
Seraph Essael: EVE is the friends you made along the way. All 20 years of it.
Raven Carci: I have played EVE Online for almost 10 years now. There’s always something to work towards in this game, whether it’s a personal goal or one shared with my corpmates. Even after ten years, EVE has always something to offer thanks to the player driven nature of the game world. EVE's depth keeps me learning, and has allowed me to apply my real-world skills to solving problems I encounter in-game. I have made lasting friendships with the people I play the game with, and even when we have become enemies in-game we always say hello in local chat.
Pascal Gauthier: My first MMO. It was 18 years ago, I was mesmerized to discover this realistic nearly endless universe. After few months passed at learning the learnings ;) and being a bit confident I now understand what MMO really means: mass industry for preparation during weeks, and d-day 400 people on Teamspeak warping in from system to system to a new place we colonized (kicking tenants out). Great memories with a lot of people.
Paladin Warden Kyle Saltz Paladin of Curatores Veritatis Alliance: 12,070. That is the number of hours I have in this game. This game is more than a game. It is real life. Our ties and bonds players make together are meaningful. Our losses when we lose is real. There is no restart button. It is brutal. It is harsh...but for the players we love EVE Online. I have travelled around the world from Vegas, Seattle, Iceland, and Bangkok, Thailand for meet-ups. When I say I fly with my people...My alliance...though we come from many different countries, cultures, and religions we are united as a people in EVE Online. We fight for our in space home. For 20 years we have fought for it. Our home in Providence will be passed to the next generation of Gamers. That is why EVE is the greatest of all time. It has generations of pilots that fight and strive for the game we love.
Xelnaga Azjol: A brotherhood of players that want to kill you and take your stuff, and they'll fight for your right to do it to them - and then they will help you do it to someone else, a truly amazing game that I've spent 12 years absolutely in love with.
Lost: What other game is there that is open world and the dev's encourage you to cheat and steal from others as long as its not spelled out in the rules. Hands down has the most epic battles with 6K+ players at times fighting each other.
Ottoson Panacan: There is no other space game like it, the learning curve is what usually drives people away but when you finally get it, and get involved with likeminded individuals to pursue a goal, it feels special. I had the head of one of my corporations order me a delivery pizza because I couldn't leave what we were doing (guarding a gate) and I was so hungry. There are good friendships to be made here, and huge massive PvP fights on a scale not really seen anywhere else.
Kristina Robinson: This is an incredibly complex game. I've played for four months, and feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I love the camaraderie in the player corporations, and the fact that you are specialize in various areas. No one ship is the "best". You can choose a ship based on what it specializes in, your own character stats, and what task you're currently trying to do. EVE Online has something for everyone... quests, PVP, collecting, a player economy, and many online tools that have sprung up on the web to help players with different aspects of the game. I usually get bored of games within a few months, but I haven't even begun to explore all the different layers and level to this game.
Kaizen Oramara: The social aspect of the game has helped me weather the isolation of the pandemic and bolster my confidence and social skills.Literally nothing else compares. It is simultaneously the best and worst people on the internet, and I love each and every one of them.
tyvw: The potential. There are so many ways you can play the game and interact/compete with other players. The politics and backstabbing between player run corporations make the universe feel alive, and as a player you can chose how to interact with the universe in order to scratch out an existence.
Two Left Skis: Expansive, mindblowing. The ecosystem and the community are awesome, and the impact of being able to trial real-life skills is only just beginning to be understood (how running corps, fleet commanding transfers to leadership in real life and running teams, etc). I've spent more time, made more friends, learned more skills here than any other game (and possibly any other hobby).
superwafflefry: It's the only game I have been able to play for ten years straight and still find stuff to do in. It's complicated, gives no mercy, and requires critical thinking, but it's a video game. If that doesn't sound appealing to most, you would be right, but for me, it's the perfect niche.
1nti Kam: It is not a game. It is a lifestyle. I literally cannot live with it. All the chaos, wars, and challenge is addictive. Best sandbox and multiplayer experience ever.
Jean Roch: Best career planning space admin simulator with some pew pew also.
Issac Taredi: Literally nothing else compares. It is simultaneously the best and worst people on the internet, and I love each and every one of them.
Hiro Satoshi: It's the Elite we always dreamed of. For those of us who were alive in the 80s and then around for the birth of the internet, Elite never left us. Many attempts over the years tried to capture the freedom and vastness of Elite, but it wasn't until EVE that we really got the massively multiple universe that we always wanted.
Erik Mekkes: If Freelancer was your introduction as a kid to open world space RPGs, then EVE Online is the epic modern continuation of that story. Everything is bigger in EVE Online, even the betrayals. The galaxy is huge and so are its risks and opportunities. The people in here are the best, the worst, the craziest and smartest space nerds out there, and there are soooo many of us. Quit your day job, and prepare for your new one! Make friends, enemies and bring on the explosions, fly dangerous o7.
Devil Seven: I love EVE Online because of the community we have here. Yes we love blowing everything up and stealing what we can and making as much ISK (money) as we can but at the next day it's a game and we will and have come together for all to help each other in many ways. Be it large scale with plex for good or small scale on corp and alliance level, it is what keeps people coming back to the game.
Dan B: Massive scale, single shard, completely player driven sandbox - it's more of a second job and life than a game but there is nothing else like it - permanent loss, crazy stories, huge fights, no other game gets your heart rate going like this and yet it's called spreadsheets in space!
Zoot: A 10,000 dimensional game of rock, paper, scissors, with the most functional economy of any game ever because it's almost entirely player-operated. EVE is a game of flying spaceships, getting them blown up, and making and selling replacements to people for their stuff that got blown up. People often come expecting Elite Dangerous or some other space fighter sim game, but that's not EVE. EVE is the third-person version of space battles and is more strategic than pew pew (though it has plenty of that too). Just had its 20th anniversary this week, and still going strong!If Freelancer was your introduction as a kid to open world space RPGs, then EVE Online is the epic modern continuation of that story.
Supcio6073: Daily shenanigans in Nullsec, exploring in wormholes, travelling through seemingly endless space, this game has truly defined what it means to be a space MMO. Also my favourite part is the lagfest that is the multiple thousand-player wars that occur and I love that exhilarating feeling when Titan-class ships are being dropped, it's like the Dark Souls of space, man! Scary AND cool at the same time. I LOVE IT.
Casmeron: The only game where you can start on day one, scam a ten-year vet out of all his money, convince him to take out a loan from a friend, steal that too, convince him to ragequit and sell his character to pay back his friend, buy his character using his own money and use locator agents to stalk his friend wearing his face for the rest of time.
Alexandros Niotis: How would life be in 40.000 years in the future. What would you do if you had a spaceship and a tiny amount of money? Would you be a pirate and kill people for money? Would you be a mercenary? Would you be a trader? Would you be an explorer? Or would you just convince people to work for you and create a galactic empire, Palpatine-style? EVE Online has unlimited choices and the freedom to make whatever you want in a futuristic world! Addictive and amazing game.
Callista Dalmore: As art is in the eye of the beholder, EVE Online is a game that is in the hands of the player. No, really. You want to chill and mine rocks while simultaneously looking out at your beautiful ship and checking the latest price trends in minerals? Done. You want to zerg around in a ball of DPS annihilating all in your path? Done. You want to solo PvP all day? Done. PvE all day? Done. You want to be social? You don't? Done and done. And so it becomes your real wins, your real losses, your real achievements, not a grind up an artificial ladder or levelling system.
Zen42: There are no other space games...Only EVE!