Review: Starbound

From the UK based studio “Chucklefish” comes the brilliant game Starbound.

If you still have not caught the scent of this game it’s a 2d platformer much like Terraria (visually, considering they both have the same art director), but yet again not so much. In Starbound the main focus is in the adventure, and in the exploration, so going from the one slate of dirt from terraria to hundreds upon hundreds of galaxies to explore and discover in Starbound is quite the leap.

Getting started, and Gameplay.

When you first start the game you need to create your character and the first thing you need to choose is, race of which are “Human, Hylotl, Apex, Floran, Glitch, Novakid and Avian”races

Your choice of race will most likely not have a major effect on gameplay, but may have different crafting recipes or starting gear and tech, which may grant different bonuses, and then color of hair, skin and other visual traits carried out by different races. And when you’re ready you can start the game. You spawn in a spaceship, your main motive is that you’re stranded in your spaceship with no fuel, so your first objective is to get some tools from your ship’s storage and beam down to the nearest planet to find food and fuel for your travels. I will say this that I felt like I was thrown in to the game quite unprepared, and because of my ability to not keep any attention to the text popping up on my screen, I was busy pressing all the buttons and looking at my starmap instead of reading in my journal where you learn a few basic things . But then again who learned anything from reading so I beamed right down to that planet, and started slappin’ the shit out of the ground with ma’ “Matter Manipulator”.

What I’m trying to say here is, read the journal if you don’t want to be completely lost like me and dick around for half an hour before doing anything to progress the game. And I will confess, I looked up quite a lot of stuff. Why I ended up doing that is because the game limits you’re crafting ability in that you can only see what you can make with your current items in your inventory, which in my opinion could have been a bit more open this early in the game to progress just a wee bit easier. But after playing 3 to 4 hours I got the hang of it and I raided and pillaged every planet I came across, I see why reavers did what they did in Firefly (Serenity doesn’t count).


My badass ship the S.S. C’unt Destroyer

I tried to build myself a home on a planet and only gain resources from that individual planet. But after som time I realized the more time I spent on one single planet, the more time wasted. And since it is still in beta the underground world is still not fully fleshed out, so staying in one place doesn’t serve you much at the time. There as there is a lot much more content above groundlevel with things like: test facillities, skyships, prisons among the ones I discovered.

Co-op and Community

And this game is of course focused on players making or joining servers to share this big adventure with others. I myself joined the renowned Game-on Broadcaster Swiftor on an adventure to see how deep we could dig on a single planet, and even though it wasn’t that profitable for the game progression, we still had a great adventure, and died in lava when we reached the bottom. We also killed a penguin in a Ufo but that is something you need to experience for yourselves.

myship starbound

Me and my friend dancing to a guy playing “Viva la Vida – Coldplay” on an in-game instrument

There is already a huge community for this game, There are subreddits for both the game itself and for servers open for almost everyone, and there is already a big modding community as well. I am really impressed of how far the community has already come after it being released to the public under a week, and remember this game is still in it’s beta stage, so you could say it’s rolling of the very successful Minecraft formula.

Visuals and Soundtrack

As mentioned before the visuals are very alike Terraria, but Starbound takes more of a 16-bit approach and a closer perspective compared to Terraria allowing for more Character details and Item characteristics. The monsters are also extremely creative and there is a random monster every week who are only in the game for a limited time

 Random Monster 80.gif

Random monster of week 50. 2013

and why nintendo haven’t hired any of Chucklefish’s designers for the next pokemon game yet, I do not know. The different planets have different backdrops, themes, threat level and nature. You have planets that are toxic with plants as big as trees and forest planets that look like the moons of Endor, and you have vast tundras full of hungry and dangerous monsters, or Desert planets with similar traits from Tatooine and it all ads to the great variety. planet

The soundtrack, is beautiful. It’s simplistic brilliance you know who needs anything more than a piano and strings with a throat full of reverb adding so much space to…space, or when you’re exploring a new planet, when suddenly,


A MONSTER POPS UP and the music transitions in to an epic orchestra standing behind you and playing with your every move, and when you finally kill the monster it fades back to the calming piano and strings to help you down from your adrenaline rush. The only thing I found negative about the music is this fading between fight sequences. The fade can happen a bit too often, when for example every ten seconds I meet a monster I kill in one hit and it fades back and forth and in at the end of the day it gets kind of tedious.

In the end.

Starbound is definetely a game to keep your eyes on for the future folks, and if you have time to spend and you’re yearning for adventure you should pick this title up and you should do it with a friend, or make some new ones. Not just that but it has only been out for a week people! and there is still so much more to come from this game. and not only from the developers but from the community.

Vebjørn Heggernes

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