Astrox: Hostile Space Excavation is a vast single player space simulator, a little like Eve Online as every action from mining, firing a weapon is all done with a point and click, although Eve is much more advanced which it would be considering it’s price and monthly subscription. Astrox is a cheap, basic alternative that would probably play on anything from my i7 4820k, 32gb RAM, R9 380 right down to a potato (or similar). The system requirements say everything made after 2004 should work.
The character customisation at the start is tiny, you type in your name and can pick about eight avatars but you do have full control over the universe you are dropped into from how many star systems, the maximum being fifty. Stations per system, how many asteroids, how big and how rare they are. Starting credits and what ship you start in.
I increased the systems to around half way, made the asteroid belts bigger and slightly rarer as deep down this game is all about mining, the amount of credits you can make by sucking a belt dry is insane compared to the bounty you receive from popping pirates. There is definitely something slightly relaxing about setting the ship to auto target and watching it crawl methodically across a star system hovering up ore.
The moment I loaded the game up I was mesmerised by it, in a handful of days I’d racked up just over ten hours of gameplay. I started off in a tiny scout ship with the firepower of a blue-bottle, the cargo hold the size of a thimble and the defence capabilities of a wet paper bag but it didn’t stop me. I made a few mining trips, a couple of pirate kills and I was ready to upgrade and that’s the process until I finally have a two ship setup in a pretty lucrative system.
My battle cruiser can dish out some serious firepower taking down most of the pirates in the system which also levels you up quite quickly earning you skill points that you can use (along with credits) to upgrade your character so you use less fuel, the guns hit harder and the engines churn out more power. Alongside my combat ship was a mining cruiser that along with a massive cargo hold had all its special bonuses in mining making it a powerhouse able to decimate asteroid belts in minutes and bring in vast quantities of ore to refine and sell.
The game does offer jobs like killing certain pirates, hauling missions as you can buy transport ships but the main bread and butter is mining and taking down pirates. The sadness of this game is I can see it becoming dull and repetitive quickly, even with my ten hours I’m starting to lack enthusiasm. If it had an online player vs player element to it or a server so it wasn’t just single player allowing you to interact with other people, create clans and mine for massive profit would make the game incredible.
This game is great but sadly only for a short amount of time, it’s kept me occupied for a fair few hours and I would still like to get a multimillion credit ship and I’m so close but for me it would probably only hold my interest about twelve hours or for a few days and sadly that isn’t enough. For that reason it only scores 7/10, it has everything going for it and I believe it used to be a mobile platform which is maybe what it was good at being. Sadly entering the world of PC gaming on Steam it just doesn’t have that much to offer with so many games out there.
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