Astroneer Features

The ID@Xbox self-publishing program might be Xbox One's crowning glory at the time of writing, boasting 450 titles that have notched up well over a billion hours of play, but it could do with a crown jewel. The service has seen its share of critical darlings, from Superhot to Inside, but many of its best games are multiplatform, and many of its "exclusives" appear on PCs as well - part of a much-vaunted push towards device agnosticism that often feels like it's more in the service of Windows 10 than Xbox.

Your Christmas game isn't always the one you unwrap. Sometimes it's simply the one you spend your Christmas break thinking about. In that case, there's a clear winner for me this year. Astroneer, a wonderfully pretty Early Access sci-fi survival job is my Christmas game of 2016. I loved playing it, and now I can't stop pondering it. Underneath all the easy brilliance, genre has done something slightly strange to this game, and I'm still trying to unmuddle it all.