No Man's Sky

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
No Man's Sky Game Poster Image
Evolving sci-fi tale spans vast galaxy with endless play.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Entertains through the thrill of exploration, discovery, and crafting. Sometimes seems to suggest that the universe and its creatures exist solely for our exploitation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player's character is an explorer. His goal is whatever the player chooses it to be: discovering worlds, documenting plants and animals, uncovering and building new technologies, or learning alien languages. But the player can also choose to take on a more aggressive role, attacking peaceful alien creatures to harvest their resources or even just for fun.

Ease of Play

Simple, accessible controls for movement and combat should prove familiar to most players, but the complexities of various systems -- including inventory and crafting -- could take a lot longer for many players to fully understand. 

Violence

Players use sci-fi guns and melee attacks against robotic drones and a mix of tame and aggressive alien wildlife. Battles take place from both a first- and third-person perspective and include explosions and bursts of light, but no blood or gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that No Man's Sky is a first- and third-person sci-fi simulation game where players explore a virtually endless universe filled with massive planets, alien life, and technological secrets. The bulk of the game is composed of exploring, discovering, and using resources to craft new items and technologies. Players spend much of their time searching for rare minerals, which can come from crates, plants, rocks, and even animals, perhaps sending the message that the universe and all within it exists for us to exploit as we like. Players can also engage in battle with aliens and machines -- including those that pose no threat, should they choose (though most creatures will fight back if attacked, and many are much more powerful than the player's character). The gun-based combat involves explosions and bursts of light, but no blood or gore.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 5-year-old Written byDaniel H. March 8, 2018

Good for nurturing curiosity and inquisitiveness

My 5 year old son loves this game, it is easy to play and a completely open space to explore. He does not understand the core premise of the game, such as craf... Continue reading
Adult Written byNed 4 Sped December 23, 2016

Appropriate for all ages, but failed to live up to critic's hype

This game is to start off, not a horrible game. If this game seems as if it appeals to you, then it probably does; but it's gameplay is incredibly repetiti... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byPme1223 February 15, 2019

MY FAVORITE GAME OF ALL TIME!!!!

18 quintillion planets. Infinite freedom. Build. Fight. Discover. Blaze your own trail.
Teen, 15 years old Written byorcathunder16 June 18, 2018

AWESOME GAME!

This is a great game for kids and adults alike, the game will teach good character traits and skills that will help them benefit further into life. For example,... Continue reading

What's it about?

NO MAN'S SKY begins with the player's character stranded with a broken ship on a random planet near the outer rim of the galaxy. It's up to you to explore, discover, and figure out where to go and what to do. You'll begin by searching the nearby area to find crates, plants, rocks, and animals capable of supplying the minerals needed to fix key parts of your ship. Once it's fully repaired, you'll fly to the stars, eventually traveling to any point of light you like. There are literally billions of unique, randomly generated suns in the game, each with its own set of enormous planets and moons, many teeming with their own types of plants and animals, some of which are dangerous. For defense, your character is armed with a gun that can also be used to break apart rocks and destroy barriers. A lengthy story involving the discovery of alien secrets is available, but it's up to you to decide where to go and what to accomplish. You'll gradually discover recipes for new technologies -- better ship parts and improved equipment -- that encourage you to hunt for rare minerals, land in space stations to trade items and buy better ships, and encounter ancient alien relics that help you slowly learn alien languages. As the game progresses, you'll learn to build bases anywhere you like on any planet you visit as well as begin putting together and taking command of fleets of enormous freighters that can help with resource collection and movement around the galaxy. It's a shared universe, so you can choose to adventure with small groups of friends or strangers, but the entire game can be experienced playing solo. 

Is it any good?

Few games made by only a handful of people are more ambitious than this space adventure. No Man's Sky provides us with a randomly generated universe nearly as big as the one we physically inhabit, making the possibilities for discovery virtually endless. The unexpected things you'll find and the places you'll see in the opening hours hint at the vast, essentially infinite scope of the experience. And this huge game has continued to evolve during the first couple of years after launch with free content and feature updates, such as the ability to view your (newly customizable) astronauts from a third-person perspective and find other players with whom to go on shared adventures. Better still is the ability to build colonies and bases anywhere you like and create and command fleets of freighters. These additions provide a bit of much-needed automation while also making it easier to transport resources and travel to previously visited locations. The story has continued to grow as well, with new quests and a dynamic story that provides a deeper understanding of the universe we explore. You can spend dozens of hours chasing down answers to ancient mysteries, or you can spend just as much time simply trying to get lost in the cosmos to see what you can find and what sort of amazing items you can craft. It's all up to you.

But there are a few chinks in No Man's Sky's armor of freedom. Perhaps the most frustrating thing players will encounter at the start is the small and restrictive inventory. You'll find all sorts of elements and items you'll want to collect, but within the first hour, you'll likely need to start prioritizing which ones to keep and which to leave behind as empty slots fill up. Also tiresome is the need to spend time searching for and harvesting basic elements and resources. Standing in one spot vacuuming up copper or iron for a long time -- hoping that sentinel robots don't spot you and begin attacking -- gets old within the first few hours of play. By hour 20 or 30, you'll be wishing desperately that you could craft a Star Trek replicator that could just spit out whatever you happened to need at the moment. Even with these problems, though, No Man's Sky is well worth playing simply to experience what it's like to explore a nearly endless galaxy full of wonders.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about technology addiction. A game like No Man's Sky never really ends, which means some players could keep playing for months or even years, so how do you enjoy a game that can consume countless hours while ensuring you don't overdo it?

  • Do you find exploration in the real world exciting or scary? What rewards come with going places you've never been and discovering new things? Do you think there are any places left on our planet that people have yet to explore?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

Themes & Topics

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