Did a search and couldn't find a thread, so I apologize if there is already one that I've missed.
Purchased during the Steam Winter sale.
Well, first of all, it's an Alpha. I didn't realize this when I purchased. I thought that it was actually part of the name itself, as 'Starforge Alpha' kind of sounds cool as a title for a sci-fi game.
Gameplaywise, it's very much like a sci-fi version of Minecraft. The idea of that in a sci-fi setting had me sold. At first, I was disappointed. Being so early in development, there's not a whole lot to tell you of some of the basics. There's a rudimentary tutorial in this version that tells you how to move and craft, but nothing much beyond that. And just as it happens, as I was in the middle of going through that tutorial, got my ass handed to me by some monsters that had spawned and tried to fight them off using my fists as I didn't have any weapons.
Well, that was a frustrating experience to say the least. I gave up for awhile. Read up on it some, and apparently that long slender box you see at your homebase is a chest, and again, this is something the game never mentions. I open it using 'E', and find a gun. Yay! Now I can teach those monsters a lesson! Guns are apparently procedurally generated, meaning that when playing multiplayer, weapons will be different depending on what one picks up.
Anyway, the gun is effective, I kill off a few monsters and I become more confident, enough to venture off. There are more chests scattered about in the world. I find one while exploring. What's this? A chainsaw! Woo! There are loads of trees all over the place, so this is promising. I love the sound it makes as it cuts into the wood. It feels reassuring. Wait, what's this? Oh... the tree is falling... my way. I run out of the way and yell out "Timber!" Nice! Trees fall in a satisfying manner in this game. Then I take the chainsaw and cut the trees for wood. Yes, you actually have to cut the trees after they've fallen, which is an element I feel helps make the game feel immersive.
After a bit of this, I've started building a perimeter around my base using the wood I've collected, all the while sniping at the monsters spawning. Things are looking promising and I feel much more encouraged about the game itself.
The game has a skill-based RPG system. The more you use a skill, the more experienced you become, so you'll become more skillful in crafting and mining the more you use those skills. Currently, I don't think there's a way to level up.
The engine is quite flexible. Yet, it's quite intensive. I currently have it set to the lowest settings. I had turned it up briefly to maximum using the slider, and while beautiful, slowed things down to a crawl. But even on the lowest settings, I find the game beautiful. There's a lot that I find promising in this game.
I'll post some screenshots later.