No Man's What?

Have you been living under a rock for the past few years? Are you unaware of the 'game' known as No Man's Sky? Well, then you are silly.

I've played a few hours of the PS4 version and I think it's probably about time I stuck some notes down.

What's The Game About?

Well, that's an easy question. No Man's Sky is basically an entire galaxy for you to play around in.

What's The Game About?

I just said... was it not clear? It's an entire frickin' galaxy. You've got a spaceship and a spacesuit and a jetpack and... well, the rest is up to you.

What's The Game About?

Oh, FFS. Think Survival Mode from Minecraft and put it in space.

At least, that's how I see it. A huge, interstellar sandbox for me to lose myself in. The problem appears to be that people want more... direction. They don't seem to be happy with "Here are the systems - go nuts buddy!" anymore.

Now I'm assuming NMS has tried to address this with the Atlas thing - a big, red sphere that gives you a couple of options right at the start of the game. The thing is, I told it to bugger off and leave me to explore on my own, so I'm not entirely sure of what it actually has to offer. I've subsequently met an alien that basically gave me what seemed like a second chance to follow the Atlas' directions, but I told him where to go too.

The long and the short of it is that the game is about the stories that emerge from it. Everyone will have their own experience. Everyone will have a tale to tell.

I, for one, welcome our Alien Overlords.

A Song Of Ice And More Ice

Right now, my own story is still pretty embryonic. I'm in my third or fourth system, on a planet I have name Frozonia - due to the ridiculously low temperatures. Still, that's better than the toxic and irradiated lumps I've visited prior to this. At least you can mitigate the cold by resting inside structures or caves until your temperature returns to normal, unlike the other planets which require a constant top up of your hazard protection.

Shortly before arrival, I had managed to trade in my starter ship to one that was slightly less rubbish. Emphasis on the slightly - I think this new one had maybe 2 more slots or something. I had also seen that there was a hefty bonus for finding and scanning all of the wildlife on the planet, so that became my aim. I would find all the creatures, name them appropriately and only then would I be able to move on.

As luck would have it, I arrived on the planet by following a beacon which lead me straight to a trading post. This would form my base of operations during my stay. I would venture forth, discover stuff then return to sell the resources for huge profit. Also, the station appeared to be located in a large, hard to miss basin which was also home to many different lifeforms.

Part Stegosaur, part Rat. Obvious, really.
I dutifully began tagging - the clumsy Lumpwolf, the almost familiar Choconope, and something that can only be described as a four-legged dick with an aggressive streak a mile wide. Dispatching said dick-beast with my trusty bolt caster, I also came across a cave. Not only did this provide a modicum of shelter from the freezing cold, but it was also littered with Vortex Cubes or something. Turns out, these are quite a lucrative little commodity, so I started shuttling back and forth to the Trading Post to make a tidy little packet.

With the cave depleted, it was time to cast my net a bit further. There were still plenty of species to find - the snouted Flørpian, the elusive, flittering Butterbat - and I'd have to look a lot harder to find them.

Occasionally, a storm would roll in and the temperature would drop alarmingly fast. Being so far away from any kind of shelter, my only recourse was to make my own. This was achieved by a liberal sprinkling of plasma grenades to blast a hole in the ground and tunnel beneath the surface. I could then use this burrow as a shelter during the storm, never venturing too far from its warm embrace while the weather raged. It really did put me in mind of the first night you experience in Minecraft, cowering in your shack made of dirt, listening to the groans of the undead all around you.
If only The Jam knew.

On one of my forays, I found some kind of device that, upon activation, allowed me to search for a certain type of signal. I'd seen a few of these before and I'd normally plump for Monolith so that I could increase my language ability. This time, however, I went for the Beacon option and, sure enough, it found one not too far away.

It turns out this signal was an automated distress beacon from a crashed spaceship. Now in most games, this spaceship would simply be terrain, an obstacle or purely window-dressing for loot containers.

Not so, No Man's Sky.

The ship was an actual ship - albeit one in a terrible state of repair. Hyperdrive, Launch Thrusters, Pulse Drive and Shields were all busted. As were a few of the mods. Most interestingly though, I would be able to claim this as my own ship for no money at all.

And this one had more slots!

So the old warhorse was binned off and I basically started the first part of the game again - searching for pieces that could get this new clunker off the ground and into the black where it belongs.

My new ride. The Green On Green.
And that's just the start of this story.

Of course, if you know how the sausage is made even slightly, it's quite easy to see the systems at work here. But that in no way detracts from the pure technical achievement. Also, if you're not prepared to have your own narrative running in your head and be able to set your own goals, then this might not be the game for you in the long term.

But for me, it's excellent.

Now, where can I find the stuff I need to build an Atlaspass v1...


  1. I still don't get it. Its like a sandbox where all I can do is pick up sand and use it or swap it for other sand. And when I travel, I get different coloured sand....there's nothing to it?!!

    1. It's not an 'achievement'-based game. It is what you make it. Sure, the interface involves a lot of material gathering (and is super super clunky - why all the holding?!), but that's just a part of it. It helps to have the voices in your head providing a narrative.

  2. Oh and the aim of the game is to collect sand, whilst on your way to the sandpit...


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