It is hard to fully describe Starbound.
In this review I shall avoid using the word "Terraria" as although said game is good, I feel that comparing the two is an insult to Starbound's identity, innovation and frank superiority.
Starbound is a sidescrolling, planet exploring RPG of alarming and attention seizing depth. Whilst some elements and genre tropes may appear familiar, such as resource gathering exercises like mining and farming, the majority of the game is played out on a scope suitable of the name "Space Opera". Wherever your character is, be that underground digging for ores, on your personalised space ship or raiding on ancient alien tomb, the sheer scale of Starbound makes you feel profoundly small. Insignificant. As if you are only a grain of sand on a beach. Or rather a single point of light in a sea of stars.
However, it's a good insignificance. The worlds of Starbound are teeming with life and you feel as if you're an interloper trying to carve your path through and find your worth in a universe that has, and still can, exist without you.
Reading this, you may be getting the impression that Starbound is an unfriendly, confrontational game. It is in fact quite the opposite. With a distinct and well directed sense of humour, Starbound welcomes you into it's seemingly endless expanse with a smile and pats you on the back when you make successes small and significant. Coupling this warmth with the spacious and thoughtful soundtrack, the player feels at peace. Calm.
Of course, this Serenity can be broken at will with the games balanced combat or bold adventures into the unknown. But as with any great RPG, changes of pace are all of the player's own accord. And this truly is a great RPG.
Maybe I am pre-destined to like Starbound: I'm a huge sci-fi fan, I love lore with a sense of scope, I love a good complex character progression system, I love vanity items and things to collect. But what I truly love is when all of these things are addressed uniquely with a passion and an individual take that surprises and humbles. Starbound is in it's own sector of uncharted space in this regard.
So of course I recommend Starbound. It is, in my opinion, one of the best RPGs to ever grace Steam. Buy it, explore it, become obsessed with it.
And remember: Never trust a penguin.