Usu­al­ly be­fore I go to bed, for an hour or so. Id­ly pok­ing around plan­et­s, find­ing stuff to beef up my weapon or suit or ship, chat­ting with alien­s. Ex­cept for I’ve de­cid­ed to head for the cen­ter of the galaxy, so maybe I’ll be “done” soon, what­ev­er that mean­s. This is most­ly to pass along tips and share pix.

No Man’s Sky weird plant

Shar­ing an evening vista with a weird plan­t. The lit­tle red shield means my in­ven­to­ry was (as it used to be, usu­al­ly) ful­l.

It’s an easy game · Se­ri­ous­ly. Yes there are skills you need to learn, and you’ll die a few times un­til you learn them. But dy­ing is penalty-free, be­cause you can me­an­der back to your grave and re­cov­er your stuff. Wel­l, un­less you can’t  —  maybe it’s on a wild­ly tox­ic plan­et, or you died in an un­der­wa­ter cave. But even then, you can usu­al­ly re­cov­er your sta­tus rea­son­ably eas­i­ly.

That’s why it’s good be­fore bed: Low stress, pret­ty pix­el­s, oc­ca­sion­al flash­es of won­der.

No Man’s Sky, dino shadow

One of my fave pic­s, be­cause of the di­no shad­ow.
For­tu­nate­ly the thun­der lizard was docile;
in fac­t, I’ve yet to meet any­thing both big and bad.

Land trav­el · You can get add-ons to in­crease your stami­na (how long you can run) and jet­pack ef­fi­cien­cy. I rec­om­mend mak­ing this a pri­or­i­ty, be­cause they’ll make it so much eas­i­er to get any­thing else you wan­t, planet-side. The ba­sic tech­nique goes like this: You go in­to run mod­e, then when your stami­na is get­ting low (and ide­al­ly on an up-hill) you hit the jet­pack, which keeps you mov­ing for­ward at a run­ning speed. By the time your jet’s emp­ty, your stami­na will be back.

The jet­pack in­vest­ment al­so pays off in time, the time you don’t spend climb­ing down in­to canyons and back up the oth­er side. With +5 or so in en­hance­ments, there are very few gaps you can’t fly across.

No Man’s Sky, ruin and planet

Another plan­et, an­oth­er ru­in; so pret­ty.

Your ship and your suit · Many have point­ed out that a lot of NMS is about in­ven­to­ry man­age­men­t. In­creas­ing your ship in­ven­to­ry is dif­fi­cult and time-consuming, and at the end of the day re­al­ly not worth it; my own ship doesn’t even have 30 slot­s. But I don’t care, be­cause I maxed out my suit, and that leaves me enough room for ba­si­cal­ly ev­ery­thing I need, even while car­ry­ing around ten At­las Stones.

Buy­ing a good ship costs tens of mil­lion­s; to swap up to one is hours of grind­ing back and forth plan­et­side. I nev­er had more than 4 mil­lion in mon­ey, most­ly from gold and this one plan­et full of ven­om sac­s, and I got my suit maxed out pret­ty quick.

No Man’s Sky, view out starship window

View out my star­ship wind­shield, com­ing in for a land­ing.
Still my fa­vorite part of the game.

Which weapon­s? · On the ground, you have a bolt­cast­er, a min­ing beam, and a “plasma launcher”, where by “plasma” they mean “grenade”. Throw away the bolt­cast­er. Load up on min­ing mods to speed up those nec­es­sary har­vest­ing tasks, but don’t use it as a weapon. Those grenades are all you need. They blow any­thing away, and with super-satisfying sound and vi­su­als too. Wel­l, al­most any­thing; I once got a plan­et so pissed at me that they sent a huge Im­pe­ri­al Walk­er thing and yeah, he took a few grenades and still stomped me.

The oth­er thing about the plas­ma launch­er is that you can dig right through moun­tains with it. Or, more im­por­tan­t, back out of that cave you got lost in.

At­las · I took the At­las Path and that was the on­ly place I found my­self vis­it­ing Some Other Man’s Sky. In par­tic­u­lar some­one named OMGkristy had been to al­most ev­ery plan­et along the path; odd­ly, this both­ered me.

But you get to meet Na­da and Polo, who have a fun al­beit lim­it­ed reper­toire, and the At­las In­ter­face sta­tions are cool, and when I get bored with the game, I will be able to birth a new star, as one does.

Arch and ruin in No Man’s Sky

That’s a ru­in; you can go there to learn alien word­s.

Pi­rates · The tran­si­tion be­tween they-get-you-every-time and you-usually-blow-them-away was pret­ty abrupt for me. I rec­om­mend ig­nor­ing the Pho­ton Can­non and just us­ing the beam weapon; it has auto-aim. Un­til you get a fast-cooldown mod or two you have to feath­er in­tense­ly be­cause over­heat. Th­ese days, when they at­tack me in open space they’re dead meat. The distress-signal freighter fights are more in­tense and fun, and I lost the last one I was in be­cause the freighter turned against me; I as­sume I must have shot it ac­ci­den­tal­ly while blaz­ing away at the pi­rates? When both sides in a fight are against you, well say­onara.

Any­how, the vi­su­als are great and ap­par­ent­ly the pi­rates are Orcs whom one can shoot with­out moral qualms about how their spous­es and chil­dren are gonna make the ren­t; the best kind of ad­ver­sary.

No Man’s Sky, starship window view

Isn’t that pret­ty? Un­for­tu­nate­ly, these friend­ly plant-covered plan­ets tend to be resource-poor.

Here’s an­oth­er write-up by a per­son around my age, who points out that the game suc­ceeds bril­liant­ly at repli­cat­ing the feel of clas­sic twentieth-century SciFi pa­per­back cov­er­s, and maybe that’s enough.

Fi­nal­ly, this game is a huge plat­form with lots of room to drop in new con­tent and game-play and sur­pris­es. I’ll prob­a­bly give it up soon but come back to vis­it in a few month­s.

News sup­ply · Once a day, I glance at /r/NoMan­sSkyTheGame, and find out if there’s any­thing new that might im­prove the evening’s so­journ. What­ev­er you think of Red­dit, it work­s.

The con­tro­ver­sy · But al­so, it stinks. Some­thing like 50% of all NMS on­line dis­course is “They promised us more! I want my mon­ey back! Still play­ing? You’re a lame ex­cuse for a hu­man, hope you die neen­er neener!”

No Man’s Sky, curvy plants

In gen­er­al, the plants are more beau­ti­ful,
and more plau­si­ble, than the an­i­mal­s.

Wel­l, I didn’t read much aside from that New York­er sto­ry be­fore start­ing, and I sure got my money’s worth. Yeah, there are lots of places where the game is kind of sketched in, but stil­l, there’s a lot of there there. Among which I’ll men­tion: The alien-races nar­ra­tive, the flight me­chan­ic­s, the learn-the-words game, the Atlas-Interface sound­s, the fan­tas­tic plants, the lu­di­crous an­i­mal­s, the frac­tal land­scapes, the cool way pi­rates flame out when you get ’em, and the star­ship de­signs (my own is has a strong Millennium-Falcon in­flu­ence, with a droid sock­et­ed on one wing).

Which alien­s? · I think we can all agree that the Vy’Keen are pret­ty well Space Fas­cist Scum. The Gek ap­par­ent­ly have an un­for­tu­nate his­to­ry of start­ing galac­tic wars but hey, let’s not be fussy, they’re sort of adorable. And while the Kor­vax seem to be post-Singularity in­tel­li­gences down­load­ed in­to cy­ber­net­ic host­s, I still kin­da like them. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right; but I do dream of stroking that rep­til­ian Gek skin; and their goggle-things are to die for.

No Man’s sky planet rise

Planet-rise in a semi-barren space.
Yes, the as­tron­o­my is wild­ly im­plau­si­ble.

Fave plan­et · It’s in Star Sys­tem “T. Bray Sys­tem 00032” and it’s called “T. Bray 00042 freezy”. [I’ll pause while you ad­mire my mad nam­ing skil­lz.] “00042 freezy” is a se­vere chal­lenge, no­tably in­clud­ing tem­per­a­tures that reg­u­lar­ly drop to -90°C and make your shield bar drift down vis­i­bly. But there’s a grand re­ward: Chrysonite out­crops grow­ing bright-blue ev­ery­where. The num­ber of use­ful recipes that in­clude Chrysonite is just not to be be­lieved.

That was the on­ly time in this game, so far, that I was hunched over the con­troller mov­ing lizard-fast, curs­ing wast­ed sec­onds work­ing around a moun­tain, glanc­ing ner­vous­ly at my shield-recharger sup­ply, scan­ning the land­scape fever­ish­ly for zinc plants. There are a few, but not quite enough; go in charged up.

But most­ly, it’s just those land­scapes, and fly­ing planet-to-planet.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Sean (Sep 27 2016, at 11:10)

I'm 49 and still playing. I find it soothing. Still haven't played enough to get good at smoking the pirates, but I'll get there.


From: josue salazar (Sep 27 2016, at 13:51)

I just wanted to say that this is very similar to my experiences with the game, and I'm also still playing and enjoying the relaxed environment. I have never been able to play shooters or any kind of game that requires a lot of focus and gets me all stressed. So this is very much a welcome game to my small collection.


From: Nelson (Sep 28 2016, at 00:08)

I'm so glad you're enjoying the game! I'm one of the disappointed, I think because I expected too much of it as a traditional game. It's definitely at its best when you sit back and relax and just enjoy the environments.


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September 26, 2016
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