Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Terraria, my favourite indie game so far

"Minecraft in 2D"...but it isn't like that at all, except for the way you dig for materials (such as rock, iron, silver, obsidian and even meteorite), the pixellated look, and the overall idea.
Terraria: this game you really shouldn't miss out on. It's currently £5.99 on Steam, and is an epic game that will make you want to keep playing. So far I've clocked up to 57 hours on it, and I haven't even beaten the "end"* boss.
Don't be repulsed by the pixel art style, as you'd be missing out on a massive game if you didn't buy it because of the graphics. Just like Minecraft, Terraria flaunts its pixellated goodness in a modern way, without being too "in your face" and downright annoying. You're armed with a pick, axe, shortsword, some money, a hammer, and left to get on with it--you don't even have to read any of the tips the Guide gives you as soon as you spawn. This is a game where you look for the excitement yourself, or it finds you...
*There really isn't an end to the game--you can keep playing for as long as you want. And with new patches being released quite frequently (adding in new bosses, items and changes to the system), the Terraria devs make sure this game has lots of re playability.

In this game, your aim isn't to create (á la Minecraft), but to explore. Find as much as you can--there's a hell of a lot to be found, that's for sure. If you're very creative, however, you can create massive buildings and structures, but in my opinion, Minecraft would be better suited for those that want to build freely, with as much open space as they need.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself--let's go back to the beginning...
First off, character creation.
The first thing you do, is create a new character, and the character creation is...well, alright, at best. You choose which colours you want for your shirt, undershirt, trousers, hair, and shoes...then you can choose your hairstyle, and that's about it. To choose what colour you want, you don't get to pick from a palette--you have to click + or - to increase different colour areas, e.g. Green, 230. It's confusing, and I think it could be an area to improve on, but after all, this is an indie game, and your initial colour of clothes aren't something to stress over, as soon enough you'll make yourself armor.
Next: Choosing your world size.
This'll affect your game alot, and the load time--I created a small world when I first started off, and it was fairly big, especially for a new player. It loaded quickly. But when I created a big world, the load time was longer (which is understandable), but then you're allowed to have much more content, and a larger area to explore (as if that wasn't obvious!).
Another choice you have as you start the game, is whether you want to be 'hardcore'. Yes... well. This option makes you lose everything when you die (á la Minecraft, again). You should definitely stay away from this if you're a newbie.
That's basically it for the character creation.
The next thing is, obviously, gameplay!
This game is very easy to get started with, tools already given to you--but with night-time drawing closer by the second, you have to quickly make yourself a house for shelter from...zombies, flying eyes and all sorts of other enemies. This'll be your safe haven, a place to hide, and a place to store your loot.
There are many different types of houses you can make, from all sorts of materials, from dirt to hellstone, wood to golden bricks, or even pink bricks from a dungeon.
Using the WASD keys and the space bar for jump, it's easy to move around on the game, but at times it's a little laggy, and gameplay slows down. This isn't a problem most of the time, but hopefully will be fixed later on via a patch.

To attack an enemy, you left click. Depending on what weapon you have, you can aim at your enemy--for example, if there is a flying enemy (such as Eye of Cthulhu to the left), and you have a bow and arrow, you aim and shoot at it. Simple as!
 Although there isn't a complex battle system, it's still fun to fight enemies, and the sounds a zombie makes when you hit it with an oversized weapon? ...Weirdly satisfying--just like the 'clink' minerals make when you hit them with a pickaxe.
Terraria features many weapons, all for you to find underground. From jungle blades to star-firing swords(which uses up mana, just like it would in any other game), shurikens to enchanted boomerangs...there's alot to be found. If you don't want a weapon you find, you can sell it to an NPC (more on that later), or give it to your friend.
Most of the exciting things happen underground. You can find jungles, caves filled with treasure chests, crystal hearts you break to add +20 to your life (in a Legend of Zelda way), new, difficult enemies--and you can even enter the underworld...
Is there multiplayer?
Yes! You can play with your friends--download Hamachi (a free tool that gives your friends an IP address to connect to your games, and vice versa), put in the code located on Hamachi onto Terraria, then play. However, the person that is hosting the game for others to join has to open up two Terraria boxes--one for their friends to connect, and one for themselves to play on. It might be confusing at first, but you'll soon get used to it--and, if I'm not mistaken, the Terraria devs have added a feature that saves the last worlds you've been to, and you can just click the code, and you log on to their world (if they're hosting). This system is ideal, as it doesn't let spammers/thieves into your world--if just anyone was allowed in to your world, items from chests could be stolen, and this would make people not want to play any more. By choosing carefully who you give your code to, it makes it your own experience in every way.
Overall, I think this is a really fun indie game that has alot of potential--new patches mean new content, and new content means the game is still getting better. Alot of people have bought this game, and if you haven't already, you're missing out!
Audio: 8   Although it gets a little repetitive, it's still fun to hear the chirpy music.
Gameplay: 9  There's alot of fun to be had here, and is the highest point of the game.
Graphics: 8  It's pixellated, and looks great--the art style is unique and quirky.
Overall score: 8/10  This game will get even better, and I'm basing the review on how much I've seen so far. A joy to play, and I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a new experience via PC gaming.

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