ΔV: Rings of Saturn from developer Kodera Software is a physics-based hard-science mining sim, and the 1.0 release is out now. It comes with full Native Linux support and it runs quite well on Steam Deck too.
Made with Godot Engine, this is a game for real true space nerds. Our contributor scaine was quite a fan of it when taking a look back in late 2019 and since then the game has only gotten much bigger and better. You can also see a previous brief interview I did with the developer here.
This is a game all about mining asteroids and there's no fancy lasers or hyper-drives to be found, instead it focuses on real science as they say all the "technologies are real and there is no technobabble". There's a lot of seriously clever touches to the game although it can feel a bit daunting to get into. An initial struggle is quite worth it though, because it's a thoroughly interesting game to just go do some space exploring and mining.
I've been enjoying the peaceful loneliness of it. A fair amount of time is just you swinging your ship around, flying around and doing some mining and with all the space science going on — it certainly looks and feels the part if you're into games that don't hold your hand. The initial tutorial is somewhat brief but a reasonable crash course in the main flying mechanics. After that though, you're largely left to your own devices to play it how you wish.
Honestly can't tell you the joy I felt hearing my LIDAR beeping away due to an escape pod floating around near me. So I speedily went to grab it, completely overshooting it of course because the thrusters will make you just keep on going and I was getting a bit ahead of myself. Trouble is, another ship was also closing in on me.
This other ship was seemingly trying to harass me, giving me little thruster nudges and generally being a nuisance. My first attempt to grab the escape pod was thwarted by a mixture of me not lining up my ship to the correct orientation to pull it in, and that damn AI ship pestering me. I've no idea what they were really trying to do, I assume also trying to grab the pod but it's mine now.
My biggest problem with the game is the constant beeping. It's supposed to be helpful, pointing you towards things but I personally found it confusing, unhelpful most of the time and quite distracting, especially when you're just trying to learn the ropes and it's just beeping at you. It could have done with some clearer walk-through on the beeps and how to adjust them.
Apart from that though, ΔV: Rings of Saturn is an easy game to get utterly lost in for hours. Go check it out.