I have been a fan of Minecraft for some time, the biggest feature that has always kept me coming back is the free form method of creating my own adventure. I always have something to do be it building a city for the testificates or venturing forth into a new wild world trying to survive.
Starmade scratches some of those itches with a fun and engaging gameplay narrative. The reason I mentioned Minecraft above is that like MC, Starmade is also a voxel block based game and also features resource harvesting and free from building. Standing on the surface of one of the many random planets in Starmade most players will swear they just loading a Minecraft mod. The point where Starmade shines and sets itself apart is when you begin building your first ship.
Players all start with a ship core as soon as they spawn into the game as well as a few basic resources. What follows is a constant cycle of building, and iterating on designs to maximize your ship’s potential. Starmade starts out simply and gets more complex the more you attempt to do. It is easy to build a basic ship to get around but in order to take on the numerous pirates and other problems of the world you will want to go complex pretty quickly.
In space, no one can hear you build
The world of Starmade is infinitely spawning and sprinkled with randomly generated derelict space stations, asteroids of various form, planets, pirates and pirate space station (their turrets can be fairly devastating if you’re not paying close attention.), and shops which will be relied upon to get key pieces of equipment for your endeavors. Players can harvest materials from all of these things save for the space shop and then use them to craft their own vessels or space stations when credits allow.
Building in Starmade starts simply enough, you enter your space core and attach the basic components such as energy cells, shields, and thrusters. The amount of each you have depends on the overall size of your build as well as your ingenuity. You also have an array of missile options to choose from as well as your standard blaster, again the overall amount of these elements you have will dictate how effective your weapons are and will force you to think creatively how to build your ship to maximize the space without hemming yourself in too tightly. There are also options for a salvage laser (which allows you to gather materials without getting out of your ship), a repair laser to repair damage to any ship you target and some more complicated mechanics which allow for a wide variety of ships of varying levels of attractiveness.
My kingdom for some resources
Players can also gather raw materials from planets and asteroids which can be used to manufacture components. These resources as well as building components can be found by destroying pirates and raiding pirate space stations which are usually good for a large stockpile of various goods. These things can be sold to the space shop for credits or stashed away for later use.
I think I may be lost
Navigating the world of Starmade is both simple and difficult. The game automatically scans for items of interest as you fly through space and you can select them to set a waypoint. The downside to this system is that the lock on distance for setting these waypoints is limited to a few sectors so if you want to make it back to your epic space station, you’ll want to keep a pen and paper at the ready to record your own coordinates. The other problem I’ve personally had with the navigation in the game is how long it can take to venture out and return home safely. My longest travel time was about an hour after having exhausted most of the nearby resources, but begrudgingly I must admit that the travel time gives these adventures weight. You can’t just nip out to gather a couple things you need, a grocery list must be prepared because you won’t want to make a regular habit of it. Players who choose to live out of their ship won’t have this issue but that carries the weight of you being attacked and loosing everything you’ve accumulated.
Pretty compelling as an alpha build
Starmade is not yet set in stone, the game itself is only in alpha and sees regular changes. It can be safe to say more features and “things to do” will be added as the dev team get the basics ironed out. The game itself is free to download and play from www.starmade.org so you’ve got nothing to lose in trying this game out. The game is also multiplayer allowing for people to build starships and battle in space if they feel so inclined.
- How to Play Starmade (howtoplaystarmade.wordpress.com)