Monday, July 25, 2016

Starbound - 8/20 hours

One thing that frustrates me about doing this blog is that there are certain games. Starbound among them, where you don't actually get to start the real game until a dozen hours in. The last time I quit the game, I had just recently gotten my ship repaired, allowing me to visit alien worlds for the first time. And you may recognize "visit alien worlds" as "one of the main selling points of the game."

I'm not really complaining, exactly. I've had plenty to do in the last eight hours, and if I were playing Starbound the way it's meant to be played - as an alternative lifestyle over the course of months - these first eight hours would quickly vanish into the mists of memory. It's just that the slow burn doesn't really work for me any more. I have to wonder whether it ever will again.

Fussing over the fleetingness of life aside, I'm really enjoying Starbound. It's less focused on personal power than Terraria. You have to gather minerals to improve your basic equipment, but at least as far as the first tier is concerned, those minerals are abundant and the cost of your armor and weapons is relatively small. It was incredibly easy to kit my character out entirely in iron, and I suspect the future materials will not be much harder.

I haven't quite gotten to that point in the game yet, but I suspect that this abundance of materials is due to the fact that you can build entire settlements that will pay you tax money, and the fancier the houses you build, the more money you earn. Presumably, decorations made of more valuable materials yield more valuable colonists.

As you might guess, if you've been following the blog for any length of time, this is intriguing to me. I can't help but imagine the gleaming, futuristic cities I might build from rare components and the massive amounts of wealth this will yield for me. I love the idea of leaving my mark on the game world and of having to manage the production and infrastructure necessary to bring this about. It is the colony system which makes me most regret that I won't be able to play Starbound for hundreds of hours to come.

For all that I'm still basically at the start of the game (seriously, I can't even build a watering can yet), I've noticed quite a few improvements between version 1.0 and the last time I played. Things look better. the recipes have been rebalanced, the story missions are better paced, there's just generally more humor and personality. If it weren't for the glaring omission of a pause button (I understand that pausing doesn't work in multiplayer, but if I'm by myself I should have the damned option), I would have no real complaints (my other big issue, the separability of item-drop on death and hunger, is resolved by mods, though I've more or less made my peace with item-drop for now and haven't actually downloaded them yet).

And really, a minimum of minor annoyances combined with one intriguing hook is all I need out of a game. Maybe Starbound won't go down as one of my favorites (although maybe it will), but I will definitely be entertained for my remaining 12 hours.


  1. Strange i was able to make a wooden watering can in maybe 45 minutes its just one copper bar and some wood.

  2. This is going to sound really stupid, but I completely missed the existence of the wooden watering can. I guess I got to the "watering can" line of the item list and stopped reading.

    No excuse for that, really. Oops.