StarMade (Review)

StarMade (Review)

An early-access (v 0.1917) review

StarMade is a voxel-based 3D sandbox space shooter. Play in your own universe or on a multiplayer server. Participate in epic fleet battles, strive to dominate entire galaxies and harness the universe’s resources for your industrious empire or the destruction of others. The universe is yours!

I have to say trying to review these “open world building” games is always a challenge. These games often rely on the imagination and creativity of the player, it’s rather tough to be neutral with games that have such a reliance on the player.

On the surface StarMade appears to be yet another Minecraft clone block game, but getting into it I was surprised to find a lot of depth to it. The game itself has a solid core with only a couple of glaring holes. I had no issues with bugs or crashes, for an alpha that is a pleasant surprise. In fact I may go so far as to say my overall experience was a pleasant surprise.

I started off trying to make a multipart quad fighter, and ended up making what looks like a small power ranger ship.

Building in StarMade is really well thought out.
There are energy and thrust systems as well as a warp drive, which is good as the universe in StarMade is massive. There’s a good amount of content and customization for ships and systems, beams, bullets, missiles, all with various ways to produce different effects. Most of the classic scifi weapon types are covered by mixing and matching weapon systems in your ships design.

StarMade

Ships can be saved and shared separately via a “blueprint”.
The downside is the crafting system which suffers from a horrible UI.

I found the graphics to be stellar.
Lighting has a nice reflect off of objects and a real sense of direction. Stars have a nice bloom effect as well. Sadly stars only seem to come in one color, and the number of sky boxes used for systems is limited.

StarMade

The game itself seems to come in two flavors. Single player leaves the player in the vast lonely expanse of space with the only threat being the occasional pirates. StarMade does not have any kind of the survival aspects I’ve come to expect of these games. There’s no worry about food, water, oxygen, just a health bar which depletes almost instantly when pirates do eventually show up.

This did allow me space and freedom to design and create a ship of my liking without worry. The down side is single player just feels empty. Pirates are the only existing threat in single player and while they are a threat at early levels the danger quickly scales off. Once you have developed a ship that can deal with pirates and done a bit of exploring, single player is quite dull and feels incomplete.

StarMade

Multiplayer in StarMade really shines though. There is a special moment when you are in your first starter ship flying through an area that has had a large scale battle only to have a Star Destroyer come out of warp on top of you.
Players have access to most of the expected features. One can create factions and space stations or even claim planets.
The game sports a supportive community with a large number of servers to choose from. For me this is where StarMade really felt like it lived up to its potential.

[ 89 / 100 ]

– Zephlos

Support:
StarMade on Steam

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Founder & owner of Absolute Hell.