Minecraft in Space?
It is not Minecraft, but it has similarities, being a grid based game (often called voxel); however your grids form their own "objects" making it possible to smash those grids against each other and watch havok deform the material, and spaceships create awesome wrecks.The Creative Solo Player
With multiple ways to achieve your results, you will quickly see the creative part of the game becomes the first magnet. Designing your own stuff is easy there, weapons do not require ammo to fire, blocks are buildable fast.
You can use mirroring to build faster, modify the level to your liking by deforming asteroids or placing objects, copy and paste parts on each other, use all kinds of mechanical parts, or a programming block to create whatever you imagine. But the biggest fun is to actually design in creative, save it as a blueprint, and rebuild it in survival conditions, or use your own spaceship design in a custom match.
Creative gives you all the abilities to get to know the game engine. Not everything you can play in singleplayer will make a lot of sense in multiplayer, and you can create abonimations like life sized ships, use thousands of mods to make them beautiful and even host it for a few players to look around.Survival
Survival is the basic new trend in sandbox games, once you learn how to survive, you also learn how resources are limited, and how the players are balanced in a MP setting. Surviving in space needs energy and oxygen atm. - you need to mine asteroids, refine the materials, build new materials, and each component you would build in creative with a click needs a lot more work.
Since you can die, or stuff which explodes might be lost, your energy might run out, or your oxygen, survival gives it's own long term struggles, but does not really hinder you to establish yourself, and concentrate on tasks at hand.
Therefore the refining and assembling is not as complicated as in games dedicated to this, but still complicated enough that a question which you never asked yourself suddenly pops up, and makes you realize, your current design philosophy with all its glory has also its weaknesses.
There is little more to say, it's only a step, if you cannot entertain yourself, you might want more... so more to come...Scenarios
Atm. introduced, scenarios and modding are a big focus of Keen. Designing your own level, like it's a game within a game, and playing it with friends, or publishing it and become famous on workshop are their own achievement. However, be warned, this part of the game is still under construction.The Space MMO dream?
With the coming introduction of planets, the introduction a new rewritten netcode, and the developers going public with sourcecode (so you can help fix bugs or have it easier to create mods on github), and also the efforts in AI "research" from the publisher, it seems clear, that sandbox worlds are a dream of the dev team, aswell as the player base.
Currently however, you should not expect a full online game experience.Current state critique
I have little critique. It is the first C# app, I do not dismiss, simply because it's written in a virtual machine language, something I do not want game engines written in personally; I can see a lot of struggles ahead for the devs, but they seem keen (pun intended) on facing those obstacles. I can only say, if they keep up their energy, and dedication, this game will slowly evolve into an absolute classic. That said, it runs well, but of course also eats resources, if you give it more. Like basicly every physics game; graphics and effects are decent, as is FPS.
This being said, it's of course directx only, so windows/xbox based, with still a rudimentary hackish netcode, and no sandbox servers, database stuff etc, and especially not for linux, to make it really able to create medium sized communities for your own "little spacegame". There are servers which try to make larger games than 4-6 players possible, but actually, it is not something you want to play now. However, since there is much to do until that is all ready, and still core features to come, I would hop on now, than later; it is more than worth it's money in fun, and offers you especially if you have a geeky heart or a fable for lego or lego technic, a lot, especially if you like to invest time "behind the game".
It is also great for kids, since the game does not focus on violence, much less than minecraft anyway, while it also does not completely "conceal its possibility".
Have I said, that you can smash ships you built with copy paste to see them explode? This should be all the arguments you need. If you quickly want to do something in a virtual world, this is one of the most ideal games for it. You might even just build a conference center for youtube videos or create machinimas with it - if you are the creative player, who wants to design, this game is already in a very finished state. For everyone who waits for the online experience, I can understand if it stays on the whishlist. But definitely, it deserves a spot there.