Friday, 3 June 2011

Terraria- Not a 2D Minecraft

Platform: PC
Rating: PG, E10+
Release Date: Out now

What is Terraria? Terraria is a 2D, side-scrolling, indie game developed by Re-Logic. The game is described as an action/adventure RPG. There are several people who have watched the trailer and played the game who say it is just a 2D version of Minecraft. There are others who will argue that it isn’t. Well let me tell you, it isn’t. Yes, there are some features that appear in both games, like a day/night cycle, mining and gathering resources, fighting monsters (but doesn’t every game have that these days?) and building things. When I say building things I mean building a house so you have a safe area. These features that seem to appear in both games don’t make them the same. It’s like saying every FPS copied Catacomb 3-D because it is played in a first person perspective and you can shoot stuff.

Now that I have cleared up the Minecraft comparison let’s get to some gameplay. The first thing you do in Terraria before you go into your first randomly generated world is create your character. You can customise his hair style, hair colour, skin tone, shirt colour, pants colour and colour of the shoes. After that you name your character and are ready to go. The good thing about these characters is when you play a new world your character doesn’t lose any of his items you find in other worlds. In other words, let’s say I made a light saber (well it isn’t called a light saber but it acts like one) in my single player world, I could take it with me to another single player world or to my friend’s multiplayer world. This concept is very cool and I think more games should have it. I don’t think there is a limit to the amount of characters you can make too.

When starting out with a new character you are given a pickaxe and a hatchet/axe. Weapons never run out in Terraria so the only reason you have to craft stronger weapons is if you want to mine certain things that require a stronger weapon. The first thing you do in a new world is search for trees. With trees you can get wood (the foundation for most things in Terraria). Before you even start to create something the next thing you need is dirt. Why dirt you ask? Well even though the game is 2D, monsters can still get in your house/ safe area if you don’t have any walls. To create the walls you must open your inventory and scroll down the handy list on the side of the screen which shows you what you can create with the items you have in your inventory. After making a large amount of dirt wall you place it in one of your ten hand spots and left click to place it on the wall. Resources are very abundant in Terraria. The reason why this is is because you need so many resources to craft items. For example, you need 3 iron ore to craft an iron bar and you need about 7 iron bars to craft an iron sword. That means you need about 21 iron ore to craft the iron sword.  So when you think about it, everything evens out in the end when it comes to resource collection to creation.

You can collect coins from monsters and jars you find underground. You use these coins to buy items and health when NPCs come to live in your house. To have an NPC stay with you they need their own room. This room must include a door, bed, table and chair. The NPCs I have met are; a nurse, a demolitions man, a merchant and an arms dealer. There is also a guide who automatically spawns at the start of the game. Right clicking on the guide gives you some hints and tips about survival in the game. All NPCs (except the guide) can be killed by monsters that lurk in the world of Terraria. But don’t worry; they spawn again after a few minutes anyway.

Terraria plays a little bit like the old Mario games. You can’t jump up through most objects in Terraria. But you can craft wooden platforms and place them on walls etc. The platforms act a little like the big mushrooms that you can jump on in Super Mario Bros. These are the only objects you can jump through. These prove very useful when trying to get up from caves that you have dug (or you could just go deeper and kill skeleton to get a hook to create a grappling hook). Another thing you could say it has in common with Mario is that mushrooms keep you alive; well they don’t work the same but still. In Terraria you start with 5 hearts which each equal 20 health. Meaning you start with 100 health. You can find giant hearts in caves that increase the maximum number of hearts you can have.

When you die in Terraria there isn’t much penalty. You will lose some coins that you are carrying but other than that all your items you are carrying are safe. You can decide whether that is good or bad when it comes to the difficulty. There is only one level of difficulty in Terraria too.

Where Terraria goes a stray from Minecraft (besides everything I mentioned before) is that you are more focused on digging for resources to create weapons and items to help you kill all the monsters in Terraria. The amount of monsters in Terraria is amazing. From zombies to flying eye balls to killer worms, this game has them all. There are even boss fights (which are hell with just one person)!

The controls are very basic. You use the Arrow keys to move left, right and down. You use space to jump and ESC opens the inventory; although I recommend changing that to E. You can scroll through your hand inventory using the mouse wheel or you can choose the slot with the number keys. Left mouse click performs most actions in Terraria and unlike Minecraft you must be holding a weapon to attack. For example, when holding a torch you can’t attack enemies, you can only place them.

The music in Terraria fits the scene perfectly. At times when nothing is happening there is peaceful music that makes you feel like you are safe. The further underground you get the more the music becomes dramatic. During the boss fight me and my friend encountered the music was really fast moving, it made the scene feel ‘epic’. When mining ores you here a sound of metal hitting metal (what you would expect to here). Even the laser sword sounds like a light saber should. It may not seem important to some people but music and sounds in a game can sometimes make or break it.

Final Comments:
Terraria is a fun cheap game that can provide hours of entertainment in single player and multiplayer. Most computers are fast enough to run this game so I recommend you jump on Steam and purchase it. The resource collection to creation is evened out fairly well and Re-Logic are constantly putting out updates for it.

Rating: 8/10

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