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Starbound

Space exploration is at your fingertips in this sandbox adventure game. Traverse an entire universe in your own ship and scavenge whatever you discover. Craft your own kingdom, complete quests for extraterrestrials, and go planet-hopping in the infinite world of Starbound.

Publisher: Chucklefish Games
Playerbase: High
Type: B2P Survival Sandbox
Release Date: December 4, 2013
PvP: PvP can be enabled by server
Pros: +Insane exploration available. +Build whatever you want. +Mod support.
Cons: -Slow updates. -Feels a bit pointless. -Lack of story accessible via gameplay.

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Overview

Starbound Overview

Choose from seven different extraterrestrial races in Starbound and embark on a remarkable 2D journey through space. Work side by side with the community, or create a dog-eat-dog environment by enabling PvP. Explore multitudes of planets to encounter strange wayfarers, raiders, traders, and more. Scavenge various biomes for resources and manipulate matter to build a home, a castle, or even a city. Customize the gameplay with all kinds of available mods. Uncover the mysteries behind Starbound’s world through quests, or simply choose to gallivant as a team through the universe.

Starbound Key Features

  • Extensive Crafting – break down nearly anything in Starbound with a matter manipulator to gather resources, and use these to create tools and items. Unlock more craft recipes with each sector you discover.
  • Limitless Adventure – fuel your spaceship with coal and jump to literally any one of thousands of planets. Each planet is filled with unique adventures, from stone castles to robotic labs.
  • Unique Team Play – build a kingdom together, be space pirates, or go your separate ways.
  • Mod Support – very easy to mod, allowing players to shape their own experience.
  • Build Literally Anything make elaborate crypts, space stations, or a cozy log cabin from building blocks of materials. Think Legos, but in a 2D world.

Starbound Screenshots

Starbound Featured Video

Full Review

Starbound Review

By Chanel Hwang

Starbound is still in the Early Access Beta Testing stage. MMOs.com will update this review when the full game is released.

I was quite skeptical when I was told that Starbound was a game of limitless potential. My friends urged me to play, so I hopped onto Steam and away we went. To my surprise, I was met with amazing introductory music and an interesting character creation screen. Suddenly, standing on the edge of space exploration, I knew I was in for a helluva treat.

Gameplay:

There are really only two things to do in Starbound: craft or explore. These two intertwine to create the whole Starbound experience. The game begins by grounding a player at a planet to teach them the basics. Players learn to craft tools and gather resources with their matter manipulator. Much like Terraria, players must mine their way through the depths of the planet to scavenge resources. Thankfully, you can remove more than one block of dirt at a time in Starbound.

After gathering twenty core fragment ores from that first planet, the real gameplay begins. Using coal, players can jump to any planet in the system. Starbound gameplay thrives on the exploration of multiple solar systems since each planet offers unique resources. From moons with no oxygen to crazy cultist hideouts, players can venture through an infinite network of exhilarating realms. For ten hours straight, my friends and I were scavenging planets as self-proclaimed space cowboys.

If space exploration isn’t for you, you can hunker down on a planet and claim it as your home. Terraform it, control the weather, and craft a cozy home from scratch. However, exploration is essential to crafting because players can break down nearly anything they discover. For example, the glass walls of a science lab can be broken down into building blocks, which can then be transported to your inventory. Then, you just drag and place these blocks to create whatever structure you want, wherever you want.

The combat system in Starbound is very basic and slightly difficult. Because it is a 2D game in real time, you just kite left and right while mashing right-click. Planets will have different monsters with different attack patterns, but that’s pretty much the extent of the combat. Your health bar is pretty small and most monsters can chunk you easily if you lack armor. Aesthetically, weapons and armor have distinctive features when equipped. Starbound maximizes your ability to customize your character through cool features such allowing you to have the appearance of your favorite armor while keeping the stats of the strongest.

One downfall of the gameplay is that it gets a bit linear after a while. Players will find themselves using the matter manipulator to break down structures for resources for hours on end, which can get a bit repetitive. If the need for ore arises, mining expeditions into the depths of a planet will result in monotonous digging for large amounts of time.

A plus for the gameplay is the fact that you can mod the game. Add different extraterrestrial races like the advanced humanoid goat people, or weapons like light sabers. There is a pretty extensive mod repository available to players.

Story:

Interestingly enough, the artist that worked on Terraria is the same artist for Starbound. The visuals in Starbound have a notably unfinished feel, but this could be due to the fact that it is still in Early Access.

The music is very dynamic in this game. The opening track in the current Early Access, “Title Menu Theme,” by Curtis Schweitzer, is a good example of the soundtrack of the game. This intro captures the feeling of space travel beautifully by using both mellow and grandiose tones to highlight the sense of interstellar adventure.

Audiovisual:

Interestingly enough, the artist that worked on Terraria is the same artist for Starbound. The visuals in Starbound have a notably unfinished feel, but this could be due to the fact that it is still in Early Access.

The music is very dynamic in this game. The opening track in the current Early Access, “Title Menu Theme,” by Curtis Schweitzer, is a good example of the soundtrack of the game. This intro captures the feeling of space travel beautifully by using both mellow and grandiose tones to highlight the sense of interstellar adventure.

Replay Value:

When reviewing Starbound’s replay value, it’s not so much about the “value” of creating a new character and embarking on space exploration from the very beginning. Similar to most popular sandbox crafting games, Starbound’s replayability lies in the fact that there are no finite limits to what players can create. You and your friends can literally transform an entire planet into a space station, or a network of underground tunnels. There are always new planets to explore and new experiences to discover. It also helps that when you die, you only lose a percentage of the in-game currency and are transported back to your spaceship with all the resources you collected. This could be a bad thing, though, as players do not suffer enough negative consequences to really want to avoid death. There are also a vast amount of mods available in the repository on Starbound’s main site, which increases the possibilities in the game because there’s always new things to do.

Final Verdict - Good

There is no doubt in my mind that Starbound has the potential to be a great game. The concept takes an interesting approach to sandbox crafting games with the introduction of insane space exploration. However, one huge setback has been the game's development progress. Starbound was first released on December 4, 2013 for beta testing. That means the game has been in the Early Access stage with no real major updates for 1.5 years. While games can be good when in beta testing, what makes Starbound fall short is that the development has plateaued. This game has great promise, and it is unfortunate that its potential remains untapped because of sparse updates that do not enhance the experience. Whether it be a deeper backstory or improved NPC interactions, Starbound could really benefit from making players feel more invested in the game.

Screenshots

Starbound Screenshots

Videos

Starbound Videos

System Requirements

Starbound System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10 / Linux
CPU: Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Video Card: 256 MB Graphics Memory and DirectX 9.0c Compatible GPU
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB

Mac OS X Requirements:

Operating System: Lion (OSX 10.7.X)
CPU: Core i3
RAM: 4 GB RAM
Video Card: Discrete GPU capable of DirectX 9.0c
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Music

Starbound Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Starbound Additional Information

Developer(s): Chucklefish Games
Publisher(s): Chucklefish Games

Game Engine: C++

Designer(s): Finn Brice
Programmer(s): Catherine West, Michael Reilly, Bart van der Werf
Artist(s): GeorgeV, Rho, Legris, Armagon
Writer(s): Ashton Raze, Damon Reece

Composer(s): Curtis Schweitzer

Beta Release: December 04, 2013
Steam Release: December 04, 2013

Development History / Background:

On the very first day that Starbound was released as a tiered Kick-starter on April 13, 2013, over ten thousand players backed the game in 24 hours. It didn't take long for the game developers to start rolling, and within the year, beta testing began on December 4, 2013 on Steam. Influenced by classics such as Zelda and Castlevania, Chucklefish developers pursued the creation of an amazing adventure-filled sandbox game.

The game has remained in Early Access since its release, and is playable in its current form. Small developments and modifications are constantly available.