Best Indie Games of 2017 – #9: Oxygen Not Included

The ninth place in our list goes to space survival game Oxygen Not Included.

Oxygen Not Included is a space-colony simulation game. Manage your colonists and help them dig, build and maintain a subterranean asteroid base. You’ll need water, warmth, food, and oxygen to keep them alive, and even more than that to keep them happy.

Klei Games’ Oxygen Not Included had to make it into our top ten list.  Though the game is only in early access on Steam, there’s so much to do.  And so many ways to die.  Perhaps you haven’t built enough medical facilities and your colonists die of food poisoning.  Or perhaps they die of thirst, or hunger, or as oxygen isn’t included, suffocate?  While they’re not dying, your colonists will set to work on whatever tasks you have set them, building new facilities or researching new tech.

Careful resource management is important if you want to succeed in Oxygen Not Included.  You’ll have a total amount of calories available to your colonists (sometimes less than a bargain bucket).  If one of your colonists is particularly greedy, you’ll need to take extra care here, as I’ve had more than 20,000 calories scoffed by a single person.  Of course, hence the name, your oxygen levels need careful micro management, unless you want to watch your colonists die a slow and painful death.

I hope you remember your GCSE (or equivalent) chemistry, as your survival can depend on it.  You’ll need to combine your tech and facilities in order to flourish, for example you can use hydrogen to produce energy, which you then harness to produce water.

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If you’ve played other Klei Games releases, such as Don’t Starve Together, you’re going to feel right at home with Oxygen Not Included.  The art style is instantly recognisable, and that’s no bad thing.  Every single aspect of the game just works, the characters and their expressions, the lighting, atmosphere, the lot.

There’s no date for full release yet, with development continuing into 2018.  For the console gamers there’s also no sign of a port, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting one – Don’t Starve together was awesome on PS4.

Developers Klei Games say of their decision to release Oxygen Not Included for early access:

Since 2012, Klei has used Early Access as a tool to gather feedback and build our games in collaboration with our community, producing games like Don’t Starve, Don’t Starve Together and Invisible Inc.. We’ve found this process works for us, and we hope you find it works for you, too.

It certainly works for me.  I’ve had such a laugh playing Oxygen Not Included, and can’t wait to see what more will come as the game grows.  It also seems to work for the community as a whole, with 91% of players on Steam giving a positive rating.

If you’re interested in playing the early access version, you can pick up Oxygen Not Included on Steam for £18.99 ($25.40).  That might seem a bit steep for an early access game, but there’s undoubtedly more content than you’d find in some full releases, so you’ll certainly be getting an awful lot of game, even if the oxygen isn’t included.

Check back tomorrow for our 8th pick.  If you missed our previous article for the 10th best indie game of 2017, check out our thoughts on Brawlhalla.