Look, starships are cool and everything. They’re great! They can fly, they have lasers, and they usually look nice. But if you’re playing No Man’s Sky, I have some advice for you: Don’t neglect your buggy.
In No Man’s Sky, you can craft a buggy station (aka “Roamer Platform”) at any time, as long as you’ve gotten past the exocraft terminal step of the base-building questline. You can do so with some metal plating, some ion batteries, and some paraffinium. It is very easy to just never do this, opting instead to either fly everywhere in your ship or gallivant around using the tried-and-true melee+jetpack super jump. Those are both perfectly useful and enjoyable ways of getting around, but you know what’s also fun? The buggy.
Once you’ve got a buggy, you can move much more quickly across the surface of a planet. Got a nearby spot you want to explore? Did one of your base employees give you a quest that requires reaching a faraway place on the same planet? Instead of hopping in your starship, consider staying on land, instead.
While the starship is the easiest and fastest way to make a quick hop around on your planet, I’ve found that using the starship to get everyone eventually gets kind of monotonous. I spend most of my time in the air, zooming toward a waypoint. I land, run into the building, do my thing, and take off. It gives the game a disjointed quality compared to when I stay on land.
Furthermore, the buggy is just fun to drive. It controls like a Halo warthog by default, with acceleration tied to the left stick and steering to the right. That took some getting used to, but once I did, I was zooming along and having a fine old time, sort of like I was driving a really big RC car. The buggy can blast through most trees and rocks, which is a little silly but also satisfying. It can fire powerful projectiles at attacking enemies. And it can jump, which means that with a little practice, you can use every hill-crest or crater-lip as a launching point for stunt jumps.
More than all that, though, I appreciate how using the buggy forces me to slow down. No Man’s Sky has a lot of grind, and the faster and more efficiently I play, the more I remove the lower-key traversal and sightseeing that usually balances out all the material accumulation and ferrite dust mining. When I play in a maximally optimized way, it can quickly begin to feel like the game is all grind, which is pleasing in a certain sense but leaves behind a lot of No Man’s Sky’s odd beauty and calming vibe in the process.
So, this is my advice for you: In these hectic, busy times, you may feel the need to get everywhere as fast as you can. But the next time No Man’s Sky gives you somewhere to be, don’t fly. Drive.
Correction: I initially said that you can build a buggy at any time, but you actually have to have progressed past a certain point in the base-building questline. I’ve updated the article.