Drifter is an open-world sandbox space trading game with a procedurally-generated galaxy 100,000 light years across made up of tens of thousands of star systems to explore and features an original soundtrack by composer Danny Baranowsky.
User reviews: Very Positive (85 reviews)
Release Date: Mar 4, 2014

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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:


Because Drifter is an open-world sandbox game we feel like it’s a good fit for Early Access. The game is already enjoyable and relatively bug free, however, it is missing a number of features that we feel should be in the game before calling it 1.0. We hope that this way you’ll be able to have fun with the game while it’s still being worked on; this will give us the ability to create the best game possible based on your support and feedback.

We’ve also created a roadmap on the Drifter wiki (http://celsiusgs.com/drifter/wiki/Development_Roadmap) so you can see where the game is currently, and where it’s headed, to help you make an informed decision before you support the game.

While there will likely be some bugs and hiccups along the way, we will strive to ensure that Drifter is playable and relatively polished during its journey to completion.

Thank you!

Early Access Pricing

Because Drifter is still in development, and as a way of saying thank you for supporting us, the game will be $11.99 while on Early Access. This is 20% off its intended full price of $14.99.”
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Recommended By Curators

"A procedurally generated sandbox of fun, guns, trading and missions. So far I've been having a great time."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (6)

February 20

Drifter 0.6.1 Released!

Drifter 0.6.1 has been released!

The biggest change for 0.6.1 is the UI overhaul started in 0.6.0 is now nearly complete. Most of the UI in the game now supports keyboard and gamepad interaction. It's not quite 100% but it should be pretty good for couch gaming at this point.

We've also updated and added a number of new item and equipment icons.

In addition to this there are a large number of UI improvements and bugfixes, you can get the full details in the release notes page on the wiki:

Existing save games from 0.6.0 should still work with 0.6.1.


6 comments Read more

January 9

Drifter 0.6.0 Released!

After perhaps far too long Drifter 0.6.0 (code name "Narcissus") has been released!

This is a very substantial update that includes a large number of improvements, additions, and bug fixes to the game.

As well, considering the under the hood changes I've taken the time to make in 0.6.0, I am working to avoid any more long development delays and get to actually completing Drifter some time before 2015 is out (hopefully much sooner than that of course). In fact, my current plan is to deliver many smaller updates with a turn around time of 2-3 weeks from here on out until the game is finished.

Some highlights of this update include:

- Initial space station interiors
- 5 new ships
- New ship equipment icons
- A large number of user interface improvements both under the hood and visually
- Initial keyboard support for GUI interaction (with controller support coming soon)

For the full details, check the release notes page on the wiki:

Existing save games from 0.5.3 should still work with 0.6.0.


12 comments Read more
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About This Game

Drifter is an open-world sandbox space trading game with a procedurally-generated galaxy 100,000 light years across made up of tens of thousands of star systems to explore and features an original soundtrack by composer Danny Baranowsky. Take on the role of a spaceship captain attempting to eke out a living among the stars by trading goods between star systems, hunting pirates for bounties, mining asteroids for valuable ore, or even becoming a pirate yourself. The choice is yours!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP1
    • Processor: x86 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB OpenGL 1.5 compatable
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: x86-64 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB OpenGL 1.5 compatible
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS or equivalent
    • Processor: x86 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256MB OpenGL 1.5 compatible
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
Early Access Review
Now, I saw one or two make mention that this game was trying to be Freelancer or Privateer. All right, maybe it is trying to get that in there a little bit.

And yes, the flight and combat is only along two dimensions and therefore is a bit flat (I am so sorry, I wasn't thinking when I wrote that....).

But I have to say, for an early access, I actually rather like this. Sure, you won't make a huge gob of cash without a lot of work and all, but for myself... well, it's like this.

1) I rather like the graphics setup, particularly the slipstream. It's quite nice, and heck, I'm running on a lappy with "inferior" graphics capabilities. So hey, that has to be worth something.

2) I am REALLY digging the soundtrack. I'm hoping the developers will make it part of the DLC content (gimme gimme nau....) if they don't release it on general principle. (Big hunt devs!)

3) The controls are fairly straightforward honestly. Mind, it would be nice if text tags came up as you mouse over the radial menu, but that's just a polite suggestion.

I look forward to seeing how this one progresses. Nice one, devs. Good on ya.
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46 of 50 people (92%) found this review helpful
29.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Early Access Review
I know this game has missed its original launch window by a lot, however I am so glad they aren't rushing. Even looking at the 8 months since last beta release would make you think this is not worth investing in as it may turn out as vapourware. I'd implore you to follow the main Dev on Twitter @celsiusgs as he is always tweeting screenshots and progress. As well as interacting with fans. I just tweeted him an hour ago about an issue and he already responded.

So far (version 0.53) it is a lot of fun. You start off with a capable, fast ship with a pair of small lasers outfitted. From the first few minutes, without upgrades, I was able to pick a fight with 3 other ships, destroying one and escaping in my damaged ship. I wish I had better macro support on Mac, my Saitek Command Unit would cover most of my controls but it's a painful process on my platform. That being said, the controls are pretty straight forward but I'd like the option to access all options from the keyboard. If I am walking into a situation that I know I may not be able to handle then I plot an escape route. It would be much quicker to hit a key to engage my pre-planned jump rather than click on my ship then click the jump button from the radial menu that pops up.

Trading has been fun, although I'm less of a trader. Prices do very heavily system to system so its worth taking the time to learn some good routes and run them. Myself though, I prefer taking patrol missions to chase down pirates for funds. Now exploring is where this gets really fun for me. Since its a 20,000 star system, procedually generated galaxy there is so much unknown. There is greater diversity, more detailed systems and features that will make it all the more fun down the road but as of the May release I already enjoy exploration. I played Outer Empires online for a few years and I loved exploring the 20,000 star system galaxy for years.

When NPC communication comes out it will be far more interactive and immersive, I look forward to that as an Explorer. So far my interactive choices are protect, shoot or leave alone. Pretty fun choices but the promised NPC comms system will be a huge step forward.

Well thats my impressions of the current version.

The progress towards 1.0 is taking a bit of time but the new features, graphical updates and love being put into this game make me patient to wait. Until then I'll enjoy what I can currently play: 8 ships as a trader, explorer, pirate, merc, etc in a 20,000 star system sandbox. Somehow I think I'll occupy my time.
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29 of 30 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 5
Early Access Review
If you want to play Elite: Dangerous but can't run it, this is the perfect game for you.
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21 of 23 people (91%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 16
Early Access Review
It has inertia! This may annoy the hell out of you, and you've now been warned at least once to know that that means. Inertia annoys a lot of people in space combat games, but here's how you figure out if you hate it or not: Independence War. That is all you need to know about Inertial space combat. This is in a 2D plane so it's a little bit easier, so if you thought Independence War was difficult, don't worry because I completely agree, IW2 was!

This game is a lot of fun. Big Picture mode friendly! It is very controller friendly, even in beta! That may not matter to you, but that's a plus for a lot of people. You might be annoyed to know that you NEED a mouse (at this point), but in the tutorial I only needed it 3 times, and after that just to interact with inventory, look at map easier, etc. Still, just a bit. It's definitely a PC game, not a mobile port or dumbed down for a controller, if anything it does the same thing as Freelancer did and gives us a simulation without requiring a joystick.

I'm pretty sure I voted No in Greenlight but my memory is a little fuzzy on that so I may have clicked 'Yes of Course This Game Is Great And Belongs on Steam!'. That's what the button says, right? I'm backpedaling really hard so my memory is fuzzy on that subject. Either way, yes it's worth the price of a movie. Whatever metric exists for you at $10-15 for a big screen entertainment ration.

It's still BETA, it says in the top left corner, so if anything about beta versions bothers you (UI, etc) wait for the final release! It's got a bright blue Early Access box for a reason.

It's good. Real good.

I would arguably say it's the same gameplay as Freelancer. Considering the video and screenshots, take that for what it's worth. If you think I'm a fool to compare this game to the AMAZING FREELANCER then it's 5/10.

If you possibly think I'm right, it's (Freelancer +9/10) = 9/10 (-Freelancer)

If you don't like space games, go read The Hyperion Cantos.

9/10 - Early Access, Beta, etc
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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
35.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
Early Access Review
I bought this a couple days ago after reading about the recent update and watching a few vids and reading some comments.. I gotta tell you that I'm pleasantly suprised!

I've been exploring, trading, policing and doing a bit of mining also. Honestly I had to make myself stop playing earlier after noticing I put in 35 hours in 2 1\2 days!

It has some user interface issues and a few glitches getting into starbases, also its lacking content, but I can see how populating a whole galaxy might take a bit of time. The galaxy is absolutely massive though, there has to be thousands of solar systems, and though some look similar they are all different.

All in all I'm very impressed with what I've played so far. Once they fix the UI and make some hotbuttons or full 360 support, plus some more assets and content, I'll be putting a ton of time into this..
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23 of 35 people (66%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 28
Early Access Review
I'm going to sound like an old man, but this game has tried (and totally failed) to be like Freelancer, a game over a decade old which did a much better job with every aspect of space combat, travel, mercantilism, politics, and graphics.

The UI is painful. Lots of "undefined" stuff, horrific clashing colors, unclear buttons and needing to navigate all over the place just to be able to buy goods or leave a space station. Not to mention scrollbars which use mac-style scrolling (where scrolling down [towards you] moves the bar up). I know it's early access, but this isn't unfinished - this is heading in absolutely the wrong direction. I understand that many amateur develops treat UI as the last 10% of the game, but those are the UI that end up being *bad*, like this one.

The idea of confining a space game to a 2d plane is different, and it simplifies a lot - making the inertia and general navigation easier to follow. But after a few minutes it just feels restrictive - every system only has a couple planets and a sun, so you wind up just going to one or two points in every system, then leaving. You feel like it should be some kind of turn-based game, because it just doesn't have the freedom necessary for real time.

I really do hate to be this critical, I want to like the game. I would just never recommend it to anyone.
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10 of 14 people (71%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
Early Access Review
This game is absolutely marvelous. I spend hours just exploring and shooting at stuff with the starter ship when I bought the game. There are very few cons with the game. While I've had some issues with the mouse pointer, that was a hardware issue with my computer, so the game isnt to blame. I especially love the music, and the playstyle, which is reminiscent of Red Nova, another one of Celcius Studio's games, which I spend hours upon hours on. Even though development is slightly slow, I have to say that it's worth it, as intead of rushing content and features in and then leaving them buggy, they take their time and make sure everything is a masterpiece.

PS - don't be fooled by my 0.4h; I played most of it while offline, so Steam did not record anything.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
22.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
Early Access Review
I bought this game and played for maybe an hour and had a hard time figuring out how to do much of anything. After watching some tutorials on youtube I came back and started a new game and quickly got the hang of it. I played almost all weekend and I am now a huge fan. This game has immense potential and even in its very raw form is a lot of fun. If you enjoyed Freelancer then you will like this game if you give it enough time to figure out how to play it. I highly recommend. This is one of the best games I've played in a long time.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
Early Access Review
Think Naev but with nice 3d models and lots of shiny shiny. 20 minutes in game and I like it. A lot. Haven't played Naev? GO PLAY NAEV! IT'S FREE! If you like Naev then you should consider forking out for this. There appears to be less content than there is in Naev but this Drifter is not 1.0 yet.
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
Early Access Review
for a early ascess game, this is one of the bests games out there, in comparison to full releases it still lacking a bit but the game has alot of potentional based on what the developer has released related to plans for it. i have 8.6 hours on record though which isnt much but its simply for the fact i rage deleted the game when i died , tried to load a previous save, then accidently saved on the slot so i saved after i died and i got mad a deleted it, however i really did like it and how the fighting system worked for the shields,rockets, and lasers/etc that were for the ship and the game already has a decent selection of ships to work with if i remember correctly, if you want the game go for it but just becareful i guess of misclicking it was fun and with 6.0 on the way i will most likely redownload.
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8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
32.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
Early Access Review
Fun game. Most of the bad reviews are saying that that game is not that fun and unplayable. The people that wrote those reviews do not understand that this game is still in development and is not officially released. They also say that the space combat is bad but that is because they do not understand how to dodge incoming laser barrages and fight the enemies back.

A lot more content is coming with the release of 6.0 which is coming later this week.

However, for being still being in development it is a fun space game. You can mine, bounty hunt, trade, and do whatever fits your play style. The universe is very large and I still have not explored more than a fews systems.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
64.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 26
Early Access Review
I believe I can best sum this game up as a mini Elite Dangerous for those with an older or slower pc,or cant afford AAA prices.Enjoyable sandbox game with various opportunities to make money .In game to upgrade ships or weapons you need credits,you can mine ore through to processing and selling,or simple take missions as a courier.Even finding people to hunt down 'retire' permenantly for ingame credits is fun and with the right difficulty to make you keep coming back.Attack or avoid pirates either way its fun. I can say try this game if you want an enjoyable little space shooter,empire biulding,piece of fun..
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
43.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 31
Early Access Review
Very good gane has potential in becoming a great game. Like to see more ships, missions, more diverse and dynamic environments. Few issues with AI especially when mining and a AI ship passes infront of the lasers turning agro as it thinks you purposefully attacked it. Ends with you either leaving or engaging in an unwarranted and unecessary combat that distracts you from your objective and wastes time/resources in repairing ship. Reminds me of a great game i played in the 90s, look forward to seeing this develop thanks for cool game devs.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 11
Early Access Review
Very fun game so far! i am very curious if the developers are gonna implement big battleships and what not, and with the galaxy map, if they are gonna have highlighted sectors which are under war and you could jump in and help a side, depending on what side you helped you get rewards. or negative effects depending on the outcome, the possibilities are endless!!
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
13.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 17
Early Access Review
Feels like the old days of Elite on the Amiga, its early days for this game and for me playing it but so far so good. Its good fun for the money and I am looking forward to seeing it grow.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Early Access Review
-Large expansive worlds
-Interesting ship balancing mechanic

-UI needs work
-Stupid AI
-No tooltips

I think this game has potential but it still needs a lot of work. Currently in version .61 there's really no direction or story for you to follow, it's all do whatever you want mission or mining or w/e. Ship AI are kind of stupid, no evasion just charge at you then run away till a certain distance then u-turn and repeat charge. Would like to see more improvement on the UI especially regarding the active missions like some what to automatically plot the course to your objective rather than manually finding it which gets very tedious. Also would at least like to see how many credit I have when i'm trying to buy stuff on stations. Have to leave the station to see it -_-.

Why is there no strafe or some rapid emergency left/right boost dodge. Havn't used the launchers much at all after the tutorial as it's kinda useless and pointless with stupid AI. Money is easy to get and it didn't take more than an hour or two to get enough for a higher spec ship. Trading seems tedious with the hard to read ui. Really not sure why there's a CD on the lightspeed jumps as you literally spend an entire minute staring at the screen waiting for it to be over so you can move on which gets worse if you have to do several jumps. There's very little interaction between your ship and the world outside of missions. Rare to see any random event if at all any ships.

In the end I would say this game is worth a try, but for the price tag might want to wait till it's more polished or reaches version 1.0 release.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
66.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 26
Early Access Review
This title offers addictive gameplay and has a pretty responsive development team.

There are several improvements that could enhance emmersion, but the game is very playable in its current state.

Eesy to recommend as version 1.0 should be amazing.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
Early Access Review
Needs some work, reminder this is in Early Access. With the right push, this will be a great game.
+Trading, Ships, Missions
-Tutorial needs more work, I was still confused on some advance things.
-Some times confusing on what you should do.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 12
Early Access Review
Looks like it has promice, the UI was a little strange to navigate around, I would have prefered to have a hotkey for the navigation and maps. Otherwise it looks like the basis for a good game the universe looks vast... Also I think there is a problem with the jump drive, it says there is no fuel even after docking. So cannot really get to another system. I hope this is fixed soon. In mouse flight mode, it seems you cannot pitch and yaw the spacecraft, only turn left and right which makes for some boring dogfights.
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8 of 16 people (50%) found this review helpful
55.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Early Access Review
Love the game and it has a lot of potential cant wait
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