|Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.
At a Glance
|ESRB Rating:||NR - Not Rated|
|My Rating:||Ages 10 and up|
|Genre:||Building / Survival|
|Review Published On:||February 18, 2019|
Players frequently need to combat hostile aliens and factions as they explore the universe. However, the only gore is part of some alien landscapes; defeated enemies simply disappear in a puff.
Your first order of business is going to be securing food and better equipment. Once you have those, you can begin investigating the planet and begin your journey throughout the cosmos.
Or not. Despite there being a story, once you've repaired your ship, you're free to just explore the universe on your own terms. Some parts of the game become unlocked as the story progresses, but there's no hurry. With thousands, if not millions, of different worlds to visit, it's easy to get sidetracked by wanderlust. Of course, in order to progress the story you need to visit many worlds in order to locate colonies of the different races, so everybody wins.
With countless worlds, hidden dungeons, and many secrets, Starbound is going to appeal to a lot of gamers, especially those who enjoy building their own lairs and collecting artifacts. There's also a lot of alien creatures to fight or hunt, and a grand evil to conquer.
Points of Interest
Your character's race also determines the design of your ship and "mech". Each race has their own aesthetic style, and as a result their ship designs are tailored to their culture. Your mech (a small humanoid pod you'll be using to explore in outer space) is also going to be initially based on the race of your character. But, unlike the ship itself, you can find new mech parts and designs to tailor it to your liking.
When it comes to placing things, it gets even better: you can place any block in the foreground or background. When placed in the background, blocks just act like a decorative wall, so you don't need to craft special "wall panels" like you did in Terraria. Additionally, you can unlock the ability to paint surfaces with your Matter Manipulator. This is especially good for themed designs or just ensuring that everything you're building looks great.
The Matter Manipulator can also be used to scan objects you come across. Once scanned, most of these objects can then be replicated via a device known as a Pixel Printer. This is more of an endgame item, but there's never been an easier way to decorate your base.
Lastly, this tool also has a flashlight attachment, which is extremely useful for scouting out the many dark caves you'll find around the universe. An actual flashlight is still the safer option most of the time, as it can be carried in one hand. This allows you to hold a weapon at the same time, unlike the Matter Manipulator, which requires both hands to use.
Of course, once you've reopened the Beak Easy you can skip the "making friends" part and simply hire a penguin mercenary or two to help run things on your ship.
That said, travelling between stars isn't free; it uses up a small amount of fuel to go past light speed. This fuel can be harvested in crystal or liquid form from any moon, but there is a catch. If you're on a moon and carrying fuel, then a monster known as the Erchius Ghost will come after you. These ghostly entities pass through walls and cannot be harmed, so get out of there before they get too close!
The game's universe is also persistent, meaning that all of your characters will share the same universe. This can be used to let your different characters share resources: simply have them visit the same planet and leave the items behind in a crate or other storage box. Planetary coordinates are shown in the navigation console, so this is pretty easy to do. You can also bookmark your favorite planets and systems, making returning to them a breeze.
Once you've progressed far enough into the game to have access to Ancient Gateways, you'll be able to take things a step further by creating terraforming equipment. These structures change planets to whatever biome you want, potentially allowing a barren world to become a lush garden (or whatever else you desire).
Lastly, you can even go so far as to build your own space station. These are incredibly expensive to make, but it might well be worth it if you want to create a base among the stars.
Still, it's common for people to ask which of the two games is better. In the end, the main difference between the two games is that Starbound is more story driven and less combat-oriented than Terraria. If you want to explore strange new worlds, play Starbound. If you want to fight for survival in a hostile world, pick Terraria.
Concerns and Issues
Naturally enough, a cult has also formed around the Ruin. Members of this cult appear randomly throughout the universe and act as an enemy faction.
Additionally, the Avaian race's culture is heavily based on their religious beliefs, which take many cues from the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. You'll find a lot of their elaborate tombs and temples during your journey, and you'll even need to fight against an avatar of their god at one point in the story.
In some cases, the player is the aggressor, as you'll need to hunt some of the alien species for things like leather and meat.
The invulnerable ghost found on the various moons is probably worth listing here too, as its form resembles some types of parasitic worms.
Humanity provides the most extreme examples of this. On one hand, the peaceful human settlements are basically "hippie" camp grounds with tents and RVs. On the other hand, the hostile settlements are prison colonies where the murderous inmates have taken over. Evil humans can also be found as bandits and members of a cult that worships the Ruin.
The Florians are another example, as their culture revolves around hunting and warfare. Even the "good" Florians decorate and built their homes using the remains of their (possibly human) prey. The evil Florians take things up to eleven by dressing and acting like the stereotypical cannibal tribes from old movies.
The truly unsettling stuff comes from the Apex, as their society is clearly inspired by extreme fascism and police states. The "peaceful" colonies live their lives under the watchful eyes of Big Ape, a "big brother" analogue. Other Apex live as militaristic rebels who oppose Big Ape and everything he stands for. Both sides are even shown decorating their colonies with large amounts of propaganda. Making things worse is that there are Apex scientists who, apparently under instruction from Big Ape, are performing unethical medical experiments on other Apex.
Regardless of how you do it, you're still in control over when characters undress, and since everyone has the anatomy of a Barbie doll, there's not much to see when you do strip them down, making this more of a footnote than a warning.