Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Minecr-I mean, STAAARFORGE!

If you haven't exactly gotten over your Minecraft addiction, but have already built everything possible, there is hope for you yet. Starforge, a game by the 2-man company CodeHatch, takes a page out of Notch's book and throws itself completely in the direction of the popular construction-survival niche Minecraft carved out for itself.

  This game distinguishes itself from Minecraft in several different key areas. First it uses the f2p model, second its futuristically themed, third has a pseudo-realistic physics engine, and is more focused on defense, rather than purely construction. Where Minecraft had less emphasis on its, lets face it, unsatisfactory combat system, Starforge is all about battling aliens, and building a badass fort outfitted with turrets, traps, and spotlights to blind those bastards when they come screeching towards you. Though currently in a very early alpha build, Starforge already features a reasonably competent construction system along with the unique ability to build teleportation pads. Unlike Minecraft, Starforge yet again separates itself in its ability to build absolutely anything at whatever scale you please, even out of the beautifully rendered atmosphere. Yes, Starforge allows you to build beyond the clouds in the sky and all the way to space. This becomes more and more relevant taking into consideration the ability to place building blocks down continuously, ad infinitum (given you have the materials, of course). The handy teleportation system makes it even easier to build that space station you always wanted, and the high resolution texture packs make it all the more pleasing to the eye.

  When night falls, the game really gets going, and the pressure starts weighing down on the player. Since Starforge lacks the floodlight effect of Minecraft's torches, you really have to cover every angle with the narrow spotlights you get. This adds a tactical aspect to the game, since you have to predict where enemies will pour in from. And yet again, there is absolutely nothing in the world stopping you from creating throttle points, building narrow corridors and covering those with withering turret fire. All these add up to a high-tensile combat experience, where doberman-sized insectoids make clawing leaps at your face, where enemies are only lit up when they enter the suddenly puny circles of light that the spotlights throw out, and where you realize that you can't possibly reload your assault rifle fast enough to make it back to your ruined castle.

  Though I was initially skeptical of Starforge's ability to stand toe-to-toe with Minecraft, I was pleasantly surprised at its ability to simply astound me with all the new content I was presented with. Those who favor the more action-packed taste that modern shooters like Halo, yet want to create that invincible Minecraft fort will be perfectly at home in this futuristic, procedurally generating masterpiece.

Freshness Rating: Can't wait to blow a couple hours away!

Official Wobsite

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