Just like Minecraft, StarMade doesn’t have any story to talk about. Well, I guess there´s some backstory to the universe but I didn’t really care about reading all the wiki entries.
The gameplay is just what you expect from a minecraft-like game. You get thrown into a procedural generated universe in which you can roam around freely. You start with some items in your inventory which are necessary to build your first spacecraft to explore the universe. You start by placing a ship-core block in space. From this point you can build anything you want. You can build a little frigate, a mining ship, a freighter or even huge capital ships and destroyers. You can even build huge space stations for your faction when you play in multiplayer. The building mechanic is as simple as it is in minecraft. You mine blocks from asteroids or salvage them from player or NPC ships. Then they are in your inventory and you can place them wherever you want on your ship,space station or planet. Yes you heard right, you can travel to other planets and built a hangar or headquarters on their surfaces. There´s also a crafting system implemented and, just like in minecraft you can craft own ship/station parts with minerals you find on the asteroids and planets in space. Those planets aren’t as big as the world of minecraft but they are big enough to build some stuff on it and mine enough resources. This maybe doesn’t sound like much, but just like in minecraft(I know I´m using this example much too often) you have nearly infinite planets to explore in this universe. Due to its early development status there are quite a few bugs and not finished features, like planets that only generate the upper half of themselves so that the planets look like spheres that are perfectly cut in the middle. What I haven’t mentioned yet, the economy system is really nice. You have a currency called credits. With this, you can buy stuff from shops floating in space. To make money you can sell the items you salvaged or crafted for some profit to buy new things. The economy-system of StarMade works a little bit like the one from EVE-Online. Except that you don’t list your resources on a free market but you sell it to a shop and other players buy it from that shop again at a fixed price. I guess in later versions, you can trade with other people in space and get markets going on the various space stations. The fighting in this game is easy to understand. You mount weapons on your ship and attack other things in space. The weapon system, on the other side, is a little bit hard to understand at first but you get the touch for it after some time and maybe after some tutorials. For example, if you place a cannon on your ship, and place the same canon right next to it, only one of them will fire but with augmented strength. You can adjust those stats in your weapons computer. It would take too much time to cover every part of the weapon system in this article. At the moment there are only enemy NPC´s flying through space. If they see you they´ll attack you instantly. In the space battles, the AI is doing its job. It tries to dodge your attacks and tracks your movement really nice but sometimes it simply stops working and your enemies simply float in space doing nothing. At the moment there are no enemies on the planets but the developer promised to add some when the ground-fighting system is implemented. To play
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are the same Minecraft. It is really pixelly. The overall graphical style is pretty nice though. The texture designs fit really nicely into the universe with smooth transitions between the different kinds of blocks. Some of the effects are really nice to look at like the Star-Wars like warp effect when flying around. But most of the other effects are really basic like the fire of a antimatter cannon is a simple line of light. The same applies for the sound. Some of the sounds are nice but most of them are really basic. Some of the stuff like mining blocks doesn’t even have sound. If you are in search of a good soundtrack, StarMade is definitely not a game for you, simply because it doesn’t have that much music in it. And that, what is in it, isn’t really good. I turned off the music after I played about 15 minutes because it annoyed me so much.
Overall I think that StarMade is great game. Ok, it doesn’t have good sound or graphics, but the gameplay is really nice. For a game in this early status, StarMade has a lot of content and it will grow, after it gets greenlit on steam, I think. In my opinion, the game has a lot of potential to be the new Minecraft when it gets some more content added and, of course, more players.
Everyone who likes Minecraft, Sandbox games or games in space should really test this game out. And this is absolutely no problem! The Alpha is absolutely free to download and play on the developers website and if you like it, you can buy it, it is only 3$ (about 2,50€) and you will get the Beta and the Full Version + Steam Key.
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