I've changed my review to more properly asess the game itself instead of compare it to other games. My old review is here if you want to read it. I'd reccomend doing so after reading the new review to get a more complete picture. Note that this review was made Jult 15th based on a version of the game from april. Not much has changed, and reading both will give you a better understanding; https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/134599654/Starbounds%20review%20V1.txt
As well, if you interested in a comparison content wise between starbound and it's competitor, terraria, here is something I made in response to someone else. Beware though; it's spoiler heavy for both games. Though if you have played terraria, on't feel you will play it, or don't care about spoilers im general, feel free to give it a read. It'll clear up a lot of things on with the comparisons people make about the games. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/134599654/Starbounds%20problems%20-%20An%20explanation%20by%20Skyblade799%20in%20response%20to%20Jelly%20Slug.txt
Starbound is not a good game. It's not a good exploration game. It's not a good builder. It's not a good with the combat either. The main thing I don't like about starbound is how lackluster EVERY aspect of the gameplay is. The classes they are putting in are too basic for their own good (melee, ranged, magic, but with very basic weapons through normal play). The world has little in it that isn't reskins, and the caves and world gen is not well done, and causes stagnant exploration. Heck, on the note of exploration, there is no consistency with what you find except with biome chests.
Otherwise you have no idea where to find anything, and the whole experience feels like running through a random number generator. A bad one at that, considering most of what you find (minus legendaries) is useless. The legendaries are also troublesome; they are the only remotely interesting weapons and they are blocked behind the wall of RNG as opposed to normal progression. And most of them aren't even interesting anyway; most melee just shoot a single short range projectile, and the ranged weapons aren't worthwhile.The combat feels bad. Even the coming update voices some issue from even those playing it. The additions such as parry or blocks specifications don't do much to actually liven up the action itself; it's a very slow combat system that has little depth. Slow walking backwards slows things down for no reason, and limited attack angles makes many melee weapons outright useless. Moreso, the energy system linked with movement items makes ranged combats uses questionable compared to a hammer/spear melee user. Even the enemies, while they are to have unique attacks added, have the issue of the fact that their parts are not linked to certain areas, so that you have little reason to care about them. Even more so, they only drop money, leather, and meat. As such, there is no point to kill anything; it's not worthwhile, and is overall a waste of time. Almost all of the weapons feel bad, with the only exception being the bonehammer. Ranged weapons are garbage. The actual discovery is almost nonexistant.
After the first two dungeons and a few hours of exploration, I came to feel no more feeling of discovery. You aren't discovering some strange items or unique areas, they are all too simple and similar. Especially the bosses. You go to a tier, get the tier ore, fight a simplistic and uncreative boss with little more then a tier upgrade afterwards, and move on. You aren't going through the world and thinking; "Hmm, I wonder if I can use this on that object I collected over there" or "I wonder where I might find this strange item?". Instead it's "well, better get grinding all the steel I need for that robot. Then, in the next tier, grind some more. And then, grind some more. While making sure not to die, since that would drop my ores and start the slow grind over again". What abount dungeons, or mini rooms? Nope. They don't have anything interesting in them but furniture. And due to the fact they only change room order, they stop feeling fresh after the first go.
Imagine if a roguelike (the genre which started the random gen craze I so love) had only changed room order but nothing else? It would become stagnant quickly, because each run would feel too samey. And it does. No feeling of discovery, too many of the same thing reskinned, and an overall empty world in a supposedly "vast" "complex" exploration sandbox. That's awful. I should never feel that a game is grindy like this. Not even the most hardcore of roguelikes have made me feel that, but that is because they are fun to experience from the start.
Starbound feels like some sort of poorly made foreign MMO focused on grinding over and over with no satisfying result. The themes are just copy paste without any strange additions. Seriously, they could do a lot with these themes. But instead, they gave mushroom boring brown mushrooms. They gave rainbow nothing but a bunch of melons and sand. They gave a potential lava/crystal cave area, just a bunch of empty rooms filled with lava with the occastional crystal which is ONLY used for furniture. They gave the tentacle area nothing BUT TENTACLES. I... just why. I'm sorry, but I have to compare this one time. Look at the nether from minecraft or the corruption from terraria. They don't just have fire or corrupt dirt. They have so much more. The tentacle biome is just that, with nothing to find that'll make you think "what is that? I really need to find out what that is!". Instead, it's all "Wait, they just reskinned all the trees and made them drop tentacles, and reskinned the dirt and stone? Thats it? REALLY? And more so, you don't actually need to explore to anywhere particular, just grind enough. The progression is so straightfoward that at times you can practically draw a line through it. And it's a sandbox, I should not feel that way.
The items and enemies in starbound are mostly just the same throughout the game. Tier 1 sword is the tier 10 sword with less power. No weapon stats other then damage or speed (or energy for guns). No stats like size, crit chance, crit damage, bullet spread, etc. The elemental stats are simple after effects and enemies don't actually have weaknesses. Building has no purpose other then vanity as of now. Yes they "plan" to change that, but that time isn't soon. Their development is extremely slow; it's been over two years (approaching 3) and they don't have much. Even the nightly updates lack anything noteworthy.
For example, the nightly updates (as of forum reading and dev blog reading) lack any use for building at all, except maybe for farming. They somehow haven't managed to get the shops functionally in the
outpost yet, and the normal village shops are so worthless, that it seems pointless to even have villages in the game.
Well. There's way more, but I think I can cut it there.
I think I lined it out well enough. Not even the next update solves really any of the real problems, and many of them are imbedded in their design philosiphy. Mind you, I do also despise how the community was treated. It was incredibly irrisponsible and blatantly bad to treat so many people who had followed you like that. It's even more aggrivating that all they tried was damage control and then eventually just being quiet, as if nothing happened, but that is not the main issue with the game itself.
I haven't had fun, and that is due to how the game is designed. It's grindy without reward. The exploration, combat, building, etc either lacks purpose, reward, or fun. And most importantly, it's a sandbox exploration game, whlist I do not feel like I am discovering anything. It makes me ill. It had so much potential, but they aren't trying to make their systems fun, they are too stuck in their ways it seems. Dissapointed isn't a strong enough world for my feelings on the game in it's current state.