Starbound, review

Starbound has finally come out of the early access phase with an explosion of unprecedented content. Although the developers have added a structure where there was not before and many small tricks that improve the player's life, the game remains flexible and ready to satisfy individual whims. A shy narrative thread (in English) regulates the progression from the most hospitable stars to the most dangerous ones, offering us the possibility to build more effective weapons and armor and hundreds of new objects, but between one step of evolution and the next we are free to spend all the time we want to do what we like best.

In this game there is no event or mechanism that pushes the player in one direction or another. So a flash of imagination or a sudden curiosity is enough and we go on a tangent, between an almost suicidal mission against a UFO led by warrior penguins and a more common search for minerals for a monkey character met by chance in an underground laboratory. The progression thresholds mark the game's progress times and it is right that there are, but we decide what our destiny in the universe will be. We can spend hours capturing all the docile pets scattered across the galaxy and set them free in our spaceship, spend days building colonies above and below the surface of the planets, or grab a musical instrument and join other players in public matches to put together a traveling band of space bards. Even the idea of ​​creating a greenhouse the size of a planet and cultivating every good of God is a viable and satisfying option. Never before has such a variety of possible decorations been achieved in a 2D game, so much so that you can very well undertake dozens of space journeys in search of that single detail that would make all the difference in our personal captain's cabin, or in the lounge. of the throne of our castle! For pity's sake, there's even a medieval-style siege mission among those featured in the main story. Apparently Chucklefish has put almost everything in his mind into his game, but the overall result works great. Game genres are mixed, from 2's XNUMXD platform / shooter to Metroid-style dungeons, complete with transforming our hero into the iconic indestructible sphere. For our part we decided, for this review, to create the feathered pirate Long John Silver with a very specific purpose: to found a Space Tortuga full of armed colonists and overflowing with treasures well hidden in a deposit which is accessed through a hatch hidden in our private accommodation. When a samurai cyborg we were chasing gave up and asked us to join our crew as a coffee maker, the first step was taken and the course plotted.

Maybe someday we will travel into space, but until then there is Starbound!

Space geology

Whatever plan you have come up with for your life in space, it necessarily goes through two paths: gathering resources and killing monsters. In this section we deal with the first aspect of the game. Unless you have friends who serve you as slaves, you will have to sweat the proverbial seven shirts holding a practical material manipulator capable of collecting everything around you and putting it in your comfortable backpack. The planets are the great protagonists of the game, with many different biomes, unpredictable weather conditions and new surprises awaiting us at every landing.

We happened to drill the bottom of an ocean and discover a forgotten civilization full of sarcophagi buried in piles of bones. We go for a walk sawing trees with colorful foliage and stumble upon an anchor that rises to the sky; after having built over a hundred steps we discover that it leads to a pirate ship (damn, what envy! And in fact we stole the beautiful treasure map hanging on the wall ...). Deserts can hide laboratories infested with crazed cyborgs and it is not certain that among lava flows in the center of a tropical star you will not encounter some siroccan with a mission to propose to us. And if a planet gets bored or we do not find what we are looking for, we can instantly teleport to the spaceship, fill up on the nearest moon and change galaxy (perhaps without leaving behind precious silk-filled moth traps as we did. ). The planets thus provide the basic scenario in which the action takes place. Here we gather, hunt and build. A clever system attracts colonist races consistent with the type of furniture and materials we used to build our kingdom, be it simple seaside huts or medieval fortresses with monster-filled dungeons. However, there is also a second type of scenario that is the background to the main missions against the bosses and the evidence chambers hidden in the planets. In these cases the levels are predefined and impossible to modify, so no gathering and building. This allows developers to set up various and well-structured clashes against a significant amount of very different bosses, but as far as we are concerned, the result is not satisfactory. As we said, Starbound works well when all of its elements are present; if even just in removing one, the gaps become evident. And this leads us straight to the creatures that populate the galaxy with the aim of making it a more dangerous, but also more exciting place.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Intel Core i7 2600 processor
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card
  • Windows 7 operating system

Minimum requirements

  • Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Video card with 256 MB of memory and compatible with directx 9.0c
  • DirectX 9.0c
  • Windows XP or newer operating system

Extraterrestrial I sweep you away

Since everything is destructible and randomly generated, fighting is not the best of life, because there is a lack of scenario planning suitable for confrontations. Running aground is easy, as is ending up in a well embraced with some angry beast (for the record, monsters are always stronger at night). If you play in normal mode, monsters are fearsome and sometimes frustrating. Dying underground and leaving all the collected material there forces you to make a new journey to recover it and it is not certain that you will be able to bring it back to the surface, in a cycle of desperation that often ends with the abandonment of the loot. Of course this increases the tension with each new excavation.

Do we throw ourselves into the void towards that tempting building or do we suddenly return to the ship? Great risks but also great rewards govern this style of play. Acid rain, lava pits and poisonous rivers add to the amount of unpredictable obstacles. Sometimes even meteorites begin to rain from the sky, to the delight of our settlers. As for monsters, each has its own combat scheme, just as each weapon has different types of attacks and possible elementary effects. This means that we have to constantly adapt to the environment, which keeps boredom away from what is the weakest aspect of the game. As much as variety plays in its favor, Starbound doesn't excel at fighting. The scenarios as we have said do not lend themselves well due to their randomness and the game system is too basic to offer any incentive other than the possibility of collecting precious resources from killed enemies. But as for the other elements of the game, if added to everything else it suddenly seems less poor and we can appreciate it without effort. You have to watch the game from afar to focus on it and admire its hidden complexity. Taken as a whole, Starbound is the work of a great architect, and we are convinced that within it almost everyone can find a place to thrive.


Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, GoG Price 13,99 €


Readers (66)


Your vote

Starbound is one of the most varied experiences that can be undertaken in a digital world. If we break down the game into its elements, the gaps are obvious, but since Starbound functions as an organism in which everything is connected and works in harmony, the defects fade and the hours pass by which is a pleasure. Cheerful, flexible and bursting with content, Chucklefish's endless work adapts to the player rather than demanding otherwise. If you are looking for a space to work in fantasy, now you have a universe at your disposal.


  • Huge variety of content
  • It willingly adapts to the player's initiatives
  • Each planet contains a new adventure
  • Masterful soundtrack
  • In scripted missions the limits of combat are felt
  • It takes a few hours to get going

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