Space Odysseys

Quench your thirst for escapism with these striking outer space games

Let the beautiful cosmos take you away.

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You don't need Elon Musk to take you to Mars. Sometimes a beautifully designed video game with an impressive and sensible plot set in outer space can provide the magic of fleeing earth at will and on a whim. Here are some of the best cosmos-themed games to grab.

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'Tacoma'

Launched by Fullbright and available on Steam, Tacoma is an adventure game set in outer space with heavy augmented reality (AR) themes.

Tacoma

The year is 2088 in Tacoma and your character needs to find clues through an AR device that reviews past prints of human beings' movement and conversations. It gets a little cerebral, but that's the beauty of it.

Tacoma

'Outer Wilds'

Mobius Digital's Outer Wilds (available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4), is all about action out among the stars.

Mobius Digital Games

The plot is simple and unmistakably terrifying: the sun is about to explode and you have 22 minutes to alter the outcome. Can you handle the pressure? (Of course, you can.)

Mobius Digital Games

'Observation'

Observation is a doozy — in a good way. If Interstellar made you sad, the intricately designed Observation might break your heart.

Observation / DSOG

No Code's Observation is centered on the mysterious disappearance of a space station's crew. You put this strange puzzle together piece by piece and much like Black Mirror's interactive Bandersnatch episode, your actions have consequences. Tread carefully.

Observation / DSOG

'Elite Dangerous'

Elite Dangerous is all about proving your mettle to your comrades and enemies.

Elite Dangerous

Go up ranks in this multiplayer space flight simulation game.

Elite Dangerous

'Everspace 2'

There's a ton of looting and shooting in Everspace 2. You're a cowboy in outer space with a deceptively simple mission: Explore what it means to be human.

Everspace 2

In addition to interplanetary combat (and there's lots of that), you get to explore new horizons and territories as an intergalactic warrior.

Everspace 2

'Dead Space'

Things get scary and violent in Dead Space. This particular sci-fi thriller game forces you to show just how prepared (or not) you are for handling one simple question: what if you're not alone in outer space?

Dead Space

The sci-fi series is a gaming franchise but the first iteration, Dead Space, continues to impress years later. Even if you're not a fan of creepy company on a colonized planet, Dead Space's enduring legacy alone makes it worth checking out.

Dead Space

'Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2'

Two words: Stunning and bright.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 / GamePressure

You're waging war against chaos in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2. Literally.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 / GamePressure

'Universe Sandbox 2'

What if you could be a god, creating and destroying worlds whenever you wanted? Universe Sandbox 2 lets its players engage in fantasies of biblical proportions; you're quite literally capable of creating time, gravity distortions, toying with space, and more.

Universe Sandbox 2

It's spectacular and almost overwhelming. Which is the scale of distraction we need right now.

Universe Sandbox 2

'Mass Effect 2'

No list of space games is complete without something from the Mass Effect series.

Mass Effect 2

In our opinion, Mass Effect 2 has the perfect ingredients for an addictive space game. There's warfare, hostile opponents from a different species, insane amounts of ammo, regenerative health (Bethesda, please learn from this), and interactive storytelling. What's not to like?

Mass Effect 2

Honorable mention: 'Homeworld Remastered 2'

Homeworld Remastered 2 is one of the most visually striking space strategy games.

Homeworld Remastered

With at least 30 single-player missions, this game set in the cosmos lets you experiment with expanding your fleet, dominating territories, and engaging in some pretty intense flight combat. If none of that sounds appealing, play it for the gorgeous graphics alone.

Homeworld Remastered

A curious cosmonaut lingers in all of us. No wonder millions gravitate (ahem) toward literature, art, fashion, and games with interstellar themes. Perhaps its the sense of infinite possibilities. Perhaps it's because space is too vast for our small mammalian brains to fully comprehend.

Whatever it is, sci-fi games will always be popular. Perhaps you'll find your celestial calling in one of these games. There's only one way to find out...

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