Terraria is a 2D side scrolling sandbox game developed by ReLogic and published by 505 Games for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2011. This review was played on the Mac version of the game, although I have previously played the game on Xbox 360 with a controller. Sandbox games are games that allow the player complete freedom to the randomly generated world with little story elements to the game. What this allows players to do is play the game in unique and interesting ways, as well as play the game with their own created stories. Sandbox games also have a lot of roaming and searching for resources, meaning that players can unlock higher tiered equipment. This sort of progression system allows the player to upgrade their own equipment and move on to harder things within the game at their own pace. The genre is well known for generating random worlds for the player, meaning that each player will have their own unique experience in their world.
Terraria starts the player off in the centre of the map with 3 basic tools, a shortsword, a pickaxe and an axe. All 3 of these tool are made of copper, which is a lower tier ore, but for the early game until the player finds more ore of a higher tier. However, the player can actually go for quite a while without requiring the need to upgrade the equipment, which is useful in worlds where there is no caves in the beginning.
I feel that the tools that the game gives me to start is more than good enough for a decent part of the game until I dug much deeper and found ores that required a platinum pickaxe. I think that the huge variety of ores that the player can find throughout the game allows the player to decide exactly when to upgrade their equipment. However, the player can not upgrade equipment without crafting stations and the basic crafting stations are easy to make.
The first crafting station the player will need is a workbench, which can make basic items like arrows for a bow and also some basic tool upgrades. Everything that the player crafts in the game stems from the workbench and is vital early on to build a shelter. The interesting thing with the workbench is that it can be made from all manner of different materials, from Cactus to wood found in the jungle. This is a major plus because if the player wants to theme their shelter and their houses around cactus or sand, then the game allows the player to do this. It once again comes from the game allowing the player creative freedom, which is why I have played the game so much and I always enjoy returning to the game.
The controls of the game are extremely smooth and very responsive, especially on keyboard, which is great. I have played the game previously on Xbox 360 with a controller, however I feel that the keyboard controls give the player more options in terms of organising the inventory or switching to hotkeyed items. I also think that the keyboard controls are much more responsive than the console version and think is because the PC version was developed first and then ported to console. I also think that the customisation options for the controls allow for player who perhaps play left handed or southpaw to adapt the controls to their play style. The PC version also allows the player to use a controller if they have a controller that is compatible with their computer. The controls are magnificent, whichever control method the player use and the responsiveness of them is perfect.
The graphics of the game are retro inspired and resemble the 16 bit style of graphics that would be seen on the Sega Genesis or SNES. I think that the graphics style really fits the aesthetic that the developers was trying to evoke. I think that if the graphics style used modern graphics instead of the retro inspired graphics, I think that the game would not have the charming retro look that it has. Even though the graphics are retro in style, there is a lot of detailing on the enemies and the character that the player is controlling. I think that this mix of retro but detailed graphics works extremely well because it evokes the nostalgia of older games but makes the gameplay and the detailing modern.
The difficulty of the game is perfect because at the beginning of the game, the game gives the player time before nightfall to build a basic house before enemies attack. The game also gives the player the option to do what the player wants in the beginning, but some areas of the game like the desert and the corruption are very difficult areas to survive with basic equipment. This means that the player is best to avoid these areas and explore caves to find ores and chests to find better equipment. The freedom allows for the player to take risks if they want to find higher tiered equipment earlier on, which allows for basic early enemies to be defeated easier. The boss fights have quite a lot of variety to them and these fights drop ores and weapons that the player will need for harder bosses later on in the game. There is also 2 difficulty modes, normal and expert with expert increasing the chances of rare drops falling from enemies and also expert exclusive equipment. I think that this game gets the difficulty absolutely perfect because it allows the player to progress to harder bosses and areas when the player feels ready to. The expert difficulty also allows players who are quite experienced in the game and have played a lot of the normal difficulty to play the game with more of a challenge.
The music in Terraria is simply amazing and once again mixes the retro with the modern because some of the synth sounds in the soundtrack are similar to what would be heard on retro computers. The soundtrack does a fantastic job of creating the feeling of exploration and wonder, whilst also commenting on the location and the dangers the player might end up facing. The composition of the soundtrack never goes over the top and is always subtlely in the background, meaning that the player will be able to hear where enemies are coming from. The variety of musical styles and instruments used to depict these different areas of the world is simply fantastic and makes for an extremely well rounded and well thought out soundtrack.
It is safe to say that Terraria is one of my favourite games of all time because every time I play it, I get a different and unique experience. There are not many games that offer this, apart from the obvious choice, Minecraft. However, I think that Terraria has a lot more depth than Minecraft because there is much more to do in Terraria and the retro style graphics are great. Terraria is a game that will talked about for many years to come because it has helped set a standard for the sandbox genre and also shown that it can be done in 2D to perfection.
Copyright ©2017 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use