Don’t Starve – The Verdict

Don’t Starve – The Verdict

This isn’t Minecraft or Terraria, but it follows in a similar vein with no real hints or tips and an entire sense of ‘how the hell do I survive in this game?’. I’m really enjoying this game, and while I might not have fallen in love with it like I have with other indie games over the past few years, I do seem to keep going back for just one more go.

When you first play the game your only option is to play as Wilson, the Gentleman Scientist who has a claim to fame of being able to grow a manly beard. You also get some advice from a mysterious figure to find some food before night falls.

From there you are all by yourself, the only hints to be found by visiting the forums and seeking advice. In the style of the more established Minecraft and Terraria, Don’t Starve is a survival game full of crafting, scavenging and avoiding numerous big bads.

Evil eyes in the background.
Evil eyes in the background.

I will say that the artistic style of Don’t Starve is absolutely gorgeous as you control your 2D character through the 3D world. Creatures and static objects are beautifully drawn and come alive so well thanks to brilliant animations. Zooming in on Wilson as you instruct him to eat some food is wonderful with bulging cheeks as he fills his empty stomach. Dark circles around his eyes and a shaking body are great indicators of tiredness and the cold.

Somewhere in the randomly generated worlds are routes to an Adventure mode, something which I haven’t found yet. But while I am having so much fun just trying to survive, I don’t quite care too much if I get Adventuring or not.

With every new world being randomly generated, you never quite know how things are going to go. You might find yourself struggling to survive the first day if you aren’t able to find the tools you require to start a fire. Yet other times you will come across every basic item you need within the first quarter of the first day and end it with the Science Machine and a farm.

It is this uncertainty about what lies around the corner, or through the worm hole which makes this such an exciting game to play. As I was exploring at one point I came across a group of graves. With an evil glint in my eye I dug them up finding bits of junk. I merrily continued on my way until I came to the last grave in the area…I dug this and a ghost appeared. A bloody battle ensued, but soon enough my shovel broke and I was left trying to craft a spear while getting bashed by the ghost.

The ghost is killing me!
The ghost is killing me!

Soon enough of course, I was dead. A quick retry later and I was making good first day progress and was pleased when I found a herd of Beefalo. They provide a perfect source of manure, essential for farms. So I eagerly picked up what I could find, then getting greedy I saw a pile in the middle of a group of three Beefalo. I tried to get it…but instead I found myself clicking ‘attack’ on the giant supplies of manure and meat. Not surprisingly they were’t best pleased with this assault and returned the favour in kind. I was dead.

It is far from an easy game, and I can’t put my finger on why I am much more at ease playing Don’t Starve then either Minecraft or Terraria. I am though, and I think it is a wonderful example of the variety of games we can see within different genres. It most certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you put just a little bit of time and effort into it, you will get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Verdict – Headshot

Platforms Available – PC, Linux, Mac, Chrome Web Store.
Platform Reviewed – PC

Review code supplied by developers. Check out our scoring policy here.

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