Starbound Beta Review

Robby Badgley

I have been looking forward to reviewing Starbound for a long time. Today is not the day for a full review, but rather a look at the beta and whether it is worth your time. The developers at Chucklefish released the beta to the public awhile back, and now the dust has finally settled. Here are my thoughts on the Starbound beta.

Starbound is essentially terraria in space. The game takes place in a two-dimensional world where you have to gather resources to reach goals, build shelters, fly space ships, craft weapons and et cetera. The planet is full of ores and resources as well as disturbing creatures with derpy faces that want nothing more than to separate your head from the rest of you. You use tools like pickaxes, regular axes and an all-purpose laser pointer to gather blocks and build houses, even decorate.

Being in beta, the game is far from perfect. Playing by myself, I suffered from a lot of annoying deaths due to poor optimization which caused me to have to walk around the planet once again. The enemy balance can also be a bit sadistic. The first species I found in my travels shot me with lasers the moment I walked up to introduce myself to the neighbors. Several respawns later, I had finally cleared their castle, but the fact that I died in three shots and had to fight them with a rusty sword certainly didn’t help. I’d recommend ignoring later objectives and just having fun building on your planet.

One of Starbound’s most appealing features is the randomization of its worlds. Upon creating your character from one of six races, your home planet and all the creatures on it is randomly generated. It makes a game based on exploring very fun to continue playing, because once you can travel through space you will just find more and more fun random planets to explore. This can cause some issues with cheap deaths, one particular planet of ice and acid water comes to mind in contrast with another where my character got to skip through the fields collecting different colors of flowers. This feature is a definite argument towards buying the game now because you’ll be able to experience the game more, and it won’t be stale when the full version is launched.

Starbound can be played with friends, but I have not gotten any servers to work. This could just be a problem specific to me, but I won’t make anything of it until the full game is launched. Beta is beta, after all. The game is on steam under early access, normally for around $15.

If you enjoy Minecraft, Terraria, or the idea of a vast universe unique to you that needs to be explored, look into Starbound. It has a fair share of problems but the developers are certainly trying to make a fantastic experience for players. Good for you, Chucklefish.