Indie games grow stronger with every month, very often providing a much fresher look at gaming in general, compared to over-budgeted triple-A titles from the biggest names in the business. Indie devs may not have almost limitless funding available, but what they do have, is the unbounded creativity and independent decision making with regards to what game authors want to put in their games.
This freedom of choice and general lack of tight deadlines allowed for the creation of undisputed indie gems such as Terraria, FTL or Hotline Miami. Not to mention at least a dozen more genuine and brilliant titles that levelled the image of indie games as a whole from “somewhat ok” to industry standard-bearer, thus transforming it into a peculiar phenomenon.
One of the latest titles perfectly fitting the image of modern indie games is – without a doubt – Starbound. A modestly-looking 2D mix of a platformer with light RPG elements has recently been made available on Steam in the Early Access model (like it was for Assetto Corsa, we wrote about earlier this month).
Quite inconspicuous at first glance, it soon proves hard one should not judge a book (or a game, in this case) by its cover. Give it five minutes and the old school-looking platformer-like title will unveil its true potential of uniquely rich gameplay and a mass of tiny features that brought together amass for an amazing experience. Not to mention, the initially conspicuous looks soon prove to be a masterpiece of pixel art graphics. You just have to see how lighting effects are done in Starbound, it is absolutely amazing and will make you hold your breath for a few moments.
Starbound is – first and foremost – about a cosmic adventure of an epic scale. You begin as a humble individual representing one of six playable races and set out on a quest to… basically explore and conquer a seemingly endless galaxy. With each task (or perhaps a quest is a better word) performed, the game explains some basic mechanisms that will rule your character’s life forever.
Working on accomplishing the goals set before you by the devs is one thing. But there is also another aspect of your avatar’s life you have to take into account. Its survival. Travelling in your cozy and decorable spaceship from one solar system and planet to another won’t be possible without stocking up on food and other essential supplies, first. You will have to hunt for meat, scavenge, gather supplies, farm plants and fight off enemies in order to maintain high chances of survival and make it through another day.
Mojang’s Minecraft is a very good reference for how the daily life in Starbound looks like, as playing Minecraft also involves making trips, gathering materials, crafting goods and developing your own base. The crafting system itself, however, way surpasses what we are dealing with in Minecraft. It’s so robust and complemented by procedurally generated worlds and weapons (sic!), you’ll never run of space to explore and fun to experience.
If this wasn’t enough, the developers keep adding new features every few weeks and the game keeps getting better and better towards its release later this year.
Follows a list of all planned features:
- 6 playable races
- A procedurally generated universe with unlimited procedurally generated planets
- All content available in online drop in/drop out co-op
- Generated dungeons full of unique enemies
- Randomly generated monsters
- Thousands of items
- A deep crafting system
- PVP gameplay
- Own and decorate your own Starship
- Develop your own home planet
- Menacing boss battles
- Procedurally generated guns and melee weapons
- Farming, hunting and survival mechanics
- Built from the ground up to support modding
- Ongoing free updates
- Multi-platform multiplayer