Star Citizen is now free to play – for a week

Star Citizen, the crowdfunded space sim by Cloud Imperium, is available now as a free-to-play game, along with complementary ships and starter packs

After ten years and almost $500m dollars in crowdfunding, Star Citizen is still in alpha, but at least now it has new commerce options, some cheaper ships — and for the next week, the option to play for free.

From July 8 to July 15, Star Citizen is running its “free fly” event, which means you can hop in and try the ambitious space sim without having to shell out for a starter pack. You can also save money on a ship. Whereas some models, like the Legatus, can run you up to $40,000 of real actual money, for the next seven days you can have access to the Cutlass, the Avenger Titan, the Dragonfly, the Arrow, or the Mercury absolutely free of charge – though you will have to give them back, or choose to purchase them, once the promotion ends.

If after the free fly you decide you want to stick around with Star Citizen, until July 18 Cloud Imperium is also offering some discounted starter packs, which means your first ship and accompanying features can come cheaper than normal. Similarly, if you follow the game’s referral program and recruit a friend to play, you’ll score some promotional points that you can trade for badges, gold, weapons, and vehicles.

Just login to the Star Citizen site, enter the promotional code “GETINTOTHEVERSE” (no speech marks), and download the game. It’s got some pretty intricate systems and stats-crunching to work out, so we’d also recommend heading over to the Cloud Imperium guides hub, which attempts to break down everything you need to know when you first hit the skies.

You might also want to check out a few space game alternatives, like Eve Online, No Man’s Sky, or Stellaris – or you could just hold out until Starfield, which fans are already busy trying to decode.