Starbound is a new 2-D indie adventure game brought to us by the developers with the best logo, Chucklefish. No really, the game should be bought just to hear the Chucklefish laugh. Regardless, the game itself was quite entertaining. You start off choosing between 7 different races, each of which comes with its own unique set of armor specialization. After creating a character, you crash land on a planet with a task to fix your broken ship. You are given a Matter Manipulator, just a fancy term for a tool that breaks things down. You use it to cut down trees, mining expeditions, and even to slurp up some poison if you please.
At first, you learn tons of basic tasks that are very similar to Minecraft. You chop the tree to get the wood, you use the wood to build a fire! Simple … at first. After learning how to craft furnaces and pick axes, you can start your adventure and mine down to obtain different resources including iron, gold, and even diamonds. All this while going through intricate cave systems and killing fun enemies. After hours of mining and figuring out the game, you feel like you have a pretty good handle on things. Finally you get to the bottom and get a special resource which you use to fix your ship. This is where the real game begins.
In the beginning, you can only travel within your own solar system. As you upgrade your ship more and more, you get the power to travel across the universe! This is the main appeal for Starbound: to be able to travel to an infinite amount of planets across an ever expanding universe. Each planet has a special attributes such as volcanic, ice, radioactive, etc. mixed with different biomes. Depending on the planet type, usually based off the star in the solar system, and the biome, the planet will yield certain resources. These resources are used to build more complicated furnaces which get you to more planets to find different resources that help you build better furnaces … and so on and so forth. The game becomes repetitive as you upgrade your armor and try to get more rare and harder to mine materials. I felt like I was doing the same task over and over just with slightly altered planets. What makes these planets different is what can be found on the surface which mainly includes villages and loot. Ahhh loot, it’s what makes this game exciting by running around a planet trying to find fun costumes for your character, or interesting guns to help you battle with, and even the occasional resource. This of course becomes your main source of entertainment when you can’t upgrade your armor or ship anymore.
Another way to keep busy in the game is building your own house. Once you feel like you have found a home planet, you can start using resources to build your own house and decorate it. You can use any decorations you’ve run into while on your exploration missions. Some of my personal favorites are the fun paintings you can get such as a Glitchspeare portrait, persistence of pixels, or the motivational poster. Paintings are of course not the only decor, as you can learn to craft furniture, cloths, and even machines. To be able to craft advanced pieces you must have the blueprint, which can be found in loot chests on plants. So even when you just want to build, you still need to explore to be able to get the full experience.
Overall, this game was fun and brought me many hours of playtime (well worth the $15). You can check out the early access yourself on Steam and give the game your own rating. Because it is early access, there will be a point where there is not much more you can do. There have been sneak peaks from the developers that new content is coming soon! Because later on there will be so much stuff to do it might overwhelm a few of you, I recommend playing it now to get down the basics and then coming back to it. This gives the game a lot of playable hours as new content is semi-consistently being updated. Outside of game play, a negative about this game is getting up the server. It took us about 2 hours to finally get a working server (I recommend using Hamachi if anyone is having trouble), but once it was up and running we could not stop playing!