Once Human

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a game by Starry Studio
Platform: PC (2023)
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 6 votes
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See also: Simulator Games, Action Adventure Games, Open World Games, Strategy Games, Survival Games, PvP Games, 3D Platformer Games, Post-Apocalyptic Games
Once Human
Once Human
Once Human
Once Human

Once Human throws players into a post-apocalyptic world where an alien substance called Stardust has infected all life on Earth. You wake up alone in the wilderness, with nothing but your wits and Meta-Human powers granted by the Stardust. The goal is to survive this harsh new world while slowly uncovering the truth behind the otherworldly contamination.

As one of the last Meta-Humans, you must brave the elements, fend off crazed mutants, manage your limited resources, and decide who to trust in your quest for answers. I was pleasantly surprised by Once Human’s flexibility in playstyles, from nomadic scavenger to settlement builder.

However, in this crowded market, Once Human has to do something drastic to distance itself from the many competitors in the survival/crafting genre. Luckily for horror fans, that's where the sanity meter comes into play.

Playing Tricks

Staying alive is no easy feat in Once Human’s contaminated wilderness. You must continually scavenge to satisfy hunger, thirst, rest, and most uniquely, sanity. Consuming uncooked or tainted food reduces your sanity meter, which then cuts your maximum health. This creates tense risk-versus-reward decisions when scrounging scarce resources.

I loved this mechanic both for the way it innovates on survival game conventions and how it influences combat encounters. At low sanity, the game adeptly plays tricks on you, evoking classics like Eternal Darkness. Do those shadows and sounds indicate real threats or just fraying nerves? This kept me on edge in the best way.

For players who think they've seen all the genre has to offer, the Stardust mutations and eldritch enemy designs offer a creepier, more arcane spin on tried-and-true survival mechanics.

Create Your Arsenal

With over 100 firearms blueprints to discover and customize, Once Human gives you plenty of options to approach combat scenarios. I enjoyed experimenting with different parts and perks to optimize my arsenal.

The gunplay feels satisfying, especially when landing lethal headshots with your personalized death-dealer. While ammo scarcity can be frustrating early on, this encourages careful aim and resource management rather than reckless shooting.

My one critique is that melee combat feels lackluster in comparison. Despite a variety of blunt and bladed options to craft, direct combat devolves into monotonous hacking and slashing. Nonetheless, firearms are the clear highlight here. Fans of games like Fallout and Metro will appreciate the granular weapon customization.

Build Your Own Safe Haven

As a Meta-Human, you have the unique ability to establish protected settlements for other survivors using Territory Cores. This includes building various facilities like greenhouses, hospitals, garages, and guard posts.

Unfortunately, base-building features remain quite simple in their current implementation. Structures and rooms snap to a grid, severely limiting creativity. The small selection of assets also hinders the ability to personalize your settlement. I kept having flashbacks to Fallout 4's settlements without mods. Veterans of that game will know just how clunky the base-building system could be.

With that said, Territory Cores can be relocated to build entirely new settlements from scratch. So there is flexibility in where you call home across Once Human’s open world. I hope the developer expands on these mechanics by adding more building assets and freeform placement.


Once Human achieves a near-perfect balance between exploration and survival, offering a unique multiplayer experience that revitalizes the aging survival genre.


  • Deep weapon customization
  • Great atmosphere and worldbuilding
  • Flexible playstyles


  • Settlement features need expansion
  • Ammo scarcity can frustrate new players

Download Once Human


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Once Human is a survival simulator in a world that has been destroyed by the apocalypse. An alien disaster has struck Earth with an unknown virus, a massive catastrophe has changed the familiar world and established new rules. You are one of the few survivors, a mutated species of human that can harness the power of stardust. Gather in groups with other players or survive alone in a new world where there is no room for feedback from the past.

The game's perks:

  • Fight mutated monsters
  • Create your own weapons

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

See Also

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