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Oxygen Not Included – PC

Oxygen Not Included – PC

Platform: PC

Developer: Klei Entertainment 

Publisher: Klei Entertainment

Release Date: May 18th, 2017

Genre: Simulation

Nerd Rating8.5 / 10

Reviewed by Rhutsczar

I am back everybody! Your resident RPG/Sim junkie Rhutsczar has arrived with the latest addition that you didn’t know you needed. With me in my little bag of treats, I bring you the latest title from Klei Entertainment, Oxygen Not Included. From the creators of Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve TogetherOxygen Not Included is a bit of a departure from what we have come to know from Klei. However, there is enough style and signature Klei flair that even if you are remotely interested in survival or sim games you will want to get your hands on this. For those who have followed Nerd Bacon for a while, you would know that a number of our staff over the years have been fans of the Don’t Starve series.

How does this keep happening?

Now, let me take you far into the future where we can mass-produce printed clones of humans to explore the deep reaches of space. As you begin your procedurally-generated world, you are able to pick three of these replicants (help, we need a Blade Runner) to begin creating your colony. These three replicants will be the initial driving lifeforce of this new community you call home. While you start deep in the underground initially, it is highly recommended to explore and settle in quickly so your trio has a chance to survive. It is not explicitly stated how your replicants ended up in the underground instead of on the surface, but our running guess is due to their sheer incompetence.

Before we deep dive too much into the nitty-gritty of Oxygen Not Included,  let’s just make a quick note here about the AI for our replicants. First off since you are unable to control them individually, you have to hope that they will understand and follow your orders. Sure, you can manipulate the order you want your tasks completed in using the priority system but even at the highest priority, many tasks won’t be done in your designated time frame. Despite this, each replicant is unique in their skill set and can be genuinely fun to babysit. Sure you may become attached, maybe even worry about their safety. However, they will not hesitate to accidentally suffocate in a floating 1×1 block of sand.

With a title as odd as Oxygen Not Included, it should be no surprise that this isn’t just your average space colony simulator. There are quite a few common features in simulations that Klei took and threw out the window during production. First off,  you are often given a set amount of capital as a bankroll to start your latest venture just like most businesses. This time around there isn’t a currency counter (apparently we have devolved into space barbarians) and instead, Oxygen Not Included adds in a survival aspect to the mix.  Make sure you have enough food to feed your growing roster of replicants or they will starve and die. Secondly, you often have a wide amount of space to expand and grow, especially in sandbox titles. The game takes a different approach, as there is plenty of space to expand…just not necessarily enough oxygen to breathe. The list goes on and we could easily spend a couple of hours analyzing in a separate article, but we believe Klei has struck gold with a satiable balance between both simulation and survival.

Everything is so intricate.

Upon first glance, Oxygen Not Included seems like a hardcore simulation that only few could actually excel at. This is mainly due to the fact that the developers have included many statistics and so much data that it can be quite overwhelming, even for a seasoned simulation player like myself. While you can play the game with just the bare minimum on the surface, once you dive headfirst into the annals of the Oxygen Not Included you won’t be sorry.  I would like to give you a note of caution, you will not receive any help from the game’s AI. There is no tutorial and very few helpful hints. You are tossed underground and expected to excel, but if you fail you don’t just go bankrupt…you stop existing.

So if your replicants (seriously where is Deckard) are incompetent and will barely understand basic tasks, how are you supposed to actually accomplish anything? This is where you most useful tool comes into play, the “priority system”. While a bit basic in structure, this system could save your replicants lives if used properly. Every time you assign a task, you can set a value for the item/job’s priority level. The tool is automatically set at medium priority at 5, but this will cause many replicants to forget about the task if there is anything higher than a 7. With one click of your button, you can change the priority to 9, which will cause the replicants to complete it almost immediately. Try not to overload your replicants with too many priority 9 tasks, as they may become too stressed and accidentally contaminate your water supply.

Once you have a bit of a plan for making your colony feel like home, you can’t just sit there and manage the sludge. You need to go out and explore the asteroid that you have found yourself in the thick of. You obviously have to plot out the areas that need your attention of course, but most of the resources you should stockpile can be found naturally in the rock surrounding you. while you slowly explore the asteroid, however, make sure you look out for oxygen. While you can generate oxygen on your own, you will probably run out of it quickly if you can’t find any that occurs naturally.

All in all, how you advance your colony is up to you. Since there is so much complexity bubbling underneath a layer of simplicity, there is a multitude of strategies that the player can take to achieve your end goals. Are you going to be trapped in an endless feedback loop of the struggle to survive, or are you going to thrive under the pressures of this atmosphere? Will you become the space oil baron that you didn’t think you could be? Or will you find your stride in the utilization of thermal energy? These are questions that you have to ask yourself, as just as far are you willing to push your replicants?

Just on a few closing notes, Oxygen Not Included has a delightful, almost upbeat art design. We have come to understand a certain standard and style from Klei Entertainment, such as a blend of adorableness and genre elements, as this game is not an exception. The replicants are designed to appear almost Minion-like, giving them a sense of charm that will push you to let these loveable idiots survive. While it is believed that Klei hit their strive with the gothic-inspired theme of Don’t Starve, Klei’s first attempt at science fiction is completely solid.

Currently, Oxygen Not Included is still in early access despite the progress that has already been made. This just shows how much Klei actually has planned and how large of a world they want this to become. While I played one of the earlier alpha releases, Klei is constantly pushing out updates to keep Oxygen Not Included interesting. Most recently the developers have released an “Oil Update” that opens the door to an entirely new opportunity to create an energy-rich outpost for the homeworld. This is just the latest in a string of updates, as since the title is still in alpha the creators are quite active in development while still listening to the current player base to catch bugs and other headaches.

Alright, so that is it, that is Oxygen Not Included. If you are looking for your next simulation addiction or ready to dive deep into the recesses of an asteroid then you shouldn’t look any further. Klei Entertainment’s first major release outside of the world of Don’t Starve is a fantastic stand-alone title that will not only thrill you with it’s complexity and thematic approach but also annoy and terrorize you with incompetent replicant assistants. If you would like to see myself become frustrated beyond belief and play damage control for days, feel free to check out my YouTube channel. Keep dialed into Nerd Bacon for more games, especially horror, throughout the rest of October!

Written by Rhutsczar

Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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  1. The game is interesting, to say the least. Those little bastards can’t help from accidentally killing themselves.

  2. hey Brandon! welcome back my friend! the review is great and the game looks weird but cool haha


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