Astroneer is a sweeter, more intimate No Man's Sky

Come, fly with me.

Astroneer is one of the coolest games I got to play at Pax West. It's a much more intimate, chill, and pastel-hued take on procedurally generated space exploration than, say, this year's behemoth No Man's Sky.

Made by indie studio System Era -- comprised of industry vets that shared in developer Adam Bromell's vision -- it's a much more freeform, accessible and personal view of space exploration. "We want to let players be clever and set goals for themselves," Bromell told me at the show. So there's no hand-holding, but no one will be left in the dark, either: "We want to be an accessible version of aerospace land engineering."

When we asked about the 1.8 quintillion planet elephant in the room, Bromell explained that No Man's Sky was certainly an inspiration, but Astroneer is a very, very different kind of game. Bromell told us the game was about "an intimate experience in your own solar system. We want you to get to know it really well!"

Astroneer will come to Steam Early Acess later in 2016.