No Man's Sky | Review


No Man's Sky has a heavy focus on exploration and creating your own fun in a massive universe. Some days you just feel like seeing how many system jumps you can make and what you will see along the way. Other days you find a nice planet you are interested in exploring and fly down to the surface to investigate further.

While there are other things than just exploring and seeing what the universe is that is really the main thing. There can also be a heavy presence of survival from dealing with environmental hazards to drone looking things called Sentinels among other threats. You also have things like mining, ships, a storyline, base building and a whole lot of other stuff.



With No Man’s Sky being one of the biggest in terms of a universe. Exploration is the main draw for many players. You can spend days exploring a single planet. You could spend weeks or longer traveling across the universe none stop to get to a random point. How quick or slow you want to take things is up to you.


Some plants you might miss out on what true beauty and aww it holds depending on the time of day. I’ve had some insane night time moments I’ve screenshotted in my journey. There was this crashed freighter as a point of interest to explore and the rings of the planet show up amazing during the night time.


Other plants will have these breathtaking sunrises that are just something else we don’t get to see in our everyday lives. You have these mountains with the sun lighting up another planet in the background. With some fog off in the distance and light cloud cover.


You would not think this spherical object would be an actual lifeform. With all the different variables you can sometimes come to cross the oddest things you have ever seen. I took a note back in August on Twitter some of the characteristics this strange being had.


What is exploring the universe if you are not doing it in style? The great thing is each solar system has its own unique style of ships to acquire. While you might find something closely resembling it elsewhere it will still have something different about it. I spent hours waiting to get a decent type of this ship to show up as I just loved the style. Everything can range from low quality of C to top tier of S. This one ranked an A with max slots and an ok other stats.

There are also things like freighters for storage if you find a really odd-looking ship but it’s from a race not known for having a ton of storage space onboard their ships. I’m a bit of a packrat and I love these more clunky looking ships. So it worked for my playstyle. Others might be more focused on weapons, speed, and other attributes.

While you can explore planets on foot. There are also land vehicles to unlock and upgrade as well. I’m usually off mining something close to where I land my ship so I prefer the more by foot method.

If just planetary exploration alone is not enough you could even go deeper perhaps roleplaying as a zoologist or geologist for instance. Where you go around discovering new creatures and rocks. You can even name your discovery and upload them to the global database.


You can install a scanner on your Multi-tool which is your primary tool for mining, dealing damage and scanning. All kinds of detail can be learned from what something eats to metal composition. While this is not the deepest system ever it adds another layer of fun.

The game is procedurally generated so sometimes it can feel like you have already seen everything before. While other times even with the amount of time I’ve played I’ll come across something new and exciting. Since it’s not a hand-sculpted universe there will always be that feeling that something is lacking. They have over the years messed with their algorithm and I’m rather pleased with how things are these days.

Different Difficulties


How difficult the survival aspect of No Man's Sky is coming down to the player’s preference and what game type they end up choosing. You can very much be a creative soul and have no worries in the world. On the other extreme end, you can ride the edge of your seat with lots of heart-pumping action as it could be your last.

The creative mode was never for me. Nothing costs anything to build. You just can roam the stars without a care in the world. As far as I’m aware there nothing to fear and the universe is yours to play in. I do understand some just want to be creative types and explore without the struggles involved.

For most the player base in No Man's Sky, they play on normal. The game gives you quite the fighting chance and slowly ramps up the challenges and how harsh the universe becomes as you slowly move towards the center. Most resources can stack to 10k units, basic element protection helps you withstand most storms and planets. Giving the player just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting and refreshing without things becoming annoying.


I personally played a lot of my time on survival. This game really lets you have it from the moment you enter on your first planet. There will be deaths a few times over trying to learn the basics as it’s quite cruel until you understand what you are doing. I’ve also seen new players become quite frustrated in this mode and it’s not really recommended for someone new.

Finally, you have permadeath for those who want to feel the horror and pain every time your character dies and you lose everything. You get the most extremes the game has to offer and just simple tasks of farming carbon could be your last. Not something I was very interested in myself or I’d never get past my first few hours of gameplay

Ultimately it’s really important for the player to pick the best one for how they enjoy a game. I’m glad they had such a wide range and options that fit so many different play styles. Not everyone wants to be rushing to refill their lire support every couple of minutes or be stuck sitting in their ship for twenty minutes waiting for harsh storms and cold night to pass.

Environmental Survival


One of the biggest constants is your shield and life support draining when it comes to survival. For those who are looking for a challenge, the last couple of difficulty settings are going be for you. Where survival and coming up with a creative solution to get out of tough situations are going go hand in hand. Everything could be fine one moment and the next you are messed up big time.

The game likes to remind you when you are nearing death such as your life support system is failing. Recharging this at the start can be costly as finding enough oxygen right away until you learn things can be a challenge. Later on, the player learns crafting recipes and can stockpile things like Life Support Gel so it’s not this constant feeling you can’t go anywhere.

You could end up a planet with very cold nights or skin melting days that have a heavy impact on the amount of distance you can go away from your own ship. The player can install suit upgrade modules to harden themselves to individual things. I for instance like to live on and explore ice planets so I focused on cold resistance. You are not just limited to one type and can even uninstall the modules.

Which I think is great for letting the player gear up for a challenging planet that has something on it they want. While still giving them that flexibility to change their mind and not have it cost too much to switch things up.


Planets can also have extreme storms that come and go. Those who are not at the peak of prepared need to hide from such events until they pass as the chances of survival are quite low. They could be as simple as jumping into your ship to wait out the storm. In more extreme cases I found myself digging holes into caves and spending the night waiting out the storm deep underground.

The game does only ramp these challenges up so far. Once you become accustomed, prepared, and understand what to do. Even in the direst of situations, death should not become the outcome. My character has not died for quite some time in this game from this part of it.

The Sentinels And Others


While many were hoping for extreme combat challenges in this game that usually not the case. While you can run into pirates in space, Sentinels on planets, and even aggressive creatures. Most of the time you are either over-prepared or can control how escalated the situation becomes.

For most players running into pirates while traveling around is the most unexpected and challenging combat, they could find. If you are really unlucky you might find yourself facing five pirates and not be close to a space station or planet to evade. You get enough of a warning and most times can even bargain for a price in units for them to leave you alone.

The Sentinels in this game are based more around a police escalation model that you have seen in other games. Some planets they flat out leave you alone. While others just the sight of you is enough for them to engage. They start off small and as you kill them things escalate into harder sentinel models showing up.


Creatures for the most part just want to be left alone. A lot of the times unless you attack something it’s just going keep doing whatever it was. Just remember breaking open space eggs is a quick way to get killed unless you know what you are doing.

Lucky for you the deadliest thing in the universe is something you also may never come across naturally. Yes, other players out in the open world for pvp. While I have seen other players in the anomaly I’ve yet to cross any just out exploring like I am.

With the game having such a heavy focus on exploration it might feel like this aspect of the game comes up a bit short. For me personally, I have found the environment to be far more challenging than combat situations. I like games to be different and rather enjoyed it being as such. There is enough to give you a taste but not enough that it takes away from the main focus in this game.

Resource Gathering


Like in many games focused on exploration gathering resources is another main component. The player has a number of reasons for doing so. They might need resources to fuel their ships or upgrading equipment. They might be building a base or outpost. It’s also a way to earn income in this game to buy what you need.

Early in the game, the player faces the struggle of gathering enough resources just for the basic needs of warping their ship around. Along with using their Multi-tool and some other stuff. This is quite short-lived once you have a little bit of weather and some storage space to just stockpile and craft raw resources into something far more efficient items.


Even when the player starts to craft module upgrades or finds a crash ship that needs heavy repairs requiring a decent amount of raw materials. That tends to also be a rather short term. Even more so once some upgrades have been installed on the Multi-tool to increase yield and reduce mining times.


While I’ve never been heavy into building out a fancy base in games I do admire the ability to build lots of what I consider to be outposts. It’s nice when you find an interesting planet to just build something quickly and put up a portal to teleport back to that location when needed. Short of setting up massive mining operations with end buildings there, not a lot needed here either.

I found that a lot of what I mining mostly went for selling. Some of the higher end ores can go for quite a fair amount per unit. It’s also nice when you discover something like gold or emeril that you know you have a decent payday coming.

It is, however, fun to go down into caves or oceans in the need to mining or gather a certain material. The mining overall helps add to the player's desire to explore and discover new things. You also have this endless constant need for small amounts of resources to keep everything going.



This game has a strong storyline was not always the case. It is quite the open-world kind of game after all. This has however changed over time and it can be quite the mind warp for some of the deep and ethical situations you find yourself in.

I recall the early days of this game before I took a really long break. There was a little something as far as the story for the player to chase. That, however, left more confused and not that happy with the end result.


While not trying to spoil too much of it as it’s something you really need to experience yourself. You will be given choices along the way that might just make you question a lot of things far beyond what is just going on in the game depending on how deep of a thinker you are in the real world.

You will also come across some ethically interesting options. That I think to speak more about the player picking them than their desire to go one way or another in the storyline.

Overall they do play well into science fiction and pull from a couple of theories about our own universe. I think it’s a nice addition to the game and gives it something that it was missing. While open exploration is fun sometimes it’s nice to be pulled in on something else and given some direction here or there.

Final Thoughts


I’ve played this game a couple of times over the years. I recall when I first got it after a friend said it was the best thing ever. It was release day and he had only played for a few hours. After I got the game a few hours later he got far enough to realize the game lacked much depth at all to it and missed the mark. After a number of hours myself I had the same feeling and uninstalled.

The game was after all overhyped at the time leading up to its release a few years ago. The word no did not appear to something the game developer was good at saying. So whatever crazy thing someone would ask if it was in the game apparently would be.

Thankfully their unwillingness to accept no took a game that was not ready for release and turned it into quite the exploring adventure. I’ve had countless amounts of fun times over the years. With some of the developer's recent major updates are really making this game shine.

Other Content


Screenshots are taken and content was written by @Enjar about the game No Man’s Sky.