Alright folks, let's break down this game in a short review.
I recommend this game, though it's in alpha and incomplete, it's a very charming game. Right away I'll list my Pros and Cons so far...
Let's start with the bad.
-Controls are a bit clunky.
-Graphics could use a tune-up.
-Trading is limited to "Drop-Pickup-Drop".
-Limited ammount of usable materials. You've got two kinds of Stone (Marble and Granite, shut up Sandstone is not -stone- in the literal sense, merely compacted sand.), one kind of Wood, two kinds of Dirt (regular and Parched Dirt), two kinds of Grass, (Forest Grass and Regular Grass), various unusable terrain-materials (Clover, Loam), a small variatiy of plants.
Now the good!
-Charming visual quality.
-Crafting is nice, wide array of various furnature.
-Crafting is Streamlined, all you get is a furnace, three types of altars and your Dragonstone. No bulky crafting setups with multiple machines.
-Terrain alteration is by-far one of the best I've seen in a Survival Sandbox Game. (I've played Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, 7 Days to Die, and Space Engineers)
-Various NPCs already implimented, each with it's own animations and sound effects.
-Movement is interesting, not too difficult to master but still clunky on it's own.
-Gathering resources is "magical", no complex tools and equipment. Just your hand and the magic you have gets you everything you need.
Alright, that's out of the way. Now, I understand it's been SEVERAL MONTHS since the last update, but unlike a few games the Dev's of this one are still talking to the community and still hinting at updates in the future. Is it near? probably not, but hey! It's been almost a year since I've last seen an actual update for Starbound. I haven't care for the updates to Minecraft beyond 1.6.4, and I'm all but ignoring 7 Days to Die until they can hammer down their optimization that wont kill my computer whenever I try and load a map. This game loads fast, has a charming aesthetic to it, and I've yet to encounter any major bugs in it.
This is after 13 hours, mind you. I didn't play for half an hour and then gave up on it. This game is one that takes time to learn, more time to understand, and a while to master. I'm still not good at shaping the terrain, can't manage to build a tower without hopping up and down placing blocks, and still have issues moving about the island. It'll take an update or two to hammer down that hitch in gameplay, but it doesn't stop you from having fun while playing. I dropped Starbound after an hour without any guidance, a hard-to-follow quest-tutorial-thing, and the most basic equipment you can get without calling down a boss to wreck your stuff. But after I got past the Penguin Armada, I had a blast with all the new things I could make. Windborne is another one of those games that takes a while to build up, but once everything is set you can just go wild with your imagination.
As stated above, the controls are clunky. Movement is tricky, block placement can get confusing, and don't get me started on rotation. I'm no stranger to funky building, Alpha Minecraft was horrible for a long time. While all this is bad, it just shows this game is still an ALPHA game, it still has a dozen updates before it's going to get anywhere fast. Space Engineers still doesn't have NPCs, and it has a fully functioning physics simulator with advanced engineering involved. I may not be able to build a spaceship to ram another spaceship while spinning around an asteriod, but I can definately identify other living creatures floating around in Windborne, and the Jin are going to become your best friends when you've completed all your quests and still don't have all the recipes. There's only so many Relic Chests you can find on an island, and who's going to enjoy making and killing off a dozen characters to siphon a bunch of recipes to a single one?
Now, the graphics need a tune-up, I don't like how the textures can "bleed" together, but it adds a charming touch of reality to it. Marble doesn't repel grass, and dirt doesn't shift across Granite without leaving a bit of itself behind. The textures overlap where terrain meets. Grass looks like it's creeping over Marble, dirts sticks and coats Granite, and sand is...well, sandy. The graphics definately can be improved, but as they stand it's still pretty great. There's a variety of colors and bright textures that keep the eye pleased. The NPCs are beautifully rendered, and each with they're own animations and sounds. I walk over to a Jin, and their little ears perk up and they spin around in surprise. The Woolies(sheep with little wings) bleet while floating around. the Pinchers will click their claws at you if you interact with them.
All things considered, incluing that this is an Alpha-stage game with Alpha-stage graphics and controls, it's a fun game! I seriously hope you can look past the negative rants of players who bought the game and expected Unreal Tournament style graphics with advanced combat systems and see it as more of a peaceful survival simulator based in a fantasy setting. There's nothing in here (yet!) that can kill you, falling off the island merely teleports you back to your Dragonstone. Resources are limited but there's a lot of them on your one island, and you can make other islands to siphon resources from.
If you picked up this game, and saw it wasn't full of content, still give it a chance. It's fun, charming, and definately addictive. Ever try playing Minecraft, and tried to stop after imagining what you'd build? Yeah, it's a lot like that.