this review is written for the stable update Upbeat Giraffe released January 28, 2015
Somewhere... In space, there's you with your matter manipulator, ready for futuristic, sandbox action.
There have been alot of hype for this game without any real advertising. Tiy left re-digit (the creators of terraria) to start his own project and many people were curious about what is to come. It didn't take too long for them to reveal their project to the world with first screenshots of the human race and a yellow mech. It was clear that this game is going to be a 2D Sandbox game and that it's going to be futuristic.
We've had to wait a long time to finally get our hands on the first public build, their little kickstarter was a huge success. I don't think they ever imagined to raise this much money. For a small studio this must have ment so much but it also brought alot of pressure. That much people interested in this game!
After a few updates it was pretty quiet, nothing was happening in the universe of Starbound and many started rioting, bashing chucklefish left and right... But nobody could say that they are not working on the game, nightly updates were released often. That was enough for people like me to not lose hope in this game. Besides, if they would abandon this project after a success like that, it would haunt them forever. They wouldn't be able to get any other game out, because people would just not trust them anymore.
And here we are, another huge stable update have hit the game and it almost feels like it's a completly new game. The previous stable build looks like a mechanical demo compared to this.
Questing system have been properly implemented and it's really fun! I always wanted something like this to be present in terraria. The only mod that brought some questing never really got anywhere with it, but starbound really delivered and the direction this game is going towards is much clearer now.
But don't worry, the endless space is still here, the fact that you will never be able to explore every single planet in this game is still true! The only thing that changed is that you are not going to be able to travel through space right away. At first you are stuck within your solar system, before you will be able to repair your FTL drive.
Ship upgrades are finally here, they are linear, you are not able to build your ship as you want, but of course you can decorate the interior as you want, that is still here! The final stage of your ship is huge! You'll have space for anything you need. Create a pool with healing water? Sure why not! Storage room will have enough room for any garbage you think is worth keeping around. With the new paint tool you can also paint your back walls to hot pink if you are into that kind of stuff, but of course any other color is available to you!
Alot of stuff happened to planets as well, your ship now tells you alot more about each individual planet. Is there breathable atmosphere? What kind of weather conditions can I expect? Is it dangerous down there? The cave system have been reworked to give it more "natural" sense. And thank god you don't have to dig for hours to stumble upon one, they are quite frequent. New landmarks have also been added, new "mini-dungeons" are simply here to keep the underground a bit more interesting and often hide tressure! And of course villages and various facilities/prisons/towers and what not are still on the surface for you to find.
Battle system have changed a bit too. Spears have 360 degrees aim function now for example. Shields have been also reworked but as I am using 2H sword almost all the time, I can't talk about that much. Enemies are still randomly generated and there's "big monster generator" in the works, I can't wait for that! With proper mini-bosses the game is going to be that much more interesting.
Thousands and thousands of items! Yep, still here! All the things you can use for building, all the cosmetic items your character can wear. The ammount of iutems in this game is absurdly high but somehow it doesn't feel like the devs were thinking "quantity over quality", it works! And the main reason for that is that the game is just huge, you are not stuck in one world, there's so many of them that the ammoun of items fits right in and there's still room for more and there will be more. As far as weapons go, they follow the "Borderlands" formula as in all of them are randomly generated. Except a few of them like the ones you can craft, these are not going to change. And of course unique weapons like the tesla gun, these are not going to have different stats each time you find one. But those you find randomly in treasure chests and as drops from your enemies, they will always be different.
Moding community is also really active so you can explore some additional content like this too.
All in all, this game is still very much in development but it's shaping up nicely! If you like sandbox games, I don't think you can go wrong with this one. You'll get many hours of enjoyement out of it and you can look forward to many updates to come. But as we learned, don't expect stable updates too often. You can always switch to "nightly" or "unstable" to get the most recent changes right away, but especially with nightly, expect the game to be.. well broken. It is here for everyone that wants to see this game's every change right away, but there are things that will be buggy, the game might crash alot etc etc. You know what I mean.
So get the game and go out there! The space is waiting for you. The game is worth getting even in this early access stage.