When the game is launched, a player will have the option of choosing, at present, between two gamemodes: the tutorial, which will give the player a brief overview of some of the game’s basic functions and the freeplay mode, which allows the player(s) to start a world from scratch, to seek out new worlds, and go where no one has gone before.
The tutorial mode will drop the player(s) on a world with an objective to leave the planet; in this first world, the Astroneers may be unable to operate any base machinery and land vehicles they come across, as most, if not all, will be broken, save for a data extractor found at the first base, which the player may use to research large objects in order to gain bytes to discover new buildable accessories, modules, vehicles, and components thereof. Even still, the tutorial does not allow for much tool discovery.
Upon starting a new freeplay game, the player will be dropped on a planet with a small base and landing pad. From there, the player must utilize a supply drop and collect resouces to construct various base modules in order to build vehicles and create structures. The player’s Shelter acts as a source of infinite Oxygen and Power (though slow), and as a safe area to protect against storms, as well as having a beacon so the base can be spotted from far away. Astroneer features procedurally generated planets with unique environments and cave systems.