Hoverbikes And Homing Missiles In Starbound Update

The long-awaited Starbound [official site] combat update has arrived! Beside the expected host of conflict-related features, it also brings new areas, enemies, vehicles, and quests. Oh, and it’s come with a trailer. Come look, see:

From that, we can expect tweaks to how weapons are handled to allow for more nuanced combat. Flamethrowers, remote-detonated grenade launchers and “dual wield fist weapons to enable powerful combo finishers” all sound exciting and the ability to upgrade hardware by virtue of blueprints found scattered throughout the world should add a distinct layer of depth as Starbound hurtles towards full release. Other points of note from the update’s patch notes include Hoverbikes and 300 new micro-dungeons found in the new ‘Midnight’ and ‘Frozen’ planets.

While Starbound oozes potential – and looks positively lovely – I more often than not find myself aligned with Adam’s previous ponderings with regards to the extra terrestrial sandbox. Every time a new patch lands, I get the urge to dive back in but am then quickly stifled by the expectation/reality dichotomy the Terraria-in-space-a-like seems perpetually tied to. For me, unfortunately for it, the former always trumps the latter as it gets a bit boring rather fast. This is likely down to how long it’s spent in Early Access – now over two years – and the fact that I’ve been dipping in and out since the beginning. Nonetheless, I find its lack of punch frustrating, particularly because I really want to like it more than I actually do.

With all that said, I will jump back in. I just hope the new additions are enough to hold my interest.


  1. Assaf says:

    So why jump back in? Why not wait for it to hit 1.0, and then get the full game experience?

    Personally that’s what I’m doing – not playing the game till it reaches 1.0 and I’ll have a proper impression of it. I’ve got other things to do meanwhile. No need to burn out early.

    • exile2k4 says:

      Totally agree – I was surprised by how flat the game felt playing it early this year compared to how promising it looked and how much I enjoyed Terraria, so I figured I’d wait for at least 1.0. Still, looking forward to the release!

  2. pullthewires says:

    My problem with Starbound is that the scale is just a little bit off. Character sprites are too large on the screen and you can’t see quite far enough away. It could be doing so much right but the overall impression is I’m playing Terraria on a really old monitor.

    • mollemannen says:

      link to i.imgur.com small enough? you can edit the zoom to whatever you want in the config but even at 2x the char is about terraria size and you can see everything before it sees you.

      • pullthewires says:

        brb finding out if I can enjoy starbound when it fits on the screen better

        • mollemannen says:

          well you might and you might not nuy hopefully you can see better what is going on.

  3. Kollega says:

    What I find interesting is how there isn’t yet a successful “Minecraft IN SPACE!” that would be to Minecraft what Starbound is to Terraria. Of course, it may just be my awful, awful memory, but all I can remember for now are a bunch of failed Minecraftbuts that never really got anywhere.

    • whexican says:

      Isn’t that what Space Engineers is trying to do?

    • Mrice says:

      There is Starmade. Which has been around for a really long time and has a niche but very dedicated community.

      Its actually very cool. Its got a steam page, check it out. Although i have to say its fucking painfull for a new player.

      • EighthNote says:

        Starmade is excellent! It seems to recapture that sense of exploration and discovery that Minecraft had before everyone and their mother released a Minecraft-a-like.

      • inmotion says:

        I was just about to say Starmade too! The tutorials are kind of iffy if you ask me, but if you go through them, you should have basic idea of gameplay and the different systems. After that (I’ve not played that much, but so far so GOOD!) it’s so fun to explore and build your ships. Did someone already mention that the ship-building is actually amazing here. You can fly around in a single block or build a huge moving Babylon 5. Yesterday I just noticed that they organize arena battles too.

  4. lowprices says:

    I picked Starbound up about a year ago after hitting a wall in Terraria. Everything I had seen of it promised an antidote to all the problems I was having with Terraria’s single-minded grind. Space Adventures! Endless Procedural Planets To Discover! Actual Quests! Then when I played the thing, my experience of it was that I couldn’t fly my ship anywhere, and I had to scratch around in the dirt for ages looking for enough of a particular coloured rock to be able to progress to the next level of tech, which was what I had spent ages doing in Terraria and what ultimately turned me off the game. Have any of the updates stopped the early game being so dreary?

    • Darloth says:


    • MrFinnishDude says:

      Well you still need to pick up the Core fragments before you can do anything, but then it picks up quite nicely with guests and stuff. All you need to do is to make one trip down to the planet’s core and then the universe is your oyster.

    • lowprices says:

      So I redownloaded the game and tried it for a bit, and the answer to my question appears to be… sort of? A bit? It’s still fundamentally the same thing, but everything seems to have been rebalanced to be noticeably faster. I think I’ll do what I’m doing with The Long Dark and Darkest Dungeon wait until the game hits 1.0 before heading back in.

      • gorice says:

        The next major update is meant to be the big push for crafting and progression, with 1.0 following shortly after, so you might do well to give it a try after the next patch hits.

      • Ericusson says:

        Ahah got exactly the same games on the early access waiting list.
        Though I gave up on Darkest Dungeon being a goof gaming experience a while ago. :o(

      • Shadow says:

        With a couple more beefy updates on their way, I’d say we’re about a year off from 1.0.

        I really want to give it a shot since I haven’t played since the old Koala versions, but at the same time I want to try and hold off till 1.0.

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      Nauallis says:

      Yeah, this. Every time I try Starbound again (after a few more months) I get so turned off that it’s not actually different-but-the-same from Terraria that I go back to Terraria to scratch that particular itch.

  5. MrFinnishDude says:

    I’m really loving this update, exploring underground is actually kinda interesting now and not just a chore. Colonies bring meaning to your builds and generally the combat is more engaging. All we need to wait for is an update for the crafting system and then the implementation of the main story.

  6. Viral Frog says:

    It’s crazy to see how much this game has changed. When I initially picked it up, I was disappointed because it appeared to be abandoned. And then boom, huge updates out the wazoo. I haven’t played more than 2-3 hours though, because as another commenter said, I don’t want to burn myself out when the game isn’t even officially released yet.

    • gorice says:

      They’ve made great strides this year. I’m in a similar position, though; I’ve played a fair bit but I don’t want to burn out until it’s a bit closer to ready.

    • Kitsunin says:

      It never appeared to be abandoned — they just went for long time without ever pushing out stable updates. They’ve always been updating on their progress every single day. One of the best early-accesses I’ve seen, with very clear outlining of what to expect before it started.

  7. PancakeWizard says:

    I must be in the minority here, as while I enjoyed Minecraft I bounced right off Terraria but love Starbound.I find there’s plenty to do in the game (more than justifying its price) before this patch, so more content is always welcome, and it’s just so much more charming than its closest rival. Can’t wait to dive right back in!

    • death_au says:

      Interesting, I’m the exact opposite of this. Never really liked Minecraft, but spent way too long playing Terraria (it just came out on 3DS and now I’m right back into it again). Starbound I love the idea of, and everything in it feels to me like an improvement over Terraria, but… I don’t know, I get bored of it really quickly. Maybe this latest patch will help, but I’m also thinking along the lines of others in this thread and thinking I should probably just hold out for 1.0

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      Nope. I too love Starbound and Minecraft but, also bounce right off of Terraria–even though I own two copies (one on GOG and one on Steam). Perhaps it’s b/c i played Stabound first :P

      I am going to echo the prevailing sentiment here and state that while Starbound does have a ton of features to play around with, none of them are particularly fleshed out into something more substantial than a novelty.

      None of them except combat. This update does make combat rather ace :) I hope this is an indication that the remaining features will be similarly elaborated upon on the road to 1.0. I’m looking at you survival systems and colonies!

  8. Hastur609 says:

    I can’t handle this game’s wretched inventory system. I hated it in Terraria with a passion, after a while I honestly started feeling claustrophobic from just how much junk I was unwillingly picking up and forced to try and organize in well over 10 chests eventually. JUST because -eventually- I would need it.

    In Starbound it’s even worse, because every single quest requires I grind X amount of something to for every minute progression block, and this in turn devolves into me just digging down into each planet hoping I’ll find enough rocks to fulfill my mission, or trees, or XYZ.

    They spent so much time making such a !@#$ tedious inventory and item management system, I just want things to be simplified and full of less JUNK. It feels like I spend more time in this game sorting my trash and going out to hunt more of it down than actually adventuring. With as boring as the actual creatures have been so far, not even this combat update gives me hope.

    I’m probably going to give this game yet another pass and let it sit in my library for a good three years, by then maybe I’ll have found something better that scratches my 2D adventuring itch.

    Something that doesn’t over emphasis drowning in a redundant inventory.


    • tobychew says:

      They do have the option now where you can sell all the crap you have

  9. theoriginaled says:

    The problem that Ive always had and continue to have with Starbound is that its so full and so empty at the same time. You have a procedural universe full of NOTHING. Theres no drive to do anything beyond pick a random planet beam down strip the surface like a locust and move on. And even then youre more than likely to not find anything interesting. Id love to give it another shot, hell I spent 90 hours on it in the first week after release alone before i just burnt out on its sameness. The weapons look great the combat looks cool but how many similar empty planets will I have to search before I find anything interesting.

    • level12boss says:

      The #1 problem with Starbound right now is the meaninglessness of planets. Terraria works so well because the game effectively forces you to terraform the planet to progress in the game. Your actions have consequences: you literally have to grow your little terrarium (and fight against it) to make the game work.

      In contrast, the planets in Starbound are completely disposable and your actions inconsequential. There isn’t even an in-game journal or pokedex to make animal safari tourism fun. In fact you could blow up entire solar systems and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to the game. So why get invested in a planet? There’s no real reason other than to build a vanity base and enjoy the view.

      I think what Starbound needs to do is have some kind of meta game of moving ever closer to the centre of the galaxy where you unlock some kind of phase 2 world where the planet itself matters. Then from this more permanent and consequential hub you can keep dipping back into the rest of the galaxy to engage in the all colony collecting and gear finding and other completionist stuff like that.

      In fact, if we wanted to pull all the threads together, it might be quite clever for the game to lead you through linear space closer towards the centre of the Galaxy, where you eventually come to find that portal hub city with all the quest givers. Then you do all this stuff to restore the “hub” planet to its glory while freely exploring the rest of the Galaxy for collectibles and gear. Hey, there’s the game I’d probably get invested in.

      • Alexander13531 says:

        another problem is that you can get extremely overpowered with all these badass weapons and impenetrable armor. basically, you just become this indestructible god who can just crush the life out of hostiles. it gets boring because if there’s a problem, you can just blast the shit out of it and you kill it instantly. there definitely should be a different universe where you can get different ores for stronger materials, but the monsters would be really strong, etc. Also, this game needs more quests. after you beat the shockhopper mech, you’re just like, now what? Only 4 bosses? that’s sort of pitiful. this game is way too good and has way too much potential to only have 4 bosses. and maybe the final boss could be something like the giant monster who supposedly destroyed earth. Fourth, there should be entire planets devoted to one race, like one huge colony or city or something. the only problem with that is that if you accidentally hit one of the guards, you have a whole goddamn planet after you. anyway, fifth, it would be really cool if there were large spaceships and pirate ship and stuff you can come across and beam to when you’re navigating space. the final thing is that there really needs to be Novakid villages and microdungeons.

        if you actually added these things, I would be the happiest person on earth


  10. Stinkfinger75 says:

    Have they patched in controller support yet?

  11. MrLoque says:

    The only way to approach this game is seeing it as a 2D version of Minecraft. You don’t have a real story, meaningful characters, engaging enemies and so on: it’s a canvas where the developers give you hundreds of tools/pieces to build something.

    If you’re looking for a story, decent AI, decent combat, progression and so on… Don’t buy this game. It will be a huge, enormous disappointment.

    If you like LEGO or you liked the early versions of Terraria you will love Starbound too.

  12. TheGGamerGuy says:

    To be honest, I had kind of forgotten about Starbound.

  13. Orageon says:

    They added a lot of stuff to find on planets with the microbiomes , micro dungeons, and bigger dungeons (where you can’t break blocks until you make your way to deactivate the shield console somewhere deep i nthe dungeon). Plus sometimes challenge gates (platform-like challenges, interesting but so far not super challenging, with a little loot reward).
    No need to mine much except a bit i nthe beginning but if you explore, then in ruins and chest you often find the resources you need so even without mining you find in the chests a decent amount to progress. Also there is an Ore vendor at the outpost hub anyway if you want to buy Ore from pixels instead of doing too much mining.^

    And sorry but as much as I love terraria, the mining grind is so bloody huge compared to starbound, seriously… in terraria it is much much more of a chore to get resources.

    The things Starbound needs now is indeed a revamped craft/tiers progression, because ther are less balanced (in terms of what each tier proposes or how much time you use equipment from a tier), and less numerous.

    The new combat is fun because with the secondary attacks on weapons, it offers variety to choose how you prefer to fight, in addition to raw damage output.

    The colonies are an incentive to actually invest into building on a planet instead of just keeping all inside your ship (although the farming was kind of better with the space a planet offers).

    What I would like to see is that you can have a “main” colony and this one gets sometimes attack/invasion notice when you visit them, so you can stay and help defend. It would put some use to making traps and using the intricate wiring system and the turrets. I miss terraria’s invasions, or triggered “moon” events, that pushes you to design a base with a defensive edge to it.

    Add in the story about the mysterious planet-eater tentacomet thing, and it will be a very solid 1.0.

    I like this and terraria both, but terraria is more contained and balanced, but starbound has more sandboxy aspect to it. But terraria really has more content in terms of objects and equipments.