Starbound Review - Terraria in Space

Starbound Review - Terraria in Space

Starbound has been a long time coming. Was it worth the wait?

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Question.

Do we FINALLY have some way to change where we beam down onto planets?

Because that's what REALLY cheesed me off the most about the game.

I'm a little Avian dude, I find a little village of fellow Grounded Avians and decide to settle right next to it. ...OH WAIT, it's completely on the other end of the planet from where I beam down from my ship.

That just sucks. If I find a nice place to settle, I wanna be able to get back there reasonably quickly and not have to run for 10 minutes to get back to my main settlement! >: (

Not to mention that sometimes I wanna just make a specific room (or use the roof) to beam down onto/into and not wherever the RNG decided was the planet's "start point", which might be this awkward place that wound up being somewhere in the basement of my house.

aegix drakan:
Not to mention that sometimes I wanna just make a specific room (or use the roof) to beam down onto/into and not wherever the RNG decided was the planet's "start point", which might be this awkward place that wound up being somewhere in the basement of my house.

There has been for a while, actually. You can build a flag with your species insignia on it, and you can beam down to the flag. You can also place a personal teleporter pod if you want to beam down deep underground, or underwater.

Benpasko:

aegix drakan:
Not to mention that sometimes I wanna just make a specific room (or use the roof) to beam down onto/into and not wherever the RNG decided was the planet's "start point", which might be this awkward place that wound up being somewhere in the basement of my house.

There has been for a while, actually. You can build a flag with your species insignia on it, and you can beam down to the flag. You can also place a personal teleporter pod if you want to beam down deep underground, or underwater.

AWESOME. :D

My biggest sticking point, resolved!

"Where Starbound completely trumps Terraria, and becomes worthy of the "spiritual successor" tag is in scope. Terraria limited you to a single planet, and while there was a bit of progression, with a dungeon, a "hard-mode" and multiple bosses, it's nothing like what Starbound has. In Starbound, you can explore planets, build vehicles, upgrade your ship, make villages, the list goes on. There's just so much more to do in this game, and so many more game systems to play with."

I'm having trouble trusting this review, given this paragraph. It seems like you're seriously downplaying Terraria's scope to make Starbound look better in comparison while not really giving a good idea of how Starbound's scope is supposedly better.

"In Starbound, you can explore planets..."
You can make as many worlds in Terraria as you want, with 3 sizes to choose from and 2 different kinds of "corruption" to be randomly chosen.

"... build vehicles..."
You can find and make a lot of different mounts in Terraria, as well as a few end-game futuristic vehicles that have extremely helpful functions.

"... make villages..."
That's not a unique thing to Starbound. Terraria can do that too. Granted, Terraria only has a couple dozen special NPCs while Starbound might have many more normal NPCs, but villages are still possible.

"... the list goes on."
If the list is a continuation of those kinds of points, it's not convincing enough. Terraria has a really huge scope. It starts you off as a weakling who can barely fend off slimes, and by the end-game you've got devastating weapons, magic, armor, and accessories to shred anything that stands in your way. There are a lot of epic bosses, three "phases" to each world (hard mode is only phase 2), tons of different types of blocks and craftable items to customize your character and villages, several invasion events, side jobs to do like fishing and growing plants, and so on.

I'll give Starbound a try since I already own it, but I won't be expecting any considerable scope difference.

Definitely going to give Starbound a second chance now that it's gone 1.0, but from the direction they seemed to be taking the game during Early Access... to say it felt like they were siphoning away all the fun and creativity out of the game as I played it would be something of an understatement.

I'll probably give this another go now that it's out of beta. Not expecting much though, after the disappointment I felt last time.

That being said, the scope of Starbound's game world isn't actually a point I would put in its favour: the quantity over quality approach made for a huge number of worlds that the player would simply run a full circuit around once before leaving and never coming back.

There's something to be said about the virtues of an appropriately sized, non-segmented game world. I like being able to bring up a map and see where I haven't explored yet with a single glance.

Steven Bogos:
If you played any of the Early Access builds of the game, the first thing you will notice is that the game now actually has a story. After a brief introductory quest, where you are christened as one of the ancient, noble "protectors", and the Earth is destroyed, you'll find yourself dumped on a random planet, in search of materials to fix your ship and aid you on your mission to bring peace and order to the galaxy (or something like that).

Blegh, I liked it better when your character could be anyone, instead of the sole survivor of earth's destruction. Sure it made for an okay tutorial, but that could have been done by saying it was a virtual training program.

Steven Bogos:
Where Starbound completely trumps Terraria, and becomes worthy of the "spiritual successor" tag is in scope. Terraria limited you to a single planet, and while there was a bit of progression, with a dungeon, a "hard-mode" and multiple bosses, it's nothing like what Starbound has. In Starbound, you can explore planets, build vehicles, upgrade your ship, make villages, the list goes on. There's just so much more to do in this game, and so many more game systems to play with.

I would argue a better example is the combat, the attack animations in terraria, despite being more fluid, look less real, much less real in fact. And while the bosses are probably still better normal enemies in Terraria all just have to touch you to hurt you. While Starbound's enemies have to actually attack (although I think there are some enemies can "touch attack" you now).

Another important area it succeeds Terraria is modding. Starbound, in contrast to Terraria, is very easily moddable and I highly recommend getting several race mods even if you don't want to play as them just to add variety in villages and make the galaxy feel larger and more diverse. I also recommend getting the Frackin' Universe mod. Which overhauls the world generation (you'll need to delete the already generated universe and player files in the save though)

Steven Bogos:
So far, so good, but Starbound is not without its faults. The game's UI is pretty un-intuitive - menus are difficult to navigate, equipping and using items is frustrating, and hotkeys are more confusing than helpful. Additionally, despite the overarching main quest line, there isn't enough in the way of a tutorial for new players - especially players who are completely new to the genre. It doesn't explain the crafting system at all, and is very vague on how to complete quests. The "core fragment" quest for example simply tells you to find them "deep underground," without explaining how to get there, and more importantly, how to upgrade your gear to make it a bit less of a slog. I was able to figure things out based on my experience with Minecraft and Terraria, but the first hours of the game will be a confusing mess for newbies, and may switch them off the game completely.

I agree (although probably not for the same reasons as you). For example I like Terraria's sign system much better, you put the cursor over the sign and can see what it says, so what the sign can say is much longer.

I also would like a Minecraft style book system where you write your own notes in-game. Preferably with the ability to make multiple copies afterward. So I can have mad scientist notes throughout my doom-lab.

Kajin:
Definitely going to give Starbound a second chance now that it's gone 1.0, but from the direction they seemed to be taking the game during Early Access... to say it felt like they were siphoning away all the fun and creativity out of the game as I played it would be something of an understatement.

I didn't get the game early enough to figure out where this happened, so maybe you could give me an idea of what "direction" they took compared to what it was previously?

All I hope the game did is fix the abysmal lag. The worlds are all rather boring though, so I'll give it a poke eventually, but I don't expect to come back for awhile

Played this game for 100+ hours when I got it during early access. So yeah, definitely worth getting into if you haven't already.

With all these building games there comes a point when I just can't help but drop it though. Still, might give it another go.

I'll try to look like the beautiful game.

Yep, lookin' forward to this, as I never bought the EA version, so I can come in on this game fresh! (I never Buy EA games for this very reason)

With 200+ hours and 100% achievements in Terraria, I still don't get the comparison. Terraria is an enjoyable lootfest extravaganza, with ridiculous amount of gear to make and epic boss battles. Starbound is an exploration sim first and foremost. They are both 2D sidescrollers with mining and crafting, so what. Starbound has more sandbox elements with ingame purpose. Terraria has more loot and crafting, and when it comes to building boss arenas, it's pretty cool to mess around. But building a space station on an asteroid belt, or a city under a wasteland planet's toxic ocean is altogether a different experience. They don't scratch the same itch for me, so to speak. I played Starbound for a while in EA, but after a few character wipes, I just stopped, so it's full of pleasant new things for me. Survival mode alone did wonders for immersion.

Madmanonfire:

"In Starbound, you can explore planets..."
You can make as many worlds in Terraria as you want, with 3 sizes to choose from and 2 different kinds of "corruption" to be randomly chosen.

Well, exploring star systems with multiple planets/asteroid belts is hardly the same as generating new maps and load your character into it. The transition is seamless, only limited by your fuel and tech advancement to visit dangerous planets.

Madmanonfire:

"... build vehicles..."
You can find and make a lot of different mounts in Terraria, as well as a few end-game futuristic vehicles that have extremely helpful functions.

I give you that, Terraria mounts are more useful, I rarely ever use the ones in Starbound, hopefully the modders will make cooler vehicles to play with. Edit: There's a mech-walker already.

Madmanonfire:

"... make villages..."
That's not a unique thing to Starbound. Terraria can do that too. Granted, Terraria only has a couple dozen special NPCs while Starbound might have many more normal NPCs, but villages are still possible.

Now you can tend to your estabilished colonies, and recruit NPCs as crew members, which gives you an option to have an away team, Star Trek style. It's even an alternative way to unlock your ship upgrades. NPCs in Terraria are hardly that useful once you get what you want from them. Although I do miss the random events when you have to defend the NPCs.

Madmanonfire:

I'll give Starbound a try since I already own it, but I won't be expecting any considerable scope difference.

I wouldn't compare the two games to each other, but Starbound has mod support right now (devs said Terraria will get the option eventually, as a proper sendoff), so that alone can warm you up to it considerably.

I'll be giving Starbound another try, but have to say that considering the length of development, it shouldn't still be "a little rough around the edges". The horrible UI remains horrible, and I don't know why - players have been constantly feeding back about it being bad for a year, there are plenty of games with similar-but-handled-better systems that they could have "taken inspiration from"...in particular, having to move an item from your inventory to the hotbar, then selecting that space to place it is terrible - just let us pick it out of the inventory and place it.

Simple things like that could dramatically increase the enjoyment I'd take from this game.

I've been playing Starbound for most of this morning to see how the 1.0 release compares. Things do seem a bit better, although it does seem to retain that bizarre feeling of pointlessness to about 80% of the mechanics. It's not hard to see where the Terraria/Minecraft comparisons come from, but unlike those games there often doesn't seem to be any purpose to engaging in the majority of its mechanics. They seem to exist because it's expected of these types of games.

You can build a house, just like Terraria, but in Terraria this is done both for practicality and for the creativity of it, but in Starbound it seems to be done just for its own sake. Every play though I've done has made the ship my main base of operations, and what ever the first planet I landed on ends up becoming some kind of extended storage planet where I just fill the starting mine with chests so I can hoard away a heap of junk I'll never use. Plus, you're constantly coming across entire villages filled with buildings far better than most people will ever create.

You can settle down to grow crops for food, but hunger isn't enough of a problem to make it seem worth it, and you aren't really some kind of simple life, agrarian farmer anyway. You have a teleporter that can instantly transport you to the local grocery store, so unless large quantities of food becomes useful later then it too seems to be done for the sake of it.

The technological progression seems to be rather insane as well. In my current play through I went from a wooden bow and iron armor that I crafted myself, to a rocket launcher, two grenade launchers, a pistol, and a full space suit, all within the space of about fifteen minutes. I get that the hunting bow has utility outside of combat, but I kind of feel like I just skipped several millennia of progression here.

In fact, practically every single aspect of Starbound feels like it suffers from that same weird conflict between a vast, open universe filled with high tech gadgets, massive procedural generated structures, an economy where you can by anything you want ... and a bunch of game mechanics that seem to think they're in the type of game where you're lost in the wilderness, alone, and need to survive.
I like these types of games, but I don't tend to care for mechanics that seem to just exist for their own sake. As creative as it is to build a house, I'd rather it also serves some kind of purpose besides eating up time.

FirstNameLastName:
You can settle down to grow crops for food, but hunger isn't enough of a problem to make it seem worth it, and you aren't really some kind of simple life, agrarian farmer anyway. You have a teleporter that can instantly transport you to the local grocery store, so unless large quantities of food becomes useful later then it too seems to be done for the sake of it.

With the release I've been cooking food and selling it. Makes for pretty good profit so far if you're short on cash. You need a Terramart shipping machine to sell it though. Or a merchant NPC nearby.

FirstNameLastName:
The technological progression seems to be rather insane as well. In my current play through I went from a wooden bow and iron armor that I crafted myself, to a rocket launcher, two grenade launchers, a pistol, and a full space suit, all within the space of about fifteen minutes. I get that the hunting bow has utility outside of combat, but I kind of feel like I just skipped several millennia of progression here.

Oh man, the progression. I share your feelings about the progression. I like the combat more than Terraria because it's so much less floaty feeling, but dear god the progression is so much worse.

FirstNameLastName:
As creative as it is to build a house, I'd rather it also serves some kind of purpose besides eating up time.

I'm actually thinking of creating a mod that adds a force that would hunt you, but I've got no idea how to do it. I want it to only hunt specific player characters that have the option checked. The main problem is the early-game balancing. It would give you reason to build a safehouse on a volcanic planet and fill it with death traps however.

Other than that housing is mainly for your colonists, which serve as an away team and upgrade your ship.

 

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