No Man’s Sky is a unique action adventure sci fi game with stunning artwork and a massive procedurally-generated open world to explore. Each world is brand new — and that includes the creatures and plants players encounter during their adventures, and the player (simply known as the Traveller) can do whatever they like.
Advancing depends on survival (including keeping an eye on key metrics like oxygen), exploration, combat, trading, and building settlements. The alien world of No Man’s Sky brings players face to face with endless creatures as well as robots.
If No Man’s Sky left you feeling hungry for more games like it, explore these titles.
No Man’s Sky Game Features
|Release Date:||9 August 2016|
|Platforms:|| PlayStation 4|
Xbox Series X/S
| Game Modes:||Single-player, multiplayer|
Astroneer is a 2019 Indie sandbox game with (dare we say it?) slightly silly graphics but wonderful reviews. No Man’s Sky players might initially be disappointed by the game’s artwork, but Astroneer’s game mechanics more than make up for that.
The player lands on the planet Sylva and begins exploring on foot and in various vehicles. Nearly everything the player comes across is procedurally-generated, so you’ll encounter different things every time you set off on a new adventure.
Played from a third-person perspective, Astroneer invites players to rely heavily on the terrain tool and backpack functions to collect resources and start crafting more advanced tools like rovers and storage silos as they advance through the terrain.
Because it’s a sandbox game, Astroneer is exactly what you choose to make it. One of the main tasks you’ll be faced with is, however, discovering the Alien Gateway that will allow you to advance further.
There are plenty of other missions you can decide to take on, though, and the wide open feel is what makes Astroneer so similar to No Man’s Sky.
- Developer: System Era Softworks
- Publisher: System Era Softworks
- Release Date: February 2019
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
This amazingly popular open-world action-adventure game has sold over five million copies since it was released in early access in 2014, and it’s not hard to see why.
Subnautica is set in the distant regions of space. The crew was sent to build a gate, but there’s also a secret mission of rescuing an earlier exploratory ship.
When the crew’s ship crashes, the player character, Ryley Robinson, is left stranded on an ocean planet with no way to call for help.
Subnautica, played from a first-person PoV and only offers singleplayer, delivers everything you’d expect — aliens, dwindling resources that need to be replenished, challenging day/night cycles, and more aliens.
Subnautica allows you to play in four different modes. Survival, freedom, hardcore, and creative modes basically do exactly what their names suggest, and unless you’re in creative mode, you’ll be busy completing challenging tasks and advancing your skills.
- Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Release Date: January 2018
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, Nintendo Switch
Icarus is an exciting session-based PvE survival game set in an alien world where things have gone horribly wrong. The first human settlers tried, and failed, to terraform the planet, rendering it toxic to humans but creating a thriving ecosystem of mutant plants and creatures. You, the player character, have the job of exploring and documenting them all.
The planet’s unwelcoming environment doesn’t leave you much time to complete any of the missions you choose to accept, so planning wisely and making sure to make it back to back on time is absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on your hunger, stamina, health, and other key stats, or you won’t make it out alive.
Icarus is enjoyable in singleplayer mode, but if you’re looking for a space-exploration survival game you can play with your friends, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Icarus has a coop mode that makes it possible for up to eight players to explore and complete missions together.
- Developer: RocketWerkz
- Publisher: RocketWerkz
- Release Date: December 2021
- Platform: Microsoft Windows
4. ARK: Survival Evolved
ARK: Survival Evolved is an open-world action-survival game in which players are stranded on an island filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric giants. Both these terrifying creatures and the hostile natives you’ll encounter will try to kill you — and then there is, of course, the weather.
Hurry up and set up camp to survive the night, and venture out to collect new resources as soon as you can. Players won’t have to traverse the massive world of ARK: Survival Evolved on foot, though, because the island’s primordial creatures can be tamed and ridden, making your travels a lot faster.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your health, stamina, and other key stats, though, and remember that you can only carry so much before you need to return to base.
ARK: Survival Evolved offers multiple equally-exciting maps to explore, and the game as a singleplayer mode as well as a multiplayer option in which players work together.
- Developer: Studio Wildcard
- Publisher: Studio Wildcard
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Stadia
5. Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth might be among the least popular in the famous franchise, but No Man’s Sky fans are almost guaranteed to have a blast playing this title. Like the other games in this franchise, Civilization: Beyond Earth is a turn-based strategy game in which players try to dominate the entire map, with the ability to win in a variety of ways.
Set in a dreamy alien world, the player’s challenges start as soon as their colony ship makes planetfall. You will be competing with other civilizations for resources, space, and technological advances, while the planet’s native creatures and a toxic fog called miasma try to kill them.
This game is played from a top-down perspective and players manage combat as well as city development. Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth has a singleplayer mode and can also be played in multiplayer via the Steam platform.
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Release Date: October 2014
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux (via Steam)
6. Space Engineers
Space Engineers is an Indie voxel-based sandbox game — think No Man’s Sky meets Minecraft. Players will need to survive and gather basic resources, of course, but from thereon out, Space Engineers is wide open.
That starts with the world you spawn into, because you will have the freedom to decide what kind of map you want to play on and even what kind of equipment you would like to start out with.
Once you start playing, you will take on the role of the Space Engineer, who needs an exosuit, drill, and other tools to collect resources and start building complex and creative structures that include spaceships and space stations.
Players who are feeling too creative to get into the survival elements of Space Engineers can just go into creative mode and build whatever they like, and there’s a multiplayer mode, too.
- Developer: Keen Software House
- Publisher: Keen Software House
- Release Date: April 2020
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
7. XCOM 2
XCOM 2 is a gorgeous turn-based tactical game with a procedurally-generated map.
Released in 2020 as a sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, players take on the role of a military commander fighting the ongoing brutal alien occupation.
XCOM 2 calls on gamers to command a squad of fighters they control to complete challenging missions, with five different classes being available.
Developed by Firaxis Games and played from a top-down perspective, XCOM 2 has a very Civilization-eseque feel to it.
Players who crave an extra challenge can additionally enable Ironman mode, which stops them from going back to an earlier point in the game after a bad choice.
This strategy game offers a multiplayer option in which you and your friends (or, of course, complete strangers) can compete to discover who has what it takes to save the Earth.
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Release Date: February 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
8. Empyrion – Galactic Survival
Eleon Game Studios, the developers behind the open-world sandbox game Empyrion – Galactic Survival, compared the title to No Man’s Sky when the game was released.
The story is familiar. You crash onto a hostile alien planet, and though your escape pod is packed with useful stuff, it simply won’t be enough to survive.
Players go in search of resources, with rare but coveted items being more challenging to find, as they try to stay alive.
Empyrion – Galactic Survival is a multiplayer game in which players can work together to collect resources, including by trading, or opt to go the PvP route and kill each other off.
The world of Empyrion – Galactic Survival is fun and, above all, endless. Does it truly compare to No Man’s Sky? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.
- Developer: Eleon Game Studios
- Publisher: Eleon Game Studios
- Release Date: August 2015 (early access)
- Platform: Microsoft Windows
9. The Solus Project
No Man’s Sky players who are tired of exploring alien worlds and who would love to focus on the pure survival aspects of this game for a while are bound to enjoy The Solus Project.
This singleplayer survival game, which is played from a first-person perspective, calls on players to take on the role of a lone astronaut on a mission to save the Earth.
After crash landing on an unfamiliar alien planet, you’ll have to do whatever it takes to survive.
Players will need to keep track of their hunger and thirst stats as well as their body temperature and the planet’s weather conditions as they go in search of the alien civilization that calls this world home.
Their technology and wisdom may just be humanity’s only hope for the future — but if you don’t play close attention to all the unpredictable events that will get in your way, you will never find out.
- Developer: Teotl Studios, Grip Digital
- Publisher: Teotl Studios, Grip Digital
- Release Date: June 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Everything in outer space is out to kill you — but that’s OK, because the experience space shooter game Everspace is about as far from hardcore mode as you can get.
You’ll die. Countless times, in fact. It’s not for nothing, though, because every death you experience in Everspace counts toward the perks you need for your next session.
Try to upgrade your spaceship and find new weapons during your current run, and enjoy the benefits your death unlocks when you play again.
Everspace is, to put it bluntly, a strange game. Gamers who really enjoyed the action aspects of No Man’s Sky will have fun discovering what Everspace is all about, because this game does have a narrative.
You just won’t know what it is until later on, and in the meantime, the procedurally-generated world will have plenty of action-oriented challenges for you.
- Developer: Rockfish Games
- Publisher: Rockfish Games
- Release Date: May 2017
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
11. Surviving Mars
Surviving Mars is a unique city-building game that is — as you already guessed — set on Mars, with the twist that the world was modeled on real data from the red planet itself.
Players take on the role of an overseer in charge of the construction of a Mars colony as well as the wellbeing of all the settlers.
After choosing which nation will sponsor your quest to colonize Mars, you’ll land with the equipment you need to start building a colony.
Resources can be brought over from Earth occasionally, depending on the launch window, but your ultimate goal lies in creating a colony that can stand on its own two feet and create everything it needs to survive and thrive.
You will have to manage your meager resources wisely as you work to unlock the new technologies that will prepare humanity for a future on Mars.
Surviving Mars might be modeled after the real-life planet, but this world is nowhere near as barren — watch out, because you might, in addition to rival human colonies, come face to face with alien threats as well.
- Developer: Haemimont Games, Abstraction Games
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Release Date: March 2018
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One,
No Man’s Sky fans won’t have a hard time going down the Starbound vortex, because this sci fi action-adventure sandbox game offers many familiar elements.
The player crash lands on an unknown habitable planet. Earth is gone, and you’ll have to do what it takes to make a new home for yourself.
You will need weapons, armor, and tools to create more resources, and can trade with sentient creatures and engage in NPCs quests as you explore the vast open world.
It sounds like the developers of Starbound have simply woven all of the genre’s tired tropes together to make a boring game you’ve played a million times before, but hang on.
This procedurally-generated open-world sandbox game isn’t like anything you’ve seen before. The world is 2D, and the simple graphics keep you focused on what really matters — the gameplay.
Don’t knock it until you try it, because Starbound is much more interesting than it appears to be at first glance.
Starbound offers a multiplayer mode that will allow you to explore this massive universe with your friends, but even when you’re playing solo, the unique NPCs will keep you entertained for hours.
- Developer: Chucklefish
- Publisher: Chucklefish
- Release Date: July 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux
13. Eve Online
Eve Online is No Man’s Sky on steroids. This space-themed MMORPG is set in the far future, long after humanity has had to leave its home planet behind to begin colonizing the rest of the Milky Way.
Humans made the same mistakes all over again as the galaxy became overcrowded and depleted of resources, until a wormhole led to a New Eden.
Five major civilizations now define this new galaxy, and the player can customize their character, including by choosing from among four different races.
Eve Online allows players to move between worlds using stargates, with each world having a specific set of rules and a different threat level.
As players progress, they will level up their skills and gather resources. Eve Online features a thriving NPC economy, and also allows for trade between players.
Prepare to be griefed as you play this MMORPG, and get ready for battle.
- Developer: CCP Games
- Publisher: CCP Games, Atari
- Release Date: July 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, MacOS
14. Journey to the Savage Planet
Journey to the Savage Planet is an adventure game that will remind gamers of No Man’s Sky from the very start, beginning with the artwork.
This game, which is played from a first-person PoV, invites players to explore an alien planet called ARY-26 and gather information about the world’s native life forms.
As you advance through the game, you will need new upgrades and tools, which will open up new areas.
Journey to the Savage Planet looks, at first glance, like a very cute and relaxing grinding game, and while it’s certainly that, players should also prepare for combat.Not all of this world’s aliens are as friendly as they look.
Don’t want to play alone? No worries. Journey to the Savage Planet has a multiplayer mode, too.
- Developer: Typhoon Studios
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: January 2020
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia
15. Mass Effect
Mass Effect, the first installment in the Mass Effect that now has 11 titles, is a singleplayer action RPG in which the player assumes the role of elite soldier Commander Shepherd, who is in charge of a squad of companions.
Set in the year 2183, humanity is under threat from an advance robotic race, and you’re trying to save the galaxy.
Mass Effect ticks all the right boxes. Expect challenging combat, exciting NPC quests, and resource gathering, and do your best to level up through the game’s Talent Points, which make new ranks available.
- Developer: BioWare
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Electronic Arts
- Release Date: November 2007
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
16. Osiris: New Dawn
Osiris: New Dawn is an exciting space-themed survival game set in the year 2078, at the very dawn of interstellar exploration.
You, the player, are part of the team surveying planets in the (real-life) Gliese 581 stellar system to discover which may be habitable. Your journey don’t go as planned, and you instead crash onto a barren planet.
With no choice but to make camp and hope to survive, you start gathering resources.
The alien creatures players come across in Osiris: New Dawn can be hostile. As well as fighting them, though, you can attempt to tame them.
As you explore this hostile world, you will also focus on discovering new technologies that will make your life a little easier.
- Developer: Fenix Fire Entertainment
- Publisher: Fenix Fire Entertainment
- Release Date: September 2016
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
17. Star Ocean
Star Ocean offers an entire franchise of Japanese action RPGs to explore, each of which is set in a different world and offers beautiful futuristic artwork and a real-time battle system.
Star Ocean can’t really compete with No Man’s Sky, but it’s still fun.
Players can switch between seven different characters, controlling one at a time as they explore and complete quests in this singleplayer RPG.
The Star Ocean series is best for gamers who are already familiar with Japanese RPGs and for whom one game simply isn’t good enough — Star Ocean currently has eight titles (some being better than others), and a new one is about to come out.
- Developer: tri-Ace
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: July 1996 (latest release December 2016)
- Platform: PlayStation 3 & 4
A Final Word
Plenty of games would like to be like No Man’s Sky, but few are. You’ll ultimately have to settle for very different games that are equally compelling and enjoyable. If you’re not sure which of these games are worth checking out, we’d recommend that you start with Subnautica, Astroneer, ARK: Survival Evolved, or XCOM 2.
Icarus and Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth allow you to branch out and explore entirely different game mechanics that still offer the same sci fi vibe that appeals to No Man’s Sky fans, meanwhile, and if you are open to trying something completely different (but still familiar), you should definitely check Everspace out.