The new 2D sandbox space explorer, Starbound, launched on Wednesday and is already being compared to the like of other platformer sandboxes like Terraria. Here’s why you shouldn’t compare it.
Starbound is a brand new sandbox platformer by Chucklefish Games, featuring space exploration and infinitely generating planets and universes. As this is a well-known genre, it’s going to be ripped to pieces by players of other games screaming “IT’S COPYING OUR GAME! OH NOES!“. One of the main games that Starbound is being compared to is Terraria. In my opinion, I don’t believe the two games can be compared and here’s why:
Unlike most sandboxes, Starbound is due to have a plot full of quests and missions to accomplish. Currently, as Starbound is in beta these quests are limited, but they are there and will be expanded upon. Terraria doesn’t have any quests or pre-defined plot as such and relies highly on the player’s creativity and imagination to define what they will do with the game. Starbound doesn’t limit you to these quests though, they are an extra feature. You are not forced into quests and can do what you want, but these quests give you the sense of progression in the game, which building a town for no apparent reason might not.
In Terraria, player creation is solely based on being a human, allowing you to customize clothes, hairstyle and colours and the like. Starbound does not currently have as wider range of clothes and hairstyle as Terraria (Especially the console versions), but does have a few nifty features of character creation that Terraria doesn’t. Starbound gives the player the option to choose between six races. These races define what your spaceship looks like and how the story of your character begins. These races have different strengths and weaknesses and can have bad reactions to eating food or using items meant for other races.
Terraria has an interesting take on world generation as it allows you to take characters to multiple world, not sticking them to one single save file. Starbound does this too, but in a much more different way. Starbound allows the player to take their spaceship and fly to randomly generated galaxies containing randomly generated planets. This allows for the player to take their character to different worlds whilst using the main mechanic of the game; space.
Point 3 leads us on nicely to the 4th point I wish to make. It may seem very obvious, but it really does show a difference between the two games. Starbound sees the players flying through the universe in spaceships and beaming themselves down to planets. Terraria is nothing like this and doesn’t need to be, that’s not what the game is about. That is a huge reason why the two games shouldn’t be compared.
As far as I have seen, bosses are not a main feature as they are in Terraria. Terraria focuses the player on summoning evil bosses, sought on destroying your world and pasting it with corruptness. The player(s) must then rid the world of these demons and reap the rewards that they drop. As stated in point 1, Starbound has a quest-line and doesn’t focus on spawning in bosses (currently, it’s in beta!) and eradicating them from the planet.
6. World Generation
Ignoring the fact that Starbound sends the player through space to different planets, the world generation is quite a lot different. Terraria has many beautiful biomes and underground caverns to explore which really add a great variety to the game. Starbound has biomes, but they tend to be related to the overall theme of the planet which you are currently visiting. These biomes may then have randomly generated structures in them, such as dungeons, bandit camps, towns, shops, traveling merchants and more! This is another great reason which sets the two games apart.
There are many more reasons why these two great games shouldn’t be compared, but if I wrote them all I might spoil one or both of the games for you and then there would be no point in playing them!
One of the main things you have to remember though is comparing a game that is still being developed or is in “early-access” to another game is always going to be a rough ground. Many things can constantly change, and with Starbound in particular being out for less than a week, it is unfair to even begin to compare it.
Terraria has given me hours of entertainment that I thoroughly enjoyed. Nothing beats a good old battle against a robotic eye that fires laser beams! I in no way dislike the game, it is one of my favorite games I have played. From what I have played so far of Starbound, I can see it being the same way. The game has already given me great enjoyment and I can see it turning out to be the success that Terraria has had, but not because they are similar.
Sure they are similar in the fact that they are blocky and platformer, but wasn’t the original Mario? Running from left to right, jumping from block to block? Yeah, that’s Mario. There is no point in making a new game of a popular genre and ignoring the success of previous games, that’s like making a pizza and leaving out the cheese because it was like another pizza you’ve had before. That’s silly. You build upon ideas and form them into new creations. That what makes most games what they are today.
Anyway, I meant to end this post ages ago, probably somewhere at that line. Oh well! Never the less, make sure to pickup both games on Steam and let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments!
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