If you couldn’t tell, a number of the writers here really enjoy the indie game Starbound. It’s currently in a beta phase, though you can purchase and support it through Steam.
What is Starbound?
That’s a hard question to answer. It’s a sandbox game in the same genre as Mine Craft and Terraria (though more like Terraria in style). However, rather than just exploring one world, Starbound features space travel with what seems to be a limitless amount of planets to visit.
You start the game by choosing one of a number of races (some alien, some machine, some human), who for whatever reason have lost or left their homeworld. Armed with just one ship and a matter manipulator, you drop down to an alien planet that’s full of resources, plants, creatures (both friendly and not), and possibly dungeons or mid-bosses. From there, you gather materials, build a quick shelter against the monsters that come out at night, and begin crafting weapons and armor that will support your explorations for treasure, more resources, and exotic locations.
The game itself can be as leisurely or adventurous as you choose. Maybe you want to spend your time mining deep shafts under the ground and discovering why lies beneath the surface of your world. Maybe you want to see how far around your planet you can explore, searching for passages to dungeons or towns with alien creatures. Maybe you want to build up an awesome home base on your planet. Perhaps you just want to hop from planet to planet to see what you can find. Maybe you just want to kill everything that moves…. … and… that’s… fine. I’m not judging you.
While I haven’t meddled much with the mods, I know that Starbound is quite mod friendly and has a large modding community that is doing some amazing things. From creating brand new races to complete town simulation systems, if there’s something you want, you and probably find a mod for it.
Multiplay or Singleplay
What makes Starbound really exciting is that you can host or join a server at any time. This brings your single player character to a universe where you can share the worlds and resources with friends or just other players from around the world.
Hosting a server is really simple. It requires a little tweaking to ports on your router and firewall. But besides that, it’s just a click of a button to launch your server. Friends can join by using your IP address. When they’re done, their characters retain all items and progress (as long as they keep the items on their character or ship), and can take that back to their single player game.
You can also join a server as easily. You’ll find a number of public servers available, as well as the official Starbound hosted servers, if you want to play in a populated universe.
What Starbound is Not
Starbound is not a finished game. I wave the warning flag — this is beta. The game has bugs. There will be a number of big systems and changes implemented in Starbound before the development on this game is complete.
While the team believes that they won’t need to wipe characters or ships anymore, don’t get too attached to things. You can never tell when a game is in beta.
If you want to play this game in its full glory, I suggest waiting until development gets closer to release. The beta bugs have not been very bad for me or my friends — nothing we couldn’t handle. I’ve enjoyed my time playing Starbound, even though I’m fully aware it’s beta (and I have had my character wiped twice). I know that the vision for the game isn’t fully implemented and the version I’m playing now will most likely be completely different from the release version.
But, if you don’t mind testing beta and supporting a young game, I still think there’s plenty of fun to be found in Starbound, even in the form it’s in now. I look forward to seeing what it will become, and am happy to have been a tester and supporter as long as I have been!