Released on Steam today, Earth Analog sees you, a lone space pilot, flying to the Proxima Centauri system to search for a habitable new planet for humanity to call home—as well as a previous expedition that mysteriously disappeared. It's a singleplayer space sim with a Newtonian flight model, relaying an eerie, twisting story as you explore this distant galaxy.
"Ever since the day I watched Interstellar I wanted to create a space sim game that captures that sense of mystery and excitement," says creator Roy van Ophuizen, who spent three years making the game.
"When I discovered the innovative render technique called ray marching and learned how that could be used to display real-time fractal worlds I knew that my dream could become reality."
The screenshot above is an example of the weird, abstract planets generated by this rendering technique. Earth Analog features a mix of hand-crafted and procedurally generated planets and stars, and the game really nails the feeling of being lost in a vast, strange, and unknowable cosmos. The sheer weirdness of space is something Interstellar got across really well, and that aspect of the film is echoed here brilliantly. That blend of both wonder and terror.
I played it for a couple of hours today, and it's really impressive. You can land on planet surfaces in real-time, it has built-in support for flight sticks and throttles, and the scale of the galaxy is immense. It's also incredibly atmospheric, with dreamy ambient music that perfectly complements its slow, balletic pace. Although the realistic flight model does take some getting used to, and I had to really focus on my acceleration to stop wildly overshooting planets.
Earth Analog is available now for around $20 and it's worth exploring if you're into sci-fi, or wish No Man's Sky was a bit more realistic. It's not an easy game to pick up and play, but once you get your head around how the flight model works, exploring Proxima Centauri is incredibly rewarding.
Check out the launch trailer below.