Terraria is a maddeningly addictive game based around the simple task of mining blocks. Most people reading that sentence will instantly think of a certain other game built around mining and crafting materials out of blocks, and such comparisons will not do Terraria any harm – after all that game didn’t do too badly did it? In fact Terraria does something different with the addictive formula that Minecraft originally laid claim too, building on what worked and adding it’s own 2d spin to make an enjoyable, highly addictive sandbox game.
Terraria is deceptive in that the premise is a simple one – dig, craft, and build items to make your stay in your own randomly generated world that bit more comfortable for your customisable little character. Depth is quickly added, quite literally, the minute you start to mine into the world. The predictable path from dirt to wood to stone is still here, and Terraria does a great job of tapping into that human desire to know just what might be beyond the next bend, or over that hill in the distance. Venturing further and deeper does not go unrewarded – rare materials and treasures can be found in little pockets of the world, containing items that further help you on your way.
Terraria’s gorgeous 2d world harks back to 8-bit nostalgia, but what hides just beneath the surface is an incredibly deep game. Terraria’s world is randomly generated the first time you enter, and each map is populated with different areas and terrains – jungles, deserts and snowscapes to name but a few. Each area, or Biome as they are called in game, contains different materials and treasures that can only be found there, and each one helps unlock various items to help you on your way.
A map is available when you press the touchpad, but it is mostly blacked out upon starting the game. As you explore the map is further revealed, and such a simple mechanic is incredibly effective – I found myself constantly using the map to see where I had been and plot my path through the world, but the massive areas of black, undiscovered territory just kept egging me on and encouraging me to dig deeper and walk further than I had before, burning the midnight oil on numerous occasions as the voice in my head promised that I would find something that would make all my digging worthwhile.
This is something that Terraria does superbly well, hooking you in and daring you on. Terraria has a meticulous crafting system that only draws you deeper into the game – each crafting path constantly pulls you down the rabbit hole, wanting to find that extra 6 blocks of whatever to make the next item, which in turn unlocks something slightly better or an item that does something slightly different whether that be a weapon, a new piece of armour with better defence or tools to help you find more by digging faster or mining harder materials. I found that I would choose the next item to craft, and set off hunting out the necessary ingredients in order to make it. Early in the game this endeavour will take a few minutes, but as the crafting menu is expanded it will soon take a few hours and require you to dig deeper and walk further than before.
I lost track of the amount of times I would end up distracted by a chest or new rare material in the hope of collecting as many as I could, only to return to looking for my intended materials a while later. This quest to collect as many materials as possible to see what possibilities they unlock is only reinforced at night or when you find yourself deep underground when enemies arrive – armour and weapons can all be crafted to help you fend off whatever beasts decide to make an appearance, and these creatures vary depending on the Biome you are in, and they too drop materials and the odd rare item. This merry-go-round of dig, craft then dig deeper and craft a better item is so well implemented that it doesn’t get boring or feel repetitive, even though it looks it on paper.
Exploration and digging are pointless if you don’t have an ultimate end goal in mind, and Terraria has a few. Everyone will start off with the same purpose – build the biggest, smartest settlement you can, furnished with the finest items you can find or craft. Homes in Terraria must be 10 blocks wide and 6 blocks high, and the minute you have a few of these other NPC’s will arrive and begin to populate your town, each coming with their own benefits and abilities, such as a nurse who can heal your wounds quicker than allowing them to do so on their own. Each NPC will arrive once a certain criteria has been met, such as collecting so many coins or having so much health, and they only serve to help you on your way.
As well as the building element there is another reason to explore and craft and dig – bosses. Terraria has a variety of enemies that can either be discovered as you traverse the world or summoned by finding or crafting rare materials. These creatures are not for the faint hearted, and require you to have the best possible armour and weapons. Your health can be increased by finding heart containers that are buried and hidden around the world (finding one and using it from your inventory will increase your maximum health) and armour can be crafted from the various materials you find on your travels. Sometimes you can luck out and find a rare weapon by defeating an enemy, but often the better ones are found in chests. When you feel up to the task you can then go looking for one of the many bosses lurking within the world to get the rewards that they drop upon their defeat.
Terraria has been out for a while on current gen consoles, mobile and PC, and ultimately the PS4 and Xbox One versions do nothing game changing or too different – a larger world thanks to the extra horsepower nestled away, 1,000 new items added to the original console game to drag it in line with that found on PC and a few controller touch ups such as using the touch pad to pinch and zoom on your character don’t drastically change what was already a great game too much.
If you loved it the first time round everything in Terraria is still the same, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with this newer version the second time round time as I did when I last played it on my 360. If you haven’t yet played Terraria and are looking for an arcade title to bide you over then look no further, but just make sure you have plenty of time to spare – you will need it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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