No Man’s Sky keeps changing, almost entirely for the better. With each update, I’ve worried Hello Games is finally going to take out my favorite move in the game. So far they haven’t. I’m starting to worry less.
The move I’m talking about is the melee jump, a weird and unusually satisfying method for getting around the game’s zillions of massive explorable planets. Every time Hello Games puts out a new update, I read through the patch notes with mild dread. I worry I’ll finally see those words: “Adjusted melee physics,” or “re-tuned melee attacks,” or something like that. So far, so good.
The melee jump is a simple concoction that players discovered very early after No Man’s Sky came out. It works like this: If you do a melee attack, your character will lunge forward while swinging their multi-tool. If you press the jetpack boost button precisely in the middle of that swing, your jetpack will carry you forward on your momentum. It works okay standing still, and even better if you get a running start. You can watch a video demonstrating the basic standing-still technique here.
With a bit of practice, it’s possible to get really good at melee jumping around. You’ll have to be aware of your surroundings and time your jumps so that you launch from the crest of a hilltop, or even just off the lip of a hump in an otherwise flat field. As long as you’re jumping from some kind of height, you can cover ground much faster than you otherwise could.
No Man’s Sky is appealing for a variety of reasons, certainly more so after the latest substantial patch. Little of that appeal relates to how the game actually feels to play, however. Movement is pokey and unresponsive; the jetpack is humorously slow to get going and runs out of juice way too fast. The happy accident of the melee jump has always been the exception for me. It’s fun because it lets me carom around much faster than I otherwise would, but also because it requires skill, timing, and position to pull off.
After the latest patch I actually needed an hour or so to get it back under my fingers, since I hadn’t played for so long. Start running, swing your melee attack and hold down the jetpack button juuuusst so…
...oh yeah, man. May it live forever.