Platform: PSN, XBLA, PC / Genre: Adventure RPG
Developer: Re-Logic / Publisher: 505 Games
It was 4am. My back was sore, the couch cushion had lost its “cushion,” my left eye had begun to give out while the right one trudged on. The red lights on my Dual Shock 3 controller flickered at my remaining eye. But my gaze stayed fixed on the screen; all I thought about was “Dig!” and “Survive!” It didn’t matter that work was a mere few hours away. I had become addicted to Terraria, and I embraced it. Because at the end of the day (and night), this is a hell of a game.
Terraria first made waves on the PC when it released back in 2011. Since then, Terraria has reared its head onto the console space, and my goodness does it shine! Although labeled as an adventure RPG, it is actually more accurate to describe it as a sandbox title akin to the popular Minecraft. Some may even call this game out for it obvious similarities, and while the concepts remain largely the same, the 2d-landscape makes all the difference.
Based on it’s own merits Terraria, impresses me. Its simple aesthetic complements the deep gameplay, and really drives home the notion that ‘gameplay triumphs over graphics.’ Taking time to explore and mine everything in your path is, at first, plagued with tedium. However, in the matter of one hour, perhaps even less, the game begins to unfold. You’ll have explored new areas, crafted better tools and weapons, and found new residents to build homes- all in the matter of one hour. Quite frankly, you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this game in one hour. However, pass that mark, and that’s when the addiction will begin to settle in. You begin the very simple routine of digging deeper, finding harder monsters and micromanaging your character’s existence. What had been the longest first hour ever will have transformed into the quickest six hours of your life.
While the same can be said of many other sandbox games, Re-Logic has done something brilliant with Terraria. They’ve combined the sandbox nature of Minecraft, with the roguelike concepts of, say, Spelunky. Perhaps this is the essence of why Terraria’s addictive nature grabs hold so quickly. While it covers a bevy of genres, none feels more dominant over the other. That equal balance makes things effective, where as other games would simply bore.
The further down the rabbit hole you take your character, the deeper into you will tread into dangerous uncharted territory. It is a wonderful trek though. Like Spelunky, monsters and special bosses await for your arrival, randomly generated, but held to general locations that welcome a growing fear as you delve deeper into once treaded territory. And while most players will play Terraria on the easier modes, flip the hardcore “permadeath” switch on, and the games very nature will have changed completely. However, the journeyman gamer need not fear. The game accommodates the most lax player, sporting easier difficulties and larger maps that differ with every creation. No two maps are ever the same. However, the game’s the two dynamically different gameplay styles are supported easily through simple means. One choice can set the difference, it can cause the game to cater to the masochistic roguelike enthusiasts, or cater to the curious explorer.
To summarize gameplay on the whole – it’s night and day. During the day, you will create shelter, mine rocks, and forge new weapons/tools. At night, it’s a tough choice presents itself, do you stay in the confines of your shelter? Or go for broke by storming the evils of the night? The choice is yours; in the end tough, you tasked to prepare during the day, and survive the night. Repeat. This simple mechanic is capable of causing hours upon hours to disappear.
Another aspect of Terraria is it multiplayer component. Terraria is capable of four player local co-op, and up to eight player online. Local co-op can be a blast among friends, creating crazy structures or going to the depths of hell in your worlds – there is no limit to the possibilities. It is a lot of fun. Online multiplayer is can be a similar experience, but if PVP is turned on, expect some cold-blooded fighting to occur. It may be in good fun (and it is!), but the added dynamic of PVP almost makes this game overwhelming. Luckily, Terraria enjoyments is no less hindered by the additional players, then by the demons that live thousands of blocks below.
Terraria is not without its faults though. One of my biggest gripes with the game is the inventory system. It can be confusing and tedious for the most part; some times I just wanted to chuck my remote at the screen. This could be an outcome of porting to a console; part of me imagines PC users have a much easier time handling the trivial inventory. It’s not a deal breaker tough, it’s just something to get used to. Another gripe is the music. This could be my own personal taste, but the soundtrack is rather weak overall. But its offset by the music’s purpose, which is to both alarm and relieve the player from the trials and tribulations of journeying through Terraria. Worse case though, you simply change the background music to your own. Easy fix.
Terraria’s faults are minor. The game is truly a gem; and it continues to impress as the hours fly by. Every hour is another monster defeated. Every other hour is another obstacle conquered. But most of all, every hour is better than the last. And in the end, that is what all games strive to do. It just so happens that Terraria succeeds, and exceeds. And I dig that!
+ Something for Everyone
+ Enjoyable Multiplayer Component
+ Enormous Replay Value
+ So Addictive, Hours Will Feel Like Minutes
– Poor Soundtrack
– Awful Inventory System