Published on April 9th, 2013 | by David Guild4
Another Indie hit is out, Terraria has been released on XBLA and about time. My question is, are indie games the new in thing? Are they the hipster of the gaming world? I only ask due to the amount of indie games that are getting picked up by publishers and headed towards consoles. N+, Rez, Super Meat Boy and one of the biggest, Minecraft have all hit the XBLA in the recent years and all have sold well. Plus most of these indie games have all had this retro feeling like they are from the 90s and Terraria is no expectation, but this isn’t the time to explain that now. Lets learn some history first…
Terraria first came out back in 2011 from independent game studio Re-Logic. And on its first day of release it roughly sold 50,000 copies via Steam and the start of year it has now sold over 2 million! But Re-Logic announced on February 2012 that they would stop all active development for the game, but this wasn’t to last as later in the year 505 Games came out with the shocking news that they have been giving the rights to develop and publish the game for XBLA and PSN and with that, programmer and designer Andrew Spinks stated he would also think about bringing future updates for the PC side of things. So that’s the history lesson over and done with, let’s dive in to my thoughts about the game.
I’m gonna be doing some things back to front with this review, I’m going to start with how it looks and sounds, basically graphics and soundtrack. The game is incredibly beautiful, with its colourful environment but what really stands out is the game lighting. There are quite a few things in the world that will affect the lighting in world, gaps in caverns where the light will shine through, while digging further down the light will become limited and the gentle soft light from the torches light your path. From what I noticed the music seems to play on an endless loop with little variation depending on light and day cycle, at first it’s pretty up beat bit-tune but after a few hours it becomes quite tedious along with the usual moans and groans from your sprite character.
So let’s get stuck in to some of the gameplay, Terraria is basically a DIY adventure game where you the hero start off in the world with the basic tools to gather materials to build your home and then craft items to help you in your adventure to kill the monsters and bosses. Even the story is a “Do It Yourself” as there isn’t one, there is no clear set of goals to finish making it an open ended game. You decide how to play the game. With games like this you would think the best place to start would be the Tutorial, right? Wrong. I found myself having to use trial and error rather than figuring out what the Guide was saying. It been a year since I played the PC version and even then I didn’t play it for long as Minecraft still had a strong place in my heart. So after watching a few “Let’s Play” videos and diving in to the Terraria Wiki I set off creating my world.
The game gives you everything you need to start off, axe, pickaxe and a sword. First and foremost you will need to create yourself a shelter and this is where I got worried. In my Minecraft review, I complained how the controls were the worst part about playing the game on console, but Terraria has ported over to the console controls brilliantly, with a simple click of the right analog stick you get a limited movement cursor so you able to place the block where ever you want it. So building that shelter is fast and easy.
Depending on your difficult setting the game will always punish you for dying from playing it on ‘Normal’ will only lead to some coins going missing to more advanced where items in your backpack shall disappear. But if you still find that all too easy, hardcore has perma-death. Probably in your second play through after getting use to the game mechanics ‘Hardcore’ seems like the better option to keep the game more exciting.
The crafting menu is set up pretty easy and looks like the same menu as Minecrafts, being that any craft able items are lit up and it will show you the materials you need for said item, but I felt the item description was basic and didn’t really tell me what the item can do. The more you craft, more items shall appear, especially when you find uncommon materials, it will add new recipes in your crafting menu. The craft able items range from weapons, armour, decoration items and to the extremes of diving gear and jet boots!
If you fancy some action there plenty of monsters to attack from your basic slimes that just love to jump about the place, brainless zombies to the annoying flying eyeball that just doesn’t want to sit still. But they all get to simple after learning their behaviour, even that nasty worm that looks like a smaller version of the big Worm giant out of Tremors. The bosses are more challenging where they won’t spawn until an event is triggered which could be a certain point is explored or you crafted an item. You think that Demon Eye was annoying? Watch out for its mum, it’s huge!! Beware the ‘Blood Moon’.
Terraria features both online and offline multiplayer which just adds to the game especially if you friend plays this game also cause if he/she joins your map they will also bring their goodies they have in their backpack. No more sharing your items. This will be a great help to folk who struggle with the game and need that boost without your partner having to enter your game and having to grind to catch up with you before teaching you a few things. Plus with the amount of enemies and places to explore, having a friend to do it with will greatly help. Offline the game can support up to 4 players split screen with no problems, great for having a get together and facing down some bosses.
Using one of my favourite sites for anything that is achievements, X360a. The user Tyba11s haves suggested this game is a 6/10 for achievement difficulty and will take 60+ hours, which is no surprise. The game requires you to kill every kind of boss and slime which could be what makes this game a time killer due to the amount of items you need to summon a boss. Plus some bosses will require going in to the games Hard Mode to take down those achievements but all this can be done with a friend. Working together may help taking these achievements out and getting to that 400gs in record time.
Even though Terraria doesn’t have a story, that shouldn’t put you off this adventure, survival game with a hint of RPG elements game will take you back to an era best known for great adventure games. The 2D pixel world is charming and deadly and will beg you to keep on playing and before you know it the missus will be getting up asking you “why in the hell are you still playing your silly little game”. My advice is to use the achievements in the game to fully play the game, it will serve you will as a guide on what to do.
The only thing real negatives to the game is the poor tutorial/help system and probably the price of the game. When the game came out it was round about £8 to £12 but these days you can find it on Steam for £2 in the Sale which is often. The PC version holds everything the console has plus future updates. So check out the demo and see if this is the game for you.
Summary: Terraria is a beautiful and retro looking game that uses 16-bit style graphics, in a world full of monsters. Craft better items and get exploring! The game will rob you of all your spare time and great to play with friends.