The best space games on PC

Best space games on PC
(Image credit: CCP Games)

The best space games on PC squeeze all the stars and planets into little worlds for us to visit, explore, or save. Everyone can enjoy a little space from time to time: Anime fans might like how Honkai: Star Rail drops you onto individual planets for comedic stories and slick combat, and strategy-minded players might find that they lose track of time as they build an empire in Stellaris. And for groups of players, you can hop into games like Lethal Company for its blend of comedy and horror as you scavenge haunted moons.

Space games have been around for as long as PCs have been around, so there's a ton of games to choose from. The ones below are playable on most modern systems and aren't a pain to track down. You can find many of them on Steam, and often at a discounted price.

Not every game treats space the same way. Some of them are made to be explored with a group of friends, while others are best played alone. We've broken every space game into categories to help you decide which one to dive into.

The best space games

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The best singleplayer space games


(Image credit: Bethesda)

Release date: 2023 | Developer: Bethesda Softworks | Steam

Starfield opens, like many Bethesda RPGs, in a small location that eventually gives way to a massive open world. But this time, its a whole galaxy. Mountains of loot await you in this sci-fi world full of hundreds of unique quests and characters. Grab a companion and go exploring planets for resources and spots to construct a base in, or build your own space ship. Starfield might not be our favorite Bethesda game, but as far as space RPGs go, it's one of the most expansive ones out there.

Read more: Starfield review

Outer Wilds

(Image credit: Mobius Digital)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Mobius Digital | Steam

A first-person open world game about exploring a small solar system full of weird planets and odd cosmic phenomena. The catch? You're trapped in a time loop, giving you just 20 minutes to explore at a time. Outer Wilds is reminiscent of games such as Her Story and Obra Dinn in the way you piece a puzzle together by discovering and connecting small, often seemingly unrelated details.

Read more: Outer Wilds review

Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail tips March 7th

(Image credit: Tyler C. / HoYoverse)

Release date: 2023 | Developer: HoYoverse | Epic

The turn-based sci-fi RPG from the developers behind Genshin Impact has no business being so good. As a male or female Trailblazer, you join a crew of explorers who travel to different planets to save them from being doomed by the universe's gods. It doesn't have a fully open world like Genshin, but each planet has cities and locations to explore and an expansive storyline that can be both surprisingly comedic and heroic—like any good space opera.

Read more: Honkai: Star Rail review

The Outer Worlds

Best space games on PC: The Outer Worlds

(Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Obsidian Entertainment | Steam

Not to be confused with Outer Wilds, which is also a space adventure and also on this list, Obsidian's interplanetary RPG is a comedic action RPG that hearkens back to the studio's days working on Fallout. You and your companions will hop around a solar system full of literally colorful environments and figuratively colorful characters. Corporations are the big bads of the retro space future where you'll shoot up aliens, choose dialogue, and generally make a mess of every planet you show up on if it suits your fancy. 

Read more: Outer Worlds review

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Best space games on PC: Hardspace Shipbreaker

(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive)

Release date: 2022 | Developer: Blackbird Interactive | Steam

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a game set in the future where cutting apart ships pays the bills, but not much else. This first-person destruction simulator has you learning the craft, taking jobs, and refining your skills so that eventually you can pay off your crippling pile of debt. It's creative and monotonous in a way that blue collar jobs often can be. And it uses that to underline the vital role of undervalued and overworked labor in a world run by billion dollar people and billion dollar corporations.

Read more: Hardspace: Shipbreaker review


(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: No Code | Steam

The space station Observation has broken away from its Earth orbit and is drifting somewhere near Saturn. Its systems are malfunctioning, a fire has broken out, and the on-board artificial intelligence, SAM, is acting strangely. Things are not looking good for Dr. Emma Fisher, the reluctant hero of this sci-fi thriller from the studio behind Stories Untold. But what's interesting about Observation is that you don't play as Fisher. Instead, you play as the AI.

Read more: Observation review


Release date: 2017 | Developer: Fullbright | Steam

The crew has mysteriously abandoned the Tacoma lunar transfer station, and you’ve been sent to investigate and recover its precious AI, Odin. This atmospheric sci-fi mystery from the makers of Gone Home is wonderfully written, with a cast of rich, nuanced characters telling a compelling story through interactive AR recordings. Exploring the hyper-detailed station is a delight thanks to the game’s extraordinary attention to detail, and the more you learn about Tacoma, the deeper the mystery gets.

Read more: Tacoma review

Alien: Isolation

Release date: 2014 | Developer Creative Assembly | Steam

Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, is hunted through a dilapidated space station by a xenomorph in this incredible survival horror. Taking its cues from Ridley Scott's original 1979 film, it's a masterpiece of slow-burning tension. And the station itself, Sevastopol, is a great example of lo-fi sci-fi, with chunky retro-futuristic tech and eerie flickering lights. One of the most faithful movie adaptations ever, and a great horror game in its own right.

Read more: What Alien: Isolation gets right that Alien: Covenant gets wrong

Dead Space (2023)

(Image credit: Motive)

Release date: 2023 | Developer: Motive | Steam

Isaac Clarke is an extremely unlucky guy. He's sent to repair a ship, the USG Ishimura, but very quickly finds out that it's stuffed with horrifying alien monsters. Dead Space blends the industrialized horror of Alien and tasks you (in third-person) with chopping up every monster that stumbles toward you. The 2023 remake cleans the game's visuals up, gives Clarke a makeover, and embraces what made the original so atmospheric and suspenseful. 

Read more: Dead Space review 

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Release date: 2021 | Developer: BioWare | Steam

If you’ve ever fantasised about being Captain Picard, in command of your own starship, exploring the galaxy, meeting weird aliens, being confronted with cosmic dilemmas, then the Mass Effect series (especially 2) is that in game form. It’s part Star Wars space opera, part brilliant Star Trek episode, and one of the best sci-fi series on PC. It doesn’t have the freedom of open-ended games like Elite: Dangerous and is largely a linear experience, but it takes you on an unforgettable journey around the galaxy, visiting bizarre planets and getting involved in the lives of the aliens who live on them. We love the whole series, which have been modernized in the Legendary Edition, but we all agree that Mass Effect 2 is our favourite. Unfortunately, the original PC version of Mass Effect 2 isn't great, so you're best option is to pick up the Legendary Edition.

Read more: The Mass Effect games ranked from worst to best


Release date: 2013 | Developer: Chucklefish Games | Steam

Terraria-esque survival with a science fiction twist. Hop between randomly generated planets on a starship, hunt alien creatures for food, build colonies and underground bases, and try not to die in the process. A brilliant sci-fi sandbox with a charming art style. Playable races include robots, beings made of solar energy, ape-like creatures, and colourful wingless birds.

Read more: Starbound review


Release date: 2017 | Developer: Rockfish Games | Steam

When you die in roguelike Everspace, you’re dead. But money earned carries over and can be spent on upgrades, which means you’ll be more powerful for your next run through the cosmic gauntlet. And these perks keep adding up, allowing you to travel deeper into space, and more boldly, with every successive attempt. It’s a compelling loop, and when you die you're never frustrated: just excited to start again, wondering how far you'll make it this time.

Read more: Death is the road to glory in Everspace

Elite Dangerous

Release date: 2014 | Developer Frontier Developments | Steam

An entire galaxy is your playground in this space sim. Starting with a basic ship and a handful of credits, you shape your own destiny. Do you become a fearsome pirate? A master trader? An explorer? The beauty of Elite is being able to play in a way that suits you. From thrilling dogfights to gentle exploration, there’s something for everyone. And its ships are all an absolute dream to fly, whether it's a nimble fighter or a heavy duty cargo hauler.

Read more: Visiting NASA's latest discovery in Elite Dangerous

Heat Signature

Release date: 2017 | Developer Suspicious Developments | Steam

In this top-down sci-fi action game you board spaceships and use an array of weapons and gadgets to take out the crew. The genius lies in how much creativity you're given to play your own way, inspired by the best immersive sims. And how you react to the chaos that erupts when your presence on the ship becomes known makes Heat Signature a powerful anecdote generator. Things might not always go to plan, but that's just part of the fun.

Read more: 8 sadistic ways to take out guards in Heat Signature


Release date: 2016 | Developer: Ocelot Society | Steam

Stranded alone somewhere near Jupiter on an old luxury starship, your only hope of returning home is an AI that has serious emotional problems. You interact with Kaizen using your keyboard, and sometimes it'll be willing to help you. But then it'll change its mind and decide the best thing to do is close the airlock and trap you outside the ship until you run out of air. A clever adventure with the understated mood of a '70s sci-fi film.

Read more: Event[0] review

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Release date: 1994 | Developer: Totally Games | GOG

A rare opportunity to be the bad guy in George Lucas’s beloved space opera. With a variety of Empire-themed missions—dogfights, escorts, attacking capital ships—and a story to follow, it’s one of the best Star Wars games LucasArts ever published. Of course, you can replace this entry with Star Wars: X-Wing if you’d prefer to play as the boring old Rebel Alliance.

Read more: The best Star Wars games on PC

FTL: Faster Than Light

Release date: 2012 | Developer: Subset Games | Steam

FTL mixes turn-based and real-time strategy together to capture the experience of captaining a Star Trek-style spacecraft. It’s a strong roguelike, too, with a backdrop of a familiar yet fun sci-fi universe that comes with its own semi-humorous lore and a neat set of narrative beats that make the journey to its finale endlessly exciting. Being able to name your ship and crew makes it all the more heartbreaking when they die together in enemy space.

Read more: The writing in FTL


Release date: 2016 | Developer: Misfits Attic | Steam

Despite being viewed entirely through a retro-futuristic computer interface, Duskers is one of the scariest, most tense sci-fi horror games on PC. In it you pilot a fleet of drones searching derelict spaceships for fuel, upgrades, and clues about why the galaxy is so mysteriously devoid of life. The ships you board are crawling with strange creatures, which makes looking for clues in those narrow, dark corridors an especially nerve-wracking experience.

Read more: Duskers review

The Dig

Release date: 1995 | Developer: LucasArts | GOG

A mission to divert an asteroid heading for Earth goes awry, sending a group of astronauts to a distant, seemingly abandoned world. Some of the puzzles are maddeningly obscure, even for a LucasArts point-and-click adventure, but the colourful, bizarre planet feels genuinely alien. Great voice acting too, with X-Files star Robert Patrick playing the lead character.

Read more: Reinstall: The Dig

Wing Commander: Privateer

Release date: 1993 | Developer: Origin Systems | GOG

Fans of the series will argue endlessly about which Wing Commander is the best, but we love Privateer’s darker feel. It’s a rich sandbox in which you can be a mercenary, a pirate, a merchant, or a mix of all three. You jump between systems looking for bounties to hunt and ships to rob, and the first-person dogfights are a thrill. There’s a linear story, but the real joy lies in doing your own thing and carving your own path through the stars.

Take On Mars

Release date: 2013 | Developer: Bohemia Interactive | Steam

If you like your space games a little more grounded, try Arma developer Bohemia’s Take On Mars. It’s a space exploration and colonisation simulator largely based on real astro-science. You can build a Curiosity-style rover and explore the surface of the red planet or construct your own Martian colony. A game for folk who want the sci without too much of the fi.

Read more: Building a mighty space base in Take On Mars

Objects in Space

(Image credit: Future)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Flat Earth Games | Steam

This unique twist on the space sim shares the trading and exploration elements of games such as Elite Dangerous, but feels more like commanding a submarine. You don't see space itself; just a series of utilitarian rooms full of screens and machinery. There's a lot to manage, and you play several roles at once: pilot, engineer, comms officer. But despite the limited view of your surroundings, you still feel like you're hurtling through space in a starship.

Read more Objects in Space is a very different kind of space sim

The best strategy space games

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2

(Image credit: Future)

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Tindalos Interactive | Steam

A real-time tactics game about giant spaceships clashing in the Warhammer 40,0000 universe. Battles take place on a 2D plane populated by capture points and asteroid fields, and the ships handle like giant, deadly cruise liners. You can unleash fighter and bomber squadrons, launch torpedo barrages and laser attacks, and board other ships. The space battles are involving and spectacular and the campaign is satisfying—especially for 40K fans.

Read more: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 review 

Endless Space 2

(Image credit: Amplitude Studios)

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Amplitude Studios | Steam

A stylish game of galactic conquest. Not the broadest or deepest 4X strategy game on PC, but an atmospheric afternoon-killer that blends strategic decision making with a beautiful presentation. Set in a vivid sci-fi universe, the game lets you explore mysterious star systems, discover the secrets of ancient races, build colonies on distant planets, and encounter aliens to meet and conquer.

Read more: Endless Space 2 review


Release date: 2016 | Developer: Paradox | Steam

Developed by Paradox, of Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis fame, this sci-fi epic puts the ‘grand’ in grand strategy. Explore the universe, form alliances with alien factions, and engage in the odd large-scale space battle. The multitude of systems makes Stellaris a powerful story generator, and you never know what strange beings you’ll meet among the stars.

Read more: Stellaris: Utopia review

Sins of a Solar Empire

Release date: 2008 | Developer: Ironclad Games | Steam

Mixing real-time strategy with 4X elements, Sins is a game of galactic conquest. Choose a faction, gather resources and become a mighty space-lord. Commanding its real-time wars is thrilling, but combat isn’t always the answer: you can use diplomacy to conquer systems too. A refreshingly slow-paced RTS with some truly massive space battles to stare slack-jawed at.

Homeworld Remastered Collection

Release date: 2015 | Developer: Relic/Gearbox Software | Steam

One of the best singleplayer RTS campaigns ever made, and beautifully remastered by Gearbox. The sight of thousands of your ships streaking across the game’s vividly colourful space-scapes is hugely dramatic. And battles are tense and tactical, with many types of ship to command, including colossal battleships. The Remastered Collection looks great on modern PCs and comes complete with the original Homeworld and its sequel.

Read more Homeworld Remastered Collection review

Surviving Mars

Release date: 2019 | Developer: Flat Earth Games | Steam

This unique twist on the space sim shares the trading and exploration elements of games such as Elite Dangerous, but feels more like commanding a submarine. You don't see space itself; just a series of utilitarian rooms full of screens and machinery. There's a lot to manage, and you play several roles at once: pilot, engineer, comms officer. But despite the limited view of your surroundings, you still feel like you're hurtling through space in a starship.

Read more Objects in Space is a very different kind of space sim 

The best multiplayer space games

Lethal Company

(Image credit: Zeekerss)

Release date: 2023 | Developer: Zeekerss | Steam

Lethal Company has a simple premise: You and a group of orange-jumpsuited friends take on jobs to scavenge derelict space stations filled with unfathomable horrors. This first-person survival horror game is as terrifying as it is ripe for comedy as everyone stumbles around looking for treasure. Proximity voice chat and planets riddled with hazards make for one of the most chaotic multiplayer playgrounds available. The vacuum of space is the least of your worries when you've got three other greedy astronauts waddling beside you.

Read more: Lethal Company is a viral hit in no small part thanks to all the intense shouting

Space Engineers

Release date: 2013 | Developer: Keen Software House | Steam

Harvest asteroids for building materials then craft them into floating bases, flyable spaceships, and more besides. You can hover around the map with a jetpack or build a gravity generator to walk safely on the surface of bigger asteroids. One of the best co-op build-’em-ups on PC.

Read more: An erratic journey to the Moon in Space Engineers

EVE Online

Release date: 2003 | Developer: CCP Games | Steam

Live another life—in space! There’s nothing else like EVE Online on PC, a massively multiplayer RPG where everything is controlled by players. It’s a living galaxy in which thousands of capsuleers fight, trade, mine, and explore together. Break away from the relative safety of your police-patrolled starting system and you’ll find a ruthless, cosmic Wild West, where piracy, espionage and scamming are rife. Whether you’re fighting in a massive space war, where thousands of real-world dollars hang in the balance, or just exploring New Eden on your own, EVE is an unforgettable experience.

Read more: EVE Online's most notorious scam took 16 months of commitment

Destiny 2

Release date: 2017 | Developer: Bungie | Steam

Bungie's addictive FPS/MMO hybrid features some of the prettiest alien landscapes on PC. From the forested ruins of Earth and the frigid barrens of Europa, to the cosmic beauty of The Dreaming City, every location is a pleasure to loot-and-shoot in. Although Bungie has removed a few planets to the recycle bin, the game continues to layer more lore and story with each new expansion, as well as smart reworks to its signature classes and gear.

Read more: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen review

No Man's Sky

Release date: 2016 | Developer: Hello Games | Steam

This is one of the most dazzlingly colourful sci-fi universes on PC, and being able to seamlessly transition from space to the surface of a planet is an impressive technical feat. The addition of features like base-building, missions, and actual multiplayer in its continuous stream of updates give you a lot more to actually do when you touch down on these worlds, and the procedural generation algorithm has been tweaked to make for weirder, prettier planet surfaces.

Read more: The best No Man's Sky mods

The best simulation space games

Kerbal Space Program

Release date: 2015 | Developer: Squad | Steam

Wrestle with gravity and the laws of physics as you build your own spacecraft and attempt to explore the cosmos. A robust, compelling sandbox of possibilities that’s as funny as it is clever. Escaping Kerbin’s atmosphere and landing on the Mun (without exploding) for the first time with a ship you’ve built yourself is about as satisfying as PC gaming gets.

Read more: Kerbal Space Program: Making History review

Universe Sandbox

Release date: 2014 | Developer Giant Army | Steam

This space simulator lets you become an all-powerful cosmic deity, manipulating replicas of real galaxies and solar systems and witnessing the (often catastrophic) results of your meddling. Increase the mass of Jupiter and you’ll see the rest of our solar system being sucked into it, or delete the Sun and watch Earth and the other planets drift away confused.

Read more Universe Sandbox review

Just really cool space games


Release date: 2010 | Developer Vladimir Romanyuk | Steam

Do you like feeling small and insignificant? Then play SpaceEngine, which features, incredibly, the entire universe. Or at least the bit we know about. Focus on Earth, then pull back at top speed, and you suddenly become aware of how you’re on a tiny speck of dust hurtling through an endless void. The tech is remarkable, allowing you to travel effortlessly between galaxies and land on planets. But besides exploring, there isn’t much else to it.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.

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