Slated for beta release in the coming weeks, Starbound has already made a splash within the indie community. Created by Chucklefish Games, and championed by former main sprite director of Terraria, Finn Brice (Known as Tiy in the gaming world) - Starbound sets to dethrone Terraria and forever change the landscape of 2D action-adventure sandbox games. Blasphemy? Perhaps. Join us as we try to contain our excitement over five key features that Starbound brings to the table.
I know what you're thinking, "swimming, really?". I know it seems like a trivial feature, but anyone who has played Terraria knows that exploring deep water is often a fatal affair. While there are ways to swim in the game, they require gear that takes up a vital accessory slot - and with so many new items, it's risky choice to mitigate stat boosting for the ability to swim. Starbound takes the simple approach by giving players the ability to swim from the get-go, freeing the player up to focus on enhancing other abilites. Grab your trunks and dive in. Who knows? You might come face to face with some formidable enemies in the briny deep.
4. A Galaxy Full of Cyclical Worlds
Imagine piloting your own spaceship through the galaxy, exploring new planets fearlessly with a thirst for discovery. Starbound will quench you. From your starmap, you can see major systems and planets that are available to land upon. Each planet has a distinct level range, varied physics, and set of obstacles that may make it difficult to explore. If your geiger counter is pinging through the roof, you might want to craft a hazmat suit before you lay boots on the ground. The story and quests within Starbound will put you through a natural progression that will keep you bouncing between planets - with plenty to see, search, and shoot.
A major flaw of Terraria is the way that the terrain is set-up. There is a destinct right and left side, and in large worlds - it becomes tedious to trek from one side to another. Starbound offers worlds that are cyclical. Cyclical worlds mean that if you keep walking to the right, you'll eventually go full circle and end up where you originally started. In terms of immersion, this seems like a no-brainer. There isn't much else to state about this ability other than it paves the way for vehicular navigation, which leads us to the next feature.
No adventure would be complete without badass ways to cruise the new terrain.
By Land - The environments of Starbound have the possiblity to be highly hostile in nature. With randomly generated types of monsters, it's hard to tell what you're going to go up against. Just to play it safe, you might want to craft a mech, to show the native inhabitants that you mean business. It has also been confirmed that each race will have it's own unique mech. Machines speak louder than words.
By Air - Sources confirm an enemy base three clicks in the distance. You know they're heavily armed and defended, and known to shoot on sight. Your last raiding party came back as swiss cheese, and you're wondering what to do. Take to the sky with air superiority, strafing the target and scattering their ranks before dropping in to mop up what remains. Starbound promotes planning out attacks and finding the best route to an objective. Hurt and need an evac? We'll be there in two shakes of a plasma rifle.
By Sea - Whether for combat or liesure, there's nothing better than setting out on the high-seas. While there's not much known about the aquatic vehicles of Starbound, we expect to see everything from rafts to submarines - giving you ample choices of navigating the blue. Because sometimes it's nice to sit back with good friends and fish.
2. Playable Races
Creating a diverse team in Starbound is easy. With seven playable races utilizing differing crafts and abilities, it's certain that you'll find your perfect match.
Human - For the folks that are already comfortable in their own skin. Humans are expected to have armor abilities that grant them extra inventory slots, and have a standard durability.
Apex - The Apex are similar to humans in that they are mammals, though they resemble apes more than their squishy cousins. Through genetic experiments the race has traded physical de-evolution for increased mental intellect. Though there is not much known about the abilities of the Apex race, we're guessing that they'll be able to craft some pretty awesome items.
Avian - The Avian are anthropomorphic bird race that are flightless in nature. This race worships an old god who is thought to have stripped the species of their wings as punishment for entering the mortal realm. They believe that, through worship, they will once again regain their ability to fly.
Floran - The Floran are a carniverous race of sentient plants that gain nutrients through a combination of photosynthesis and the digestion of organisms. This race is known to scavange technology, reverse engineering it to derive devices of their own.
Glitch - The Glitch are a long forgotten program staged throughout the galaxy in Starbound. This race, stuck in the early stages of simulation, still engages in their medieval ways. Programming errors allow some of the Glitch to now operate freely outside of their original parameters.
Hylotl - Not much is known about the Hyotl other than they have fins and resemble the Mexican Axolotl, an amphibian also known as a "Mexican Walking Fish". We're not too sure what this race is capable of, but it's probably safe to say that they'll be good in the water.
Novakid - The Novakid are a race of beings comprised of interstellar gas, held together by brands on their head that emit a tough plasma casing. Their species is said to be uninterested in their own recorded history, resulting from a short memory and attention span. This race was added as a stretch bonus after pre-orders hit the $500,000 mark.
1. Randomized Monsters
One of the most compelling features of Starbound, is the procedural generation of the monsters. Choosing from a list of parts, the game engine throws together enemies that have the potential of looking different on every planet that you land on. The artificial-intelligence and behavior of the enemies are also random, making every undiscovered creature a new and challenging threat. As we mentioned previously, the levels of the monsters will vary - depending on which planet that you visit. A similar looking monster from a low level planet, might be a much harder foe on a different planetary body.
What else would you like to see in the final release of Starbound? Do you think that Chucklefish has the ability to upset the lasting reign of Terraria?
We're not sure, but we're anxiously awaiting the final release.