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Home » Oxygen Not Included Review – A Unique Take on the Ever-Popular Colony Management Genre

Oxygen Not Included Review – A Unique Take on the Ever-Popular Colony Management Genre

Oxygen Not Included
Klei Entertainment

Oxygen Not Included is a stressful, yet very fun space survival simulator. Each time you begin a new game, you’ll have only a few colonists who function as your crew on-board a big asteroid. They must contend with mysterious alien life forms, develop different types of scientific knowledge, and eventually travel outside of their rock spinning around in space, to basically survive.

The first time I played Oxygen Not Included, it immediately reminded me of the now highly-touted colony survival sim, Rimworld. Oxygen Not Included has a very distinctive art style which kind of threw me off at first but grew on me the more I played the game. It’s kind of a “big-headed, cutesy” cartoonish style, but at least your colonists have bodies that move around, unlike the survivalists in Rimworld.

Oxygen Not Included is very challenging and if you make any mistakes, they can lead to problems later on in the game. Luckily, however, there aren’t any big, bad, evil aliens, nor zombies for once. I’m a little tired of having to fend off waves of zombies or whatever else type of hostile life forms that survival game developers seem to love these days.

As mentioned, Oxygen Not Included is a very uniquely challenging game, but it’s also one that rewards people for making smart decisions. If something starts to go awry with your colony, there is almost always a way to solve any issues that you come across, through using science. Therein lies one of the most attractive features of the game—the fact that you get to learn about real science, as opposed to simply playing a fun game. Yes, this is definitely a thinking person’s game.

Game mechanics-wise, Oxygen Not Included features many different types of resources that you’ll have to manage quite carefully. This usually entails constructing some gadget or gizmo that helps you create or maintain all of the game’s resources.

You start out with your three little colonists inside of your asteroid home, the clothes on their back, basic tools, and a little bit of food. From there (and through a lot of trial and error), you’ll want to begin digging within your asteroid home to make more space for your digital people, as well as room for all of the devices you’ll eventually have to build.

The game’s title, Oxygen Not Included, is a little bit of a misnomer. That’s because oxygen is the main resource that you’ll have to rely on. I’m assuming that the developers as Klei Entertainment were simply trying to come up with a cute or catchy titles, which works fine. Besides building certain types of machines which create the all-important oxygen, you’ll have to figure out what other types of devices you’ll need to construct, which I won’t spoil for anyone in this review. Indeed, figuring things out without being constantly hand-held is much of Oxygen Not Included’s appeal.

Oxygen Not Included is a uniquely challenging game that I have spent many an hour playing and intend to spend many more on this game in the future. You can have a blast just tinkering with different machines and seeing the results they give you, without having to worry about any zombies shambling and shuffling around, trying to take bites out of your colonists. In addition to the fun survival aspects of the game, you’ll also learn real-life science, and that makes this game unusually valuable and fun to play. I’d recommend trying it out for yourself—at $24.99 (or less of course on sale), it’s practically a steal.

SCORE: 86%

Oxygen Not Included has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its survival gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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