Hamlet is the latest DLC by Klei Entertainment for their wildly popular Don’t Starve – the artistically brilliant, yet dark and creepy, survival adventure which released in 2013 to critical acclaim. Hamlet continues the trend of setting sail for adventure introduced in the previous DLC – Shipwrecked; this time through a vine-draped jungle where a secret society of aristocratic Pigmen live in an idyllic hamlet. But is this new DLC worth its salt, or should you pass up and carry on playing vanilla Don’t Starve?
Don’t Starve has always been a hardcore game. There are no tutorials and very little handholding, so it’s up to you – the player, to figure out how everything works. The game makes you a tinkerer, an inventor of sorts, who fiddles with objects that you scavenge from around the map in order to survive. Over time you go from meeting basic needs, to researching more sophisticated means of getting by, such as farms, weapons and even luxurious and elegant clothing… Hamlet once again taps into this way of playing, creating many and varied unique new problems to solve – so much so that it’s an entirely new game within a game.
Key new features in Hamlet include 3 new characters – Wilba, Wormwood and Wheeler, a whole new map and fauna, ancient ruin diving and a whole host of new items to discover and craft. One of the joys of Don’t Starve is the element of discovery – finding out how everything fits together and works, so I won’t spoil too much for you about new content but suffice to say even the Pigmen hamlet provides scores of new challenges for greenhorn and veteran explorers alike.
So let’s talk about the two big new features of the Hamlet DLC – the map and the hamlet itself. First up, the map feels small compared to that of the vanilla Don’t Starve experience. Perhaps it’s just my imagination or maybe I’ve finally become accustomed to the nuances of strategy involved in persisting across the game’s wacky challenges and means of survival. Either way, in my first play session (which didn’t last that long because I was promptly killed by a lightning slug whilst hunting for iron) I was able to hunt down the Pigmen hamlet within about 20 minutes – seeing all new biome types along the way. This isn’t a bad thing to be honest, I think the developers have scaled things down a tad to get the player to focus more on interacting with the hamlet itself, as opposed to only using it once in a while – helping you to get full value out of the new DLC features!
As for the Hamlet itself, the Pigmen seem to have advanced considerably and now live in a civilised town complete with shops in which to trade, watchtowers with sentinel guards patrolling, and even a townhall where you can purchase your own house. This exciting addition gives the player the chance to furnish your own pad, whilst even plotting to overthrow the ruler of the Pigmen regime…
With Don’t Starve and all of the DLCs, the joy is in exploring it all for yourself. I’ve deliberately tried to avoid content spoilers so that you can dive in an explore all that Hamlet has to offer for yourselves, because if you already own Don’t Starve, you NEED this DLC. For £5.19 it’s an absolute steal – Hamlet is essentially an entirely new game within a game. Anyone on the fence about getting this latest DLC for Don’t Starve – if you have to purchase one expansion for the game, it HAS to be this one!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Don’t Starve: Hamlet Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
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