Minicology – A Formulaic but Interesting Space Journey as a Corporate Minion!

Minicology - Key Art

“Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet exciting, unusual creatures; and kill them!” – Full Metal Jacket

Developer: Isaac Denner
Released: 25th April 2024
Price: €14.79

Platforms: Windows
Available on: Steam
Engine: Lime-OpenFL


  • Simple but pleasant art style that fits the game’s general mood, genre and feel quite well.
  • Decent variety of weapons and equipment, with diverse attack patterns and feel to each category.
  • Good amount of open-world activities that mandate mastering all the mechanics, even supposedly secondary ones like farming or animal raising.
  • Combat is satisfying enough, but becomes rather simple once ranged weapons become available.


  • Significant quality of life issues make upkeeping and evolving a decent base a tremendous chore. No auto-sourcing from chests when crafting, tiny chest space, miserable stack caps, miserable inventory capacity even after upgrades.
  • Nausea-inducing planetary rotation will alienate whoever has even slight motion sickness issues. I don’t suffer from motion sickness and still got a headache every single time I played this specific game.
  • Automation component proves formulaic and somewhat dissatisfying to get done.

Bugs & Issues

  • 4K resolution is not supported – in 2024. The maximum is 1440p, which looks bad on a 4K screen.
  • The ‘tool auto-select’ function doesn’t always work properly depending on the situation.

Machine Specs

  • i9 13980HX
  • 64GB RAM DDR5
  • RTX 4090
  • NvME SSD
  • 3840×2160

Is It Worth Buying?

Yes, but definitely on sale. Even with its one-man-studio Indie status, the quality and content offered are hardly worth full price. Greater games than this, in the same genre, have been and will be made by one-man developers, those are worth full price – this one isn’t.



For sure, Minicology isn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it’s ultimately a serviceable open-world survival. It distinguishes itself just enough to have its own identity, even if it never steps up from being ‘just’ an okay game.

minicology invasion
Many foes will try to invade your base and kill you when certain events are triggered. They shall not pass!

Minicology – In-Depth Analysis

Writing & Worldbuilding

After crash-landing on a fairly hospitable but relatively dangerous starting planet, as the (allegedly) only survivor of an explorative expedition, you have to fend for yourself, get your ship back in shape and find answers about what happened by – you guessed it – traveling the galaxy in your ridiculously-clichè orange rocket powered by space-magick-stuff!

Pretty standard-fare premise for a sandbox-crafting title, even above par in some aspects, since a lot of such games don’t even -have- a story or any apparent plot to begin with. With the aid of a somewhat helpful but often-obnoxious drone (you can deactivate it by hitting it enough though… and they say violence doesn’t solve problems?! Pah!) that isn’t exactly exhaustive, but kinda lazy in explaining to you how things work, you’ll have to fend off aliens, hostile animals, automatons and cosmic horrors on your path to… freedom?

This isn’t a game that takes itself seriously by any means – everything is goofy, saturated and cartoonish; that’s a stylistic choice and nothing’s wrong with it, as long as it’s complemented well by its style and worldbuilding. That’s the case with Minicology, even if, across your journey, there will be some rather darker shades in the found lore that make a welcome contrast with the somewhat cheerful overall mood. It’s not a story you’ll grip your gaming chair’s armrests for, but it’s a passable one.

minicology 2
You can take care of things manually – very much so, or instead automate your base, but that won’t be possible for quite some time due to resources and tech availability.

Exploration & Objectives

In Minicology, you’ll visit comparatively tiny planets that are fully-explorable and minable to your heart’s content. Each of them has an array of randomly-generated and sometimes hand-crafted features both on their surface and in the bowels of their deeps, all the way to the core itself, granted that you have the equipment to survive the dangerous journey. At first, you’ll be stuck on the starter planet, but after fixing your ship you’ll take to the stars, in search of whatever truth is out there. Exploration happens entirely on foot, although with the aid of several high-tech implements like a jetpack, to name one – and of course, using your spaceship to travel the various sectors that compose the galaxy, each with a series of primary and secondary objectives to complete.

You’ll need to stay fed and healthy, something that will be fairly simple thanks to a slow hunger depletion and plentiful foodstuffs; the survival aspects include environmental debuffs and temporary status effects, which often pass with time or need specialized gear to fully overcome. Your collection tool is a pick, shovel, axe and hoe rolled into one and has unlimited durability – convenient; it can even auto-select the tool type based on the action, with a system that doesn’t always work correctly, making you step back to manual selection at times.

Goals can also be found on planets, in the form of colored chests that give mini-quests like powering them up in a certain way, planting a number of plants in their vicinity, or altering the environment to meet stated conditions. Doing so will reveal precious, sometimes unique loot in the form of devices, resources and more. Of course there also are normal containers to be found, alongside stuff just lying around ripe for the taking, like raw resources, dilapidated constructions to dismantle and more. Overall the system of goals that compounds Minicology’s progression is solid enough to give constant incentive to explore every inch of every planet, although said goals, exception made for unique non-repeatable ones, start becoming dull after a while. They’re not the peak of excitement to begin with, but that diminishes even more so with the repetition inherent in all open-world games.

If you happen to kill too many animals or harvest too many plants on a specific planet during your trips, the environment will dynamically change to reflect that. This means animals and plants can be foraged to extinction, and also, to a certain degree that certainly isn’t a “true” simulation, the ecosystems can be brought to a collapse by your actions. You can farm and raise cattle to prevent this, and it takes quite a lot of effort to completely wipe something out of existence.

Combat System & Bosses

Despite its cute aesthetics and lighthearted mood, Minicology makes fighting one of its primary gameplay pillars. You’ll slay countless hostile alien creatures, inter-dimensional horrors, robots – anything you can find on a journey through mostly unknown sectors of space. You’ll be able to equip a vast roster of melee and ranged weapons such as swords, axes, maces, pistols, rifles, and bows – if you can name it, you can probably find it somewhere in Minicology. Weapons and gear use a simple RPG-like attribute system, with stats such as attack, defense, critical chance and so forth to give some leeway to players for creating specialized builds that focus more on a certain playstyle. That being said, don’t expect a very deep system, as this isn’t an ARPG by any means.

Fights play out, usually, against multiple enemies that deal a fair amount of damage, unless you’re grossly under or over-leveled, in those cases you might get killed in just a couple of hits or barely grazed. Most weapons and armor have a set durability, which isn’t THAT high, especially for melee ones, so repairs will be frequent, lest you find yourself with them broken in the middle of a fight. It’s not tremendous like, say, Breath of the Wild to make an example of pure torture on this aspect, but it’s a chore if you intend to fight a lot in a short time span, or face tougher enemies that require a lot of hits to take down. Invasion events are plenty and different depending on the planet visited – they often involve enemies spawning and trying to kill you, possibly damaging your base in the process as well. These more difficult battles are the only way to acquire unique materials to then craft special gear, but don’t worry: they’re only triggered if you accept the events, otherwise, they’ll just expire until available again. Combat is simple but fun enough, and the feel of weight behind weapon hits in melee isn’t half bad considering it’s a 2D title.

Bosses are divided into invasion bosses, usually leading a thematic force e.g. King Crab for the crab invasion, or main bosses, which are involved with your ‘main’ quest and are completely unique. They are strong and vastly superior to any other enemy you’ll face, as they should be. You’ll often have to do something specific to make them appear. You will die, and quite often, especially when you happen on a new area that has superior enemies compared to your current equipment. Dying means losing part of your XP, which will stay at your place of death waiting to be recovered.

Character Progression, Weapons & Equipment

Despite the presence of an XP bar with levels, the bulk of your character’s progression is represented by your gear, weapons and accessories -as it’s often common in this genre. To unlock new ones, you’ll mostly have to craft them, although they can also be bought at traders, often with specific currencies or bartering (for instance there’s a -cosmic bear- accepting only -fallen stars- (Terraria, anyone?) as payment for his unique roster of items). Progression is tiered in a sense, meaning you’ll have to explore farther worlds and reach certain milestones, either technological (workbenches) or item-wise to be able to produce better stuff to use, and also upgrades to existing gear, like backpack expansions to name one. Thanks to a research interface, you’ll be able to not only consult existing blueprints to build gear but also discover new ones. Of course, different workbenches will build different byproducts and finished gear, machinery and so forth, like in most other open-world survival games. The inventory UI, the toolbar and the general layout of the player interface aren’t the best and can feel cumbersome when you need to get things done and you need it fast.

minicology 1
Scattered pieces of information, such as diaries or logs, will shed more lights on the mysterious events surrounding the corporation, and also your future.

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