Terraria - My humble Home
Time. Installing this indie platformer sandbox game onto you hard drive is much like installing a black-hole in your machine, with none of the nasty matter sucking, just time vanishing into it’s retro looking event horizon. Hmmm, methinks that perhaps that opening sentence sounded better in my head.
Brought via steam, I must admit, I didn’t get Terraria at first. After spending a good ten minutes working out the difference between the hammer/axe/pick I constructed my first little shack for the Guide – an npc that starts in the world with you which seems to garner a lot of hatred from the Terraria community. Well, I thought to myself, that was kinda boring, lets see what else there is to do.
Six hours later and I look up at the clock and see that a LOT of time has passed as I smash my first dark orb. This game is very, very good at sucking you in. Rather than the Minecraft just one more cube mentality, for me it was the next crafting recipe which had me hooked. I had the wiki open in the background, and was constantly alt+tabbing to see where I needed to go, what I needed to hunt etc;
I haven’t tried multiplayer yet, due to actually needing time to work with Project: Cards, however, even with just single player, my steam stats are currently look like this :
Oh dear, so much time :S
And with all that time played, I have two islands, full of NPC’s in epic looking tower constructions, several bosses down and out, full molten gear and a light saber I refuse to upgrade due to being able to pretend I am in Star Wars. And I still haven’t defeated one boss, and therefore still have dungeons to explore. Awesome.
So how did this happen?
I think the beauty of discovery is something which Terraria does very well and it very much draws you in. I had no idea that there were floating islands, until randomly climbing up a hill I saw a single vine tile hanging from the sky. Thinking it was a bug, I built a tower up to investigate, only to find an entire island, suspended in the sky with a golden house glinting in the sunlight. Awesome. The next few hours were spent building various sky bridges, and discovering yet more floating islands.
Something else that Terraria excels at is the feeling of a living world – something Minecraft does with growing trees, but Terraria does with EVERYTHING. Mushrooms grow, vines grow, creepy corruption grows, glowing fungus grows, meteorites smash into the ground – the world itself feels very dynamic. The NPCs even add to this, arriving when certain goals are met and even dying when I summon the boss in the wrong place ( ooops! ). The pretty beautiful day/night transitions and a constantly changing phase of moon also contribute to this feeling.
I really love the dynamic feeling of the environment, and lets talk about the environment – it is pretty dang epic. There are multiple biomes for you to explore, both above and below ground. The underground biomes themselves are found through spelunking – going down preexisting tunnels and then adding some of your own. As you dig down, you will find gems, monsters, water and lava ( which both are effected by physics ), chests and pots – not to mention a hell of a lot more. The pots are an interesting thing, digging down into a vine and cobweb filled cavern, and seeing ancient looking pots sitting around gives you the impression that you aren’t the first to the island. It is this element of exploring I really love. Once again, similar to Minecraft, there is no story. You are just here, invent a story to why you are here and to explain whats happening, it makes things even cooler imho
Now the crafting, possibly the most dangerous thing when it comes to time sucking – the crafting tree is pretty huge. Pre-requisites require you to craft near an object ( crafting table, hellforge, anvil etc; ) but aside from that all you need are the components. No leveling up a crafting skill by producing thousands of pointless items that you are just going to sell to an NPC anyway. When you have all the items you need to craft, and are standing in the right position, the recipe simply pops up in the GUI with the components needed and a description of the object. Simple
You were slain ...
You can craft armor sets fairly easily at first, when you stumble upon enough ore – each armour set consists of a helmet, a chest and trousers – and you get set bonuses for wearing all matching armour. Later game armours consist of more exotic materials – ore mined from hell, ore dropped from boss monsters. As the armour gets stronger, strange and rather cool character effects start to happen – a full set of armour giving you a spooky shadow image, or molten lava dropping from you with every step.
This brings me to the bosses. There are three I’ve encountered so far – I won’t say to much for fear of spoilers, but when a boss appears – you know about it. The music changes to a retro chip tune of boss epicness – followed ( usually for me ) by an arse kicking. The bosses are spot on, and even once you get the hang of killing them, they still cause an acceleration of your heartbeat in excitement – the encounters are fun as well as ( often ) deadly.
I could literally type another thousand words on Terraria – seldom does a game make me rave enough to want to talk about it, yet alone type up a review. I know a lot of people are calling it a 2d Minecraft, but really, it is so much more than that. It does have a similar feel to Minecraft, but rather than the ‘look at the cool stuff I can build vibe’ it has a ‘look at all this very unique content to explore’. Even though it is still very early in the games lifecycle – it does feel very well polished, and with a promise of a lot more to come content wise, I can only hope to imagine what the next few months bring us. Interested in buying it? Click here for the steam page!