Indie games have absolutely exploded in popularity in the better part of the last two years. The games that have been developed outside of the influence of major production companies and in many cases, major, well known developers; have managed to spawn some of the most memorable experiences for gamers in recent history. Games like Minecraft and the new Shadowrun Returns and FTL, Gone Home and Rogue Legacy really helped to get the ball rolling.
Games like these show the world that a small, yet dedicated development team with enough money, support and spare time can make a game that is equally as entertaining as any of the big names, and sometimes more so. These developers blaze new trails in gaming, take risks and really try to inject some life into an industry that, frankly has a lot of stale or over-used ideas floating around in it. With the new consoles getting onboard the indie-train, the indie scene is really going to continue to pick up speed. With some great games coming in the near future, there’s even more to be excited for.
If this game looks kind of familiar, you’re not exactly wrong. Starbound is being developed by Chucklefish and looks to be the successor to their popular title, Terraria. At first glance, the games do look incredibly similar, but this 2D theme is all that is similar. While you can still mine and explore the planet you start on, you can also traverse the galaxy, explore new worlds, find different resources, items and of course face the bad guys. In fact, if you run into the same monster that wants to kill you on another planet, it’s nothing but procedural luck of the draw.
Starbound is currently available for early release on Steam, but is still in very early beta stages. Things like balance and world generation are being modified regularly, sometimes daily. The quest system in place at the moment is not much more than a placeholder either. If you don’t mind having random character wipes, and want to help the developers refine the game to it’s finished product, then this early beta access may be for you. If not, you may want to wait for stage two of the three stage testing phases that Chucklefish has put in place, or maybe even longer. At any rate, Starbound certainly has a lot of potential and we’re seeing more of it almost everyday.