Starving in Don’t Starve – A Game Review

InsanityThis game drives me absolutely nuts in both a good and bad way.  I’ve spent hours just missing a moments notice of dying which is exciting and a fun aspect of this survival gem.  Though this game is the king of kings when it comes to busy work but you will likely enjoy every moment of it while being perturbed as you explore the vast environment, outfitting your toon, and making sure home base is safe and sound.  Now, that all sounds hunky dory but in one fell swoop all that time you’ve just spent just came to a screeching hault with a shadow monster invasion. It’s a roguelike at heart, meaning that death is inevitable, and once you die, it’s truly game over. Don’t Starve will never, ever hold your hand, and for that I love and hate the game to my wits end at times.

This roguelike plops you right smack dab into an amazing wilderness with a style like none other, so while your gawking at how beautiful the art is of this game, they up and leave you to figure out how to survive.  Some fans of the adventure/survival genre will enjoy this  as it gives them the freedom to express the patience and creativity it takes to play a game like this.  I was never able to connect fully with this game as it lacked any direction and didn’t have any goals to achieve other than staying alive.

don_t_starve_ps4_art_by_jeffagala-d76owmy.pngI was pretty much blown away with the graphical style of this game as it has a children’s storybook created by Tim Burton feel to it.  What makes this game well worth the time spent wondering amidst and dying is the comical bits you get throughout the story. The visuals are accompanied by a catchy soundtrack, that at first grabs the attention and perks your ears right up, but lacked any variation and looped quite often. This feature was quite annoying to me and really took away from the art style and graphics of the game, so needless to say I tend to listen to my own music while playing this game.

The idea of the game is as basic as any survival game can get: Explore the world and gather materials during the safety of daylight, survive the night by crafting a fire and consuming some food, rinse and repeat. While that sounds mundane at best to some, this game offers quite the challenge and comedy while doing it.  Amidst the comedy is a very tense struggle to survive which will bring you to the edge of your seat on how to accomplish that task. Death hangs around every corner of this game and no matter how safe you think you are…..BAM here comes a pack of screaming spiders, or a wild boar, or a huge one eyed bird ready to pluck you of life.

Of course, angry animals and strange creatures aren’t the only way to die in this game.  Just when I thought I was on the right track and doing well my sanity meter drained due to my character’s exhaustion, and my weak feeble little body was now on it’s last leg.  What do I do, eat something, build a fire, oh wait my brain is going nuts as I’ve been in the wild for 12 days now.  Basically anything and everything can cause death in this game so get ready to die and enjoy it while you do.

DntSrv1Unfair deaths do happen, and some of mine had to do with not being able to pick up a life-saving object that were right in front of me. While the overhead perspective helps show off the vast world and gives it a living, breathing, environment, it also creates very frustrating moments when items are hidden directly behind pieces of the environment. The thing about the vast landscapes is that there are lots of items in them, and there’s often times no angle from which you can click to pickup that item. When you’ve been running and gunning for hours and find yourself being chased by one of the many creatures in this world, this little bug becomes quite annoying as more than likely you will be restarting the game very soon.

The only real breaks in the what seems like a never ending cycle are the random portals scattered throughout the world that transport you to smaller, mission-based adventures.  These missions do help advance the interesting narrative, but completing them dropped me back into the dangerous wilds without the sense of accomplishment I so desperately craved.

Don't Starve Shipwrecked diaryWhen getting ready to play this game, I usually have to ask myself do I really want to spend the next 30 minutes starting over with everything?  Usually the first 30 minutes or so of each new game is an extremely dull, repetitive experience. Every time I come back to a new game I have gained some more knowledge of how to craft better items, or what areas to stay out of as they are just littered with creatures, but my character has lost all his belongings from previous, and forgotten how to craft many of the better items.  You will have to re-teach him if you want to continue on in those moments of survival.

To me those introductory game moments need more variety and whether that comes from different/bigger random events or character abilities doesn’t matter, but this game needs something to make all the dying feel more like losing progress in your story instead of being stuck in the movie groundhog day. That special something is definitely missing from the game right now.  Klei entertainment has continued to release updates to the game and it will be exciting to see this game mature in content.

scr.ee tags:

#gaming #gamer #klei #dontstarve #survival #adventure


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