Parents' Guide to


By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Sandbox adventure is fun, gratifying, but has odd controls.

Game Linux, Mac, Windows 2016
Starbound Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+

Lighter sci-fi Terraria

This is a fun sandbox game similar to Terraria, with much exploration, crafting of tools and building of structures. The player chooses one of the main races and travels around many different randomly-generated planets, each with a prevalent biome (grassland, forest, arctic, ocean, desert...). Lots of customization allowed: players can modify their spaceship and build houses, castles and bases around the universe, even their own space station eventually. Tone and visual design are lighter than Terraria (which put more emphasis on horror); here monsters are mostly non-threatening and cartoony in appearance. We do see in the prologue Earth attacked (and implied to be destroyed) by a giant space octopus who is the main antagonist. Plenty of combat, bloodless and non-graphic (characters who are destroyed disappear). No sex or profanities. Gameplay a little complicated for younger kids. Recommended age: content 7+ / gameplay 9+.
age 7+

An absolute blast if you have at least two computers

I play this with my 8- and 6-year-old sons. We have a great time. The controls took some time for the kids to master, but now, they are pretty good. This is a structured role-playing game, with no objectionable content except sci-fi cartoon-styled destruction. The game begins with the player taking a space-ship off a planet that is destroyed Alderaan-style, but the violence is pixelated and quickly passed over. Building a ship and go on adventures is a big part of the fun. As of this review, version 1.3 has added significant new content, and more is expected. When you play with your kids, each of you will get your own ship and will exist in the same world. You need not be in the same room, or even the same country. Only those you explicitly invite are in the game with you. This is a lot of fun and one of the best PC games for families I know--and I've played a lot of games.

This title has:

Easy to play/use

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (5):

This open-world sandbox-style game is highly enjoyable and replayable. It's also a unique experience, as Starbound is part adventure, part 2D platformer, and part sandbox game with countless building, crafting, and collecting elements. You can build huge structures, have tenants move in and pay you, and meet characters (or even alien creatures) who may want to join in your quests. You can follow the story or go about your business to explore underwater kingdoms or enormous castles. Starbound offers a ton of variety yet somehow doesn't seem overwhelming to the player. There are also three difficulty levels to play at your own pace. While the retro graphics might not be for everyone, and the controls take some getting used to, it's hard to deny the appeal of this indie game. But be sure to carve some time out of your schedule as there's so much to see, craft, build, collect, and fight in this charming adventure.

Game Details

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