If you could imagine Minecraft in 2D – Terraria is the likely concept of your imagination that will have you digging away at the earth’s crust for hours on end wondering what the point of existence is. What must I do, how do I build it and where am I going? These are just a few questions you might ask yourself in the 16-bit looking world of Terraria that is a builders dream by day, but a deadly dangerous world by night.
Previously available on the PC from Re-Logic, Terraria is a land of adventure and a playing field for the explorer, a character that you design from the multiple choices on first play. A 2D set of sprites designed to have arms, legs, a head and any hairstyle you choose in a range of colours to suit will become your explorer as you arrive in your own world equipped with a Sword, Axe, Pickaxe and limited health. It seems the only set of objectives is to explore and both survive the vicious cruel world you have adopted where digging, collecting and crafting items are your available skills. Despite looking like an old Gameboy Color game brought to life on current-gen systems it taps into your inquisitiveness as you continue to explore the surroundings of your new world; you’ll soon be wondering what is under here, what lies beneath the ocean, what can I expect to find if I dig deep enough into hell. Every world contains a dungeon, but only the bravest warrior will dare explore its secrets! Chopping down trees for wood, clearing caves and defeating some mean Bosses are just a few tricks up your sleeve.
As a simple looking game and a relatively small download at just over 33mb, it will last you an eternity with all the endless hours you can put into digging the rocks and earth beneath your feet – or building houses to stay safe in whilst the Zombies and Demons lurk through the forests at night. There’s no real plot or story as your primary goal is to just be what you can and live your digital life out in a 16-bit 2D rendered world. As every player is born into Terraria with the same opportunities in life, how you survive and live through your own tale is exactly what you make it to be. The whole purpose captivates you and fast becomes motivational in that having ploughed your way through enough hours you want this to be your masterpiece, it’s as if you’ve rediscovered a new land and the only set back is that you can’t seem to procreate – but you’re not the only character at least! Through-out varied parts of the game you will encounter non-playing characters (NPC’s) some will be tied up, but not in a fifty-shades-of-grey-way banking on your heroic efforts to save them, and others will just randomly appear that includes Nurses, Arms Dealers, Mechanics and Wizards that can be interacted with also.
Multiplayer is a huge offering in Terraria allowing you to create small, medium and large worlds that can be occupied by eight other players over Xbox LIVE with additional local split-screen gameplay for those who have a few friends and family at home wanting in on the action. Terraria on the Xbox LIVE Arcade is not just a port of the PC version as it offers some hefty improvements over its STEAM brother. Splitscreen and a new control system are the most noticeable improvements since the console does not use a keyboard and mouse. Using the left and right sticks with auto-cursor you can freely dig down deep or build with more precision – not to mention how jumping and grappling feels more natural with a controller than a keyboard. It has an RPG style to its menu system in that part of what you dig away or collect can store itself in your inventory system where you can equip, trash and keep track of ingredients needed for more elite items such as torches and important upgrades to your equipment. Everything in your world has importance and relevance because what you take away from one area can be re-built in another. What hinders in one corner might actually help in another – all that is required is the ability to spend a great deal of time working hard and a little imagination.
Nothing in Terraria is as what it seems, do not get drawn into the aesthetic beauty of its retro feel land because danger is everywhere. When you can’t see danger, it certainly sees you; and unless you have pre-planned and equipped yourself with houses, hideouts and ingenious escape plans you will die, and you will die, and you will die until the frustration eats away at you. So, for the less logically minded the only enjoyment to be had then is hacking away at the free-roaming rabbits, deadly slime, giant worms and Hornets all intent on eating you alive. It is equally about survival as it is exploration which makes for a genius combination of constantly wanting to succeed in a world that has no real outcome for your desires. You evolve everything, recycle what you can and then just churn out the games environment to be what you want it – constantly rewriting your own history as time elapses.
In the worlds of Terraria nothing is impossible, soon you will have a 2D dream and live out your days in-game as a sprite equivalent Christopher Columbus – you may not discover America, but you’ll certainly discover you inner instincts for wanting to beat the environments and all the elements that come your way determined to halt your existence. If you find great enjoyment in games that tap into your must-do nature such as Harvest Moon and Minecraft – then Terraria will tempt you away and capture you into a whole new 2D crafting experience where you’ll be your own worst enemy.
Super enjoyable with perfect controls and a fantastic beautiful retro-feel. So addictive that your family might report you missing!