What’s the plot of No Man’s Sky? The simple answer: you’re a space explorer who wakes up on an alien planet, without any memory of how you got there. You’ve got to repair your ship, take off into space, and explore the galaxy for answers. Along the way, you’ll discover endless new species of flora and fauna, fight enemies on land and in space, make connections with likeminded explorers, and more, as you search for the answers to the universe’s mysteries and your own.
The more accurate, less simple answer? The plot is whatever you want it to be. This is the largest, most complex open world game of all time.
“Open world” games invite players to wander their environments, free from the rigid, linear maps of old-school video games. Maybe you’re a knight crossing the hills of a medieval fantasy world to find magical artifacts, or a bad-seed gunslinger, ruthlessly galloping through the West in search of infamy and fortune. These games have primary missions, or “stories,” that players spend vast amounts of time finishing, along with plenty of side adventures along the way.
But the greatest thing about open world games, especially for a casual gamer? You don’t need to follow the storyline to have a great time. That’s the whole point of the open world. The bigger the map, the more potential for exploring it for your own purposes and at your own pace — and where those other open world games offer a continent or a planet to map out, No Man’s Sky offers something much, much more expansive. In fact, it’s almost unfathomably large.
Your character wakes up on one planet, but No Man’s Sky has 255 entire galaxies’ worth of planets to explore, totaling up to more than 18 quintillion worlds. It would take you nearly 585 billion years to see them all. No, that’s not a typo.
Mindboggling in size and scale, No Man’s Sky flips the typical video game experience on its head. There really isn’t any beating this game. You could finish the primary storyline, sure, but with an open world so enormous, is that really the true purpose of the game?
In that way, No Man’s Sky does something revolutionary in today’s culture: it asks you to stop thinking of life as a competition, to break away from the mindset ingrained in all of us from year one, and retrain yourself to find pleasure in slowness. Explore. Breathe. Slow down. Enjoy the scenery.