Reviews Terraria

Published on April 5th, 2013 | by Ben Gray


Review: Terraria

Review: Terraria Ben Gray

Summary: Terraria is an incredibly deep game overflowing with content, held back by minor, hopefully fixable issues.


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
Terraria was reviewed on Xbox Live Arcade, with a review code provided by Microsoft. “It’s a Minecraft clone!” proclaims the all-knowing bystander after having glimpsed a screenshot of Terraria and judged it purely on aesthetic. Whilst it’s true that the two do share similarities, Terraria is a game defined by its depth and progress, and past those slow first days lies a game both addictive and challenging, but never too punishing. Hold that initial dismissal. Having created a character and randomly generated a world, Terraria gives you the basic tools and sends you on your way. For those of us who are clueless, the game provides a tutorial for those early stages, but the challenge doesn’t lie in finding your feet. The 2D visual gives you a greater sense of perception which allows you to get a shelter and mining system up and running within the first hour of playing. Early enemies prove more of a nuisance than a concern, and those first few in-game days will be mostly burrowing your way underground, gaining the ores needed to craft the weapons and armour for the challenges that will eventually come your way. What is not immediately noticeable about your adventure is just how deep it can go; literally and metaphorically speaking. Whilst above ground there are a multitude of biomes to explore ranging from jungle, to desert, to snow, to the deadly Corruption, underneath all of this is a labyrinth of caverns and ores, followed by the Underworld; every single one of which is crawling with a vast amount of enemies ranging from inconveniencing Cave Bats to terrifying tunnelling Devourers. There are a massive range of weapons and tools at your disposal to slowly but surely progress your way through, and plenty of bosses to tackle at various stages. Content-wise, Terraria is a charitable goldmine of it, yet remains equally challenging to match. Terraria Terraria never feels overly punishing either, which for me made it a much more enjoyable experience that I could stick at. Upon death, you’ll lose some coins, but these can be picked up from where you met your demise or earned back quickly enough. Most enemies in the starting area are merely there to ensure your shelter (which you’ll soon find yourself fast expanding into a fortress of vendors and storage), and bosses can be faced on your say so; although events like the Blood Moon and occasionally the Eye of Cthulhu will come unexpectedly to test your vigilance. Significantly, items do not wear out unlike Minecraft, so there is no need to worry about carrying 10 pickaxes down underground with you or an equal amount of weapons for a boss fight. Again, this relates to the quick pacing of the game that keeps you captivated, and always busy. A wise design choice was not to simply throw all the game’s content at the player from the get-go; a mid-game anti-climax of sorts against the hectic Wall of Flesh boss finishes with new ores added to the world to craft better tools, a new biome and dozens of new enemy types that ramp up the difficulty; but by then, you’ll be prepared and aware. The developers have nailed the learning curve in Terraria, with the right amount of risk vs. reward. It’s hard to put a length on a game like this, but we’re talking tens of hours for the main content, and that’s if you approach everything directly and are purely focused on becoming the best you can be; that’s not a bad thing, either, as even then it provides. Characters can play between worlds too, taking their inventory and equipment with them, which leads nicely into… Multiplayer! Perhaps the console port’s best feature, it is integrated well; games can be set to online play (made public or private, although notably this can’t be changed during playtime) and joining a friend’s world takes mere seconds. Alongside characters that can carry their inventory over, this makes playing with friends both beneficial and convenient. Split-screen is also supported for those who wish to play locally, and its inclusion is appreciated, as it’s always good to acknowledge that not everyone plays these games online. However, much like Dungeon Defenders, Terraria hits a point where it feels like co-op is essential, as bosses can become overwhelmingly difficult on solo. It would have been more appropriate to have scaling. Terraria Terraria’s controls and interfaces have been ported over effectively for the controller; the game has two modes of targeting, auto-cursor and manual cursor, the latter being the best choice for pretty much every aspect except combat, and they can be switched between each other easily at the click of the thumbstick. All the inventory, crafting and housing interfaces are usable with relative ease, although in both cases a mouse and keyboard will still triumph, but for now we’ll make do with D-pad hotkeys for four of your items. However, there are some niggling issues that can hinder your experience, particularly on the multiplayer side of things. Large maps are sometimes not quick enough to load, so occasionally you can find yourself falling through the air. In Multiplayer, this becomes the case so much so that the game reverts to the 360 dashboard when so far down into the Underworld. Unfortunately, when the game begins to lag, it does so badly; enemies teleport from place to place with their health bars bouncing between near death and full health, and rarely the host’s world and what you see become out of sync. These all sound like bugs that can be fixed in the space of a few patches, and may only affect the minority. Behind all its initial simplicity, Terraria will make the hours pass like minutes as you get lost in its sprawling world, whether that be the world generated for you or how you progress throughout. Its port from PC to consoles has left everything intact and on the whole, successful. Those small issues leave it in a state of near-perfection for myself, and will undoubtedly be recognised at the year’s end as one of the best downloadable titles 2013 had to offer.

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