In Starbound, you take on the role of a character who’s just fled from their home planet, only to crash-land on another. From there you’ll embark on a quest to survive, discover, explore and fight your way across an infinite universe!
User reviews: Very Positive (37,027 reviews)
Release Date: Dec 4, 2013

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We were at a point in Starbound's development where it was already pretty fun, so we decided to release the game in beta through early access to ensure the community has a chance to help us shape the game.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“It's difficult for us to give a solid release date-- we're not so good at those, we've learned. Starbound still has a ways to go, but we'll keep you posted via our website!”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version of Starbound will contain a plot and sidequests, more dungeons, more bosses and lore, among other features.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Starbound is already extremely playable and contains a vast amount of content in its current state! There are two beta branches currently in use-- [STABLE] and [NIGHTLY].

The stable branch receives less frequent updates, as we're currently working on one big update that will complete the first few tiers of player progression.

The [NIGHTLY] branch is updated automatically every night, and is for players who want to track progress or simply can't wait to check out shiny new features. :D Play at your own risk, though, as these builds are not tested and bugs/crashes are likely.

Find out more about how to opt into the nightly builds here:

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The price will likely change after Early Access!”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We post daily progress updates on our blog, and we're always hanging around IRC.”
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Recommended By Curators

"If Terraria was Minecraft in 2D, this is Minecraft in 2D in Space. It's great."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (21)

December 19

[DAILY BLOG] Weekly Update Round-Up 19/12/2014

Evening folks!

When Starbound’s overall balance structure was first established, humanoid NPCs weren’t really a primary consideration at the time, nor was PVP, so the game was largely balanced based around the damage between players and the monsters. While this system was fine at first, it has been the root cause of much difficulty in balancing humanoid NPCs who were primarily balanced to fight against the player and got absolutely trashed by monsters, which was a problem, especially with our growing focus on missions. This necessitated a rethink of how everything was balanced.

To that end, Tiyuri and I, have gone over almost everything with a fine-tooth comb. Here’s a brief overview of the biggest changes.

- NPCs now use armor, so damage inflicted on them is reflective of their armor. Additionally their health now scales on a curve similar to the player’s.
- Damage values across the board have risen. Monsters now die more easily, but they can also kill the player faster too. Fight carefully!
- The energy scaling curve on guns has been completely reworked for a more gradual and consistent climb.
- Tiered armors have been completely rebalanced to suit the new armor and energy scaling levels.
- Players now start off with access to two weapons from the offset, with most races gaining a one-handed shortsword in addition to their broadsword. The novakids gain a two-handed rifle.
- Generated weapon values now typically sit somewhere between the tiered weapons. Rare weapons may still potentially be more damaging, but this should help to keep tiered weapons useful all throughout the game’s progression.

It might not seem like much but these changes have involved a frankly exhausting amount of configuration, but it has transformed the game feel quite significantly. A pleasant side effect of this humanoid-centric rebalancing is that the game is largely balanced for PVP too, provided all parties have suitably leveled equipment.

Guns are more dependable weapons overall, but melee inflicts monstrous damage for those willing to take the risk. In our testing, we found ourselves having heated 1-on-1 exchanges, rapidly alternating between ranged sniping and clashing swords when our energy reserves were locked away. It was both frantic and fun! I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys make of it.


Evening, everyone!

In my recent post, I mentioned that we’d soon be uploading a trailer highlighting some of the biggest changes we’ve made to Starbound since the last stable build. Without further rambling, here it is!

As Tiy noted yesterday on Twitter, we’re trying to push these updates to the unstable branch next week and, depending on how that goes, pushing them to the stable branch in January.

Katzeus at Starbound has done an awesome job summarizing most of the changes here.

Thanks again for your continued support and patience. :) Enjoy the trailer!


Alpaca in spaaaaace!

Alien Alpaca packin’!

Alien Alpaca jumping sweet jumps!

Alien Alpaca playing video games and cooking!

Alien Alpaca taking a breather!

Alpaca in spaaaaaace!

24 comments Read more

December 15

The winter update trailer is here!

In my recent post, I mentioned that we’d soon be uploading a trailer highlighting some of the biggest changes we’ve made to Starbound since the last stable build. Without further rambling, here it is!

As Finn noted yesterday on Twitter, we’re trying to push these updates to the unstable branch next week and, depending on how that goes, pushing them to the stable branch in January.

Katzeus at Starbound has done an awesome job summarizing most of the changes here.

Thanks again for your continued support and patience. :) Enjoy the trailer!


138 comments Read more
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“Starbound is one of the most impressive never-ending games I've ever played.”
9 – Polygon

“Starbound's delivering on its core promises even in its early access incarnation.”

“This might be a bare-bones version of the game to come, but boy, check out those bones. The game's minutiae will be mapped out across various wikis for years to come, and many mechanics will be added and refined, but even now, Starbound is an enticing journey of discovery that reminds you just how exciting it can be to stare at a sky full of stars.”

About This Game

In Starbound, you take on the role of a character who’s just fled from their home planet, only to crash-land on another. From there you’ll embark on a quest to survive, discover, explore and fight your way across an infinite universe.

You’ll encounter procedurally generated creatures and weapons, discover populated villages and abandoned temples. Explore planets dotted with dungeons, eyeball trees and treasure. Make use of over a hundred materials and over one thousand in-game objects to build a sprawling modern metropolis or a sleepy secluded cabin in the woods, and do all of it alone or with friends!

Starbound lets you live out your own story of space exploration, discovery and adventure. Settle down and farm the land, hop from planet to planet claiming resources, or make regular visits to populated settlements, taking on jobs and earning a living. NPCs are scattered about the worlds, offering quests and challenges for those looking for a little extra excitement in their lives.

Key Features:
  • 7 playable races
  • A procedurally generated universe with unlimited procedurally generated planets
  • All content available in online drop in/drop out co-op
  • Generated dungeons full of unique enemies
  • Randomly generated monsters
  • Thousands of items
  • A deep crafting system
  • PVP gameplay
  • Own and decorate your own Starship
  • Develop your own home planet
  • Menacing boss battles
  • Procedurally generated guns and melee weapons
  • Farming, hunting and survival mechanics
  • Built from the ground up to support modding
  • Ongoing free updates
  • Multi-platform multiplayer

What will you find?

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB graphics memory and directx 9.0c compatible gpu
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: Core i3
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Discrete GPU capable of directx 9.0c
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • OS: Os X 10.7 or later
    • Processor: 64 bit Intel CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • OS: Os X 10.7 or later
    • Processor: 64 bit Intel CPU
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • OS: Debian Stable or Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or later
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB graphics memory and opengl 2.1 compatible gpu
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • OS: Debian Stable or Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or later
    • Processor: Core i3
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB graphics memory and opengl 2.1 compatible discrete gpu
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
436 of 575 people (76%) found this review helpful
354.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
Early Access Review
I wrote a positive review for this game a long time ago, but things have changed (or rather, have not) and I feel it necessary to clear up some of the confusion the Steam userbase is suffering. Yes, you people could go read the official forums more often (or ever) but you're not going to.

Starbound is a 2D sidescrolling exploration game where everything is kind of randomly generated. It's like Terraria except it isn't chained down to the linear world types and just about every aspect is in an evolved state in comparison. First off, let's get this out of the way... Terraria is not the sequel to Starbound and only one person, Tiy, ever worked on Terraria. It is not made by the same people and should not be compared to it in anyway except visually and by the fact that both games are 2D exploration games.

That said, the game has digging for items like ore and treasure, building with blocks that can be placed in the foreground or background, combat with many different types of weapons and armor and you can explore different worlds. The different worlds are not just copy and paste like how in Terraria you may load two world saves but they are essentially the same thing with the same biomes. In Starbound, two planets (which you travel to through your ship that also acts as a safe house) are rarely the same aesthetically. The trees are different, the ground, the ore, all of that. Even the mobs are generated procedurally.

The combat involves using both hands. You can take up both of your hands using a two handed weapon or put a shield in one and even a gun in the other. The possibilities are very broad.

Building is also very enjoyable because it has a ton of depth to it. There are a lot of different styles and you can put blocks in the foreground to create walls, floors and ceilings. Or, you can put them in the backdrop to make blocks you don't collide with. This allows us to make a wide array of new things with insane levels of detail for a 2D game. You can even go as far as to make houses in the background to give life to your towns.

The game is also very moddable. It CAN be easy to make just about anything.

Now.... With the positive out of the way, we must talk about the negative. This game has been indev for a very long time. Yes, the devs release unstable builds frequently but those are buggy and cause a lot of online problems. A stable update has not been seen in this game since March of 2014 as far as I'm aware. That is completely insane to me. The state of the stable game borders disastrous. The online state of the game is unplayable. I have superadministrated two servers, one of which I was hosting myself and had access to the technical aspects. On both servers, CPU usage and memory usage spiked every time anyone did anything. Moving blocks, releasing sand, moving water, dropping items all saw the memory and processor usage go through the roof. I could watch the graphs peak. If I rebooted the server (flushing out all the memory caches and giving the server back its breath), someone would come on, find a cave and release sand from the ceiling. As it fell in such large quantities, the server would then grind to a halt and we'd see a 2,000 ms to 13,000 ms spike in latency because players have to wait on the server to process everything that is happening before it can register player activity, which creates a lag spike in the form of latency issues.

A server with these specs: Dedicated Hardware Dual Intel(R) Quad Core Xeon @ 3.00GHz 64gb Ram. 1gbs Upstream

Should not have problems hosting 5 people digging blocks for a half minute after a fresh reboot.

It has been discussed on the forums that there has been a long lasting memory leak as well as the game poorly optimizing how blocks and various other game mechanics are processed. The game does not handle memory usage well and that has been admitted by the devs repeatedly. The stable build people use to host the game is like this.

Not only is the online performance of the game terrible, but the actual framerate performance of the game can also dip when near a lot of objects or NPCs. Entities filling areas like a military camp on a planet can see framerates drop 15-30 frames within proximity. Even high end system users have reported this issue.

It needs to also be stated how the game handles accounts. It doesn't. In Minecraft, a user has to have a global account with Mojang to log into the game. In Starbound, there is no account system. Players just make a character and use it to log into any server. This is bad because it means that if you get banned, you can just make another character or change your IP address then log back in. Because you can make infinite numbers of characters, it also creates an issue where players can type out insanely long and convoluted character names making it impossible to be banned. As a host, I saw nightmares come to life where hackers would log in and cause absolute destruction, but all I could do was watch because the game would not allow me to ban people since administrator tools WERE NEVER RELEASED.... and the third party programs did not allow me to ban users with the ban command if their names exceeded a certain number of characters. And, again, since they can just make new characters, it didn't really matter if I could type their names.

Online is a hackers playground. Now, the fact there is no account system is bad enough, but modding is CLIENT SIDED! That means people can make mods and hacks then log into a server and use them. As long as they did not use any custom visuals, they can do pretty much anything. I saw a person bring a hand gun onto one of my servers that fired giant meteors at rapid speed and each one had an instant death effect. Everyone was killed instantly and the server stopped functioning because it created intense lag that could not be processed. We never got rid of him because his name was 'A"S: }{SD}{ AD:A"SD: lIlIlIlIlIlIl the THIRD' or some such nonsense. This is the state of online in Starbound. No tools to deal with these problems without having to rely on dodgy third party modder software and that can only do so much.

The exploration can also be a tad dull. While the game is procedurally generated, that actually only means that things look different. Nothing actually is different. One planet may be a desert and one may be a volcano planet, but they're essentially the same thing with a different coat of paint. You will find trees and plants on the surface, rocks and dirt, but that's usually about it. The NPCs have no AI and do not do anything other than run or fight. You can't claim land and colonize worlds unless you're roleplaying. Nothing is official. We were told pre-release we'd be able to officially colonize worlds, build towns and manage them and the people who live there. However, this is not the case. You can manually build on planets but you cannot claim the planet in your name and you cannot protect the land. Since you can build and store items in your ship, there is no real reason to go back to planets you've already visited.

You will find yourself getting items you need from one planet, going to your ship, visiting the next planet, doing it again over and over and over. The progression in the game is awful. You mine ore to make armor and weapons. Then, you make a boss summoning item. You kill that boss, get a chip that extends your ship's travel to higher tier worlds, repeat X times. That's literally all there is to it. The progression is limited to that, you learn new recipes like that and by building new work benches.

Now, it also needs to be said the devs have clarified that eventually, they are going to update the progression in the game as well as a few other aspects, but the development time with this game has lead to countless arguments on the official forums as to what the hell the devs are doing. I wish there was a 'Maybe' option, because if I were you guys, I'd wait. 5/10.
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38 of 52 people (73%) found this review helpful
267.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 18
Early Access Review
So many people are giving this awesome game a negative review simply because the "Dev's havent done anything"
Alright, watch this:
and explain to me that the "Dev's havent done anything"

Edit: Ignore all those other negative reviews that say "The devs never update the game" ... the devs released word that, instead of releasing multiple small updates in the actual game, they'd do so in a beta version so folks could keep up with events. There's many players writing reviews that're completely ignorant of this fact.

Buy this game. It's 100% worth your money.
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137 of 226 people (61%) found this review helpful
63.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
Early Access Review
It WAS fun for the time being, I use to non stop play it. But the updates just stoped comming, I bought this game thinking "Oh, Im gonna do everything! Then it wont get boring because new stuff with come out!"
(A year later)
*Boots up TF2*
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109 of 187 people (58%) found this review helpful
87.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Early Access Review
So much has been promised with this game, but so much hasn't been delivered- various dates for release stages have been pushed back (often repeatedly), much hyped content (ship upgrades, etc) has never been implemented.
It's easy to get pretty much high-end gear and have a huge fortress of your own built *full* of scavenged/crafted furniture/chests/etc without much game time- the number of hours I've spent on this game is including several times where patches broke save files, so I had to start again, and a lot of time leaving the game running while I go and do other things.
As of currently, there hasn't been a proper content update in quite a while (not counting the "night" updates, which are sort of unstable unofficial patches/updates. So it's beginning to seem like this game will never be truely completed, and therefore never follow up on all it's promise, which makes me sad as it started off seeming awesome.
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92 of 158 people (58%) found this review helpful
54.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Early Access Review
Prime example of why paying for Early Access games is generally not a good idea.

Broken promises and terrible customer relations hang over this game like the grim spectre of death. You can have some fun with it, but you're far better paying for a finished game and just waiting untill they (hopefully, eventually) get this finished.
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63 of 109 people (58%) found this review helpful
177.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
Early Access Review
Early Access game, don't buy if youre expecting the stable release to have alot of content. There is only about a good 3 hours worth of content in the current stable release and it has little to no replay value.

Starbound is a 2d sandbox game similar to Terraria. It features 6 (7 later) different races to choose from and you begin your survival throughout the universe.

I can see this game having a ton of content and potential to be as fun as Terraria in the future, but they are still working on it and putting some of that content in the nightly builds.

Pros: Space sandbox, creative lore, nearly endless planets to build on, Each race gets their own crafted weapons and armors that look different from the others. Modding system that is really easy to understand and you can just make about anything into a mod.

Cons: The game's progression system is getting overhauled at the moment, and in the stable release, the amount of content in the stable build is low. Difficulty curve and ore distribution needs work since its a pretty steep curve.
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84 of 148 people (57%) found this review helpful
71.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 2
Early Access Review
Extremely let down by this one. Good concept and the bones of what could be a great game are in place, BUT this game can be considered a "not worth it" at this point after ten solid months with NO UPDATES TO THE STABLE BUILD. Wait for a stable update and spare yourself the grief of waiting for development at glacial speed if you actually want to own the game to play the game.

There are some nice things about the game but for now the bad things just outweigh them too much. Check back after a stable update.

<Even now after the pretty movie hypestravaganza>

Proof will be in the pudding.

Very, very disappointed with the decisions of the dev team to not engage the steam community and address their concerns after being more than willing to take thier money. This game has been handled badly in the early access program. I do not care if you agree or disagree, I'm simply pointing out facts of what has happened during early access to prospective buyers. This should not be a model for other developers to follow.
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60 of 105 people (57%) found this review helpful
132.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Early Access Review
I do recommend this game, however there seems to be the same problem with Starbound that Cube World faced, and that is the lack of regular updates and thus people thinking that the devs ran off with the money and that people shouldn't buy this game. Many people on Steam have said that they rue the day they bought this, but I honestly enjoy it. The reason that I still recommend this game is because it IS still being worked on despite what these reviews say. Yes, it has been a long while since the last update, but the fact of the matter is that the game is being actively worked on and you can see this through the fact that they release nightly builds akin to Minecraft's pre-releases, even if these builds aren't stable for everyone. This isn't me just plugging my ears andd refusing to listen, I just don't get what people are saying.
tl;dr, I love this game and honestly don't see why people hate everything about it.
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105 of 189 people (56%) found this review helpful
93.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
Early Access Review
Broken promises in terms of updates and basically any forward movement with the game in general. Hype and excitement met with complete disappointment. It's as if the devs have shifted their attention elsewhere. The devs also decided to move their office to a new location right afer releasing the initial state of the game, which drastically halted any true means of progress. They talk about updates on their site often, but they barely ever impliment them. When they do, none of them are game changing.

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to steer clear of early access more and more. When this happens to a different game in the same nature, my friend likes to label it as being "starbounded".
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80 of 143 people (56%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 26
Early Access Review
Amazing concept.
Terraria with space travel.
But the game feels like it'll be in early access forever- I rarely use the steam workshop, and it appears thats the only thing making this game content rich. When the developers "complete" this game, and take it off early access I'll give it another chance but it's just so bland, you're better off playing terraria some more.

It's pretty well polished, but I'm just not interested in playing this game any further until it's been completed- after a few hours it's done holding my attention and I just wish this game wasn't such a dead end.
I totally understand imaginitive gamers spending days and weeks in this game, but the reality is I just don't have the time or patience to dedicate to this game enough to let my imagination take the reigns. It needs more substance.
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86 of 155 people (55%) found this review helpful
33.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 2
Early Access Review
Starbound just... isn't as good as Terraria. it's kind of that simple. and the direction it's going, I'm not sure it ever will be as good as Terraria (let alone BETTER). Starbound is more grindy, the progress is more forced - you can't just run around and explore and do what you want - and you can't expand the one thing you want to expand: your ship.

I kind of feel like: someday, Terraria will add spaceships and galaxies... and then no one will ever think about Starbound ever again.
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79 of 142 people (56%) found this review helpful
41.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 2
Early Access Review
Surprised someone can get away with selling a game that is this incomplete. After coming back to this game after several months (almost a year now) I see little to no change in gameplay or features. No idea how user rating is "very positive" when all of the most up-voted reviews are negative. This game is as dead as its late game gameplay. Would not recommend.
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15 of 22 people (68%) found this review helpful
404.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 29
Early Access Review
My favorite game ever I played it within the 1st minute it was released & I've stuck with it for the 403.7 hours I've played it :)
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16 of 24 people (67%) found this review helpful
95.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 26
Early Access Review
It's an excellent start. They've got the core of a good mining/building/space travelling adventure going on here. The nightly builds have really started to flesh out the experience.

I'm excited to see what they do in the next few months.
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46 of 81 people (57%) found this review helpful
130.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 3
Early Access Review
This game had tons of promise when it was first released on Steam way back when. Unfortunately the developers of this game have failed to come through on the promises of all the planned features on the store page. Do not buy this game untill the official release, if that day ever comes. I'm to the point that I do not believe that day will ever come and that is why I'm writing this review almost a year after buying and playing the game. I've been waiting for a playable game for a long time since buying this and the developers are failing miserably. There could be so much to love with this game, but it all seems like a fantasy at this point and nothing more.
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20 of 32 people (63%) found this review helpful
74.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 12
Early Access Review
You can put a farm on your spaceship. That's all that has to be said.
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14 of 21 people (67%) found this review helpful
23.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 18
Early Access Review
Tentacle Planets.
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80 of 146 people (55%) found this review helpful
73.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Early Access Review
After almost half a year of absolutely ZERO meaningful content updates this game is now one of the few games I wish I could get my money back on. Whenever Chucklefish is done whiping it's ♥♥♥ with all the dollar bills it made off people ordering this maybe they'll actually finish the game they started.
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29 of 50 people (58%) found this review helpful
25.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 19
Early Access Review
-Nice pixel artstyle that is pleasing to the eye.
-Enviroments are varied and creative.
-Awsome soundtrack.
-Cool character races and lore behind them.
-Unique survival mechanics such as maintaining warmth in cold enviorments and at night. (Debatable, I know. But I haven't seen many survival games that tried this.)
-Random generation of planets and enviroments to keep things fresh while playing and when starting a new game.
-Fairly generous on older hardware. (Though there are problems with occasional lag with even the beefiest of computers so I'm told.)
-Pretty good lighting system.

-In it's current state, the game doesn't really do much of anything different in comparison to other survival titles. (Minecraft and Terriria come to mind) It does the typical forumla of farm, mine, build, hunt, eat, sleep, fight and explore that has been seen already. But, according to the devs, this game will be much more fleshed out.

-On the topic of added content, frequent updates for the game seemed to have slowed down quite siginifcantly. I heard several reasons as to why, but it seems that this game is still being worked on, just at a slower pace. So if you're the type of gamer that hates waiting. Don't buy this until it is finished.

-Combat feels rather flat and boring after a while.

-Not really much of a challenge in trying to survive, espically when you spawn right near a city and don't have to work for much. (Though you could argue thats really the fault of survival games in general.)

Things I can't comment on:

Overall, Starbound isn't bad, it's quite good for where it is right now. But it's not going to keep you entertained for long periods of time. It's the kind of game that you'll come back to if you're bored or looking to play a game to scratch that survival itch.
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31 of 54 people (57%) found this review helpful
223.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
Early Access Review
Okay, I'll admit I'm 100% against being able to review a game in Early Access. So much can change between builds so fast that it often renders a review of a prior build utterly useless. I think it leads to misleading a LOT of people (be it positive or negative reviews).

That said, I'm going to try to review Starbound and Chucklefish's Early Access process rather than the game itself. I feel that will help people better understand what to expect and how to get the most out of Early Access with Starbound, as well as decide if it's an investment they want to make.

I'll start off by getting right to the point, leaving everything after for those who want to bother with the details.

"YES" I Recommend This Game If:

  • Plan to activate play/participate in the "Nightly Builds"
  • Plan to keep up with development using the official website (HERE)
  • Actually enjoy the "testing" part of what an Early Access entails.
  • You love interacting with the Development team by way of the IRC channel, forums, and twitter.

If all of the above sounds appealing, you'll get your money's worth from the experience, as well as a cool game come release.

"NO" I do NOT Recommend This Game (in Early Access) If:

  • You want a game that is feature-complete purly for entertainment purposes. No. Just no. Wait for official release or a few more stable updates.
  • You do NOT plan to play/participate in the "Nightly Builds". Consider this their in-house testing. Version releases will seem forever apart if you only plan to wait for stable builds.
  • You only plan to keep up on the game via Steam discussions boards. You'll be disppointed. The Developers are some the most active Devs I've seen in any Early Access, but through their official mediums (website, IRC, fourms, dev logs, twitter). They don't bother much using Steam as a communication method.
  • You are the sort to lose interest when a release date doesn't come as fast as you'd like. Hold off until more stable updates if that's the case.


    Chucklefish has a pretty specific plan and process. They have made availble the "Nightly Builds" for us to play. These builds are deactivated by default, so you have to activate them view your Steam Library. These builds contain the most up-to-date features and implementations that are leaps and bounds ahead of the most current "stable build". To me this is more like them opening up their in-house testing for us to experience. Things can break, and be buggy, and game features may be turned off and on as they tweak and test things out between nightly updates.

    If you want the most from Starbound's Early Access, and really want to get a feel for how the game is developing and growing, then this is definitely something you'll want to activate. This is where your feedback regarding bugs is invaluable. There's a lot of fun to be had, but it is very much alpha/beta/EA testing.

    In addition to the nightly updates, Chucklefish also keep us up to date on progress via daily Dev Blog posts. Mostly these posts contain screenshots, animated gifs, and go into some nice detail. They are posted by any number of the staff, and it's nice to see who's doing what and get a little insight from each department.

    Stable updates do not come frequently. This shouldn't discourage you (especially if you opt into the nightly builds). A lot of Early Access games use what Chucklefish does with their Nightly Builds as stable updates, making their "updates" nothing more than tiny little patches without much change at all. Chucklefish has planned for longer periods of time between stable updates, but when they come, they are loaded with changes and new features.

    I personally think it's the best of both worlds. You have the peace of mind that things are progressing in development, things are getting done, while at the same time you get a true sense of the scale of progression once the stable builds release. If you keep up with the daily dev logs and nightly builds, the wait for stable builds is not at all worrisome.


    I have to say they are one of the more transparent companies I've seen. Chucklefish have been amazingly transparent with their company growth, plans, hirings, and finances. More transparent than we have a right to ask. Throughout the whole EA process they have kept us in the loop regarding staff hires, shared their move into their new offices, their experience relocating staff from other parts of the world to their UK offices. They've posted pictures as their office went from empty to furnished, pictures of their tech setup, staff pictures. It's very reassuring to know our money is being put to good use, and seeing the proof gives a huge peace of mind.

    It may seem like little things, but the level of intimacy is a wonderful sign of a company taking our investment seriously. They aren't just some random "dudes" in a basement doing gods know what with our money. We get a glimpse behind the scenes.

    Chucklefish also communicate and keep us informed amazingly well. Any review on Steam that says otherwise is clearing ONLY relying on Steam to base their opinion on. Some smaller one/two-man Developers may use Steam as their main medium of communications. CF does not. They have their own company site and official forums of communication to run. But make no mistake, they are by far one of the most interactive Dev Teams I've seen in early access. They simply rely on their official avenues of communications (their website, twitter, their IRC channel, reddit, twitch live streams of coding, their forums). I've personally chatted with members of the Dev team many times. They are crazy accessible, friendly, and they care. What more could you ask for?


    There you have it. No review of the game. You can read about the features planned and the summary of the game easy enough on Steam. You already know if it's the kind of game you'd like to play. My goal was to help you decide if you are comfortable enough investing $14.99 into Starbound's Early Access, and to give you some insight as to what to expect if you do.

    After all, isn't that what we really want to know when deciding to buy an Early Access game? Most of us already know to expect bugs and changes and an incomplete game. But is our money being spent on company growth? Are the devs working out of their gargage part-time, 10 hours a week between a full-time job? Is there progress being made on the game? If so, how often/fast is that progress coming along? Where's the evidence? Is there risk of the game turning into vapor?

    There's no doubt Starbound is in good hands. All of those questions can be answered and our minds put at ease. The game isn't going anywhere, and there's no doubt it'll get finished.

    Hopefully this will help you get the most out of your EA experience with Starbound if you choose to invest in it.
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