No Man's Sky. © Hello Games

No Man's Sky is a truly original adventure survival videogame, encouraging players to get fully immersed into a procedurally generated deterministic open universe. Exploration is at the core of this game and the best part is that players can share their newfound knowledge with their counterparts. The Atlas acts as a universal database that is kept up to date for the benefit of all players, making it easy to navigate the galaxy and conquer new worlds.

Key facts about No Man's Sky

  • The procedurally generated deterministic open universe of No Man's Sky takes exploration to the next level.
  • The Atlas provides players with the incentive to share their knowledge and acts as a comprehensive database that anyone can access.
  • Balance is everything in No Man's Sky, with players exploring and conquering new worlds, but any excess draws the attention of Sentinels.
  • One doesn’t need an Internet connection to play No Man's Sky, because all the details are generated on the go.
  • The game doesn’t have a declared goal, but players should try to reach the center of the galaxy.

The No Man's Sky games

No Man's Sky has a massive open world, with everything being created using the highly advanced deterministic algorithms in a random procedural generation process. Those who play the games will only need to visit a planet once and by simply entering the galactic coordinates, they are guaranteed to find an identical set of features as other players. This gives more consistency to the No Man's Sky games and makes it more important for players to share information through the Atlas.

Numbers speak for themselves and with as many as18 quintillion planets, it is impossible for players to explore the entire universe no matter how many they are and how dedicated. The game can be played locally and doesn’t require an Internet connection, since the details are generated in real-time instead of being stored on a server. Such a connection is only needed to register the discovery to the Atlas, so the emphasis is clearly on single player.

It's all about balance

In No Man's Sky, changes are not permanent and when players leave a planet all of them will be undone, so new players can start from scratch. At the same time, any action will have a direct impact, because mining too many resources or consuming too many life forms will prompt the Sentinels to intervene. They are trying to preserve balance and whenever players push the envelope, they draw their ire and they only stop once the player is destroyed.

Playing No Man's Sky games also has educational value, since life is more developed on planets that are closer to the sun and in habitable zones. 9 out of 10 players will be uninhabitable, making the odd one truly special and acting as a magnet for explorers. Vivid ecosystems are rare and when players discover them, they will have plenty of reasons to explore the surroundings instead of focusing exclusively on extracting as many resources as possible.

What is No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky is an innovative videogame developed by Hello Games and was one of the most anticipated independently developed games of 2016. The game is only available on PlayStation 4 and computers powered by Microsoft Windows and can be played mostly off-line. It introduces the concept of a procedurally generated deterministic open universe and provides players with the impetus to explore a huge and ever-changing galaxy.

Screenshot of No Man’s Sky. © Hello Games
Screenshot of No Man's Sky. © Hello Games

Gameplay of No Man's Sky

In No Man's Sky players act as space explorers, trying to find their way in an uncharted galaxy and use advanced spacesuits to collect resources. Exploring, prospecting planets and mining are key mechanics and much of the gameplay requires players to make good use of them to advance with the storyline. Every now and then, antagonistic creatures will try to stop players in their tracks and that’s when the offensive and defensive abilities of the spacesuit shine brightly.

The first-person perspective can be a bit deceiving because fighting represents only a tiny component of the gameplay. Analyzing lifeforms and collecting information about the planets explored will take most of the time as players try to compile a comprehensive database. All the information found is supposed to be uploaded to the Atlas, a guide that can be accessed by other players, therefore kept up-to-date.

Keep the mind on the grind

Since resource gathering is at the cornerstone of the No Man's Sky gameplay, it comes as no surprise that spending them is just as important. Players can use these credits to purchase better survival gear, upgrade the existing equipment and acquire more effective mining tools. The quality of scanners also improves greatly, making it easier for players to find their way around and the more advanced the mining gear, the faster resources are accumulated.

The No Man's Sky gameplay is fairly complex, with players being supposed to factor in fuel consumption when using the hyperspace jump engines. The universe is a huge and cold place, but in this videogame it is populated by various factions, some friendly but most hostile to the player. Depending on their actions, players will influence the manner in which these factions react the next time they encounter them.

Trading is also an important component of the gameplay and players can trade the resources mined on the free market. Various ones are used to construct stations, therefore expand one’s presence in the galaxy but too much interference can backfire badly. Harming lifeforms and taking too many resources will increase the Wanted Level and will make players more susceptible to attacks from both sentinels and other factions. When they die, all the information not uploaded yet on the Atlas will be lost, but the gear is safe.

Screenshot of No Man’s Sky. © Hello Games
Screenshot of No Man's Sky. © Hello Games

Plot of No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky doesn’t dwell on a single player campaign and the missions are not heavily scripted, since exploration is at its cornerstone. Players enjoy unlimited freedom in exploring the huge space and they get to craft their own story rather than completing quests. At least in theory, players can do whatever they like and the only thing that feels a bit compulsory is adding information to the Atlas. This will help fellow players in their exploration quest, but also act as a safety net in case the player is destroyed.

In the initial chapter of No Man's Sky, players start on a small planet at the edge of the galaxy and they decide what to do next. The reason for why so many players are expected to follow the same path is that the planets at the center of the galaxy are richer in resources. The closer you get to the core, the more difficult the challenges, since the factions inhabiting these planets are strong and generally hostile.

Assuming players don’t perform any side quests and focus exclusively on the goal of reaching the center, the entire gameplay will take slightly more than 40 hours. The thing about this videogame is that there are so many things to discover and enjoy that it is virtually impossible not to get sidetracked.

Development of No Man's Sky

The developers of No Man's Sky decided to pursue their dream at all costs and didn’t allow larger companies to interfere. This allowed them to stay true to their initial idea but development took longer and the game was only announced for release in 2016. Since 2014 when it was first unveiled through a short video trailer, they made a couple of changes to the game and tap into the tremendous experience of Sean Murray. The co-founder of Hello Games had previously worked for Criterion Games on Burnout.

Screenshot of No Man’s Sky. © Hello Games
Screenshot of No Man's Sky. © Hello Games

Where can I download No Man's Sky?

The game is available on PCs and PlayStation 4 just like Recore, Overwatch or Quantum Break and players can download it from the Hello Games official website. Those who are enthusiastic about its upcoming release can support the developers and make a preorder, then wait patiently for the game to arrive.

What are others saying about No Man's Sky?

No Man's Sky generated more enthusiasm that any other independently developed game revealed in 2014. Sony will publish the game and all those who got the chance to try it for a limited period of time expect it to be successful. The game already won the Best Independent Game and Best Original Game titles at the E3 and it could match the popularity of Spore. The game was released in 2008 and also used procedural generation to build an entire universe from scratch.

No Man's Sky tournaments

No Man's Sky is a delightful single player experience where interaction with other players is indirect. The Atlas is the only real connection between players, since the game doesn’t have a multiplayer, so no way to support No Man's Sky tournaments.

My rating of No Man's Sky

Some of my friends say that I’m a sucker for indie games, laughing at me whenever I spend a lot of time on low-budget games that prove to be a disappointing. This time I strongly believe that the joke is on them because No Man's Sky will keep me hooked for many hours and should prove immensely rewarding. Thumbs up for the guys at Hello Games who believed in their dream and worked hard to make it a reality and a well-deserved review score of 8.5/10.

Overall Score