Space is the final frontier, or so they say. Venturing into the starry sky to explore the unending abyss that is the void of space has been an interest of humans for centuries. After inventing space travel, the fascination with the starry void grew even larger. This lead to the creation of the sci-fi genre, and all the various pieces of media that make it up. Today, I shall discuss a game that captures that magical feeling of space exploration. Let’s talk about the sci-fi Indie game classic, known only as “Starbound”!
Starbound is a survival/crafting game that is heavily inspired by Terraria. This isn’t too surprising, especially considering the fact that one of Terraria’s lead developers did work on the game. While Starbound does play exactly like Terraria, it does some things to mix up the formula. However, both games start pretty much the same way. You end up stuck in a large grassy wasteland, and you are tasked with mining and acquiring gear and weapons by mining for materials. That’s where the similarities end, however.
You play a survivor of earth’s destruction, and have to find your way off of the planet and stop the evil known as “The Ruin” from consuming the rest of the galaxy. It’s your typical sci-fi plot, nothing too original or unique here. After fixing your ship and getting it in working order, you can now traverse the galaxy at your leisure.
At this point, the game opens up immensely. There are so many planets, side-quests, and activities you can take part in. The universe is procedurally generated, and seemingly unending. You can spend hours just doing side-quests across the galaxy, growing crops, crafting new weapons, or just forging your own adventures. Best of all, the game touts multiplayer and allows you to play through the story with friends.
Starbound is great, because it takes what made Terraria great and multiplied it by infinity. It even allowed you to pilot a giant robot, something Terraria never did! Starbound took Terraria into space, and allowed it to operate on a galaxy-wide scale. Starbound is great, but not without its flaws. The combat is pretty basic, in that you have normal attacks and special attacks. Unfortunately, each weapon only has 1 special attack. This means that most weapons are one-trick ponies, with only a single ability per weapon.
The game is also very grind-heavy, though this is common of the genre. The problem isn’t the grind itself, but the amount of grinding you have to do. If you want anything cool in this game, you have to work for it. This sometimes requires farming, building structures, or participating in space encounter missions.
While side activities can be fun, some can be rather annoying. The aforementioned space encounters can be really aggravating if you’re unprepared. One thing I really didn’t enjoy about this game was the bosses, which felt way too gimmicky and didn’t make use of the game’s wide array of weapons and gear.
This is still a solid title, especially for the price. I paid 11 bucks for this on the Steam summer sale and felt like I got what I paid for. Sure, it plays identically to Terarria and is lacking in terms of bosses, but it’s got a lot of heart. It’s nice to see a deviation on the “crafting game” formula that involves tons of space travel. To me, this game is what “No Man’s Sky” should’ve been. Truly, Starbound is the best of the weird open-world sci-fi survival games.