Astroneer’s story is wonderful, and this reviewer (hello!) Has been following it from the very beginning. Back in 2015 this adorable little teaser trailer was released featuring an astronaut traversing lonely low poly alien landscapes. It’s not entirely clear what the game is was, but nevertheless immediately attracted attention, and when the game went into Early Access in 2016, its combination of Minecraft andNo man’s sky the sandbox enchanted its players.
Seven years later, Astroneer finally lands on what is arguably the perfect platform for this: the Nintendo Switch. Some games are so good for portable handheld devices that no matter what, you hope they will carry over even though the game is several years old; this time, these hopes were indeed justified.
Astroneer’s story is simple: you are a very cute little astronaut who has landed on an Earth-like planet called Silva. While there are no real goals – you can do whatever you want, in reality – the mission log will gently guide you towards the wider story of the game, which includes activating mysterious purple structures around the planet and, ultimately, traveling to other planets in your small sunny world. system.
The main game loop is crafting, and you will soon find yourself naturally drawn to exploration in order to continue to maintain this loop. Using the terrain tool (a pistol that extracts resources from the ground), you should be able to find everything you need to start building your base. Building your base will give you access to new tools and crafting modules, such as a soil centrifuge, which can turn useless dirt into valuable resources, or a shuttle that can take you into space.
This cycle is, for the most part, incredibly satisfying – and the terrain tool helps with that satisfaction, feeling nicely stocky in your hands as you gobble up treasures underground. This is a very dynamic, hands-on approach to crafting, exacerbated by the need to melt, grind, compact, and combine many rarer items. at the top just find them naturally in the wild.
If you’re not paying attention, resource dependencies can really pile up – like a branch of a tech tree you forgot to fill out – and sometimes you’ll feel a little like you’ve just walked five miles carrying groceries, only to realize that you are nothing. did not do. do not take milk. However, it does give you a purpose in this sandbox world; you will just feel a little nuts going back to a distant planet to grab one resource you forgot to get.
Back in 2016, when Astroneer hit Xbox One, this reviewer (hello again!) Gave the game a 7/10, citing its crappy physics, goofy training, unforgiving dangers, and unpredictable deadly hurricanes as reasons why it couldn’t. get totally agree with this.
Luckily for us, in 2022, these challenges are basically no longer the hurdles they once were: Astroneer’s tutorial, although meager, will give you enough information to guide you along the way, which means learning how to use the elements. controls, cables and a tool for deforming the terrain. Once you master them, the world becomes your space oyster, although you will still have to struggle with the camera and controls from time to time.
Deadly hurricanes have been eliminated a long time ago, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit over the head by a large floating cube of mud. Hooray! Likewise, while deadly flora still exists, and fall damage or choking is always a threat, if you’re not careful, you can largely stay alive through a combination of luck and diligence.
But the shitty physics is still here, and it can ruin your day almost completely, especially when it comes to vehicles. At one point, while guiding a large rover towards the center of the planet, we were stuck in a triangle that changes gravity, from which it was impossible to get out without being repeatedly turned upside down. To make matters worse, the camera, which is always in third person, even while driving, constantly gets stuck in the ground, or behind the rover, or somewhere else, making it impossible to see. It was like trying to fix a sink across the room with bins instead of hands. also someone continues to turn the room upside down.
Eliminating this vexing problem showed that we were far from the only ones, and that the solution to almost every problem was to either literally dig ourselves up or use jerky physics to break free. In the end, we spent what felt like an hour trying to get out of the situation. It wasn’t fun.
However, this version is vastly superior to the 2016 release in almost every way. There is a glut of new content that makes complex game mechanics easier to use and learn, and the latest update even added some very much adorable alien pets. Co-op exists too, and honestly, there is nothing more fun than building a base and exploring it with friends (which we haven’t tried on Switch yet, but works great on the PC version).
There are quite a few technical issues that we expect from some games on Switch – we ran into a couple of glitches at the start of our playthrough, albeit a relatively generous save (which is done automatically whenever you enter a hideout or vehicle). ) meant that we only lost 20 minutes of progress.
Frame grabs occur from time to time, especially when entering a busy area full of resources, and a popup very noticeable in handheld mode where objects and foliage appear almost directly in front of you. It honestly didn’t bother us much when we got used to it, but if you’re worried about a little jerk, Astroneer probably isn’t for you anyway.
This may sound like a lot of caveats and it is, but over time Astroneer has become one of the greatest sandbox adventures. He balances his bullshit with massive cosmic charm and an incredibly interesting build-do-explore cycle. This reviewer has been playing this game since 2016, and still demanded to watch it on Switch – and found it as attractive and rude as ever.
Astroneer is an amazingly scrappy game that has been polished since its first release in 2016 to be the best version of itself on Nintendo Switch. He’ll frustrate you with his ingenious twitching from time to time, and fighting with his unpredictable physics and easily distracted camera can suck some of the joy out of him, but if you love Minecraft, Terraria, No Man’s Sky and Subnautica, you will surely love it too.