Terraria Killer: A Starbound Review

I’m Never Playing Terraria Again

I knew in the first hour of playing Starbound that this would be the case. Even after sinking over 40 hours into the game, I haven’t gotten bored of it once. There’s quite a lot to do from following the main story, completing side quests, or just goofing around from planet to planet. No matter what I spent my time doing, I had a great time doing it.

Terraria VS Starbound

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. The comparison between Starbound and Terraria is an inevitable one. While both games share some things in common they are fairly different when taken as a whole. Terraria focuses on exploring a single world while offering a story that, for the most part, players are encouraged to figure out for themselves how to advance in along with its interpretation. Starbound has the player exploring multiple worlds while following a linear and straightforward story that can be completed whenever.

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Terraria has been out longer than Starbound and has more content to offer players. In addition to this, Terraria is also less buggy. Starbound has some problems that hurt it pretty badly, the biggest of these issues is the inability to full screen the game at a decent resolution and the fact that it doesn’t always perform well. The game suffers from performance problems anytime a player has “too many” quests (it’s kind of random but usually 6+ is too many) and/or when there is “too much” on screen (again, pretty random). This causes Starbound to perform slowly and to skip frames on occasion. However, this mostly has been a non-issue outside of the final boss.

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An example of Terraria’s aesthetic

Terraria took me about 50 hours to beat nearly all of it. I still have a few optional things I could do to get 100%, but I don’t really feel the need. Starbound took me about 43 hours to beat the story. This time is a bit inflated though since I really took my time with it and I didn’t feel any need to rush through the story. In terms of content and completion time, Terraria easily wins.

 

That being said, Starbound excels at pretty much everything else. Starbound offers a whole universe to explore with several side missions and other things to do. While it’s true that overall Starbound has less overall content, the way it’s spread out manages to compensate for it. In fact, I really didn’t notice that Starbound had less content than Terraria as I played, nor did I really care.

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An example of Starbund’s aesthetic

While I’m on the subject, Terraria doesn’t offer mod support while Starbound does. If the content gap is a problem for you, there a plenty of great mods that can enhance your experience with Starbound. While I haven’t yet taken advantage of any mods for Starbound, knowing that I have access to great user created content is a plus.

 

One of my biggest problems with Terraria is how difficult it is to get a multiplayer game going. Since it doesn’t have Steam support, you have to use a 3rd party service like Hamachi to even get a game going. I despise having to deal with this so Starbound is a Godsend since it has multiplayer support through Steam built in. It’s easy and it works.

Terraria doesn’t have a huge crafting system, which isn’t really that big of a deal for that game. Instead, Terraria offers tons of weapon variety on top of cosmetic and armors. In Starbound, the crafting system is pretty solid with plenty to offer but suffers in the weapon and armor department. Starbound excels at the cosmetic aspect of customizing the player’s character, but suffers from fairly generic and uninspired weapon types and armors.

Lastly, Terraria is available on Steam for $9.99 or your regional equivalent. You can also pick up a 4 pack of the game for $29.99 if you were looking to get the game for yourself and some friends. The game also tends to go on sale frequently, so you can likely even pick a copy of the game up cheaper if you don’t mind being patient. Starbound on the other hand costs $14.99 for a single copy on Steam or $44.49 for a pack of 4. The game is still fairly new, so don’t expect a price drop here for some time. The price difference for a single copy isn’t too big, but if you want to get a 4 pack, Terraria is more bang for your buck.

Starbound is still the clear winner overall though. It has a lot more to do and you can really take your time doing just about whatever you want. In addition, more content will be added to the game as time goes by so the content gap between this and Terraria is eventually going to shrink and maybe even disappear entirely.

Final Thoughts on Starbound

My time with Starbound has been entirely spent vanilla without any use of mods so far. I suggest that this is how you first spend your time with Starbound, despite how tempting it may be to add some mods that greatly increase the game’s content. There’s plenty to see and do in the vanilla game that even if it didn’t have the mod support, I would have no problem playing the game as is for several more hours.

Starbound does suffer from the bugs mentioned above and that did hurt the experience some. The frame drops really weren’t an issue except in multiplayer games since they could sometimes affect everybody. The times where this happened were far and few between though. The only time frame rate was a major issue was when I was attempting to reach the final boss. As a result, I died a few times getting to the boss which was a bit frustrating. However, once to the boss itself, the game ran smoothly. For me, I’d rather see full screen getting fixed asap since playing in windowed isn’t the best experience.

I played the game both in single player and multiplayer and both experiences are excellent. You can largely play the game independently of each other with the option to team up whenever. Having a buddy or two makes getting resources and beating some of the earlier bosses significantly easier but at a certain point the extra help is only a negligible boost at best. World progression counts for all players in multiplayer, but it won’t carry over for anybody but the host if you jump back into a single player game or switch hosts.

As a direct result, I recommend paying the game solo for the first boss at least. After that it’s not as critical as it’s easy to redo any quests that you might help out with in the host world. Thankfully, if you really want the progress to roll over there is a way to do it by giving your character admin perms and triggering the progression flags yourself. I had to do this personally for one main quest since the game bugged for me, but it was a very easy fix and didn’t detract from my experience.

Overall, I have more than enjoyed my time with Starbound and would highly recommend the game to anybody. There is so much to do and see that getting bored with the game should take even the most easily distracted of people quite some time. In the event that this happens, there is great mod support that can add tons more content to the game and even make the game harder or easier depending on your preference. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give Starbound a shot.

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