Only in the last few years have Space Exploration games become really popular, because games now let you do more exploring.
Some of the games that have come out have given players long memories and stories that have changed how they think about what video games can do.
With the best space games, you can travel to the stars and explore the vast universe. It’s both beautiful and scary to think about.
In this list of the best games that let you explore space, we tried to focus on some core themes: role-playing, travel, alien worlds, and spaceships.
If you’re on this page, we assume you’ve always wanted to fly a spaceship.
So, if you’re looking for a game to play while we wait for Starfield, we hope that one of the best Space games will do the trick.
- 30. Spaceflight Simulator
- 29. The Planet Crafter
- 29. Star Valor
- 28. Deep Rock Galactic
- 27. Dyson Sphere Program
- 26. Astroneer
- 25. SPORE
- 24. Star Conflict
- 23. Metroid Prime Series
- 22. Empyrion – Galactic Survival
- 21. Distant Worlds: Universe
- 20. Star Wars: Squadrons
- 19. Eve Valkyrie
- 18. Starbound
- 17. SpaceEngine
- 16. Observation
- 15. Space Engineers
- 14. Universe Sandbox
- 13. Outer Wilds
- 12. FTL: Faster Than Light
- 11. Everspace
- 10. Stellaris
- 9. Kerbal Space Program
- 8. Destiny 2
- 7. Endless Space 2
- 6. Star Citizen
- 5. Mass Effect 2
- 4. Homeworld Remastered Collection
- 3. Eve Online
- 2. No Man’s Sky
- 1. Elite Dangerous
30. Spaceflight Simulator
Have you ever seen a rocket go into space and thought how it got there?
Spaceflight Simulator will help you figure out the answers to these questions and also let you build a ship that can travel through space.
Start out easy by making a rocket ship and sending it into space. Or at least you’ll try to do that. It will be easy to make a craft, but it will be harder to get it to work.
Learn about the parts and pieces that go into a spaceship to make it strong enough to go into space and then safely land back on Earth.
Once you’ve made the best ships, you can make bigger ones and send satellites and space stations into space. Then go to other worlds and lead your space agency into a new age of exploration.
29. The Planet Crafter
Many experts would love to use terraforming to help people live on planets that aren’t good for them.
The trouble is that it would take a long time and a lot of money, and it’s not possible in the real world.
But in the world of Space Exploration games?
It will be done when the time comes. In The world Crafter, you play as an astronaut who has to change a world so that people can live there.
You’ll start out small by gathering resources and building the machines you’ll need to change the world.
Make the air breathable, make the land useful, clean up the water so it can be drunk, and so on.
Just know that you have to stay alive until help comes. So stay healthy and work to make the world a better place.
29. Star Valor
In Star Valor, you can choose who you want to be in a world that is made by a set of rules. At the start of the game, you’ll have your ship and can point it in any direction to do whatever you want.
Will you work with one of the groups in the galaxy to try to get famous?
Will you keep flying on your own and go on adventures in the stars that are just for you?
You decide what will happen. You can make your character grow in any way you want by doing tasks, bounties, mining, and so on to improve your skills and craft.
Just know that there are risks everywhere in the galaxy.
28. Deep Rock Galactic
Aside from being a space-based multiplayer adventure game for up to four players, you’ll also be able to explore procedurally-generated cave and tunnel systems that are different every time you go in.
As space dwarves, you will be sent on many different kinds of tasks, like mining for materials and stealing alien eggs, with the goal of coming back alive.
You can choose from four different classes, each of which has a different way to play and a different set of tools to use against enemies.
It was in early access for almost two years and has become a favorite among groups of friends.
27. Dyson Sphere Program
Dyson Sphere Program is the first game on our list that is still in early access. It lets you explore space in a pretty unique way.
Players will have to gather materials to make what is called a Dyson sphere, which will keep a machine running.
Most of your time will be spent building structures, gathering materials, and setting up power systems to help the Dyson sphere.
As you gain and keep more power, you will eventually be able to use this sphere to reach other worlds in the universe.
This will be right up your alley if you like factory modeling games like Satisfactory and Factorio.
Astroneer is a great space adventure game that gives you a lot of freedom to explore the world around you.
It’s a sandbox adventure game where you can visit open-world planets and change them to your liking.
You can make things like rovers, generators, solar panels, and more to make the first two easier, and then you can use the materials you get from terraforming to improve them.
You can play with other people to finish the goals on each planet, but don’t expect there to be a big story going on behind the scenes. Just try to get as many plans as you can.
I remember when this Space Exploration game came out and how excited I was to play it with my friends after school and make weird new life forms.
If I remember correctly, you can actually make organisms from the smallest ones to the most complicated ones.
As you make more of them, they start to talk to each other and to other creatures they meet on other worlds.
The organisms go through different stages, but the goal is always to get to the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy. It was a lot of fun back then, and it’s still a lot of fun today.
24. Star Conflict
In Star Conflict, players take control of one of four basic ship types, each of which has a different role in battle.
It is a massively multiplayer online Space Exploration game (MMO) where players must learn certain skills and perfect different strategies to beat each other in different game types.
There is also a special co-op mode where up to three players can fight NPCs and bosses together.
The more you play, the more maps and ships you’ll have access to. Learn which teams are the best and then take to the skies with your friends in this free-to-play space adventure.
23. Metroid Prime Series
The Metroid Prime series doesn’t let you go to space whenever you want.
But there aren’t many Space Exploration game where you can walk around worlds that are so well-designed and interesting.
Samus Aran has to help when things get out of hand in a dangerous world full of ancient races and dangerous lifeforms.
The game will take you to worlds with bubbling magma, biomes that feel like a humid jungle, and many abandoned old ruins from races like the mysterious Chozo.
Not to mention that it’s been running on dozens of systems for years, so there’s a lot of variety out there.
22. Empyrion – Galactic Survival
Empyrion – Galactic Survival is another game on our list that was in early access for a long time. It left early access in 2020 after being compared to games like No Man’s Sky.
When players crash land on a world, they have to fight off enemies to stay alive. You can look for resources and materials to build things like bases and cars that will help you stay alive.
There is also a multiplayer mode where people can talk to each other, trade things, and even fight. If you want to chill out in space with your friends, this is a fun game to play.
21. Distant Worlds: Universe
In Code Force’s Distant Worlds: Universe, you’ll have to oversee a growing empire’s trading, colonizing, and fighting. All in a galaxy that was made to be stupidly big.
This huge size is what makes Distant Worlds stand out from some other popular games.
When you make a new world to play in, you can change a lot of things. This is one of its best features.
Any small change to the factors, which can be anything from the geology to the people who live there, can give you a whole new experience. So, yes, you can play this a lot.
20. Star Wars: Squadrons
Star Wars: Squadrons starts after Alderaan has been destroyed and Darth Vader has told all Imperial troops to find any refugees who have gotten away.
It’s a first-person space battle game, so you’re in the cockpit of a starfighter from either the Galactic Empire or the New Republic navy.
You’ll get really into the gameplay and multiplayer action, which includes dogfighting in a mode called Dofight and a mode called Fleet Battles where teams fight each other.
If you like the Star Wars movies and want to play something with your friends, this is the right choice for you.
19. Eve Valkyrie
Since the 1990s, games based on the Eve series have been coming out. Even though Eve Online is still CCP’s main project, they have made some other great games, like Eve Valkyrie.
With VR technology, this space dogfighting game puts you right in the cockpit of your battleship.
Immersion is the most important thing, which is why this cabin is so beautiful.
But realism doesn’t mean anything if the game isn’t fun. This game is also a lot of fun to play.
After a few single-player missions that teach you how to play, you’ll jump right into 8-player shootouts that capture the chaos of space fights perfectly.
Starbound is fun because it has blurry graphics, which most of the other games on this list don’t have.
There is a main story, but players are more likely to go to different worlds and gather resources to stay alive and explore the universe.
You’ll spend most of your time in a space shuttle, which is both your way to get around and a tool that you can improve.
You’ll be able to change it to your liking and go on quests with NPCs or other players using different classes that will help you reach different goals.
As the name says, SpaceEngine is more of a 3D astronomy program than a game.
This bad boy tries to make a simulation of the whole known universe using scientifically accurate facts about mass, volume, orbits, and other things. It’s a big thing to do.
This program, which was made by creator Vladimir Romanyuk, started out as an educational tool, but now users can add game-like features to it.
These include things like HD textures that make rocks, stars, and planets look beautiful.
SpaceEngine is one of the most realistic and detailed games on this list. And in the right places, it can give you some amazing views.
Visit the main site to find out more.
One of the most interesting games on this list is the smallest one.
From the makers of Stories Untold, No Code, comes a tense sci-fi adventure that’s part slow-burning horror, part puzzle game, and all beautifully voice-acted.
The game’s hero, Dr. Emma Fisher, is the only person left living on a spaceship where you play as an AI. Everyone else is lost, and the ship is falling apart.
It’s up to Fisher, with your help, to fix it up and get back on track. But strange things are happening, and you keep getting the same word from someone you don’t know: “BRING HER.”
Each time you play, the tasks keep you interested, but it’s the story that keeps you coming back.
15. Space Engineers
Space Engineers is another space game on our list, and it is also one of the games that was available early for a long time.
Players start either in a certain setting or in a setting where they can choose different rules. Once you start, you will mostly dig for resources and materials to make buildings and other things for your world.
It’s a lot like Minecraft in that you can make anything you want to fit the world you’re in and the materials you need.
Also like Minecraft, there is a “creative mode” where you can choose how many resources you have and how you want to build without having to mine or search for them yourself.
14. Universe Sandbox
Universe Sandbox is a physics-based space game that turns users into all-powerful galactic gods to make learning fun.
What’s different about this program is how easy it is to change things like gravity and mass.
You can also move anything you want, which is a fun way to see how even small changes can make the Earth and our Milky Way look very different.
One of its best parts is how realistically it simulates collisions, which will probably happen a lot since we all tend to be harmful when we have a lot of power.
13. Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds looks cute, but it is actually a very smart game. In 22 minutes, as a first-time astronaut, you zoom between planets in your ship and pick up story lines to explore a miniaturized galaxy.
When the timer runs out, you restart and start over, but this time you have all the knowledge you gained in your last life.
The Outer Wilds is one of the most artistic and creative space games out there. It gives you a truly unique and different experience.
12. FTL: Faster Than Light
The name of the game comes in part from the fact that players are in charge of a spaceship that can move faster than light.
Players have to use their own ship to fight against ships and designs made by other players. Crew members from different species can join your ship.
Each species has its own skills and powers that could help you in different ways.
You’ll have to carefully move through fights to come out on top and also get to the rogue Flagship to win or lose against the Rebellion, a rogue group made up of only humans who hate other people very much.
Everspace, made by Rockfish Games, is a brutal space shooter that is also a roguelike game.
There will be a lot of deaths here. But your credits and information carry over from one run to the next, which is nice.
As you get better at flying and improve your ship, the game’s great story will start to move forward in a real way. And it really is great.
You can’t go wrong with Everspace if you’re looking for a simple game that takes place in a beautiful version of space.
Stellaris is a real-time strategy game that takes you, animals and all, through the vastness of space. Each player takes on the role of the government of a species that is just starting to explore space.
As you move through the game and meet different species with their own characters, the story will change and focus on things like universal dominance that depend on the moral choices you make.
There are a lot of different ways to play this game, and there are a lot of different stories and plots to follow that will make you fly through space without thinking.
There is also a big focus on gathering resources and improving structures, so you can do a lot on your own or with friends.
9. Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program is one of the most well-known games on our list. It is a physics-based simulation of space exploration with an educational theme.
This strange game was made by Squad. You can create, build, and launch spaceships that are controlled by little green men.
It’s full of laugh-out-loud jokes and silly situations. But it’s all a trick to keep you from noticing that you’re learning about physics while you play.
It will take some time to learn how to make a ship that can go to space.
But things like figuring out the right angle for your ship to break through the atmosphere will become second nature over time. So, if you keep working at it.
8. Destiny 2
If you can only play one online first-person shooter, make it Destiny 2. It has everything: challenging PvP modes, big co-op boss fights, long story arcs, and, most importantly, a lot of loot to find on alien worlds.
Destiny 2 is still one of the best first-person shooter games when it comes to shooting. Guns feel heavy but not awkward, and when you hit someone in the head, special effects rain down on them.
We recommend playing with a group, especially for the hardest raids, but you can still have fun if you play by yourself.
Best of all, the base game is free to play, and you could easily play it for 100 hours before you were tempted to buy upgrades.
7. Endless Space 2
Endless Space 2 is a strategy game that takes place in space. It is played one turn at a time.
After adding all of the DLC, you take control of one of 12 factions, each with its own skills and powers to explore planets and use their materials and resources.
You also get an empire that you can build up with the materials you find and use to fight other powers in the future.
You can build fleets of ships and armies of troops to fight for you, and you can use different tactics to win.
You can play it by yourself or with other people to fight against their powers.
6. Star Citizen
The game Star Citizen isn’t finished. Not at all!
And yet, Cloud Imperium Games’ work-in-progress has more content than most AAA games.
This ambitious MMORPG tries to give players a full simulation of what it would be like to live in a galactic kingdom, with some fantasy elements added to keep things interesting.
After making your character, you can choose to be a trader, a bounty hunter, or a military agent. It’s all up to you.
Even though the game doesn’t seem to be close to being done, you can already visit a few different worlds and moons. All of these are filled with things to get, NPCs to talk to, and problems to solve.
5. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect is one of the best RPGs. It is the space RPG that all others are compared to. The original three games, especially the second one, are still great.
With the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, it’s even easier to go back and enjoy this great game all over again.
Overall, the series is about a space hero who tries to unite and save the world from a dangerous force. This sounds generic, but it doesn’t feel that way from moment to moment.
That has a lot to do with the team you put together, since each person has their own personality, goals, and sense of fun.
As they slowly tell you more about themselves, you’ll be excited to go back to the Normandy between tasks just to hear what they have to say next.
4. Homeworld Remastered Collection
With an RTS strategy, you can build an army of troops for more than 30 single-player tasks in an exciting space story.
This set has the first and second Homeworld Remastered games, as well as the original Homeworld game and the social mode.
You’ll be able to use more than 100 ships with new textures that can race and take part in other game modes that let you fight epic space wars.
You can explore space in a whole new way with mod support and even in-game mod tools that you can use. You can make sure your fleet groups are solid and get the unit types you want to use.
3. Eve Online
The reason Eve Online is still popular after all these years is because the community of this MMORPG decides how the story goes.
Empires rise and fall based on how players interact with each other, such as by building a fleet to take over their part of the galaxy, spying on each other and selling the information to the highest bidder, or making huge alliances to take down a player who has become too powerful.
As a new player, it might feel a little scary.
But CCP Games has spent the last couple of years trying to make things as easy as possible for new players. If you’ve never done this before, give it a shot.
2. No Man’s Sky
When it comes to space exploring, No Man’s Sky has a lot to offer. Hello Games has recently added a lot of big updates that make the experience even deeper.
You can explore an endless number of galaxies and play the story for more than 30 hours. With the Origins, Prisms, and Expeditions changes, there’s never been a better time to jump right in.
If you don’t want to go on a space trip by yourself, you can also play with your friends. The multiplayer part of No Man’s Sky lets you work together to build colonies, try to stay alive in the vast galaxies, and even battle and race in your ships.
The fact that the number of players keeps growing shows how much people love No Man’s Sky, and it has become one of the best simulation games for people who are interested in space.
1. Elite Dangerous
Elite Dangerous is another game where you can control a ship in an open world and trade, mine, and look for resources.
There are also other tasks, like assassinations and bounty hunting, which you can do by yourself or with your friends in competitive arcade mode or in multiplayer mode.
There are three main groups that players can join, and each one has its own tasks and rewards. Players can also move up in ranks, which lets them get more experience in battle and save money on shop things.
If you have VR, you can play both the first-person exploration mode and the first-person shooter game.