Space-themed games are nothing new. Developers have been creating galactic adventures for decades. But thanks to modern PC gaming technology, space games are more detailed than ever! Both triple-A and indie studios are creating immersive worlds filled with lore that can keep you captivated for hours! Whether you’re a fan of intense role-playing games, true-to-life sims, or cosmic horror thrillers, there’s no shortage of space games for PC to try out.
Here are some of the best space games for PC to help you boldly go where no one has gone before!
Best Space Games For PC Reviewed
Originally released in 2003 by CCP Games, Eve Online is considered the cream of the crop when it comes to space games. It’s a massive multiplayer online game. Players around the globe play at once, creating a living environment with countless things to explore.
This game does require an ongoing subscription. But once you’re in, you can live whatever type of spacefarer life you want! Customize your character, join a fleet, and pick up a virtual trade. With the in-game currency, you can continue to climb the ranks and get new supplies to play however you want.
Even 17 years later, this game is still getting updated with new content, so you’ll never run out of stuff to find.
- Multi-genre game
- 7,800 star systems to discover
- Several in-game professions
- Detailed character customization
- Ongoing developer support
Developed by BioWare, Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth title of the long-running Mass Effect series. Like its predecessors, this game features a captivating story and plenty of action.
It’s set in the Andromeda Galaxy in the distant future. You play as a military recruit that’s tasked with finding a new homeworld for humanity. In the process, you must discover alien races, battle enemies, and make decisions that will impact the conclusion of the story.
This is an action RPG title. While it does have a big focus on the narrative, there’s plenty of heart-pumping action!
- Action RPG
- Detailed narrative
- Exciting space combat
- Branching story paths and multiple endings
- Open-world elements
From Obsidian Entertainment is this quirky space game. While it does have the futuristic elements that you would expect with a space-themed game, it has a noticeably retro flair.
The game is set in an alternate reality where humans have begun to colonize space. Humankind moves to a fictional star system, which you get to explore.
The story of Outer Worlds is very detailed. You will see roguelike characters grapple with faith, politics, ethics, and more. As you play, you’ll get to make important decisions that will affect your reputation around the fictional star system. Be a freelancer during one playthrough and pledge your allegiance to a seedy company during the next!
- Action RPG
- NPC companions
- Innovative character reputation system
- Multiple planets
If you’re a fan of Star Trek, this game is a must-try! Built for fans of the Star Trek universe, the title expands on the lore and lets you live the spacefaring life of some of your favorite characters!
Star Trek Online is an MMO title, so you can link up with other gamers to create a crew. Choose your raise, dedicate a captain, and take on jobs that support your vessel. As you play, you can make your way through the galaxy. Randomly generated elements provide limitless things to discover.
- Detailed character development
- Familiar fictional setting
- Randomly generated elements
- Play as one of six races
The Elite series is one of the oldest around. Started in 1984, the series continues with Elite: Dangerous from Frontier Developments. This is a beautiful space-flight simulation game with tons of gameplay. You can command a ship, explore planets, participate in space battles, and more.
The thing that makes this game so unique is its setting. It’s set in a 1:1 scale open-world Milky Way Galaxy. Not only are there planets to discover, but there are suns, dangerous black holes, and more.
- Space sim elements
- Set in the Milky Way Galaxy
- Several star ship types
- Massive open-world environment
Here’s a game that’s a lot harder than it looks. FTL: Faster Than Light looks like a very simple game at first. It’s much smaller in terms of file size than other titles and features a top-down view of your ship.
Don’t let the simple graphics fool you! This is an intense strategy game that’s different every single time you play. Take control of a ship and visit random galaxies. With every playthrough, you will be faced with unique challenges that you might overcome.
This includes difficult enemies, diseases that plague your crew, and more. Do your best to overcome the obstacles! Permadeath means that you only get one chance!
- Randomly generated scenarios
- Simple graphic style
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri first hit the market in 1999. But more than 20 years later and it’s still a favorite among PC gamers! This is a strategy space game that pits you against several factions. Your goal is to build your empire and conquer the planet.
Considered a spiritual successor to the genre-defining Civilization games, Alpha Centauri offers a unique twist to traditional strategy games. It’s highly complex and features an interesting storyline to keep you captivated.
- Turn-based strategy game
- Competitive multiplayer mode
- Great sci-fi plotline
Want to experience the true horror of space? Check out Dead Space 3. This is a survival horror action-adventure title that perfectly captures what’s it’s like to face the unknown.
The third title in the Dead Space franchise, this game continues the story. You play as a former space engineer who is fighting to stop Necromorphs, the villains of the game.
The enemies are truly ghoulish. You must battle your way through hordes of enemies using high-tech weaponry and plenty of tactical strategies.
- Survival horror action
- Single-player and co-op modes
- Smooth battle system
- Beautiful graphics
- Macabre alien enemies
The Mass Effect franchise is one of the most beloved space games of the last decade. The first title released in 2007 and spawned two additional sequels that continued the story. With this trilogy set, you can relive the storyline in all its glory.
The third-person RPG features intense action. More importantly, it has a branching narrative. You can play this game several times and get different endings. Every action you make has consequences, giving the game a unique twist every time.
- Includes Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3
- Detailed character customization
- Memorable storyline
- Branching narrative system
- Multiple endings and character choices
Doom is another series that has been around for a long time. The original Doom game was ahead of its time and put the FPS genre on the map! This title has all of the great action that the series is known for. But, it pushes the story further and includes some new innovative gameplay.
Like other Doom titles, you play as the Doomslayer. While the game is set in futuristic vessels and space stations, you’re not combating traditional aliens. Instead, your enemies are fighting the demonic forces of Hell!
- First-person space shooter
- Fast-paced action
- Epic single-player campaign
- Smooth combat mechanics
- Multiplayer modes
Sins of Solar Empire is a game of galactic conquest. You must choose a faction and conquer star systems for future colonization. Before you can do that, you have to create units, gather resources, and prepare for massive space battles.
This isn’t a run-and-gun type of game. It’s a real-time grand strategy title with elements of games in the 4X genre. To be successful when playing this game, you must strategize and take on a more tactical approach. It’s a fun challenge set in the massive expanse of freespace.
- Real-time strategy game
- Multiple ways to play
- Several star systems to conquer
- DLC available
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky from Hello Games is a technological feat. When you play, you get to explore procedurally generated planets. Every planet is different and the chances of you discovering two similar ones are nearly impossible. That’s because there are over 18 quintillion planets to discover!
When you finally decide to land on a planet, the other gameplay elements come into play. You must use the planet’s resources to survive on a mysterious planet that’s designed to kill you! Gather resources, build up your base, and defend yourself from any nefarious lifeforms.
- Procedurally generated worlds
- Survival elements
- Strong multiplayer components
It’s only a matter of time before mankind colonizes Mars in real life. Might as well get a taste of that with Surviving Mars. This game has elements of a traditional city-building sim. But, the focus is on survival rather than careful city planning!
You take control of a brand-new colony that has settled on the planet Mars. Using science, engineering, and careful strategy, you have to expand the colony and keep your citizens safe. The developers use real Martian data to create the challenges you’ll face. So, there’s a bit of unique realism involved.
- City-building simulation game
- Modeled after real Martian data
- DLC available
- Distinct colonists
When Homeworld was first released in 1999, it quickly became a genre-defining title. To this day, it’s a prime example of a real-time strategy done right. This remastered edition from Gearbox lets you relive the original gameplay with brand-new graphics.
The game was rebuilt for modern gamers. It features stunning graphics and the same original score. The storyline is intact. You can build your fleet, control a capital ship, and play through 30 single-player missions. The remastered collection also includes the sequel. If you want to see how gamers played in the past, you can also access the original game!
- Real-time strategy
- Remastered graphics
- Gripping story
- Includes sequel and original games
Endless Space is a game with limitless possibilities. It’s a turn-based strategy title that has you conquering planets and star systems. The interesting thing about the game is that you can customize galaxies to play in. Because the galaxies are generated randomly, there is an infinite number of possibilities!
In Endless Space, you can conquer your enemies in many different ways. Go in guns blazing to invade an enemy race. Or, approach situations diplomatically to keep the peace.
- Turn-based strategy
- Infinite generated galaxies
- Hundreds of start systems
- Advanced AI system
- Multiple ways to win
Universe Sandbox ² is just like it sounds. It’s a game that lets you play and experiment as an all-powerful cosmic deity. There’s no rhyme or reason to this game. You don’t have to worry about following a narrative or completing quests. Just have fun!
Simulate gravity and see what kinds of effects things like mass, climate, and density have on a planet. Recreate our solar system or see what happens when the sun disappears! There are a lot of educational elements in this game to teach you more about space. But, it’s wrapped in a fun package!
- Educational simulation game
- Gravity simulator
- No storyline
- Experimental gameplay
About the Space Game Genre
If this is your first time diving into a space-themed game, you have a lot to discover. This genre has come a long way since the simplistic gameplay of “Space Invaders.”
What once was only a favorite among Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica fans is now a hugely popular genre that spans several gaming styles. You don’t have to be a diehard science fiction nerd to appreciate what these games have to offer.
Most titles feature expansive settings. Thanks to the unanswered questions humanity still has about the cosmos, developers have the freedom to take some creative liberties. From fictional human colonies to intelligent alien lifeforms, this genre has it all.
Whether they have detailed lore or not, many games focus on building a sense of exploration. As a player, you have the chance to discover worlds unknown and see things that you could never find on our planet!
Types of Space Games on the Market
The only genre-defining characteristic of a freespace game is the setting. Even then, there’s a lot of room for interpretation!
The beauty of space games is that they can take on virtually any kind of gameplay imaginable. We all have our preferred way to play. If you’re looking for your first game in the space genre, you can easily choose a style that you love. Here are just some of the different types of games available.
Nothing beats a classic adventure-style game! Action-adventure titles are a dime a dozen. But those set in distant star systems offer a unique form of gameplay.
Generally, adventure games incorporate two distinct elements. These include a long-term objective and smaller scenarios. Your end goal might be to save the galaxy. But to get there, you have to work your way through the solar system, get a spaceship, fight space battles, and more. Adventure games truly have limitless possibilities.
If you prefer more intense action, you can opt for an FPS game. FPS stands for first-person shooter. Instead of a top-down view of your character, the game camera’s perspective is that of the main protagonist.
This battle-focused genre typically includes melee and ranged combat. With the backdrop of space, you can only imagine what kinds of weapons you’re going to be playing with!
Perfect for those who want some realism, sim games are all about putting you in a simulated reality. Sim is short for simulation. These games are quite diverse and can cover a wide range of titles.
In the space genre, you might see yourself controlling a spaceship. With other genres, flying the ship might be as simple as pressing a few buttons. But with a sim game, you have to take care of every detail to make sure that the ship runs smoothly!
Other simulation subgenres include construction, time management, and even life simulation.
Inspired by tabletop games of yesteryear, RPG games are story-driven. RPG, or role-playing games, have a knack for making you emotionally invested in the story and your character.
There are several subgenres that take on RPG elements. For example, you might see space-themed action RPG games, sandbox RPG games, tactical RPG games, and more. Either way, most titles have you making tough decisions, interacting with non-playable characters, and living the life of your character.
Space strategy games are great for challenging the mind. They involve critical thinking and impeccable skill to conquer. A freespace setting opens up a lot of possibilities for this type of gameplay. You might see yourself as a space engineer trying to get your ship into orbit. Or, you could be a space commander controlling units battling against a horde of aliens in a real-time strategy game.
Whatever the case may be, these games are sure to provide a challenge.
Online Multiplayer Games
In the last decade, multiplayer games have skyrocketed in popularity. Multiplayer games use an online connection to let you play with gamers all across the world.
The type of gameplay you’ll encounter can vary dramatically from title to title. Many standard single-player games have a multiplayer aspect. From PVP battles to online co-op, you don’t have to discover the cosmos alone.
PC Space Game Buying Guide
There are no hard and fast rules on what makes a good space game. Every player has their own personal preferences when it comes to style.
Whether you’re new to space games or you’re a hardcore gamer with hundreds of hours of space gameplay under your belt, here are some things you should consider when looking for a new title. The following factors can help you zero-in on your preferences, making it easy to choose a title you’ll enjoy.
Open-world gaming is quickly becoming the norm. Gaming technology has made it easier than ever for developers to create detailed worlds for you to explore. Open-world games are huge and have hours of content to find.
They’re definitely the way the go if you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. Closed-off games with a linear story quest are good, too. But open-world titles let you play at your own pace. Follow the main story or do a bit of exploring to discover side quests. The choice is yours!
As a whole, video games don’t get enough credit for building up an impressive narrative. While movies and TV shows follow a simple plotline, games often have branching narratives and choices that will affect the outcome of the story.
Of course, not all games are going to have this super-complex storyline. Some are simpler and have basic objectives. With those titles, you get to fill in the rest.
Art and Graphic Style
Sci-fi games used to have a very specific art style. Today, you can find a wide range of styles. Some games have a futuristic style that’s fit for adventurous spacefarers. Others have a noticeably vintage art style that’s meant to reflect an alternate reality. You can even find titles with a focus on nature and alien fauna!
With PC gaming, high-definition graphics are expected. But, you don’t have to push your PC to its limits with every space game.
There are several titles out there that use a cartoonish graphic style. Many indie developers are known for using old-school 8-bit graphics as well.
Indie vs AAA Developers
Speaking of developers, there’s a big difference in expectations between an indie and triple-A developer.
Indie, or independent, developers are usually smaller. They don’t have a ton of funding and usually aren’t tied to big-name publishers. Thus, their games tend to be more unique and innovative. Go to indie developers if you want a unique story or quirky gameplay.
Triple-A, or AAA, developers have huge budgets and teams! Hundreds of people work on a single title, so these games can be massive! Think of it as a blockbuster movie. You’re likely to get more realistic graphics and heart-racing action instead of experimental gameplay.
Both types of developers are great! You might be more familiar with triple-A titles, but don’t let that stop you from dipping into the indie pool to see what’s available!
These space PC games have are ready to launch you into the cosmos. Whether you’re looking to build up a spaceship armada or your want to explore untouched planets, there’s something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Give these titles a shot and start your space adventures!