A Quick Overview of Oxygen Not Included – Spaced Out DLC
Oxygen Not Included is one of the strangest games that I have played but in a good way. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I would say it is an ant colony management game set on an asteroid in space. The goal is to maintain a happy balance and to grow your colony as big as possible. Eventually, in the Spaced out DLC, you can build a rocket that can land on other nearby asteroids, and eventually build up into an extra-asteroidal civilization.
As you might have guessed, You will need to provide your little colony with the essentials to live, managing heat, oxygen, water, food, germs, and many other aspects. If you enjoy games like Rimworld, or Mars Trading Company, then you will probably love Oxygen Not Included.
Hello there, fellow duplicant, and welcome to the colony. Over here, you’ll find our power grid. No no, those are not hamster wheels repurposed to generate power and get you into shape so you can run stuff to areas faster. Don’t worry, you’ll have your opportunity to use those later. Over here is our bathroom, and next to that is our state-of-the-art filtration system. As you know, Oxygen Not Included, so get to work, we need to breathe!
Alright, enough fun – Hi there, Monodex here. I wanted to have a little bit of fun with the intro on this one. Game reviews are a new thing for me, so I’m still trying to figure out the best way to approach this. In this one, I want to take a more personal approach. Usually, a lot of my posts are written with me being a sort of shadow behind the knowledge, which tends to lead to very bland, but to-the-point information.
I started writing game reviews, mainly because I’ve wanted to try them, but also because I know for a fact that some games are better to stream than others. I also know that almost nobody who reviews games mentions anything about how streamable they are. That is where that “Live Streamer Value” metric comes into play.
When it comes to Oxygen Not Included, this game actually excels in this area, as there are a lot of roleplaying options you can take. Not only that, but since you can name your Duplicants at any time, you have the ability to name them from members of your audience.
If you enjoy games such as Factorio, Rimworld, Prison Architect, or other base management games, you’ll probably really enjoy Oxygen not Included, as I do.
Table of Contents
What Is a Duplicant in Oxygen Not Included?
One thing you’ll need to know before I get started in earnest in here is what a Duplicant is.
Essentially, a Duplicant is a Clone of a person in the Oxygen Not Included Colony. These clones have randomized traits or mutations that occur because the printing process is flawed. They are your worker ants, and they have needs that will need tending to keep them happy, healthy, and efficient.
What Is the Goal of Oxygen Not Included?
The official goal of Oxygen not Included is to create a thriving colony of duplicants, but the game is open-ended, so you can play however you like. Some players enjoy creating hyper-efficient machines that use blocks in special ways, such as liquifying oxygen using wire bridges made of highly thermally reactive metals. Others enjoy creating a super ranch of critters.
That is the beauty of this game – if you can dream it, you can build it. Just know that things can, and often do, go horribly wrong.
A Brief Window Into the Start of Oxygen Not Included
At the start of a new game, you spawn with three Duplicants. You get to meticulously Vette out these three Duplicants, which will allow you to pick traits that are desirable, such as a cook, a researcher, and a miner. After these initial 3, you get a chance to add a new Duplicant every 3 cycles but have no control over their traits. If you get an unwanted set of dupes, you could opt for useful materials instead.
Each level is procedurally generated through a seed and can have a variety of Biome times adjacent to your starting biome.
The initial focus is to get the bare essentials built out and dig up the area a bit to expand your base. I like to build temporary outhouses as quickly as possible because when nature calls, it stops for nothing.
Helpful Hotkeys to Know in Oxygen Not Included
Here are some helpful hotkeys to know about in Oxygen Not Included:
- Spacebar = Toggle Buildable Pause
- F1-F11 = Various overlays to view things like breathability, temperature, and more.
- Num + = Speed time Up
- Num – = Slow time down
- P = Prioritize
- WSAD = Camera Pan up, Pan Down, Pan Left, Pan Right
There are more, but these are the ones I most commonly use. Here’s a complete hotkeys list for Oxygen Not Included if you want to know more.
Another Take on Space Adventure Awaits…
Interested in Space Stuff? Check out one of the most realistic space simulators out there, Kerbal Space Program – It’s about little green men in space.
What Is Different In the Spaced Out DLC?
In the Spaced Out DLC of Oxygen Not Included, there is a stronger focus on building a rocket program, which allows you to create a small network of asteroid colonies. The starting asteroid is significantly reduced in size to make reaching the surface easier, but you can opt for a large starting asteroid if you wish. Research has also been shuffled around, including early access to inefficient rocket parts, if you want to rush into the space age.
The main problem you’ll run into is fuel – rocket engine technology requires that you fill them up with things like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and other forms of fuel. The challenge is to figure out how to produce these resources en masse. Unless your base is chocked full of Duplicants, you won’t be fueling the rocket with CO2 anytime soon. Get creative.
Flaws and the Concept of Transformation
Almost everything in Oxygen Not Included has a flaw associated with it, and those flaws give this game a sort of derpy charm. For example, shine bugs, a type of flying creature, give off light which allows your duplicants to work faster, and get a minor mood buff from the beauty they give off to the area. However, shine bugs also give off radiation, which in large quantities is harmful for obvious reasons. Radiation is bad but also needed to advance in later stages of the game.
You could, for example, use electric lights instead of relying on shine bugs for light, but they emit a lot of heat. This makes your base warm up over time, requiring you to eventually deal with heat using Thermo-regulators or other creative cooling methods.
Then you have waste disposal – If you use outhouses, they will eventually plop out a chunk of polluted dirt – aka, dupe poop. This polluted dirt emits small quantities of polluted oxygen tainted by food poisoning germs. You can compost this polluted dirt, which transforms it into usable dirt for growing crops to feed your population. Or, you can feed it to Hatches, who turn that into coal that you can burn.
You could replace the outhouse with a Lavatory, which uses up clean water, and emits polluted water. That polluted water can then go through a filtration machine called a water sieve to give you back clean water, and some polluted dirt, but consumes sand or regolith.
Everything has a cost associated with it, and it is very well balanced.
What kind of systems are in Oxygen Not Included
This game has a fairly well-polished fluid system – almost every substance has a solid, liquid, and gaseous form. In fact, things like pressure matter. If for example, you have a water tank that is over-pressurized, then the water pressure will damage the walls of its container. You can double up the thickness of the wall to better contain the pressure, or use better, more pressure-resistant materials.
If you boil water to steam, then the gas will rapidly expand to fill the area. This can result in scalding for your duplicants, and require that they take a visit to a medical cot to recover from their wounds.
Its little things like this that makes this game so interesting – I haven’t seen any other game quite like Oxygen Not Included in this regard.
How Streamable is Oxygen Not Included?
Next, I want to give Oxygen Not Included a stream rating, which is determined using a few factors:
- Game Content length
- Audience Interaction Opportunities
- Game Popularity
For Game content length, this is infinite – You can take it as far as your creativity lets you. This gives this game an easy S for this category.
Regarding audience interaction opportunities, you can name your duplicants whatever you want, meaning you can include your audience directly into your base. For those of you into role-playing, that gives you a lot of leeway to build a story involving your audience. However, since the game is single-player only, you can’t directly play with them, docking some points in this category, as not everyone is capable of weaving an improvised story like that. Even so, this game scores a C in audience interaction opportunities.
Finally, game popularity. This game is fairly popular on Twitch, with the highest viewcount stream I’ve seen at over 100 viewers. Additionally, the highest number of concurrent players of this game reached 19,511 in December 2020 according to Steam Charts. This puts it roughly in line with Space Engineers.
With all that said, Oxygen not Included is easily one of the most streamable games that I own. There are many opportunities to involve your audience in a game like this, and it can be quite entertaining to watch. This earns Oxygen Not Included: Spaced Out an A in overall streamability.
After the initial burst of playing this game for a few days, I found myself less inclined to play it as it lacks a compelling story. I’m a sucker for a good story, so I’m biased when it comes to this. Games like this that lack a story is often better to stream than story-driven ones, though, as you can weave your own tale to tell your audience using the game as a medium. This allows for an unparalleled level of replayability, which for a streamer, is pretty important.
I often find myself perusing Brothgar’s channel on YouTube for his ONI content, which I find to be both entertaining and educational. Unfortunately, he is no longer making YouTube videos. Still, all of his content is there to watch.