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New management game Starkeeper is a space Stardew Valley, with a twist

Huge new management sim Starkeeper is a sci-fi Stardew Valley where you take over a tavern whizzing across space, with wacky alien guests.

Starkeeper Steam: a cute little robot with blue glowing eyes in front of a space tavern

Between Stardew Valley, Travellers Rest, and Tavern Keeper it’s incredibly easy to cozy up and watch people enjoy the fruits of your labor. Motel management and farming games always opt for the rural, though, so the newly announced Starkeeper is taking us to space instead. Set in a tavern on an asteroid flying across procedurally generated space, every day during this job is unpredictable, on a cosmic scale.

Most management games stick you in one place. You build a hotel, tavern, or bed and breakfast for guests who come from across the land to stay with you, hoping to have a relaxing holiday. In that regard, Starkeeper is no different.

What sets Starkeeper apart though is the setting. Your tavern is on an asteroid hurtling through space, so as you build out facilities and accommodate your guest’s needs, making them meals and entertaining them, you also fly past planets and other space-faring phenomena. Think of your tavern as a giant cosmic food truck, traveling space and picking up customers as you go.

Outer space is procedurally generated in Starkeeper, so as you explore you come across tropical, frozen, and temperate planets with different goods for sale. Traveling hazards like meteor showers, ‘mood-altering nebulae,’ and even interstellar wars can get in your way, and while all of this sounds dangerous, everything you encounter has positive side effects. Perhaps new alien residents will come to your asteroid tavern after you visit a planet, or new resources will become available to you thanks to the diverse cultures you come across.

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Now that your asteroid tavern has flown past plenty of cultures and you’ve expanded your offerings, it’s time to set up a varied trade network. Plenty of fresh produce and products can be sent to your space motel, but you need to make sure you have trade and transport permits, otherwise, you’re at the whim of space pirates – I’ve seen Treasure Planet, and I know that only ends one way.

Robotic workers also help keep your tavern running, because you’re already going to be busy placing buildings, arranging dining spaces, and expanding your slice of galactic bliss to your guests’ liking. These aliens all have different dietary and accommodation needs, so Starkeeper gives you loads of options when building and setting up your menu. Those interstellar wars I mentioned earlier can even come to your doorstep with different alien races having peace talks right in your establishment, and how you treat them shapes the fate of the galaxy as a whole. No pressure.

Starkeeper Steam announcement: an aerial shot of a management sim game set on an asteroid

Starkeeper promises a management game with a difference, and I love it for that. I find the genre gets stale once you find a rhythm, going through the motions of exponential growth. Starkeeper uses space to throw a curveball at you. You don’t know what secrets the next planet holds, or if some unforeseen disaster will completely derail your plans. It’s dangerous and unpredictable, just as space should be.

There’s no release date for Starkeeper yet, but you can wishlist the game on Steam right here to keep up with the news.

There are plenty of excellent new PC games to get excited for this year, alongside some massive upcoming PC games to add to your wishlist – just be careful to not overcrowd that backlog.

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