Beyond Contact Review

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There are a plethora of Early Access open world survival crafting games out there on the market. So much so, that it’s become rather a meme.

However that also hasn’t stopped games within this genre to become wildly successful, such as the recently launched Sons of the Forest or indie darling V Rising.

Beyond Contact was one such title, was being the keyword as it finally has made the step of becoming a full launch. Is the finished product now worth checking out? Find out in our review below.

Beyond Contact
Developer: Playcorp Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (reviewed)
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Players: 1-8
Price: $19.99 USD

Beyond Contact follows an astronaut scientist marooned on a planet after being sent there for a rescue mission to extract the inhabitants. Things unsurprisingly go awry caused by the mysteries and history of the planet Katern.

The character you play as is selectable at the beginning of the campaign, where each one does have a few special abilities and craftable items unique to them. The game’s story mode has quests for players to follow, allowing them to learn more about the world and its history.

The plot isn’t anything special, as survival games tend to put more emphasis on exploration and building up bases, meaning that pacing is impossible to keep track of. Though the setting is beautiful with various biomes that bring their own unique set of challenges and resources.

Creature designs are interesting and somewhat varied. Meanwhile the landscapes ranges from beautiful to barren, providing a strong depth of what is to come should players choose to trek deeper in.

The game’s graphics and attention to detail help create an immersive world where players want to explore as far as they can to see what new alien life or technology they might stumble upon first. All topped with a solid soundtrack of electronica music to drive home the sci-fi setting.

Unfortunately this is where most praise for Beyond Contact ends and its myriad of problems creep up. For as great as the setting and presentation may be, the gameplay experience leaves much to be desired.

Navigating the UI with a controller is clunky at best and sometimes doesn’t even work when certain menus are pulled up. Using a mouse does alleviate many of these issues, but has its own problems such as making picking up items somewhat cumbersome.

What using a mouse doesn’t fix is the poor and awkward combat. While it’s worse with controller, much of it boils down to moving yourself away from obviously highlighted and telegraphed attacks. Then punishing the opening to get a hit in before repeating the process.

I stopped using the controller and switched because it felt like I was hitting the controls more than the enemies. The saving grace is that combat is optional most of the time, giving players options as they explore the planet.

This planet is somewhat interesting to explore. Ketern, which is the story planet with more planned in the future, is a dying world with a growing corruption seeping onto the land. This has an effect on many of the various biomes players will find.

They range from barren radiated wastelands and freezing arctic landscapes to more standard areas such as deserts and grassy plains. The former of which are much more dangerous than the latter.

The suit makes no hesitation on warning you when you’re standing somewhere that’ll slowly kill you. Which becomes grating in areas when deadly gas is scattered across the field instead of being one solid spot, so you end up hearing it constantly as you explore.

There are also an overwhelming amount of areas where one cannot simply traverse through safely. Which range from what’s mentioned before along with corrosive acid and poisonous spores. Simply put, the world has many different ways for players to meet their end.

Yet death isn’t particularly punishing in Beyond Contact. On the game’s default normal difficulty, you don’t even lose what you were carrying when you die. Which is a staple in many other open world survival games.

Upon death, players end up respawning at one of the mystical pillars scattered around the world that also serve as the game’s fast travel points. These pillars are useful in their purpose and players can even unlock the ability set their own spots to teleport to later in the game.

This ties into the game’s research system, which is paramount to being able to unlock the necessary tools to survive, explore, and progress in Beyond Contact. In order to research things, players need to collect data points which are obtained when gathering specific resources.

It’s incredibly basic and very grindy for solo players. In cooperative games, the growth becomes more manageable with players able to dictate how to spread their time. Plus building up a proper base helps in keeping resources abundant, but helping there takes a good amount of time.

Another issue solo players will run into is the constant balancing act of surviving while also advancing in their research to complete the game. From gathering or hunting food so they don’t starve while also searching maintaining their oxygen. There isn’t a lot of downtime for these players.

It also doesn’t help that night is dangerous with risk of freezing, requiring certain tools or armor in order to survive the conditions. There’s plenty of threats to keep players on their toes, but becomes a hassle when wanting to progress as the game does wants.

Beyond Contact is a beautiful game that’s hampered by it’s gameplay loop, controls, and balance. It has a nice aesthetic with an interesting world to explore over its contemporaries which are more content with the same gloomy and dull locales.

Yet it’s very much style over substance with a poor UI that doesn’t control well regardless of the control scheme one chooses. Solo players will also find it much more of a slog, but teaming up with friends can make the experience more bearable.

If you can tolerate the controls, then Beyond Contact does have a fair amount of content with more promised on the way to give players plenty of hours to sink their teeth into. However those issues are deep and hard to ignore and console players should definitely avoid this game.

Beyond Contact was reviewed on PC using a code provided by Playcorp. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Beyond Contact is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (via Steam). 

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The Verdict: 5.5

The Good

  • Beautiful world and setting
  • Varied biomes with unique quirks and risks

The Bad

  • Clunky UI, especially when playing with controller
  • Slog for solo players
  • Story is nothing worth writing home about
  • Combat is awkward, especially with controller
  • Annoying constant prompts of warnings


Got into gaming thanks to a nice old lady who lived across the street. Enjoy most genres of games.

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