I was originally going to post this in the RPG Crew to see if the critic wanted to add it to the main site, but then I realized it is way, way too long for that. I don't think it's possible to give an accurate review of a game like this without going into more detail than the critic usually likes to put in his reviews, so I just decided to post it here instead. Enjoy!
Rating: T for Violence, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
Icons: Great Music, Split Screen 2p, Split Screen 4p, Cooperative, Construction, Penguin, Skyline (does this count for non-city skylines?), Bunny, Chicken, Shark
At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking Terraria was just Minecraft in 2d. And while the two games do share considerable overlap, if you stick with Terraria you'll find that it's a very unique and fun game in its own right. Similar to Minecraft, when you start a new game you'll be dropped into the middle of a vast, randomly generated map, and how you proceed is entirely up to you. You can choose from small, medium, and large worlds, and the larger worlds are so big that it can take over ten minutes to run from one end to the other.
Comparisons to Minecraft are all but unavoidable. You can cut down trees and dig into the ground, converting the world you destroy into squares that you can then use to build things out of. The first thing you'll want to build is a house, and in doing so you'll discover one Terraria's most unique features: villagers will move into any empty houses you build. Each villager has their own quirky personality, and will either provide useful services like healing or giving advice, or carry items that you can buy. The building itself is a fair bit clunkier than it is in Minecraft, but not to the point that it detracts from the game. You "aim" by tilting the right joystick, and your character will rapidly set down blocks wherever you're pointing. It can be a little tough to line up your walls and ceilings, and you'll have to smash misaligned blocks more often than I like, but it won't slow you down too much. You won't use Terraria to create massive works of art like in Minecraft, but to fair, the game clearly has other things in mind for you to spend your time doing.
The worlds are freely explorable in every direction. The left and right sides of the map are always bordered by oceans, and if you can hold your breath long enough you can dive to the bottom of the ocean to find treasure chests! Other biomes include the starting forest, deserts, jungles, snowy tundras, and the deadly Corruption. Not only does each area have its own unique enemies and items to find, but its own music too! I can't stress enough how great the music is in this game. But the real meat of the game is down below the surface. Intricate cave systems, abandoned mineshafts, and more are there for you to discover and explore, along with the resources you need to build bigger and better gear. If you go deep enough, you can even dig all the way to hell itself! Admittedly, the first couple hours of the game are almost guaranteed to be slow. Your starting pickaxe struggles to break dirt, and I swear your sword is an inch long. Things will quickly become more exciting once you start arming yourself not only with better weapons, but charms that can do things like let you double jump, run faster, and cling to walls. And here's a bit of advice: get a grappling hook as fast as possible!
But where Terraria differentiates itself the most from Minecraft is in the combat. Fighting monsters was more of a side activity in Minecraft, but in Terraria it's your main goal. Not only are there literally hundreds of different weapons you can create, ranging from swords, spears, and bows and arrows, to buzzsaw yoyos, harpoon guns, and laser rifles! Whatever your preferred playstyle is, Terraria has something for you. And you'll need all the firepower you can get, because Terraria's enemies aren't going to go easy on you. You'll fight things like zombies, slimes, flying eyeballs, giant worms, and weird floaty-bitey things--and that's just on the surface! The deeper you go, the stranger and more dangerous the enemies will get.
Terraria also has an impressive lineup of bosses, and defeating them is the main draw of the game. By summoning and beating one, you gain access to the resources you'll need to summon the next one. How, where, and when you fight them is entirely up to you...mostly. One thing I found funny is that if you take too long summoning the first boss, the game will get impatient and sick it on you by itself! The processes of summoning them can be a little hard to figure out, so don't be afraid to look up walkthroughs. Trust me, everyone does it! The bosses include a giant flying eyeball, a colossal worm, a gigantic floating skeleton, and the aptly named Wall of Flesh.
And the bosses aren't the only surprises Terraria has in store for you. At random points in time, you'll also have to deal with things like goblin invasions, blood moons that spawn armies of zombies, and raining slimes! These are tough and serve to spice up the game when it might be getting tedious, but the fact that you'll always respawn in your starting area when you die with only a little bit of your money taken away means you don't have to be too afraid of failure.
If it isn't obvious, I highly recommend Terraria. It probably won't change your mind if you don't usually like survival crafting games, but then again the simple 2D exploration and fast paced combat might be exactly what you need to get into the genre!
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