Cosmonautica is a spaceship and crew simulation game that involves maintaining a ship and a crew, trading between planets, and fighting other ships.
The main part of Cosmonautica is maintaining your ship and the crew that you have hired. There are many ships that you can own, bigger and faster ones will cost a lot of money to acquire. Ships have lots of empty space in them which you can fill up with rooms to satisfy your crew’s needs, such as a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and a gym. Crew members have skills that determine what their jobs will be, such as piloting the ship and cooking food in the kitchen. Each calendar day is split into four sections so you can schedule when crew members do their job, and when they are allowed to have relaxing idle time. If a crew member is idling, they will go to the various rooms that have been installed on the ship to meet their needs, otherwise they will get unhappy.
Apart from managing your crew and ship, flying from space station to space station will be the main thing that you do. Space stations allow you to buy and sell cargo, get missions to complete, hire crew members, and do maintenance on your ship. As long as there are cargo holds on your ship, cargo can be bought if it is at a good price and sold to other stations to make a lot of money. Missions can range from delivering a certain type of cargo to a specific station, transporting passengers to a location, smuggling cargo, and getting rid of pirates. If the current station has a factory on it, your ship can be worked on to buy and sell rooms, do repair work, and even changing the colors of it.
Whether you are going after a pirate for a mission or run into one while traveling, combat will take you to a new screen with many things to manage. Many crew member tasks can also be used in combat, such as telling the pilot how to engage the enemy, scientists managing the shield system, and gunners manning your weapons. While combat is going on, the pirate will at times try calling you to set up some kind of deal to stop the engagement. If you are currently winning, they will offer items to you in exchange for going free, and the opposite will be the case if you are currently losing, while completely destroying a pirate will earn the most loot. Becoming a pirate will also allow you to attack neutral ships, but combat is the same otherwise.
There isn’t much skill based content in the game, so anyone should be able to enjoy the game. It is more of a numbers game where you are just trading cargo from planet to planet. There is combat, but by time you are at the point of fighting other ships, you will have plenty of guns on your ship anyways. The main campaign also acts as a tutorial somewhat as well. The game can be saved at any time, which means you can enjoy the game even if you could only play it for 5 minutes at a time. Nothing about the game is hard, except for maybe becoming a pirate and trying to smuggle goods, but even then… There is no end to the game, as it is pretty much just a sandbox. It will probably take you just a few hours to accumulate enough money to own the biggest ship, and there wouldn’t be much of anything else to do after that. A campaign does exist, but it is essentially sandbox mode with a main mission chain to follow.
The only options that exist in the game are graphical and volume options. Especially during combat, the UI and HUD feels extremely big to the point where you can barely tell what is even going on, and you can’t even change the size of it. The graphics have a cartoony look to them, but also seem kind of washed out. Even though there are graphical options, they don’t seem to make the game look as good as the settings you choose. Even with anti-aliasing turned on, the crew portraits don’t appear to be affected by it at all. Ever since the memory leak was fixed, the game runs well when maxed out.
There is a good selection of music that plays during the game. Flying through space, going to shops, and fighting other ships have many songs each that cycle through. There is currently no voice acting of any kind though. Other than the occasional crash, there didn’t seem to be any major bugs while playing through the game.
I like the idea behind Cosmonautica, but it just wasn’t executed very well. The main problem with the game is that everything feels pointless and there is nothing to it. Most of your time is spent flying from station to station, and there isn’t much of anything to do while traveling except for watching your crew walk around the ship. After obtaining the best ship in the game, which takes at most 5 hours, there isn’t much of anything else to do in the game except continuing to fly around and gain money. It is also very easy as your crew never dies, morale is very easy to manage, and combat can be completely avoided.