Video Game / Oxygen Not Included

Oxygen Not Included is a Space-Management Game by Klei Entertainment (of Don't Starve fame), which can be described as Dwarf Fortress meets Don't Starve IN SPACE! The player indirectly controls a crew of duplicants awakened deep in a procedurally generated world. From there, it is up to you to ensure their survival. To do this, you have to provide them with basic necessities, including oxygen, climb up the Tech Tree, and try and deal with all sorts of problems. Currently, the game is available as an Early Access title, and is in active development.


This game provides examples of:

  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Can happen to the duplicants who got themselves trapped in hostile environment... or to your entire base if your oxygen production isn't up for the task.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Can happen easily if the player doesn't think their designs through.
    • Surprisingly, a ventilation network is an example. Sure, it gives you a lot more freedom in placing the life support machinery and keeping it cool. Also, watching it work can be fascinating. The problem is that it requires five times more energy to operate than a simple Electrolyzer sitting in the basement.
  • Big Eater: One of the possible character traits is called "Bottomless Stomach". These guys eat much more than the rest.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Mealwood plant seeds are capable of locomotion, and are called "meal lice".
  • Boring, but Practical: Several items are unlocked early, but will still serve you through the game.
    • Manual Generator always remains useful, since it's a cheap renewable source of energy. Also, it gives your duplicants something to do in their spare time.
    • Algae Terrarium absorbs CO2 and produces some oxygen, while having moderate material consumption rates. Very useful both for early game expansion and mid-game exploration by creating oxygenated checkpoints for your miners.
    • Massage Table can quickly reduce Stress on a single duplicant, which complements the more gradual and over time effect of high Decor nicely.
    • Decor items themselves. They only require tier 1 research, yet you will end up plastering your base with paintings anyway.
  • Cloning Blues: Your crew are called duplicants, and they are explicitly printed, not portalled in.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: It's possible for a duplicant to generate that way - he may be an expert chef, yet inept at other crucial activities.
  • Continuous Decompression: Averted. Gases will leak gradually over time if there is a pressure differential, but it won't cause any noticeable wind. However, it might still end up being deadly if oxygen pressure drops far enough to become unbreathable. Same thing happens when you dig out the stone, thus limiting the ability to rapidly expand your base.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Likely to happen, given how many factors you need to keep in mind for your base to function properly.
  • Early Game Hell: To an extent - certain early research needs to be rushed, since lack of it severely limits your ability to maintain your colony.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: You certainly can build one. Supporting it is another problem entirely.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Hatches eat literally any minerals they can find laying around and poop out usable coal... somehow.
  • Guide Dang It!: Due to being an alpha, the game has some shades of this. Building material system is one of the worst offenders.
  • Going Critical: To an extent - overheated machinery, overloaded wires and overpressurized pipes will break - in latter case, spilling their content everywhere.
  • Hamster-Wheel Power: Your earliest way to generate power. Boring, but Practical, so expect to use it for a long long while.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: A preferred starting crew should have at least one. Since you start with only three dupes, they will have to do everything. However, you might want to keep a dupe with high Creativity or Learning stats...
  • Magic Tool: Your duplicants use these for pretty much everything, from digging to painting pictures.
  • Min-Maxing: You have an opportunity to do this during initial crew selection - or, rather, to reroll the characters until you have a decent set of stats on them. Some flaws are easier to counter than the rest - say, Scaredy-Cat (can't fight), Yokel (can't research) or Gastrophobia (can't cook). You need to be careful, however, or you might find yourself with a crew where no one can perform a particular needed task...
  • Necessary Drawback: Duplicants themselves, as seen in the Min-Maxing entry above. Each of them has at least one negative trait, with certain traits being significantly more annoying than the others. And if they have really good starting stats, or two positive traits, expect them to have very high Decor expectations, meaning they will stress out easily.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Your crew can eat some alien plants and animals. There are no examples of inverse being true... yet.
  • No Conservation of Energy/Mass: Mostly averted. There are bugs that lead to a loss of mass (fan-dubbed 'black holes'), but they are being patched out.
    • Whatever temperature your building materials were will transfer over to the building.
    • While magma makes for a great source of free heat, it's not infinite. If you splash enough water on it, sooner or later it WILL run out and crystallize into igneous rock. Same with the ice biomes - they will eventually melt if you keep dumping heat in.
    • Lavatories and Air Scrubbers (used to remove CO2) produce more polluted water than they consume clean water, due to added mass. Surprisingly, Water Purifier doesn't seem to return the clean water to its initial mass. It causes problems for the players who attempt to create a simple closed circuit system without water reservoirs - the pressure buildup will lead to pipes eventually bursting.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Athletics is this, to an extent. Since duplicants show no tendency of prioritizing the nearest jobs, they end up travelling back and forth through the base. Being able to run faster alleviates the issue somewhat.
    • Alternatively, it's Learning, since it determines how quickly the duplicants levels their skills.
  • Oxygen Meter: Comes in two flavors: the oxygen overlay that shows you which parts of the map have breathable air, and the individual 'holding breath' meter that appears near duplicants.
  • Percussive Therapy: One possible way duplicants can react to high levels of stress is by breaking things. Including ones their survival is depending on.
  • Potty Failure: Expect to be dealing with these any time your sanitary facilities aren't functioning.
  • Sanity Meter: Stress stat is effectively this. Depending on their stress response, overly stressed duplicant will either vomit, or start breaking things. Can be decreased with improving Decor, better accomodations, or good old massage session.
  • Tech Tree: Present. Since earlier tech can support your crew for only so long, ignore it at your own peril.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: You do get some rations at the start, but it's up to you to provide your crew with food later on.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Some of the early Tech Tree borders on this. Apparently, despite having access to printing people and fantastic multitools, you still need to reinvent the compost heap.
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