Over the past few years, we have seen several space survival games. With big hitters like No Mans Sky and Astroneer, you might wonder where a game like Planet Crafter fits into the mix. Is it another clone of successful games or is it something new? For those itching for something a little different, planet crafter may be exactly what you are looking for.
For those who have played Minecraft, think of all the times you wished you could have brought water to the nether. A way to turn this hostile zone into something that feels habitable. Planet Crafter is exactly this. You are taking a dead, barren planet and turning it into a utopia. Your very own Eden project.
The game starts off a little different to the average space survival game. The planet is much like Mars. A completely dead and barren planet. No atmosphere or anything at all that would sustain life as we know it.
Using resources that you source from the planet’s surface, you must construct machines and devices that will work toward making the planet habitable. This can range from machines that produce heat, oxygen and atmospheric pressure to seed spreaders that grow trees and a range of flora and fauna.
The process seems quite trivial and it is, to a degree but it becomes rather engrossing incredibly fast. The most exciting part is seeing the planet begin to change as your machines are beginning to change the planet. As the temperature rises, you begin to see liquid water, and moss and before you know it, the planet will start to see forms of life.
Exploration is a huge source of fun in this game. As you make advancements in space suit technology you will unlock oxygen reserves to push further into the unknown. You will stumble across wrecks of space crafts, caves and natural landmarks along with plenty of other unusual points of interest.
Base building is going to make up a considerable amount of your time and it is absolutely fantastic. Resource requirements for building things like rooms, windows and other basic structural components are low, allowing you to get very creative with your base design without it taking hours upon hours of resource grinding.
Planet Crafter provides you with a great balance of resource gathering, exploring and building so that you will never feel like anything is a chore and rarely find yourself getting fed up with doing anything.
The biggest flaw often comes from the points at which various new machines are unlocked. As you progress with your terraforming, you will unlock new machines when you hit certain milestones. Toward the later part of the game, it can often feel like there is nothing to really do other than sit around and wait for the next milestone to be hit so you can get back to terraforming.
This is especially true when the next unlock is a more advanced version of a machine you already have. Why build more tier 1 machines when you are 15 minutes away from the tier 2 machine that is 10 times better? The problem can sometimes be finding something to do for those 15 minutes + while you wait for it to unlock.
Planet Crafter does not have much of a narrative. You are a prisoner who will be let off the hook if you terraform the planet. The narrative is not really important but early on in the game you get several mysterious messages that just stop and never continue. It would be great if there was a little more substance to this mystery. A little more to make you feel like there was a lot more that you do not know. Feeling out of the loop of a much bigger story is what this game is currently missing.
For a game that is still in its early access phase, Planet Crafter offers more than enough content to make it a worthy purchase. As time goes on, it will be exciting to see what further updates are released to expand the process of turning a dead planet into a paradise.