Review: Oxygen Not Included (Steam)

This is the best game I've ever hated. This adorable and highly addictive game is for people who feel that nuclear physics aren't challenging enough. Even on easy/casual mode (and thank god there's an easy mode), this is the most challenging resource management game I've ever played--and not for the wrong reasons, as is so often the case with these sorts of games. The artificial intelligence for your sims is surprisingly well-implemented, the ability to prioritize tasking on the fly is flawless, and you don't have to micromanage your sims just to get them to eat and sleep as needed. The "every three days" respawn point that awards you a new person or "care package" of needed stuff is highly addictive and pings my ADHD brain juuuust right.

That said, holy cow this game is HARD. You need oxygen? You'll install an algae terranium to turn carbon dioxide (which your sims keep selfishly exhaling) into oxygen. But they produce polluted water, which means you need to invent electric wiring, manual hamster-wheel generators, and a water sieve to turn that polluted water back into clean drinkable water. Which you need because your crops (and algae) keep drinking all your water. But those generators are heating the colony air over time (so much running, so much exercise!) which raises the ambient temperature in your gardens, which means your plants won't grow. Time to either starve to death or invent a complex system of hydrogen-based cooling and air ducts to cool the place down. Whoops, you're out of clean water because your crops were thirsty while you were inventing all that!

Seriously, this is the most realistic space-building sim I've ever played. It's adorable and addictive and I am *very bad* at it. I hate it so much, lol, but I highly recommend it for people who are, well, smarter than I am. I'm going back to lurk in the dark ages with my medieval sims who never ask me to invent anything higher than the Iron Age.


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