25 Best sci-fi games to travel into the future with

The best sci-fi games are home to all kinds of exciting experiences of varying shapes and sizes. With adventures that will take you to shapeshifting worlds in the likes to Returnal, to memorable storylines and characters found in the likes of BioWare’s beloved Mass Effect trilogy, there are so many fantastic sci-fi games to be found across all playstyles and platforms. So whether you’re looking for your next space-faring adventure, or you’re looking to play something set in a sci-fi world you love, our list is here to help. Read on below to find our pick of the 25 best sci-fi games you can play right now.  

Best sci-fi games

25. VA-11 Hall-A 

best sci-fi games - VA-11 Hall-A

(Image credit: Sukebean Games)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Switch
Developer: Sukeban Games

In this visual novel slash bartending sim set in future San Francisco, you serve androids, cat girls and hackers, among others. Each of your customers comes to you with their drink orders and their worries, and thanks to great writing, your chats with the people on the other side of the bar do not only feel realistic but leave you thinking about modern life and the direction we as humans are taking. 

Even though you only hear from the outside world in snippets, VA11 HALL-A’s cyberpunk SF feels fully realized, it’s people grappling with many of the same problems we’re already dealing with now.

24. X-COM 2

best sci-fi games - xcom 2

(Image credit: Firaxis Games)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Developer:
Firaxis Games

The innovative X-COM style of combat as conceived by Julian Gollop is so popular it’s now a brand of its own, inspiring many other games. The theme of an alien invasion on the other hand is as classic as they come. 

Films and literature have always made us want to become heroes who take on the intruders from up above, but X-COM turns that pretty simple premise into a highly tactical nail-biter that will have you invested in your squad not only because of the danger of losing the squad members with the best stats to permadeath but also because we humans get attached to the things we get to give silly names. X-COM 2 is bigger and not always better than its predecessor, but the War of The Chosen DLC’s campaign adds a lot to the fun.

23. RimWorld

best sci-fi games - rimworld

(Image credit: Ludeon Studios)

Platform(s): PC
Developer: Ludeon Studios

Another great colony builder on this list, RimWorld lets you grow and manage a space civilization to the point at which you actually get to build your own spaceship and go home.

What makes this game stand out is that it isn’t simply about buildings and crafting recipes. Your people, elsewhere just a visual representation of stats to keep an eye on, have their own stories, form relationships and generally really need your help, which is why you manage them right down to their psyche, a pretty fantastic concept, intricately implemented.

22. Observation

best sci-fi games - observation

(Image credit: Annapurna)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: No Code

With Observation, developer No Code wanted to make a game that’s basically 2001: A Space Odyssey from the perspective of the ship’s artificial intelligence. While the gameplay may take some time to get used to, Observation simply oozes atmosphere. All the details of a real NASA space station have been implemented in the virtual version you inhabit, and player actions closely mirror what real astronauts have to do in order to deal with difficult situations. Things get dark as soon as the story adds a pinch of the supernatural, using the various theories surrounding interdimensional travel to create an interesting, if slightly confusing, whole.

21. Into The Breach 

best sci-fi games - into the breach

(Image credit: Subset Games)

Platform(s): PC, Switch
Developer: Subset Games

Into the Breach simply is a great turn-based strategy game for those who like to make difficult calls, you know from the beginning that you won’t be able to make it out of a battle completely unscathed. 

The aliens that oppose you are too many, too ruthless, to allow you to win without making sacrifices, and there are simultaneously so many options for what to do next that you just end up staring at your mechs and oddly cute aliens for minutes at a time. The endless nature of the game, made possible through time travel, makes you wonder whether you can ever truly win, but once you’ve funneled hundreds of hours into sessions, you’ve probably long given up on the notion.

20. Tacoma

best sci-fi games - tacoma

(Image credit: Fullbright)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Fullbright

Sci-fi games often assume that the practices in place now will be in places many many years from now, their effects exacerbated. That’s true for the depiction of the gig economy in Fullbright’s walking simulator Tacoma. As someone hired by an intergalactic insurance company, you find yourself on the spaceship Tacoma, puzzling together what has happened to its crew via the ship computer’s last recordings. 

Fullbright games shine thanks to consistently great dialogue. It’s a feat that even in a game with a fairly short runtime, you will come to care so much for characters you can’t even see, learn about their pasts and their dreams and thus start to root for them. For how it efficiently does a lot with seemingly little, Tacoma is one of the best narrative games out there, and definitely some of the absolute best the walking sim genre has to offer.

19. Detroit: Become Human

best sci-fi games - detroit: become human

(Image credit: Quantic Dreams)

Platform(s): PC, PS4
Developer: Quantic Dream

Developer Quantic Dream uses its patented lightly interactive gameplay in a story about the rebellion of household androids in the near future. Detroit: Become Human impresses with its immense number of possible outcomes, both to the ending of the game and the relationships of characters among each other, but also to hundreds of seemingly small decisions. It’s a gorgeous game with a cast that’s sure to give you the feeling of playing an interactive movie that the studio was going for.

18. No Man’s Sky

best sci-fi games - no man's sky

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S Xbox One, PS5, PS4
Developer: Hello Games

The pull of No Man’s Sky is pretty easily explained – sheer freedom. With its procedurally generated planet, there’s always something new to explore, and a plethora of crafting options will have you boldly go where no man has gone before in order to collect and refine ores and flesh-eating plants.

If you haven’t played the game, now is the best time to do so, as many big updates have made No Man’s Sky into something much more intriguing than it was at launch, and now accommodates both the need to just relax and take a few nice screenshots and to get into wild battles with the local fauna.

17. Stellaris

best sci-fi games - stellaris

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4
Developer: Paradox Development Studio 

To play Stellaris is to make a pretty large commitment – you haven’t played a 4x grand strategy game before, there’s a steep learning curve to deal with, and once you’re comfortable, there are just heaps and heaps of DLC to keep you playing. But the beauty of this game lies just in that love for detail. Once you’ve painstakingly built a colony on a planet and watched your civilization grow, you don’t want it to perish at the hands of invaders, and you do want to ensure their success across the galaxy. 

Stellaris shines especially because it puts a lot of stock into your species and their individual behavior, and because it uses Total War-esque crisis events for the endgame to keep things balanced.

16. EVE Online

best sci-fi games - eve online

(Image credit: Frontier)

Platform(s): PC
Developer: CCP

Much like Minecraft, EVE Online is one of those games that show how massively creative a gaming community can become. It’s almost a possible version of our future, as players are dropped somewhere in space and need to engage with the virtual society and economy to keep the game running. The most well-known part of EVE Online however, are likely the large-scale intergalactic wars in massive spaceships. Its completely communal nature has garnered EVE a lot of attention outside of traditional gaming spaces – it’s been discussed as an experiment of human self-organisation and exhibited at the MoMa in New York and the V&A in London, citing player’s social achievements.

15. Nier: Automata

nier: automata

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: PlatinumGames

It doesn’t get more sci-fi than robots fighting a proxy war for the glory of mankind, but Nier: Automata goes deeper than that. If you’re looking for a game that discusses similar topics as Detroit: Become Human with a little more depth (but similar amounts of drama) and you enjoy challenging action and bullet hell combat, Nier: Automata is unmissable. Don’t let the anime look fool you – the subjects of morality and autonomy are handled with great care, all within the package of a great action title.

14. Destiny 2

best sci-fi games - destiny 2

(Image credit: Bungie)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4
Developer:
Bungie 

Bungie’s next big foray into space after Halo never got its story off the ground in the way many of us hoped, but it’s still one of the most engrossing looter shooters out there, chiefly because there’s always something to do. By now Destiny 2 is free to play, and you don’t even have to have played the first Destiny to find your way around. 

As is often the way with games as service, over the years Destiny 2 just grew, and by now, especially if you’re committed to playing the full package with DLC, you get not only a good-looking game with fun raids, but also a campaign experience that does the story justice.

13. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

best sci-fi games - star wars jedi: fallen order

(Image credit: EA)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4
Developer: Respawn

A list of sci-fi games is nothing without one of the absolute evergreen franchises of the genre. While there are a lot of Star Wars games, and many of them have something going for them (Knights of the Old Republic!), they do look their age. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is just incredibly modern with its lush looks and Dark Souls-style combat. Being a Jedi has simply never felt as fluid or satisfying, and the story works even if you haven’t studied Star Wars lore for decades.

12. Outer Wilds

best sci-fi games - outer wilds

(Image credit: Mobius Digital)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Developer: Mobius Digital

Games are about exploration, about traversal, and about uncovering secrets. Seldom has a game captured the feeling of giddy discovery as well as Outer Wilds. You go out to uncover the history of a prior civilization in your little solar system, because solving the mysteries they themselves were working on it the only way to save everything you’ve come to know from certain doom. That may sound very stressful, but a weird tranquillity sets in wherever you’re creeping through a cave on the hunt for left-behind messages or meet a previous explorer on his lonesome near a campfire.

Ironically, sometimes you need exactly what Outer Wilds doesn’t endorse – patience. Some pathways can only be found if you’re willing to let the planets and their carefully thought-out physics do their thing, and sometimes the journey can get lonely. Stunningly, that makes the payoff even bigger when you find a hint and the hunt for your ancestors suddenly looks promising again.

11. Doom (2016) 

best sci-fi games - doom

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Developer: id Software

Do you like “badass demons, big guns and moving really fast”? According to executive producer Marty Stratton, that makes Doom the game for you. It’s also a staple in sci-fi games, aka the genre in which everything in our future that can go wrong will go wrong. (Listen, just don’t harvest energy from Hell and you’ll be fine.) What you get is an incredible visceral, fast-paced shooter that doesn’t really have any comparable competitors out there. Doom is a raw power-trip of an FPS with satisfying shooting that everyone can get into – for good reason it’s made the top of GamesRadar’s list of best FPS games (opens in new tab) of all time.

10. Returnal

Returnal

(Image credit: Housemarque)

Platform(s): PS5
Developer: Housemarque

Returnal sees you take on the role of Selene, who crash lands on a shape-shifting world that is continuously changing. As you fight to survive in this strange landscape that’s home to ancient civilization, death means starting over and beginning the journey anew. As a roguelike, you’ll be faced with a variety of challenges to overcome and you’ll never quite know what you’ll go up against next as the world changes with every attempt. The procedural world and the endless cycle find a perfect home in the sci-fi genre. 

9. Dead Space 2 

best sci-fi games - dead space 2

(Image credit: Visceral Games)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One (backwards compatibility)
Developer: Visceral Games

Combat in Dead Space is actually not all too different from Doom – while you play from a third-person perspective, the general idea is still to enter a room, figure out where your enemies are coming from, and then try to dispatch them one by one in an orderly manner. Where Doom was made to make you feel powerful, Dead Space, and especially Dead Space 2, the best installment of the series, is frankly terrifying. It was the best kind of Alien-style game before the release of Alien: Isolation, and it plays with your constant sense of anticipation as you creep ahead in the dark. 

Dead Space 2 gets you time and again with its jump scares, even though or especially because you know they’re coming, and even though you have a multitude of weapons to defend yourself with, this is a game that makes it very clear that you’re fleeing for your life.

8. Alien: Isolation

best sci-fi games - alien isolation

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Developer: Creative Assembly

Game adaptations of films are often questionable at best (and vice versa!), but with this survival horror game, Creative Assembly delivered proof that it can be done if you know what makes the source material so beloved. More than thirty years after its release, Ridley Scott’s Alien is still terrifying. If it’s not broken there’s no need to fix it, so it made sense not to change the original idea and simply put players in the shoes of a character, in this case Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda, hiding for her life. 

In Alien: Isolation, everything just works together to transport you straight into the film, from the art direction to the story and of course the brilliant AI of the alien we all…love?

7. The Outer Worlds

best sci-fi games - outer worlds

(Image credit: Obsidian)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment 

One of 2019’s most successful games, the Outer Worlds combines many of the elements people like about the Fallout games, including corporate satire, quirky companions and RPG elements. Unlike Fallout, however, at about 15 hours for the main campaign, this is the perfect game to not lose your entire life over while still enjoying the full experience. 

Similarly, the narrative doesn’t ask for too much commitment – it deals with the well-known trope of the evil megacorporation you so often see in sci-fi, but in a genre where things can often get dark, the humor is refreshing.

6. Prey (2017)

best sci-fi games - prey

(Image credit: Best Buy)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4
Developer: Arkane Studios

Science fiction wouldn’t be the same without alternate timelines to change the course of the human race. In Prey, the failed assassination of John F. Kennedy accelerates research into space, leading to the establishment of the Talos I, an intergalactic research station built to examine the Typhon, a newly-discovered alien race. As numerous examples have already shown, researching potentially deadly aliens all alone out in space is generally a really bad idea, but Prey is more than another solid first-person shooter.

What makes it so interesting is the thoughtful approach to a well-known subject, asking you to make moral choices that can lead to different, equally stunning outcomes. Fans of Arkane’s Dishonoured likely know what type of storytelling to expect, if you’re looking for something both chilling and surprising you can’t go wrong with Prey.

5. The Bioshock Collection

best sci-fi games - bioshock

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Developer: 2K / Irrational Games

Bioshock is a classic among the sci-fi games with an alternate timeline. For once you’re not going into space, but deep underwater in order to explore Rapture (or the lofty heights of the steampunk city Columbia in Bioshock: Infinite), a city that ate itself. The series is thrilling, from battles with mutated drug addicts to its consistently dark, surprising story that stands among the best for the shooter genre. While it’s not for the faint of heart, no one’s ever made such an intriguing mix of philosophy and horror before or since.

4. Mass Effect 2

best sci-fi games - mass effect 2

(Image credit: BioWare)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5
Developer: BioWare

10 years on, the saga of Commander Shephard and their crew is still one of the best and most engrossing sci-fi RPGs out there. And with the Mass Effect Legendary Edition bringing the second entry in the stellar trilogy back with enhanced visuals and improvements, now’s a great time to experience Shepard’s space-faring adventure for the first time, or all over again. It’s imbued with the soul of Star Trek – a close-knit crew ventures out into space to solve political tensions, eventually coming across an alien threat. 

Mass Effect features epic shootouts in space, but thanks to great writing it shines more for its characters. Getting to know your favourite and romancing them has become just as important as the action, if not more so. Fighting evil and smooching aliens – what’s not to like? Mass Effect 2 also has the best story of the series, and it works even if you haven’t played the first one.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

best sci-fi games - deus ex: human revolution

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One (backwards compatibility)
Developer: Eidos Montreal

The prequel to the original Deus Ex from 2000 paints a fascinating vision of our future, in which human augmentations have become the norm. This is a game about interesting societal conflict between those in favor of augmentations and those who aren’t, and it’s asking you to pick sides frequently. Your decisions have lasting consequences not just in conversations, but also affect your surroundings. How you choose to augment protagonist Adam Jensen to unlock new paths and skills adds a Metroidvania quality to game progression, and you always have multiple ways to solve situations in this dark, but lovingly realized version of our future.

2. Portal 2

best sci-fi games - portal 2

(Image credit: Valve)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One (backwards compatibility), Switch
Developer: Valve

Some ideas are just perfect for games, and Portal 2’s teleportation gun testing facility was just great for a plethora of challenging puzzles. The variety Valve came up with is still astounding, and since then the game’s community has added so much of value to Portal II in form of additional levels and fan games. Portal II is also one of the few puzzles that doesn’t skimp on a really fun story, complete with great voice acting. Simply put, this is an evergreen, and by now the portal gun has become a piece of pop culture history.

1. Half-Life 2

best sci-fi games - half-life 2

(Image credit: Valve)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One (backwards compatibility)
Developer: Valve

It’s ok to admit that Half-Life 2 has aged a bit, but only if you look at it from a purely visual standpoint. Once you play this first-person shooter, if you haven’t already, you’ll realise that a lot of the aspects that make other games on this list great originated with the Half-Life franchise. It was the pinnacle for graphical achievement at the time, and still stands out for its great environmental storytelling, and it engagingly tells the by now tried and tested story of the alien invasion. 

It also gave you a lot of freedom for a game at a time. Simply put, if you like great shooters and want to know more about their origins, or simply play one of the best games that still holds up, play Half-Life 2.

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