Created over the course of a few months, Terraria seemed to be just another cash-in on the Minecraft-mania that has swept over the gaming world in the last year or so….And it is, but it’s an enjoyable cash-in nonetheless.
At its core, Terraria is a 2D side-scrolling platformer but beyond that is a thick crust of Minecraft. Like its contemporary, Terraria allows the player to modify their world. You can chop down trees, dig through earth and stone and build structures and items from the materials you collect. Essentially then, it’s a 2D version of Minecraft, but only on the surface. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some things that Minecraft doesn’t have yet, like boss monsters, tons of different weapon types, magic, NPCs and upgradable stats. All of this comes together to deliver an experience familiar to anyone that’s played Minecraft but one that’s far more rewarding for those of us that can’t keep the fun going with new construction projects.
As I mentioned above, Terraria is full of things to do. Like Minecraft, your first few minutes of play will consist of gathering building materials and setting up a house for yourself. Once you’re done however, it’s time to explore and it’s at this point that Terraria starts to show you what it’s all about. You’ll start digging down and you’ll find caverns and ore, pots and chests with items like shurikens and spears. You’ll keep digging and you’ll find a crystal heart that you can break to collect a life crystal that grants an extra heart, Zelda style. You’ll keep digging and digging and you’ll find more ore, pots and chests. If you keep digging, you’ll find more and more and as you get deeper, the soil changes, the monsters become stronger and the rewards become greater. You’ll keep on digging and fighting and smiling as you find more treasure, treasure like the cloud in a bottle that allows you to double jump or hermes boots that allow you to run faster. Not everything is underground however. Above ground you can find jungles, a dungeon guarded by a powerful boss and an area of absolute evil that corrupts the land around it. There are even floating islands in the sky with rare treasure.
That’s the beauty of Terraria, you’re always being rewarded. When you’re digging through the earth for hours, you’re not just collecting ore for your next sprite-building project or that cool item you want, you’re getting cool items and your character is getting stronger – there’s a real sense of progression in the game. With the developers promising that more is coming, Terraria makes for a great time-waster.
Unfortunately, that’s about it for Terraria. It has multiplayer and you can enable team-based PvP and that should help to prolong the length of time you spend with the game but with only a handful of bosses and different areas to explore, it probably won’t be too long before you start going back to Minecraft to finish that scale replica of the USS Enterprise. Perhaps I’m being too harsh in saying that though, Terraria really is a solid game when you get down to it but despite all the time I spent with it, I couldn’t help shaking the thought that this is a 2D vision into the future of Minecraft…but it’s a vision with guns, grappling hooks, giant evil eyeballs, meteors, demon armour, nurses and hours of side-scrolling fun and it’s worth playing.
Genre: Side-scrolling platformer/RPG/building game
Time: As much as you’re willing to put in to it – potentially infinite.
Gripes: Building Mechanic limited by 2D, new toys only go so far, needs more substantial content.
Get it for the: Old man at the dungeon and the ton of different weapons to play with.
Full disclosure: I bought the game at half-price during the summer steam sales. Had I paid full price, this review may have been more scathing.
Nice write up, I’ve been eyeing Terraria off and on again but ultimately can’t justify it over Minecraft. You’ve confirmed my gut feelings about it spot on.
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