I am going to start this review with a warning. This game is highly addictive and kept me playing it constantly. Time passed so fast that I started to wonder whether it was actually morning or evening. My TV screen might have the HUD permanently burned into the picture. Friends will hold interventions from the fact you haven’t been out of the house in months. Your body will begin to slowly burn away your fat stores and you will be an empty shell of your former self…but boy will you have a good time doing so.
Okay so maybe my opening paragraph is a little bit exaggerated, but Terraria is a brilliant, well crafted, open ended game that I just kept coming back to. Since its release on the PC it has sold a boatload of copies, and that number is set to rise with this new release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and for the Vita later in the year; and it really isn’t surprising.
It is a 2D game with pixelated graphics reminiscent of 8-bit games. The idea is to create a character, and explore a world by mining, building and crafting. Sound similar to another game? Well, it kind of is, though personally I would take Terraria over Minecraft any day.
Terraria eases gamers into this massive world with a tutorial of the basics, which I would recommend to anyone new to the series. It guides players through the first baby steps needed to take a grasp of the huge amount of gameplay available. Being new to the game myself, it is a great way to know what to actually do, as being faced with the massive terrain makes it difficult to know where to start. It gives a few pointers and some basic skills, and then the player is left to fend for themselves, like a bird leaving its nest for the first time.
At first, I was frantically flapping my wings, then all of a sudden it clicked, and I just knew what I was meant to do. It teaches how to use the controls as well, but there are so many shortcuts and menus that I often found that I had accidently crafted another copper pickaxe to add to my humungous collection. This, however, is one of its very few downfalls.
The game starts off by building a house for an NPC (non-player character). There are many NPCs in Terraria, which are unlocked by completing certain things within a world, and houses must be built for all of them to appear. They can help with services – such as a nurse to heal – or sell items that they have. Houses are also a safe haven, there to protect from all of the monsters that come out at night-time.
There are many different terrains to explore, both above- and under-ground, and each terrain comes with its own enemies, materials and music too. By exploring and finding new materials, crafting better weapons, armour and potions for characters become possible, thereby opening up a whole new world of areas that were previously too difficult to explore.
Building up a great inventory of items opens up the ability to summon bigger enemies to defeat, and eventually explore dungeons, but Terraria really isn’t about that. The first time I was exploring underground, a huge boulder fell on my head and I died. I thought to myself “where the hell did that come from?”. I went back to the same spot to see a little tombstone sat there saying “Laureo The Oreo was killed by a boulder”. I chuckled to myself and then almost the same thing happened again. It was then I realised that stepping on a little pressure pad made a boulder fall down and squish me. I was pretty annoyed that I had died in the first place, but my new discovery opened my eyes to what this game has to offer.
The whole point of Terraria is to explore, find weird contraptions and treasure chests, and use new items to make even more awesome things. I just wanted to keep unlocking the secrets of the game, and that is why this simple yet massive game just keeps giving and giving. I have barely scratched the surface, and I can’t wait to play some more.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.