A resource-rich world with dangerous wildlife.
I’m going to be honest, I hardly knew anything about Starbound. I haven’t done my research on the game, never watched any videos (well, maybe one minor one) nor read any info on its contents. I feel that sometimes it’s better to dive into a game completely blind, especially a game of this type, because you can explore things you know absolutely nothing about. There’s new surprises waiting for you that you haven’t yet experienced, and it’s a wonderful feeling being part of something completely unexpected. What I did know was that the game was similar to Minecraft and Terraria, except that you’re in a spaceship.
After extensively sifting through the multiple races based solely on looks, I went with the boring and unoriginal human, only because my peers had chosen all the other races. To spice things up, I gave him a spikey Mohawk to differentiate himself from the crowd. I learned that my spaceship lacked fuel, and is currently orbiting an alien planet. I was forced to traverse this wild habit for fuel, and the game was nice enough to provide a little tutorial for me.
Starbound is very similar to Minecraft at a first glance. Nearly the entire planet can be broken down and used to build different tools and structures. If one were really bored, one could dig apart an entire mountainside of dirt and stone, and leave a barren crater in its place.
My first few hours were grueling. I died again and again; the monsters there are merciless. Some can jump to extreme heights to catch you off guard, and a couple of hits without armor can outright kill. It also doesn't help that the monsters are randomized for each planet. A pig sized demon creature, standing on two upright legs, with eyes filled with evil, had once ganged up on me as I tried to retreat. He and his buddies were are between level 1 and 2, but at a low level they had placed a beating on me.
There are even worse creatures buried deep underground, and once I had met one with an appearance similar to an alligator, who was capable of spitting projectile sonic booms at me. In summary, there are a variety of ranged and close combat monsters. The monsters do behave in predictable manner after a number of encounters, and soon enough I was able to slay them without taking much damage.
I had to keep track of my hunger bar. At first, it was difficult even getting something to eat because the monsters were tough as it is to kill, and their scrumptious alien meat drops only half the time. I couldn’t grow a farm either because I didn't have enough materials to make a simple hoe. I scavenged my way across the rugged terrain, hoping to get free myself from Starbounds sporadic difficulty, and fortunately I found a house. The house wasn't empty. Inside was a bed, with a human-like, alien creature beside it. I took no chances, wasted no time, and with a couple of strikes, I was able to bring down that filthy creature.
It was weird that, as I was about to bring another strike down upon the scary alien with my 2-handed sword, the alien cried for guards to protect it. It brings me to another point that I didn’t know about Starbound. There are NPCs. Friendly NPCs. I think I just brutally murdered one of them. I immediately slammed closed both doors in the house, to at least prevent any of these supposed guards from ripping me apart. I jumped up on top of one of the wall ledges that can hold a variety of valuables, took out my bow and arrow, and nervously waited for my upcoming doom. After 5 minutes of panic, no one came by. Relief flooded me in doses. I also learned that vases and jars can be broken, and pixels (I’m assuming it’s the game’s currency) can be found in them.
Mining is similar to that of Minecraft. A well-made pickaxe, a bunch of torches, a supply of cooked meat, and a sword is all that you would need to start mining underground. It's a dangerous road down there. There were a couple of times when I misjudged a jump and fell to my death. I once mined a small square of fine sand, and the whole ground beneath me collapsed, which also killed me. A couple of sonic boom monsters had a surprised drop on me, killing me before I was able to draw my sword out. It’s a bit creepy seeing how far I can dig down below the surface. I haven’t reached bedrock yet, if there even is one, but I would love to go there someday. Maybe the game will throw in more crazy surprises at me.
The game is still in a beta. There is supposed to be story you can adhere to, and as of right now, I’m stuck only on this one planet with towering tree-sized mushrooms. If I could somehow find fuel, maybe I could get off this planet, and check out some of the other randomly generated planets in the galaxy. I’ll wait for the upcoming character wipe for the next update. And I can’t wait to explore the entire universe.
Starbound is currently available on Steam.