Published on August 27th, 2014 | by Justin Smith0
If you’ve ever played Minecraft or Garry’s Mod, you probably know what to expect from the indie sandbox title Space Engineers. It’s fairly standard as far as sandbox games go. Just, as the title suggests, it’s set in space. The space setting affords some interesting gameplay features other sandboxes do not – such as gravity and fully functioning starships and space stations.
It’s still fairly early on, so at the moment your experience in Space Engineers amounts mostly to just building ships. People have come up with extremely impressive ship designs and almost anything you can think of from a sci-fi IP has been recreated by the community and shared through the Workshop. You can put turrets and guns on your creations and duke out with your friends, but the ship controlling can be difficult and the netcode is prone to lagging in large firefights.
That said, the developer is continually improving the title and adding features. I have heard that other modes will be added at some point, and I imagine more building blocks for ship/base building will be added as well to increase diversity in player creations. The maps are, well, space. There are asteroids throughout, but as of right now it’s mostly just a large empty canvas that you would expect from just space. I would like to see more diversity in setting, from debris fields to nebula to planets. It would be cool to have an entire star system as your playground, fit with NPC alien critters and places to explore. As a ‘Minecraft’ clone, it’s that aspect that Space Engineers lacks. Exploration. Space can be the most potentially awesome place to explore, and to do so in your own player-crafted ships would be amazing.
So, as of right now, if you’re very interested in space ship crafting a la Minecraft then this is a great title for you. The tools are easy to use and it is full of interesting features that would only be present in a space-only game such as localized gravity and actual physics. You can build the ships you want with ease and duke out against your friends’ ships and/or bases. But, right now that’s it. That’s where the game ends pretty much. It has the potential to truly be an amazing space sandbox if it added things like planets to explore and life to discover.
There’s nothing wrong with building the ship you want in a sandbox whose tools are very easy to learn. It’s just that after you build your ship there’s not a whole lot you can do with it afterwards.