Elite Dangerous is a space simulation game developed by Frontier Developments and first released in 2015. It lets players explore an open-world cutthroat galaxy where players battle it out to freedom and glory.
Windows, PlayStation 4
#2Mass Effect 2
Recruit. Explore. Control. Two years after Commander Shepard repelled invading Reapers bent on the destruction of organic life, a mysterious new enemy has emerged. On the fringes of known space, something is silently abducting entire human colonies.
Xbox 360, Windows
#3No Man's Sky
Inspired by the adventure and imagination that we love from classic science-fiction. In No Man's Sky you can explore and survive in a procedurally generated universe with 18.4 quintillion planets.
Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
DID YOU KNOW?
Planet and space explorations (Space Sims, for short) have been around for more than 30 years now. One of the first ever space sims that introduced actual flight mechanics was the 1982 game, “Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space”, simulating landing, takeoff, and stabilizing the ship. Building upon this but taking it a step further was “Elite” in 1984. Elite incorporated resource management and trade in the space exploration genre, allowing players to earn resources through trading, piracy, bounty hunting, and other missions. This pioneered the sub-genre of space trading, setting a legacy that even games of today still follow, like with two of this list’s entries: No Man’s Sky and Kerbal Space Program. But for those who wanted a bit more of a rush in the vast star ocean, there was also the space combat genre, found in games like Mass Effect 2 and Star Citizen. Space combat dates as far back as 1977, when Gene Ball developed a simulation of the Death Star destruction sequence for the Xerox Alto, all while still a student at the University of Rochester! The genre then took a huge leap on March 16, 2000, with the release of Microsoft Allegiance, the first-ever online multiplayer space simulation, combining all three sub-genres of space flight, space trade and exploration, and space combat. This laid the groundwork for arguably the most popular and most successful space MMOs, EVE Online.
Space may be the final frontier, but it is a frontier that is far from its final stage. This list of the best planet and space exploration games can let you experience it from the comfort of your own home. All you need to do is strap in and go where (possibly) no man has gone before!
#4FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategy and simulation game for Windows and Mac. This "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" allows you to take your ship on an adventure through a randomly generated galaxy. It was developed by Subset Games.
Windows, Mac, iOS
Star Citizen is a space trading and combat simulation game with tens of millions in crowdfunding raised so far. The game has been developed by Robert Space industries and takes exploration in a sci fi level to a new level.
#6Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program is a sandbox science and space simulation video game developed by Squad and published by Private Division. It can be played on Microsoft Windows and macOS computers, and on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles.
Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac
#7Galactic Phantasy Prelude
Galactic Phantasy Prelude is an Action Space RPG in which you have to drive a spaceship and gather a fleet. Plan your strategy and develop tactics to rule the entire galaxy.
Free- with in-app purchases
#8Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) is the first computer RPG set in the Star Wars universe. The game was developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts and was first released on November 19, 2003.
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Xbox