So I recently picked up Starbound.
I’m playing it via steam on my little mac laptop (not … really recommended because of the keyboard and mouse situation, but beggars and choosers and all that) though I know it’s available via a variety of different gaming platforms.
Like Minecraft, Only Not
Starbound is Yet-Another-Minecraft-Clone-Only-Different. It’s a pixel-based art style and you break up blocks of different materials in order to build things.
That’s where it departs from Minecraft, though. The art in Starbound is a bright, professional-looking 2D side-scrolling style. It has an innate storyline, sending you off into the cosmos on your ship just as earth is demolished by some sort of tentacle monster.
And, of course, you get to create and customize your character.
I really love the worldbuilding of the different races — each one unique not only in looks and architectural style, but also in their speech patterns and how they interact with each other. From the surprisingly bloodthirsty flower-child Florans to the yee-haw shoot-em-up cowboy Novakids, you get a lot of really FUN options.
Explore, mine, (*cough*steal from chests and settlements*cough*), build, combat, farm, and ranch.
The universe is (literally) at your fingertips once you fix your base ship.
Although I was initially drawn to the birdlike Avian species, I have moved forward with a little blue Floran with a taste for blood. I LOVE her interactions with scanned objects — mocking a swinging saloon door while simultaneously praising a cowhide bed for being a display of hunting prowess — and the Floran ship design is easily my favorite. It’s wrapped with flowering vines and bones.
The Novakids were another strong contender, with their cowboy aesthetic (the ship looks like an honest-to-goodness coal train) — but in the end, the flowers won out.
In addition to the LOOK of the ship, each ship also comes with a little pet. The color of the pet is randomly determined at the start of the game, but the race determines the species of pet. My floran has a little flowering snake. Avians get little bunnies. There are piglets, cats … even a large, fluffy shugget for the Novakids.
You’ll encounter all these playable races and more while flitting about the universe, pillaging all the new planets your armor and weapons can handle. Of special note, penguins are also a sapient species. Why? Who cares, I love it! (they run the illegal bar, of course)
Farming And Ranching
You know me, this game would be incomplete without farming and ranching.
Get yourself a robo-chicken egg. Within moments, it hatches into a happy little chick that grows into a metallic hen that lays AA batteries. Fluffalos, Mooshi … have a whole farm full of adorable herbivores to fulfill your grandest interstellar ranching needs.
As far as farming goes, every plant you murder as you make your way around the (surprisingly circumnavigatable) planet surfaces will net you both produce and seeds to grow your own. From standard fair such as corn and rice to more exotic pussplums (yuckyuckyuck) and boltbulbs, your cooking needs should be well supplied after you settle in for your first farm.
And let’s not forget about trees. Hack those babies down for lumber AND seedlings, so that your future home can be surrounded by firs, pines, giant mushrooms, rosebushes, or cacti.
Crafting and Building
Crafting and building are nicely robust and full featured.
Perry has played the game before, but was surprised when he saw the rose fountain I’d placed in my First Castle (ah, I’ll look back on the days of my quaint starter castle when I truly begin my Fortress). It’s a decoration he’d never seen before, so it’s been pretty neat to see that even veteran players can find new things to enjoy.
Not … much else to say here. It’s good, there’s a lot of it, and if you can dream it, you can build it. End of.
Storyline and Questing
So far, the questing has been … eh. Acceptable. Hardly riveting, but it encourages exploration and gets you into contact with other races, so I don’t have any real complaints. I doubt you’ll find many players choosing this game because of the story, though.
You see soundtracks reviewed a lot in professional gaming sites, and normally I kind of shrug it off. As long as it quietly amps the gameplay without irritating me, I typically give it a thumbs up and move on.
I LOVE Starbound’s soundtrack. Multiple times, I’ve left the home screen playing for hours just to have a soothing background music flow.
I can’t really think of higher praise than “I want to listen to it even when I’m not playing the game,” so I reckon I’m going to stop right there. =]
It’s still way early days for me. My ship hasn’t been upgraded and I’m not comfortable heading beyond the “Gentle” starsystems. (Let’s be honest, none of you thought I was going to blaze off to conquer the universe when I could be turning chocolate into bonbons, then bonbons into BONBONBONs and selling them so I could afford a herd of fluffalos)
I still have “pet” mechanics to play with (the animals I fight out in the world could fight for ME! Hello, fire foxling. Hello three-eyed snow owl-thing. Hello singing punchy-eared-cutie-pie. (… anyone who has played the games probably knows what I’m talking about. For everyone else, I apologize.)
I’ve got massive ship upgrades ahead of me, and battles with crazy monsters, and hopefully finding out why the center of these planets always seems to have corrupted flesh as one of the bottom layers … ew ew ew.
But yeah. It’s inexpensive, it’s fun, and I’m enjoying it. =]
Anyone else played Starbound? (or Minecraft or Terraria or Stardew Valley?) What were your thoughts?