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"Space Engineers" Xbox Review

A game reviewer for several years, Tobias reviews games from any decade. They tend to ramble about game design and old media.

space-engineers-xbox-review

Story

The story in Space Engineers is non-existent. That however is not a detriment to the game. This was designed to be a multiplayer survival game first with the inclusion of some single-player story scenarios to help get your feet wet and slowly learn some of the important features of the game.

This is definitely in the realm of Minecraft, while Minecraft does have an ending, most people who play create their own story and play that role while surviving in the game's world.

Graphics

The graphics are perfectly fine and keep a minimal style about them, lots of gray with the occasional bright colors on ships or character models. This makes sense—as space is cold, dark, and gray.

space-engineers-xbox-review

Sound

Ignoring the fact that there is no sound in space, the sound in this game is very good. It has the standard affair or regular noises of jet packs, ships flying through space, tools noises, and weapon sounds. It has the sound you would expect in any Sci-Fi game set in space.

The music however is very good, it is very soft and low in volume. It does a good job of creating an atmosphere of spectacle. Floating in space with a soft instrumental playing while you repair parts of your ship or arrays feels very atmospheric and is one of the better parts of the game.

Gameplay

The gameplay in this game is quite open, but is very fun and enjoyable when you get into it. You can get into combat with various weapons on vehicles and on foot. Space battles with ships you built yourself, or even building your own base of operations to fuel your expeditions into the unknown.

The game can be played in single-player but it definitely puts an emphasis on playing it online with other people. While the game is limited in that regard with a low cap on how many people you can play with on console it still makes it a worthwhile endeavor (though some locations and servers feel emptier and more barren for this reason).

One major complaint I had was with the UI, while on pc I bet it is fine as most players sit closer to their monitor since the PC is on a desk. On consoles, people tend to sit further away and it can make reading the UI a difficult task at times.

Text chat also seems to have an odd bug where it can occasionally cause the game to crash. I have no idea why the bug was happening and am chalking it up to launch bugs. The game also has some performance issues with stutter and frame drops, but that could be fixed later.

Even with these issues, it is a fun experience to be an engineer floating in space mining, creating spaceships, and exploring space. While it might not be UNLIMITED. it does feel big enough to not be a complaint.

space-engineers-xbox-review

Learning Curve

While not one of the hardest games I have ever played. It is definitely one of the most "cluttered." This game was definitely designed with a keyboard in mind and the developers did as best as they could to make it work on a controller. For the most part, it works except when it doesn't and you spend ages either going back to reference hot-keys or trying to figure out what you did wrong and why a certain feature isn't working.

After a while I can play it completely fine, it is a very enjoyable experience. But you have to be prepared to put time into just learning how the game works before you can really experience it yourself.

Using Minecraft as an example again. That game allows you to pick it up and go, and you are learning as you play. Space Engineers, however, requires some deeper knowledge of mechanics and controls before jumping in.

Replay Value

Absolute infinite, survival games like these will always have hundreds and hundreds of hours of replay value backing them. With survival mode, custom scenarios made by other players, and the fact you can go on space adventures online with other players. There is tons of replay-ability in this game and I do recommend it on that alone for a group of friends.

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Overall

It isn't a perfect game, and it is definitely not a pick-up-and-play game. However, the time I spend in Space Engineers was fun and enjoyable. If you are itching for a space game that just lets you float around and do what you want (I know that sounds way more boring than it is), I definitely recommend giving it a chance.

ProsCons

huge amounts of freedom

Controls are too complicated for an average user

"Don't have it? Build it!"

Random performance drops

Keyboard/Mouse support!

Text chat crashes the game (sometimes)

Verdict

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