Should I be excited about… StarForge (PC)
Starforge is another title in a growing trend of crafting and survival games, inspired by Warcraft 3, Minecraft, Terraria, Borderlands, and Halo 3. Players take the role of humans looking to settle on an alien planet as the Sun slowly dies out. Still being developed by CodeHatch, the game is currently in its alpha phase. Despite this, it is also available for purchase as part of the Early Access promotion on Steam.
Consistent with the last Early Access title that I previewed, StarForge seems far too early in development to be worth purchasing. It’s just too soon to gauge whether its going to be a success. That being said, let’s take a look at what it offers. This is a preview after all!
Currently, the alpha build includes three game modes: Fort Defense, Creative, and Infinite Terrain . All three modes are quite similar, with small discrepancies. In Fort Defense, players must protect their “vat” from oncoming aliens. At the moment those aliens are all nearly identical. Alternatively, the Creative and Infinite Terrain modes are both safe from enemies and leave the player to freely explore and create as they see fit, with Creative being set in a fixed environment and Infinite Terrain in a randomly generated one.
The game allows players to create a number of objects from resources located around the base. Currently, there is no means to gather those resources naturally, and instead they are simply just dropped from the sky in a consumable form. Players may create walls, vehicles, weapons, tools, and traps using these resources.
It is not currently clear as to the effectiveness of the weapons, and there is also no ammo consumption at the moment. Different weapons have different purposes, and features like the scope aren’t functional. Additionally, outside of Infinite Terrain, the visuals appear to be standard textures that are provided by the Unity engine. However, the environment can be very interesting in Infinite Terrain, and makes it easily the most interesting mode available, with all sorts of caverns and various terrains to explore.
Unlike many first-person views, the player is able to see their own body which does improve immersion; however, the camera can be interfered with by the player character’s body animation, which often fails to keep up with the camera. Vehicle textures may also be intrusive, blocking the player view, and their control may feel rather “floaty”. The soundtrack is very ambient, and can contribute to the atmosphere of a game in which you’re stranded on another planet. Unfortunately, it also often fades out or becomes unnoticeable.
Starforge‘s UI is very basic at the moment. There is very little information displayed, but features are still being implemented. Ideally, there would be more feedback on current resources, as stone and metal can often be quite easily confused without close inspection.
StarForge may still just be the bare-bones of an ambitious project, but CodeHatch appear to be at least heading in the right direction. Hopefully with some UI tweaks and the right additional features, StarForge might just be an impressive enough title to deserve a spot with the famous titles that inspired it.