You are a tiny spacefarer, and you may have just crashed your ship. Fortunately, the planet you’ve arrived on is filled with valuable resources. Less fortunately, there are also monsters pretty much everywhere, and they’re out for your blood. But with your trusty sword, axe, and pickaxe at your side, you’ll slice, chop, and mine your way through several unique and colorful planets. Your goal is not riches, or fame, but simply exploration. The fun, after all, is in the journey – and there’s quite the journey to be had in My Little Universe.
Described as “cozy open-world sandbox adventure” game, My Little Universe is the work of Match Hit and Squad Alpha developer Estoty and published by SAYgames. Up to four players take control of space explorers carving out settlements and quite literally building continents from the ground up on a series of stunningly designed planets. Tile by hexagon-shaped tile, you will turn what was once an empty planet into a world filled with dungeons, mines, farms, refineries, and, of course, treasure. Then, you’ll build a teleporter or other means of transportation to take you to the next planet, and start all over again!
My Little Universe is a very simple game to get the hang of and, once you do, it’s absolutely addictive. The gameplay loop consists of collecting resources to build tiles to expand the world, starting with just a few hexes of land and winding up with massive continents, geological features like volcanoes and swamps, and, of course, the teleportation technology needed to complete traveling. It’s very easy to get lost in My Little Universe for hours, repeating to yourself “just one more tile”, “just one more dungeon”, “just one more tool upgrade” until suddenly it’s way past your bedtime and you’re at risk of being late to work tomorrow (not that that happened to me. Totally. Not at all).
It would be very easy for a game like this to become tedious and frustrating, but My Little Universe dextrously avoids every pitfall like the player character skirting around lava to collect that next stack of precious resources. One major benefit is that the game allows you to set your movements (swinging your sword/axe/pickaxe) to automatic, as well as have your character automatically switch between tools as needed. This lets you focus on running around and choosing the next direction to explore, rather than getting bogged down in the details. I especially liked that you can partially build a tile and the game will keep track of how many resources you put into it so far – especially useful for someone like me who was constantly starting to build one tile, seeing another that looked even more interesting, and running off to explore that instead.
There are fifteen resources to collect throughout My Little Universe. That, combined with the unique design of each planet (Gaia is Earth-like, Trollheim is hostile and full of caves, Dimidium has a pirate aesthetic, etc.) keeps the game from feeling stale even though the gameplay loop remains roughly the same throughout. It’s a game that you can spend hours on, but also one that you can pick up and play just a few minutes of at a time if you need a break – My Little Universe is definitely suitable for multiple types of players. There are also both single- and multiplayer options, so you can create your very own universe or explore one together with your friends!
I spent most of my time playing in single-player mode, and I did come away with one major complaint: the combat in My Little Universe is much more balanced for a multiplayer experience. Enemies tend to spawn in multiples, and bosses are enormous creatures that are hard to take down without being able to flank or surround them. Even with armor, your health is low, and you will be dying – and often. This would be less of an issue if dying didn’t reset you to level zero, meaning you lose all the perks you selected from leveling up and have to essentially start from the beginning (although you do not lose any resources or tool upgrades, thankfully). I found that the frequent difficulty of combat and the frustration of dying forced me to prioritize sword- and combat-focused perks when leveling up, or choose to upgrade my sword before all other tools, which did feel somewhat railroading and limiting at times. I wish that a single death did not reset you all the way back to the beginning level-wise, especially as some environmental hazards like lava can cause your character to perish instantly!
Aside from the combat issue, I really had no other major complaints with My Little Universe. There are definitely moments where the game feels grindy – especially harvesting the huge amounts of resources needed to upgrade your tools and armor on each planet – but it’s still fun and relaxing even at these points. Another nice feature is that the game auto-saves pretty frequently, making it perfect for “pick up, play for a few minutes, put it back down” kind of situations. It’s also definitely a game you could “turn your brain off” to while watching a movie or doing something else – just make sure that you don’t accidentally run off a cliff into a lava pit!
In addition to its fun gameplay cycle, My Little Universe features an absolutely adorable art style. It’s colorful and filled with intriguing shapes, and each world is delightfully distinct. It reminds me a bit of several classic board games – Settlers of Catan and The Game of Life in particular came to mind. I particularly loved the bonus objective of unlocking different skins for your character on each planet, allowing you to transform what was once a simple faceless orange being into a fur-clad barbarian, a samurai warrior, and more!
My Little Universe‘s music generally matches its laid-back aesthetic, with different tracks representing different planets and zones. I wasn’t a fan of the repeated “thunk” sounds that accompany using your tools to harvest resources, as they lacked variety and quickly got annoying. I ended up playing most of the game with the sound effects on mute simply so that I didn’t have to hear the constant banging of my pickaxe against stone. Other than that, though, the game’s soundscape definitely added to its overall relaxing vibes.
My Little Universe is the perfect blend of cozy game and wide-open sandbox, offering a vast galaxy to explore but pairing it with an easy-to-understand gameplay loop that can easily be broken up into smaller chunks or played as an hours-long unbroken marathon. Single-player and multiplayer are both fun, although the multiplayer campaign tends to feel a bit more balanced and lacks some of the issues that single-player combat faces. Players looking to go on a journey of exploration and creation throughout an absolutely adorable galaxy of unique, colorful planets should definitely give My Little Universe a try!
Kate played My Little Universe on PC via Steam using a provided review code.