Perhaps you'd like to hear about the game from the perspective of somebody besides those who have played the game for a half-hour, ragequit, then posted a negative review? If so, read on.
If you've ever wanted a game that allowed you to build your own spaceship from scratch, pilot it, take it into combat, and walk around inside of it...this is the game for you. More about this kind of awesomeness in a moment; but first let me mention some of the rough edges.
The game is still in Alpha (early development), and is an Early Access title...meaning that you're not going to have the same level of polish as something that sits shrink-wrapped on the shelf at GameStop or Wal-Mart. At the moment, the multiplayer experience is quite laggy and can be frustrating. The single-player mode does not feature any AI opponents. If you're not willing to deal with this right now....put Space Engineers on your wish list and come back in 6 months or so. No, seriously.
For me, two things keep me playing: the potential
the game offers, and the dedication
of the developers at Keen Software House. Every single week, including during Christmas and New Year's, they have released an update for this game.
Not just bug fixes, but often new functionality. You'd be hard-pressed to find another Early Access developer with such a reliable schedule. When you look at these updates week-to-week, it may not be that impressive; but when you consider what they add over the course of a month or two, it's amazing. And the game keeps getting better.
Some negative reviewers have given SE a thumbs-down simply due to the developer's comments regarding the recent Steam paid mods debacle. The truth is, Keen Software House has not committed to paid mods at this time, but rather is adopting a "wait and see" approach.
What they have
done, however, is provide excellent modding support to their game -- which is more than what one can say about many other titles out there, from far larger studios.
By the same token, some negative reviewers have implied that Keen Software House isn't supporting the game now that they've started work on their newer title, Medieval Engineers. This is demonstrably false
, as the level of support for Space Engineers has not changed. Additionally, the developer has repeatedly stated that they have hired a completely separate team to work on the other game.
So let's talk about what makes Space Engineers so awesome.
- It has a fully 3D, procedurally-generated environment. Think Minecraft....in space. While there are options to generate smaller playing areas, the game is capable of supporting a playing area as large as our inner solar system. Mineable, destroyable asteroids are generated on the fly...with larger bodies (small planets) coming in the near future. This isn't a top-down, only-move-in-two-dimensions kind of game.
- Gravity. Even though gravity generators do exist in the game, often you'll be working in a zero-G environment. Ore you mine and parts you drop may float away. More complex gravitational fields will generate interesting effects and can even be used for weaponry.
- Physics and block deformation. Most objects in the game have inertia, and won't stop on a dime. Collisions will occur. Weapons can cause knockback and explosions. When damage occurs, the damaged blocks don't disappear: they will be torn, deformed, or even blown off.
- Blueprints and Steam Workship integration. Create a cool ship? You can share the blueprints with your friends both in-game or through the Steam Workshop. Likewise, you can find a lot of really cool ship designs -- ranging from original creations to those inspired by Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, etc -- that you can easily bring into your own game. Likewise, there are hundreds of community-created mods available that you can use with just a couple of clicks.
No, I'm not associated with the developer nor do I have any financial stake in the game other than the $25 I originally spent on it. I do
think that it is one of the most promising and unique sandbox games out there. If you're still not sold on SE, I would encourage you to check out both the forums on the developer's site as well as /r/spaceengineers
on Reddit. Read the comments and ask questions, so you can make an informed decision on your potential purpose. I suspect you'll like what you see.