Whatever happened to Maguss, Spiral Knights, and Empyrion?


It’s time to find out Whatever Happened To a couple of MMOs that have somehow managed to slip off our radars and need to slide back on again. And as a bonus, some of these are good news!

First, Spiral Knights – it’s a kid-friendly MMO that’s been around forever. And by forever I actually mean 10 years, exactly, as the game is currently celebrating its decadal birthday with gifts and events from the devs. It hasn’t gone over all that well, at least if Reddit is any guide, as players are grumpy over the thinness of the update and an apparently recent drama bomb over the DMCA takedown of a player-crafted patch that has people leaving nasty reviews on Steam and hashtags on Twitter. Worth noting is that the game is still pretty small; it hasn’t broken 1000 players on Steam since 2016.

Next up, we have Maguss, and this one is bad news, I’m sorry to report. You might remember this “wizarding world” MMOARG from our impressions piece back in 2018, when even our mobile MMO expert found it wanting. Well, apparently we weren’t the only ones as the game closed down last year. “With a GREAT regret, we have to inform you, that we are shutting Maguss down,” the team wrote on Facebook. “For a long time, business was bad, till it got to the point of no recovery. We are very thankful for every single one of you, who ever played and hopefully enjoyed Maguss!” It does sound as if the developer is considering a new game, however, as of early this year.

Finally, there’s Empyrion Online aka Empyrion Galactic Survival, and no kidding we actually did a “whatever happened to” piece on this game three years ago when we noticed it went into early access. As we wrote at the time, it was originally a multiplayer space sandbox that didn’t actually manage to fund on Kickstarter. But unlike most games that don’t fund, it pushed onward. In fact, it apparently launched properly in August of 2020, doing super well on Steam, with over 20,000 reviews as I type this and a mostly positive rating. The downside is that it’s really not a full MMORPG, but it might scratch the No Man’s Sky itch at a cheaper and more indie price.

Spy any other MMOs that have fallen through the cracks? Drop us an email so we can check up on them!


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Spiral Knights had Ian McConville as an art director, and I’ll shill for him every chance I get because I LOVE his work. He’s currently working for the Slime Rancher developer and designed that game’s playable character.


I was surprised at the Very Positive Steam review score for Empyrion when I finally got it last year – far too janky for my tastes. I gave it a few hours but just couldn’t get past the rough edges.

Vanquesse V

I tried playing it co-op with my wife roughly 2 years ago and the whole thing was very janky and had serious sync issues even with just 2 players on LAN to the point it was unplayable.

IronSalamander8 .

I’ve played Empyrion although it’s been awhile, but not the other 2. Empyrion wasn’t bad but I never got into it.

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I will advocate for Empyrion. I’ve been playing it regularly for years, and it’s evolved in leaps and bounds. On a technical level, it’s more Project Gorgon than World of Warcraft, but the gameplay is rock solid. It’s the kind of game that if you get into it, you really get into it.

It has deformable terrain, which you can dig and tunnel through to your heart’s content in search of minerals; deep crafting that ranges from coffee tables and beds to tiny fighters and hover tanks, all the way up to massive spaceships (Steam Workshop submissions include fully explorable Star Trek and BSG ships, for example), and solar systems full of planets and moons, with AI factions, outposts, space stations, and planetary settlements. There are ancient ruins to explore and plunder, huge dino-like beasts to hunt, AI enemy factions to harass and be harassed by, and a small variety of planetary biomes. Planets are proper spheres with poles and are fully navigable.

The building system is partially modular, in that to build big things such as vehicles and bases, you basically build primitive shapes that you can then rotate and spin into position. This includes ready-made architectural components such as windows, columns, and doors. You also have a paint gun and a texture gun to fully customize the things that you build. Best of all, it’s a really simple system that works entirely in first- or third-person mode without any complex menus or dodgy camera nonsense.

You can play it as a survival game, with a need to monitor oxygen (in space or underwater), food, water, and injuries, as usual, or you can play it in a “Creative mode”. A typical progression through a game of Empyrion might look like this: build a base; build a ground or atmospheric vehicle to explore and expand; build a spaceship; take off from your base and fly into space; meet friendly and hostile aliens with whom you can trade or fight; build a really big spaceship and engage in interstellar travel, and so on.

I can’t speak highly enough of Empyrion, really. It’s a permanent fixture on my hard drive the way Morrowind was for a decade+. The community is great, and some of the things on the Workshop are amazing. Huge bases and mysterious alien objects, amazing ships and vehicles, and so on. It’s a good job I’m at work now, or I’d have to spam out a load of screenshots here too. :D

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Loyal Patron

I saw Spiral Knights for the first time in a stream by Beau Hindman in the old website, i played it for a short time and now you remind me .. i need to give it another chance, i remember liking the idea of making a robot as character, there is a lot of ways to customize the character … but i don’t know if Spiral Knights provide that.

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I’ve tried to like Empyrion. It has a good Space Engineers-like ship-building and base-building system, and it has more focus on gameplay than SE. But the very indie nature of the game severely holds it back for me. Dinosaurs and obvious Unity store asset aliens populate the world, so it doesn’t really feel like a unique experience. If they revamped the creatures, I’d be willing to give it another shot.


The graphic just hurt my eyes. I never got to the building spaceship part as the grind of materials was way out of my league. Maybe I needed someone to help me like it. Probably to late for that now.

Kickstarter Donor

Oddly enough, I’ve thought about Spiral Knights every now and then lately but never checked in. Kinda glad it’s still up and running! Never played too much but I remember it being a cute little action title.