Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Terraria - Review

Though there may be several similarities between Terraria and Minecraft, there are enough differences that I am able to call them different games. While some differences are rather obvious (2D vs 3D), others can be more subtle.

Terraria is a game about exploring the map and defeating boss monsters. Though there is no plot, it has the start of a plot on its way. What this means is that currently Terraria is more likely to transform into an adventure/sandbox game than Minecraft. Though this may not be what everyone would like, it is most likely the best direction for the game to go.

Terraria has a simple crafting interface. This makes it easy for first time players to discover how to craft things, but it also makes discovering new items a kind of accident, by simply holding items in your inventory.

There are a variety of enemies in Terraria, as well as invasions that can occur later on. Sometimes an event will occur, such as the Blood Moon rising, which will cause a mass of zombies to attack your home. Some enemies such as worms also have unique sounds they make before they attack.

Creating homes in Terraria have certain requirements, and allow NPCs to move in. Placing blocks is easy and the player has a range around them in which they can place things. Also working together with someone can be fun, and the players can join the same team so they can see their distance from the other.

With that in mind, multiplayer is easily griefed. Someone can go into a play session with a pocket full of dynamite and cause players to constantly fall into everlasting doom. Bosses will also sometimes randomly attack, which can cause a waste of resources if you think you can fight it, or a waste of time if you get killed.

There’s not much guidance in the game as to what to do next. This is in part due to the limits of what can be done. The Guide NPC can at least help the player figure out how to get other NPCs to show up, but beyond that there is nothing else to do in the game other than explore, fight and build. The issue is that those activities feel pointless without some sort of endgame goal.

The music is rather forgettable ambient sounds. The graphics feel like 16-bit SNES style graphics, and there are no mods to the game that I am aware of. The game does still get updates, so it is far from over.

With that in mind, there are probably more items, monsters, and NPCs coming. It would be nice if there was the ability to learn spells for the game, to give more purpose to the mana that you can collect. A quest system might also give a reason to do certain things in the game. One of my favorite aspects of Terraria is making a village. It would be exciting to have more NPCs.

In the end, Terrara is more than just a 2D Minecraft. It is fun, and worth checking out if you like 2D sidescrolling action adventure games.