The Best 9 Space Games Like Starbound

Image credit: Chucklefish

Trailing off the blazing success of Terraria, the indie studio, Chucklefish, proposed: what if we took the adventure to space? They didn’t just stop there, however, they built upon the foundations that made Terraria so addictive.

Chucklefish’s Starbound built on the shoulders of giants—in this case, Terraria. It took the survival and action elements, then combined it with heavier RPG gameplay and strong storytelling. You get all the crafting and mining fun along with a rich questing and dungeon-delving experience.

If you’re searching for more games like Starbound, you already know how addictive its systems are. From the adventuring, managing your fuel, and the overfilling ecstasy of exploring a near-infinite galaxy. On top of that, the gripping story and playing as a galactic protector. What’s not to love?

Whether you loved the exploration, action combat, or procedurally generated planets and ecosystems, we have a title for you to check out. Continue on and read our list for the best 9 space games like Starbound to play today.

No Man’s Sky

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

No Man's Sky

If you’re searching for games like Starbound—this is the best galaxy to start with. No Man’s Sky offers the same gameplay and systems Chucklefish’s title does, but translates it to a 3D world.

Procedurally-generated ecosystems? Check. Your own spaceship to customize and bases to build? Check. Near-infinite randomly-generated planets to discover? It has that, too.

No Man’s Sky and Starbound at their core share the same features and design. However, the big difference is No Man’s Sky adds another dimension. There’s a novelty about seeing it in full-fledged 3D that doesn’t wear off. If you wanted to go beyond the pixel art and 2D platformer gameplay of Starbound, this game fits the role.

Aside from the galactic defender aspect, you’ll find the gameplay loop is similar. You go from planet to planet, discovering new species of animals and plants, collecting resources. The materials will help you build bases, upgrade your ship, and for fuel to adventure more.

Where this game lacks in the character customization department, it shines with the deeper interactions with NPCs. You won’t find the diverse range of race options in this game, however…

The AI interaction systems are richer and deeper. You can also forge your own space-faring destiny. Want to be a trader? Want to hunt down space-pirates for money? This game is completely open-ended.

If you love adventuring through space co-op with friends, this game is perfect. It’s got easy jump-in/out multiplayer systems. You’ll also find more Starbound-like titles on our games similar to No Man’s Sky list.

Risk of Rain 2

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

If you loved all the weapon variety and upgrades in Starbound, it’s a great idea to check out Risk of Rain 2. As well as the action combat and platformer-like gameplay, it also shares the same space aesthetic.

However, this is also where the similarities end. If you want to diverge away from Starbound’s gameplay, while staying in the space setting, Risk of Rain 2 offers endless replayability with its roguelike style.

Fans of Starbound might find the simple combat familiar, and also engaging. There is also a diverse cast of characters to play from, from bow-wielding rangers to ninja-samurai swordsmen.

If you loved Starbound’s replayability factor due to procedural generation, this game is similar. Every run is random to an extent, making every playthrough unique! There are also different difficulty settings and rules you can add to change things up (even though it’s a roguelike, there is a sense of progression still there).

Every run, you can unlock new items to find for future playthroughs, as well as new abilities and characters. Enjoy a good multiplayer session? This game has that covered, too.

Risk of Rain 2 offers an effortless multiplayer system, where you and up to three friends can band together to take down your enemies. The game’s environments also share the same, colorful sci-fi designs that Starbound does.

There are also multiple difficulty settings, which is accommodating for any newcomers. If you don’t mind delving into roguelikes, our list of games similar to Risk of Rain 2 has more Starbound-like titles.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

If you loved the RPG elements of Starbound, then don’t overlook the space-western title Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. It offers an expansive galaxy to explore, with sandbox-like gameplay where you can be whoever you want, and it’s one of the best space games on Steam.

Trader, pirate, or mercenary? Maybe a mix of all three? The game offers freedom in how you approach its world, and it has a full-fledged conversation system that rivals titles like Fallout: New Vegas.

The expansive world and personality this game has are where it really shines. It’s a hidden gem in the space-faring genre, however, anyone who gives it a shot is quick to fall in love.

Any sci-fi fan has probably watched Fireflies (or multiple times over), and this game’s western-inspired world feels like an adaptation of that. It lets you live out your space cowboy fantasies.

Love customizing your ship in Starbound? Just wait until you play this… The PC version has a Photoshop-like program in-game that lets you customize ships down to the pixel.

For fans of the Starbound questing and “galactic defender” theme, you can join guilds and keep the space safe in this. Or, you can go and hunt for hidden treasures, or even just fly around delivering shipments for credits.

Love down-time side-content? This game has plenty. You can hit up a bar and play pool, or even dice-poker. The combat is amazing, too.

Space fights in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw are action-based and thrilling. It’s easily one of the best in the genre, with deep ship customization options, and real-time, dog-fighting-like battles. Fans of games like Starbound will fall in love with this title.

Everspace 2

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Starbound is fantastic, but it doesn’t offer anything in the way of spaceship combat… It’s almost the perfect game. If you want fast-paced action combat and dogfights in space, look into this game.

Everspace 2’s design is a huge change to Spacebound’s procedurally-generated galaxy. In comparison, you’ll get a carefully hand-crafted open world to explore—all from your cockpit.

When it comes to space combat, Everspace 2 is often referred to as the ‘golden standard’. It’s thrilling, fast, and you also have the option of a first-person mode. It’s easily the best spaceship shooter on the market.

The level of detail and care put into this game’s world is better than anything a procedurally-generated experience can offer. It’s also jam-packed with content at every galactic corner.

Compared to Starbound’s combat, you’ll find this game responsive and fluid. There is also a diverse range of variety when it comes to weapons and modules to deck your ship out.

You start out piloting a fairly small ship, but as you progress, the range expands, as do the various modules and weapons you can fit it with. From lasers to full-blown missiles, there are near-endless possibilities.

Scared of spaceship sims? Don’t worry, this game is easy to learn and is more arcade-like. This game also leans more into the RPG side, with a full-fledged narrative to explore.

If you loved the story in Starbound, you’ll find the plot here a delight. The game isn’t only just combat, too. There are also side-activities, and freedom in gameplay. Want to be a trader? You can.

Space Haven

Available on PC.

Searching for games like Starbound? Why not try the similar indie, space-faring title Space Haven? The gameplay experience lives up to its name, as you try to construct homely spaceships.

This game has you in control of a group of civilians in search of a new planet to call home. You’ll soar through the galaxy, encountering other survivors, managing their needs, and fighting off enemies.

During your journeys, you’ll encounter other crews and aliens… Not everyone in space is friendly. There’ll be enemy factions to defend against, and the aliens might even kidnap your crew members. These sorts of events add some more fun to the game, and the combat is very tactics-like. There is also strategy-based ship-to-ship combat.

This will be a huge change to Starbound’s planet-exploring focus, but if you love space building and customization, Space Haven is a great alternative. It’s one of the best indie games that you can get on Steam.

Space Haven offers deep character and ship customization options. You’ll literally try to craft a Space Haven for those residing on the ship.

Ship creation is rich, and you’ll design them tile by tile. You’ll need to accommodate crew members’ needs, and functionality. Design bedrooms, kitchens, toilets, and even educational areas.

If Starbound and The Sims was thrown into a magical game-blender, this would be the result. A delicious, sci-fi-filled smoothie. It combines the best of both titles.

Character simulation is so complex, that the game’s systems even cover mental health and different skills/traits. Similarly, the game’s galaxy is also procedurally generated every time.

Astroneer

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

If you’re searching for more games like Starbound with a focus on exploration and co-op, this is the title for you. Astroneer delivers on a just as vibrant and colorful galaxy, with strong base-building features.

While this game doesn’t offer deep RPG systems, it does share similar survival elements. Astroneer offers 7 detailed and hand-crafted planets to build and explore on. It might not be Starbound’s infinite, procedurally-generated galaxy, but the detail in Astroneer’s planets is incredible. Each one is unique, and offers distinct biomes and challenges.

The game’s biggest strong point is its base-building and terraforming mechanics. The entire planet, from the space dirt below your feet to trees can be completely reshaped.

There are no limits. The building creation is also easy to learn but provides plenty of depth. It features a ‘snap’ system, which makes it easier to place builds.

Bases are more than just aesthetic, too. While you can customize them however you want, they can provide useful bonuses and systems. You can also build vehicles as well.

The best part about Astroneer? It’s the multiplayer system. It’s similar to how Starbound handles co-op, where 4 players can jump in and out at any time. Create massive bases together, or even play mini-games.

Icarus

Available on PC.

Icarus is a distinct take on the survival genre, but a must-try if you want more games like Starbound. Instead of complete progression systems as you travel planet to planet, this title is session-based.

Either alone or with a group of friends, you’ll try to survive together on the hostile alien planet, Icarus. These missions/sessions can last anywhere from a few hours, to even a week long!

What about progression? While this doesn’t have the same level and RPG-styled progression Starbound offers, it has a different, unique take. Every session you start off more or less from square one.

However, there is persistence between your missions. You get an outpost, which is a permanent base that you can gather resources from your sessions to build up. Build up settlements there, or even hang out with your friends.

Along with that, any new skills and tech that your character learns are also carried through between missions. However, if you die or fail to return to your space base, you’ll lose progress.

You can also bring back any rare and exotic materials you might find on your missions. Which will help you in future, more dangerous missions—as you plan supplies to bring.

This game is a PvE take on the gameplay style that Escape From Tarkov offers. However, Starbound fans will love the space aesthetic, and find the survival gameplay experience familiar.

This game accommodates up to 8 players during missions. It’s great for a group of friends looking for a new survival experience to bond over, and ideal for fans of games like Starbound.

Stationeers

Available on PC.

Love the building side of Starbound? If you wanted more from the base construction, then Stationeers is the perfect fit. The game is from the survival-genre pioneer and genius, Dean Hall.

Dean “Rocket” Hall was behind the survival-genre reigning king, DayZ. However, his vision for the survival genre is fully realized with Stationeers. A game that encourages emergent storytelling and socialization.

Either alone or with friends, Stationeers will put you in charge of managing and developing a space station. It goes deep with its systems, providing an atmospheric and physics-based building.

The game’s construction system rewards well-designed architecture and logic-based planning. In this title, science is also your ally! You can even program and code your space station for automation.

When it comes to depth and realism, this is hands down the best base-building sci-fi game. It even blows Space Engineers away. You can rotate machines to even the decimal degree, and every item has dynamic physics.

Stationeers also provide a range of planets and dangerous environments to build on. There are also scenarios to play through. Can you create a functional space station with your friends without dying?

The terrain is also completely terraformable, and don’t worry, coming from Starbound you won’t miss out on mining. There are plenty of asteroids to tear apart for resources. This is the only game that allows such science-based and true-to-life building. It’s also backed by a strong community with rich modding capabilities.

Space Engineers

Available on PC, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

It might not feature a building system as deep as the aforementioned Stationeers, but this game is amazing in its own right. Also, it has a bigger scope for its building and exploration.

Instead of being confined to constructing just a space station, Space Engineers is more expansive. While it comes at the cost of not-as-deep building mechanics, Starbound fans will love it.

At its heart, Space Engineers is a sandbox title that sets out to live up to its name. You take on the role of a space engineer, constructing ships, stations, and even settlements on planets. You can explore and survive the vast space with friends or attempt it alone. It offers two modes, either creative or survival.

In creative mode, you have unlimited resources and can get straight to building. Whereas, in survival mode, it shares more in common with Starbound.

You’ll need to manage resources, gather all the materials yourself, and survive in harsh environments. Multiplayer in this game supports up to 16 players, and is server-based.

There are also multiple options for playthroughs. Along with the standard creative/survival mode, there are linear, story-focused scenario levels, and player-created worlds.

The world of Space Engineers is also procedurally generated, from the asteroids to planets.

The building mechanics in this game are a realistic, physics-based volumetric system. Everything has a mass, inertia, and velocity—just like real life. If you want a more true-to-life space experience, this game is perfect.

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