Explore the furthest reaches of space with these 5 amazing games

best space exploration games elite dangerous
best space exploration games elite dangerous

For most of us, the closest we’ll ever get to exploring the beauty of outer space is through video games. And with so many amazing space-themed games around to choose from, there’s something to suit everyone, from the budding NASA engineer to the would-be space pirate.

So with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landings coming up on July 20, we thought it was the perfect time to look back at some of our favourite space exploration games.

best space exploration games game logo

For most of us, the closest we’ll ever get to exploring the beauty of outer space is through video games. And with so many amazing space-themed games around to choose from, there’s something to suit everyone, from the budding NASA engineer to the would-be space pirate.

So with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landings coming up on July 20, we thought it was the perfect time to look back at some of our favourite space exploration games.

1. Elite Dangerous

best space exploration games elite dangerous spaceships

If you fancy heading out into open space to forge your own destiny and explore to your heart’s content, then this is the game for you. There are 400 billion star systems to explore, with planets and moons that orbit in real-time, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Starting with just a small starship and a pocketful of change to your name, you’re free to go wherever you please, carving out a name for yourself in whichever field you like. Fancy making an honest living from trading or mining? That’s fine. More of a treasure hunter and explorer at heart? You do you, Space Indiana Jones. Or are you more tempted by bounty hunting, space piracy, and assassination? Seriously, do whatever you want.

2. No Man’s Sky

best space exploration games no mans sky

There’s a staggering 18 quintillion planets to visit in this procedurally-generated adventure survival game, which should keep even the most hardcore space explorer busy for a while.

Each planet has its own unique set of flora and fauna, and as you explore you’ll collect resources which you can use to build new starships, bases, and weapons. You can also trade with passing aliens, or you can always attack them with your newly-crafted space fleet if you’d rather. The more you explore, the more you find yourself drawn to visit the very centre of the universe… but what could be waiting there for you, and why does it feel so important to go there?

3. Outer Wilds

best space exploration games outer wilds

If you’re looking for something with a real sense of urgency, how about a camping trip on another planet that goes horribly wrong when you discover the sun is about to explode?

With just 22 minutes to go until the supernova occurs and the time loop you’re trapped in starts all over again, you’ve got to move quickly to uncover why you’re here, why the sun is about to explode, and whether there’s anything you can do to survive it.

4. Eve Online

best space exploration games eve online

With the Earth depleted of its resources, humanity began colonising the Milky Way instead – until the discovery of a wormhole led them to the faraway galaxy of New Eden. When this wormhole abruptly collapsed, leaving millions stranded in New Eden, only a few brave colonies managed to survive.

Warp through space in your spaceship and explore, engage other players in epic space battles, or manufacture and trade precious resources at hub stations. The actions of other players determine everything, from economic competition and political tensions to the outbreak of all-out war.

5. Kerbal Space Program

best space exploration games kerbal space program

Actually exploring space is just one part of the fun, and in this game, you get to start out by designing and building your very own rockets to get you into space in the first place.

As you perfect your spaceship-building skills (and sacrifice more and more heroic little Kerbals along the way), you’ll make it to the nearby Mun before perfecting your slingshot manoeuvres to get you further and further into outer space. Explore distant planets, capture asteroids, or launch missions to rescue your poor little Kerbals (you know, the ones you accidentally stranded on planet Jool because you forgot to pack enough fuel for them to get home).

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