Cosmonautica Review


Did you ever want to play a serious and sophisticated space sim where well thought out decisions are the key to saving the universe? Well forget it, Cosmonautica by Chasing Carrots is about as far as you can get from that.

You awaken hung over and bleary eyed to the squawking of a mechanical parrot. Said bird gleefully and sadistically fills in some of the blanks in your liquor induced amnesia while also manipulating you into taking command of the S.S. Minnow… (for you younger fans, substitute “rust-bucket piece of junk” for Minnow) and the adventure begins.

As a spaceship simulator, this game doesn’t take itself seriously, actually, it doesn’t take you seriously either. You buy some rooms for your ship and hire yourself a pilot, all the while guided by the nefarious mechanical bird that seems to have an agenda of its own. 

(Someone get my mechanical cat)

The premise behind the game is a humorous attempt at managing and growing your crew while upgrading your ship through research and upgrades. Eventually, you hope to even buy a new ship. Sounds cool right? And it could have been if only it were executed well.

Managing crew, (or rather their interpersonal relations with one another), is simplistic to a fault, just make sure everyone likes the same food group, (yes I’m serious), and they will all be happy as can be in no time at all. This takes one of the core principles behind the game and dumps it in the trash can before you’ve even left space dock. Of course there is more to taking care of your crew than making sure they all get along with one another.  You have to feed them, make sure they rest, have time to play video games and relieve themselves.

(You can watch your crew take a dump you pervert you)

But while taking care of the crew is all too easy, the rest of the game turns into a huge grind due to lack of balance and pacing. You have to make money you see, and the only way to do that is by transporting goods and taking on missions, over and over and over and over… The profit margin for these missions is so small that you could find yourself flying back and forth hundreds of times just to buy a new ship or room. It doesn’t help that random events (such as a crewmember slipping on a bar of soap and suing you) only makes it harder to make money.

About those rooms, you have to research them first by buying and installing a science lab and hiring a scientist to operate it. This of course means more time flying around and getting nowhere, (like a hamster on an exercise wheel), as research takes way too long. (Grind away my captain, we have just begun).

The writing at least is amusing for the most part and at times it’s downright funny. However, there are far too many cringe worthy passages mixed in. Making matters worse, there are some bugs that will pop up from time to time, but at least the auto-save feature means you won’t lose much progress. Combat is actually pretty decent once you get the hang of it and have enough weapons, tech, shields, and crew to operate them. But to get that you need money and research, back to the grind for you!

(Yes…we have no bananas)

Cosmonautica also includes the option of playing in sand box mode rather than campaign, (it’s a trap Admiral Ackbar), don’t do it! If the campaign is a grind, then sandbox is a super grind, (imagine all the faults of the campaign without the few saving graces it provides). All in all, I get the impression of a pretty decent concept that was executed very poorly and could have benefited from six more months in Beta. That said, the game does have a certain charm, (like a bad accident that you just can’t stop staring at).


  • Quirky story that doesn’t take itself seriously
  • Some genuine funny moments
  • Interesting Combat
  • Some cool but funky ship customization


  • Too much of a grind
  • Too much of a grind, (yes it is bad enough that I’m listing it twice)
  • Buggy
  • Small variety of ships to choose from

In conclusion, if you’re a bit of a glutton for punishment and want to see what “Firefly” on acid would have been like, wait for a sale and grab it at GOG or Steam for the price of a cup of coffee, if on the other hand you’re looking for a serious well balanced sim, stay away… far far away.  No, further than that.

In all seriousness though. I wrote this tongue-in cheek, much like the game itself. If you’re looking for some easy going fun that won’t stress you out, this game may just provide the fix you’re craving. It may not have much replay value as it stands, but I can appreciate the attempt to offer something different and “lite” to us spacers, (or was that spaced out gamers).

4 thoughts on “Cosmonautica Review

  1. The combat that you have described sounds like the strong point of the game. I don’t mind the ‘Fallout Shelter’ style of management system but in my experience its not always reliable that they are performing duties. Nice review though Gauis.

    1. The combat is pretty fun once you get used to it and will alleviate some of the grind to get cash as you can hunt Pirates instead. The management as you say is not reliable. For example, you could have crew quarters with two bunks total. Theoretically if you assign different shifts to the crew, this should be enough to sleep four crew members, yet many times they want to go to sleep at the same time and will just do it on the floor. Of course they don’t get good rest that way so you have a problem.
      Six more months in Beta would have done a world of good for this game, I stand by that statement as the lack of quality control becomes obvious very quickly.

  2. Unfortunately the trades are manual. You dock at a planet, buy some wares and fly to a different planet, (within the same system at first) to sell them, you cannot automate this, only speed up the passage of time. All the while, during space flight, you watch your crew do their tasks, eat, sleep and yes, take dumps.
    The only way to get a listing is by checking the planets that you can get to. This will give you some info on what they produce and what they need, it’s better than nothing but not an elegant way of doing things.
    Combat is real time and reminds me a bit of Sid Meiers Pirates. It does take some skill and an understanding of when to release that deadly torpedo or activate shields, heck if you have a hacker and the right facility aboard, you can even use that option against your foe.
    It isn’t much my style either but I went on a binge when GOG was running a sale and picked up several games for less than twenty euro, this was one of them. It isn’t too bad when I’m in the right frame of mind, it is tortuous when I’m not

  3. Nice review, not really my style of game. But have a few questions.
    – Is there any automation for this? You mention maybe having to do hundreds of trades are these something you have to do manually.
    – Is there some sort of tradeport commodities listing so you know where to travel to get the best deal for your resources?
    – Is combat turn-based and 2D?

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