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Astroneer Image1.png
Astroneer concept art
Developer(s)System Era Softworks
Publisher(s)System Era Softworks
Designer(s)Jacob Liechty
  • Brendan Wilson
  • Zabir Hoque
  • Adam Bromell
  • Paul Pepera
EngineUnreal Engine 4
  • Windows, Xbox One
  • February 6, 2019
  • PlayStation 4
  • November 15, 2019
Genre(s)Sandbox, adventure
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Astroneer is a sandbox adventure game developed by System Era Softworks. The game was released through early access in December 2016 before a full release in 2019. The player is tasked with colonizing planets, creating structures, and mining resources. Astroneer has no set goal or storyline, though each planet holds challenges for players to complete.


The astroneer reshapes the environment using the "terrain tool"

Astroneer is a sandbox adventure game played from a third-person view. Its open world planets, wherein terraforming can take place, are subject to procedural generation, with the exception of some planet specific resources. The player controls an astronaut (called an astroneer) who navigates on foot, or by rover or spacecraft.


Craftable items include rovers, buggies, spaceshuttles, storage silos, atmospheric condensers, research chambers, component smelters, batteries, generators, turbines, and solar panels. For example, Ammonium can be converted into hydrazine fuel for an Astroneer's spacecraft, or used in its raw form to create a limited-use thruster. When low on oxygen, the Astroneer recharges by staying near craftable tethers, which can be chained over long distances to prevent suffocation. As of the game's full release, an "oxygenator" is required to provide extended reach of oxygen when tethering.

Terrain Tool[edit]

Every Astroneer has a Terrain Tool, which allows the player to gather resources and reshape the landscape. Resources, such as organic material, quartz, lithium, ammonium, and resin, are neatly packaged by the Terrain Tool into convenient stacks. These stacks can then be snapped into slots on the Astoneer's backpack, storage units, research chambers, etc. Certain resources, such as titanite or clay, can be smelted or combined into more advanced materials. The Astroneer also has the option to research and craft upgrades to the Terrain Tool, which can be plugged and unplugged at will.


Other than the Terrain Tool, the Backpack is the Astroneer's main tool. The Backpack functions as the player's inventory and HUD, with two quick-use slots, eight storage slots, a basic 3D printer, a small internal power supply (shown by a column of yellow segments), and a built-in oxygen tank (shown as a horizontal blue bar). The Terrain Tool, which also has three slots that can be used for storage, hangs from the side of the Backpack when not in use. The Backpack also contains the Research Catalogue, which the player uses to unlock new crafting blueprints.

Development and release[edit]

Astroneer was announced in October 2015 by System Era Softworks[1] and is developed with the Unreal Engine 4.[2] The art style is composed of texture-less environments,[3] conceptualized by artist John Liberto.[4] Co-founder and lead artist Paul Pepera died on March 27, 2017, 4 months after Astroneer's early access release.[5][6]

Astroneer was first released in early access for Windows and Xbox One on December 16, 2016 before it officially released on February 6, 2019.[7][8] A PlayStation 4 version was released on November 15, 2019.


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 71/100[9]
XONE: 73/100[10]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 SXSW Gaming Awards Gamer's Voice: Video Game Won [11]
2019 Webby Awards Adventure Game Won [12]
Best Art Direction (People's Voice) Won
Best Game Design (People's Voice) Won
Best User Experience Won
Best Visual Design (People's Voice) Won
2020 2020 Webby Awards Independent Creator Won [13]


  1. ^ Franks, Allegra (October 7, 2015). "Find space riches as you run across the universe in Astroneer". Polygon.
  2. ^ Rowe, Brian (May 28, 2016). "Inspired Space: Inside the Development of Astroneer". Unreal Engine.
  3. ^ Totilo, Stephen (April 29, 2016). "How The Beautiful Space Game Astroneer Works". Kotaku.
  4. ^ Plunkett, Luke (October 11, 2015). "The Gorgeous Art Of Astroneer". Kotaku.
  5. ^ Plunkett, Luke (March 28, 2017). "The Fantastic Space Art Of Paul Pepera". Kotaku.
  6. ^ Wawro, Alex (March 28, 2017). "Obituary: Video game artist and System Era cofounder Paul Pepera". Gamasutra.
  7. ^ Warr, Philippa (December 12, 2016). "Astroneer blasts into Early Access, December 16". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  8. ^ MacLeod, Riley (December 16, 2016). "Space Survival Game Astroneer Will Kill You In All The Best Ways". Kotaku.
  9. ^ "ASTRONEER for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "ASTRONEER for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  11. ^ Trent, Logan (March 17, 2019). "2019 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Announced". South by Southwest. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019.
  12. ^ Liao, Shannon (April 23, 2019). "Here are all the winners of the 2019 Webby Awards". The Verge.
  13. ^ "Webby Awards: Games". The Webby Awards. May 19, 2020.

External links[edit]