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Cosmochoria: a space gardening shooter hitting Early Access today

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I blame Droqen and Starseed Pilgrim (opens in new tab) for the recent spate of indie space gardening games, and by 'blame' I of course mean 'celebrate profusely', because indie space gardening games are great. On the weekend I banged on about the aptly named Space Gardener (opens in new tab), and today I'm going to tell you about the lovely Cosmochoria (opens in new tab), which hits Steam Early Access today. I just need to...plant this thing and...shoot these aliens...hang on.

Cosmochoria puts you in the role of a naked (I'm not sure why) astronaut, able to bound around from spherical planetoid to spherical planetoid with the aid of their trusty jetpack. If you've played Super Mario Galaxy or Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, you'll be familiar with this game's rotatey platform gravity mechanic. Cosmochoria isn't a platformer, however, but a survival game. You survive by defending yourself against aliens, and by planting and cultivating plants on the procedurally generated galaxy's many, differently sized planets and moons. Grow enough plants on the same planet and a heart thing will fill up that restores your health. It's not difficult to grasp, and the act of piercing, and leaving, gravity wells is great fun.

You can chase the high score or you can dedicate yourself to survival and gardening, but I'll note that Cosmochoria (opens in new tab) isn't nearly as serene as the likes of Starseed Pilgrim and Pixeljunk Eden. That's fine, it's a different type of game: a mixture of arcade shooting, gardening/building and exploration. There are giant bosses and weapon upgrades, for example. This Early Access version feels pretty complete, and I didn't notice any bugs when I was playing, words that are an increasingly rare pleasure to type these days.

Creator Nate Schmold expects Cosmochoria to leave Early Access (opens in new tab) by early 2015. Here's a trailer to whet your appetite:

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.