Space has captivated the dreams of humanity since we were first able to look up. Now is no different, that’s why space is one of the most popular settings for games, either in a sci-fi variety or a more realistic experience.
Take a trip to the stars with us as we look through the absolute best space games you can play on PC.
Stellaris lets you build a civilisation that’s truly yours, letting you choose the way you want to interact with its detailed universe. This space 4X is as layered as it is wonderful, and with multiple expansion packs it’s a game you can play until reality catches up with its vision of the future.
Probably the most realistic attempt at a fully immersive simulation of what it’d be like to live in the far future, Elite Dangerous gives you a galaxy to roam and from there, it’s up to you. Will you be a bounty hunter bringing justice to the fringes of human space, or will you be a space trucker? Either way, moment-to-moment, Elite Dangerous is one of the most immersive space games on PC.
Kerbal Space Program
Sometimes space exploration isn’t just about the right stuff, it’s also about what goes wrong. In Kerbal Space Program you’ll manage a NASA-a-like as you design missions then take them through to completion in a highly accurately modelled space environment. Will you set foot on the Mun or smash into the face of its desolate surface? It’s up to you and your skills.
Destiny 2 is like the gift that keeps on giving. This multiplayer FPS/RPG hybrid is never afraid to keep things fresh with new expansions, and even cycling out older content to keep the install size small – something many of us will greatly appreciate. Still with some of the best guns in gaming, grab a few friends and Destiny 2 cannot be beaten.
The dream of No Man’s Sky was to explore a galaxy filled with weird and wonderful creatures, planets, and systems. That dream has been fully realised, and then some. With a tonne of free updates adding more and more to the game, No Man’s Sky is a joy to exist in and one of the absolute best space games of all time.
The Ur-Quan Masters
Star Control 2 was ahead of its time in so many ways. Combining space exploration, ship combat, resource management, mining, and the most alien-aliens ever seen in games, it truly broke the mould. The Ur-Quan Masters is a fan-made update for the game, letting everyone play it on modern computers. Look past the slightly dated graphics, and you’ll find one of the best games you’ll ever play.
If Elite Dangerous takes things micro and focuses on the moment-by-moment experience of living in space, EVE Online goes macro. You control a ship and from there decide your own destiny, but the sky is absolutely the limit. You may end up part of a corporate taking over large swathes of the universe and even deciding the fate of the game itself. EVE Online is as grand as your ambition, and is truly a standout game in a busy field.
The TIE Fighter and X-Wing series’ were many people’s first experience of space dogfighting sims, and Star Wars: Squadrons is an utterly worthy successor. Combining sharp controls with the perfect replica of the feel of flying iconic Star Wars ships, it’s a joy to play and one of the best space games out there.
Ask anyone who’s played Homeworld what it’s like and they’ll go misty eyed and look off into the distance. Chances are they’re remembering its beautiful visuals, amazing sound, and perfect-feel. What they’re probably also remembering is that it’s a stunningly-executed fully 3D strategy game, and now it’s been remastered anyone can enjoy it.
FTL: Faster Than Light
There’s no game that steals your time more than FTL. Armed with a tiny ship and a barebones loadout, you and your crew have to fly through trials and tribulations on your way to defeat the final boss of the game. This space roguelike makes every game you play its own narrative, think of it less like a tough but fair roguelike, and more like the perfect anecdote maker.