Any emergent crafting game that comes out usually gets hit with comparisons to Minecraft. I mean, why not? Well, Space Engineers is one of those games where it takes on the Minecraft mentality of building and creating what you want, how you want it, but it takes a huge step forward by introducing procedural physics into the mix.
I've always loved the concept of Space Engineers after first seeing the concept trailer for it. The game is still in Early Access on Steam and is still evolving, yet it's already garnered more than 250,000 units sold as of end of February. What's more is that it's playable enough that it offers some original stories (for players to tell) and gameplay that revolves around flying, mining, scavenging and destroying things.
The highlight is in how you can build and craft. The game supports Steam's Workshop so what you craft can be shared with a ton of other people. The thing that impresses me the most is in the ability to create some amazing things... and then destroy them.
I grabbed a ton of mods off Steam Workshop, most of which are just custom ship designs. While that seems like a basic thing, keep in mind that the custom ships are what make the game fun. Some of the ships are 1:1 designs, while others are basically just exterior copy cats of other popular ships, such as Planet Express from Futurama or the Normandy SR2 from Mass Effect 3, which you can check out below.
The gameplay mechanics are pretty simple: If you can play Minecraft you can play Space Engineers. It's very similar.
The highlight of the game isn't just in creating cool space ships that you can fly around and crash. There's a bit of a meta-game involved when you play online – yes, you can play online. Building your own ship and dealing with the cooperative or competitive aspects enables players to do neat things like work together on a mining or battle station, and then have to defend it when other players come to attack it.
There's a ton of potentiality with Space Engineers, mostly in regards to larger scale conflicts, especially when you start considering that the game can scale like crazy. For instance, players recreated dreadnaught class ships, carrier class ships and even titan class star destroyers from Star Wars and even EVE Online, like the Leviathan, which is so big that even a PC Master Rig will crawl to a halt trying to render more than one of those at a time.
Overall, I didn't get a chance to really play the game but I did mess around with a lot of the physics, ship mechanics and crafting. As the game evolves I can't wait to see what more the developers have in store.