The Astroneer Rover Update is here and brings a brand-new vehicle to the game according to a blog post on the game’s official forums.

Astroneer is an early access sandbox game developed and published by System Era Softworks. Players are plopped down onto a planet with a handful of basic supplies to get set up. From there, they can venture out into the world to gather resources, recover strange Artifacts for researching, create new buildings to expand their industrial capabilities, and eventually land on other worlds. Have a look at our preview of the game to see more about what it’s all about.

This month’s update comes a few weeks later when compared to the schedule that System Era Softworks has been keeping so far. The previous update introduced redesigned Medium and Large Rovers to the game. The Astroneer Rover Update builds on that with the addition of a Small Rover, new driving controls, and new physics. A trailer for the update highlights some of the difficulties with the old rovers in quite an amusing fashion:

I feel his pain… so many rovers mysteriously launched into the abyss…

The Small Rover can be constructed for a paltry 2 Compound and has room for a single seat on it. Unlike its larger cousins the Medium Rover and Large Rover, it lacks the standard power connection that would allow you to daisy chain vehicles together or charge them via your existing power infrastructure. This means that you will have to attach a small solar panel, wind turbine, and/or battery to it to charge the device. Thankfully, it does provide oxygen to a dismounted player character like all vehicles and some platforms.

The physics adjustments in the Astroneer Rover Update make driving a heck of a lot easier. Rovers are generally more stable and less likely to slide off of a cliff or just bug out in general. Smaller rovers are faster but lacking in hauling capacity, and larger rovers are slower but have the capability to bring along a lot more equipment. The new Small Rover is ideal for fast exploration on the ground with carrying a minimal amount of equipment.

Additionally, the driving controls have been revamped. Rovers will now move forwards or backward and turn regardless of how the camera is oriented. If you preferred the old controls, you can disable “Absolute Steering” in the options menu.

Thrusters will now function on Medium and Large Rovers and provide a massive speed boost that’s a hair more controllable than “Oh god, how do I turn it off?!”. Properly-fuelled thrusters can be engaged by pressing Z/X or LB/RB while seated in the vehicle and they are capable of accelerating a rover to greater speeds than their engines can naturally provide.

A number of other changes, updates, and graphical/efficiency improvements have made their way into the game; be sure to read the patch notes for all the details. If you don’t yet own Astroneer, you can pick it up for yourself via the Humble Store [Affiliate Link] or via Steam for the PC and via the Microsoft Store for Xbox One or Windows 10 for $19.99 or your regional equivalent.

What do you think of the Astroneer Rover Update? Do you think System Era Softworks have finally got rovers down? What do you hope to see in the next update? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!