Universal Happymaker
Based in Seattle and Los Angeles

Release date:
Sometime 2019

PC / Mac


Regular Price:


Astronaut: The Best is a narrative strategy game about running a proper space academy using lies, witchcraft, and/or hard work. Historically, the space race is thought of as nothing more than a gauche way to kill dogs using explosives, but in Flaustria it is conducted with class. A model astronaut must show sparkling wit, a winning smile, and perhaps a working knowledge of what the spaceship buttons do. In Astronaut: The Best, your duty is to train a procedurally-generated team of deviant screwups into brilliant space heroes, or give the impression of having done so. Anything less, and you will be killed and left in a ditch.


Astronaut: The Best is the first game from Universal Happymaker, a spiritual successor to the experimental narrative games Mike and David made in grad school. After our Kickstarter came up just short of its goal, we've been investigating every avenue to bring it to life nonetheless! Since then, we've completely overhauled the gameplay for usability, so the only strange and upsetting parts are the parts that are supposed to be.


  • Enjoy having too much power over the lives of fake astronauts with complex personalities.
  • Suffer the unwanted imposition of tabloids, televised experts, and the Five High Priests of Flaustria.
  • A pleasant cartoon silliness coats the worldview-shattering consequence of your every decision.
  • Like a Stanford Prison Experiment where no one can see what you've done.
  • We give you enough rope to hang yourself, and make it festively colored and it plays a little song, so to speak.


Fall 2019 Gameplay Footage YouTube

Spring 2018 Demo Trailer YouTube

Streamer Compilation (2016 demo) YouTube

The Flaustrian Space Academy (2016 demo) YouTube


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (77MB)
AtB Main Menu Updated.png
AtB Updated Training Menu.png
AtB Eating Decision.png
AtB Gladiatorial Decision.png
AtB CircleOfShame2.png
AtB Sponsor.png
AtB Judge Select Updated.png
AtB Charm Training.png
atb trailer.gif
AtB NewDay.png
AtB Mission Map.png
AtB Classroom Training.gif
AtB Eat Cake.png
AtB Rulu1.png
AtB Discussion1.png
AtB Obligations.png
AtB Charm Training.gif
AtB ASE1.png
AtB Correblanch1.png
AtB Judgment1.png
AtB Promo Web.png
AtB Bank Dialog.png
AtB Spreadsheet.png
AtB Challenge2.png

download logo files as .zip (2MB)

Awards & Recognition

  • "Official Selection, Indie MEGABOOTH GDC Showcase" San Francisco, CA: 19 March, 2018
  • "Official Selection, Seattle Indies Expo" Seattle, WA: 3 September, 2017
  • "Official Selection, PAX Indie MEGABOOTH" Seattle, WA: 2-3 September, 2016
  • "Official Selection, EGX Leftfield Collection" Birmingham, England: 22-25 September, 2016

Selected Articles

  • "Laugh-out-loud funny and refreshingly whimsical."
    - Kat Brewster, The Guardian
  • "I like this a lot, but now I'm less sure about what's real."
    - Alex Beachum, Creative Lead on Outer Wilds
  • "I'm absolutely floored and surprised and happy and excited... I'm just so happy that this is a thing that exists."
    - Solon, Rainy Day Let's Play

Request Press Copy

We're constantly updating Astronaut: The Best, so send us an email to request the latest version.

Flaustrian National Anthem
Book, Market, Moon, / Mongoose, Sun. / Our country is the chosen one. / Let us defend her, / Never expend her / Bounteous goodwill. / Sun, Market, Book, / Mongoose, Moon. / Let all our voices sing in tune. / Let serpents shred / Beneath the tread / Of bounteous goodwill! drive.google.com.

Flaustrian National Anthem (string quartet version)
A more placid and classy version of the above. drive.google.com.

Telephone Tag
The bouncy theme of intrigue and national embarrassment. drive.google.com.

Fundbetter Announcement
Failbetter's blog post first announcing Astronaut: The Best. failbettergames.com.

About Universal Happymaker

Universal Happymaker builds games that are moral laboratories. We intend to create a world where everyone enjoys our games WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

More information
More information on Universal Happymaker, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Astronaut: The Best Credits

Mike Sennott and David Mershon
Project Leads, Writing, Design, Programming

Julia Y
All of the Art

Matt Zapp
Music and Audio

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks