There’s nothing quite like exploring the cosmos if you’re tired of playing video games that limit the experience to a planetary terrain. Since space is an endless void full of places to explore, getting there requires a vehicle.
Some games tend to transition to a map without any travel in between, but if you’re looking for a way to commute, playing a game with actual spaceships you can fly or upgrade sounds like the perfect way to experience a sci-fi adventure. Taking down other spaceships or blowing up asteroids feels more satisfying than plopping into a procedurally generated world with no means of leaving its confines. But which games let you do that?
1 EVE Online
If colossal star cruisers and large-scale galactic battles are your thing, then EVE Online may be the right choice since it lets you pilot an assortment of spaceships you can buy and upgrade with in-game currency. Not only that, but the game also has a unique economy that mimics the real world.
It features complex guilds or factions for you to be a part of to engage in wars fought on behalf of mega-corps or over territory. Tons of players participate in these battles, and these skirmishes can potentially last for days before one side overtakes the other and seizes their territory.
2 No Man’s Sky
Latest No Man’s Sky Update Adds Living Ships With Organic Tech
With thousands of worlds to explore and a robust trading system, No Man’s Sky took a leap and became one of the best sci-fi games in the genre over years of consistent updates and visual improvements.
The game also features unique flora and fauna for each planet you explore and manage to survive on. You can build your own complex base and interact with NPCs in-game to buy or sell resources. You can even play co-op with a friend through the online multiplayer mode or visit the Nexus, a main hub for solo players to interact with the community at large.
3 Everspace 2
Everspace 2 is a deep dive into the mechanics involved with spaceship battles and features an assortment of vehicles and weapons that serve to make your dreams of conquering space a reality. It’s a fast-paced single-player experience with a story and enough content to keep you engaged for hours.
From mining and crafting resources to looting your vanquished foes, the game features all sorts of RPG elements that help you progress and build up your own cruiser. Shooting down enemies is the main feature of the game, and the explosive light show certainly does it justice.
A game of epic proportions with next-gen graphics and some of the most immersive settings, Starfield is much more than it seems. You not only get to travel through space at light speed on your giant spaceship, but you can even find rare vehicles to purchase on different planets you plan to visit.
The character creation and vehicle customization options are surprisingly in-depth, allowing you to choose the layout and individual parts for any ship. Not only that, but you can even customize the paint job on each part of the ship. You can use jetpacks while you explore planets and can come across sprawling cities during your journeys.
5 Elite: Dangerous
This is a game without primary objectives and deeply rooted in realism, at least regarding how it portrays the map. The Milky Way is open for you to explore as a pilot on your very own spaceship. Elite: Dangerous is still one of the most immersive space-faring games out there.
The storyline, the stunning graphics, and the feeling of piloting a spaceship still hold up. It’s chock-full of content and features some of the best space-combat mechanics you can find in any sci-fi game. It features a rather steep learning curve, though, with its complexities and general level of resource grinding.
6 Evochron: Legacy SE
If you like playing complex games where you spend most of your time in a spaceship learning how to map your course with minimal hand-holding and dealing with the realistic effects of the gravity on planets you explore, then Evochron: Legacy SE features all that and much more.
You can mine, race, and fulfill the main quests in order to upgrade your ship and weapons. There are several systems you can explore and gates that cut travel time down, too. The game puts a heavy emphasis on realism, especially when it comes to flying your ship. Hence, there’s a two-hour tutorial to go through before you start going on any adventures.
7 Spacebourne 2
Perhaps one of the most impressive space-related titles out there, Spacebourne 2 is the brainchild of a single developer who dedicated his time to creating an experience that rivals other contemporary titles like Starfield and Everspace. It’s a single-player game made on UE4 that features an impressive “open-universe” map with plenty of planets to interact with and spaceships to fly for hours of immersive fun.
Not only do you get to customize your own characters, but you can also manage and dictate how your established faction functions. It’s a nuanced game that’s easy to get into, and the graphics aren’t too shabby, especially when it comes to leaving or entering a planet’s orbit. It’s a promising new endeavor that will only improve over time with updates and DLCs.
8 Infinity Battlescape
Infinity Battlescape boasts its massively multiplayer system on a seamless large map. No transitions or loading screens disrupt play, and that serves to amplify the space-traveling experience. The graphics are superb, and the spaceships are fairly detailed as well.
You can earn your way to buying your own spacecraft and start taking down other players on or near planets that are true to scale and feel massive. The space battles and combat mechanics are easily some of the strongest points of this game, and being able to go to war with hundreds of players present on the server raises the stakes immensely.
Next: Best Player-Made Ships In Starfield