Developer: Engine Software
Publisher: 505 Games
Review Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Review Copy Provided By: 505 Games
Release Date: March 27, 2013
Terraria is a side scrolling, 8-bit style, endless exploration game that has finally made its way to Xbox LIVE Arcade via port from PC. As much as I don’t wish to associate the two for suggesting Terraria lacks creativity, the game is essentially a 2D version of Minecraft, with a splash more adventure thrown in for good measure.
That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun, or creative, as I mentioned above. It’s alright in terms of fun, not unlike Minecraft. However, where Minecraft excels so brilliantly (i.e. making exploration fun), Terraria seem to fall just short.
Let me run you through a typical play through of Terraria. Go to the extreme left or right of the map to try and get to a dungeon, or explore down towards the underworld for resources and various items.
If you choose to try and find a dungeon, then you have only so much time before you need to craft a building to avoid the monsters that come out at nighttime. If you choose to go down towards the underworld, building a domicile isn’t necessarily a problem (but repetitiveness is).
And repetitiveness seemed to be the theme throughout my time with Terraria.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Christian, Minecraft is repetitive. What about that?” Well, Minecraft again, is done solidly. Terraria on the other hand, has too many small flaws that distract away from the experience of playing to give the game that “it” factor.
For instance, the nighttime comes too quickly. Every time I went to explore to try and find my way to a dungeon, it seemed as if I’d run for about five minutes, and I’d be forced to stop and build a domicile to protect me from monsters. Sure, I could try and fight them, but the ratio of health to weapon strength was ridiculous and I’d get killed before making any sort of dent in a monster’s health.
Another rather annoying thing was how tedious, boring and repetitive the digging was. In Minecraft, it was fun to dig and look for minerals to build things with. For veterans of Minecraft that wish to try and play Terraria, I’m sure this wouldn’t be much of a problem. For the average gamer though, it was taxing.
In Terraria, and I say this with no hyperbole whatsoever, digging took soooooooo long. In a game that’s sole point is digging and exploration, that’s a problem. Any and all worthwhile materials that you would want to build a sweet mansion or fortress are far underground, and when I say far I mean far. You better be prepared to spend literally hours digging around in the dark underground looking for materials. You better hope you don’t die in the middle of a particularly long dig either, as there is no respawning back where you were. If you die, you get shot back up to the surface to your nearest safe point.
I mean, in theory, I guess you could stop every so often while you’re digging and build safe houses. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
I don’t know quite what to think of Terraria. I mean, it has fun gameplay, and it achieves just what it sets out to do. It’s an open world style, randomly generated exploration game. You can explore in pretty much all directions, you can essentially build whatever kind of house comes to mind. You can even explore a dungeon.
Yet, the game doesn’t quite achieve that same level of fun and solidarity as Minecraft. I found myself too distracted by multiple supporting flaws to actually enjoy myself, and it wasn’t long before I had no desire to play anymore.
Overall, Terraria rated pretty much right in the middle in terms of, well, everything. If you come from a solid background in Minecraft, and have gotten bored with it as of late, Terraria might just be perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for a fun exploration game to get a taste of the genre, you might want to pass this one up until you become better acquainted with what you can expect.