A game that is frequently compared to Minecraft, Don’t Starve is an action-adventure survival game with a mix of roguelike. The game was released in 2013 and received numerous updates since then.
Besides Don’t Starve, this review will cover Don’t Starve Together, i.e. its multiplayer version.
Is the game really worth it, or is it just another Minecraft clone?
This review will be split into storyline, gameplay, visuals, and finally, the personal thoughts section. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
The storyline is quite enigmatic at best and is fully accessed by finding a specific gate in the overworld.
Through that, you will play the game’s campaign mode, which has 5 stages, each with different requirements to fulfill.
By playing and finishing it, you find out what this world is, who the antagonist is, and why you are there, but not much else.
Being a survival game, your main goal is to survive. But that is harder than it sounds.
I will talk about the Reign of Giants version in this review, not Shipwrecked, as it more closely resembles the original game. I might add the other expansions at some point of course.
Essentially, (almost) everything in this game is hostile. Day or night, autumn or winter or spring or summer, it doesn’t matter.
The most hostile thing is Charlie. Charlie is basically the antagonist’s right hand (and the main antagonist in the multiplayer version).
Her only purpose in-game is to instakill you in the night. If the night comes and you don’t have a valid light source nearby, you will die from Charlie.
Generally, your first goal should be to forage grass tufts and twigs in order to build your first tools.
Then, using an axe, you cut some trees to have wood for a fire at night.
Generally, though, you will want to explore and fill out your map, foraging while you do.
In your base, using gold that you must find, as well as some other items, whether base or refined, you will build basic structures that allow you to discover newer, more advanced recipes for newer, more advanced weapons, tools, and miscellaneous things.
These are the extreme basics. The game gets far more complicated. Let’s start with survival.
Having a base helps nothing with surviving (other than being able to have better equipment). Any hostile mob can just waltz in your base and kill you. So you have to be very, very careful.
Besides not getting killed by mobs, you also have to sustain your hunger and sanity.
Hunger is pretty straightforward. With an empty stomach, you lose health. Most basic foods don’t fill you up that much, but you’ll build a crock pot, and through experience (and by experience I mean the Don’t Starve wiki), you’ll find the best recipes.
Food goes rotten after a while of not being eaten, but you can preserve it longer if you store it in a freezer.
You can also create various farms of most edible things in order to have a constant form of food and not need to scavenge the already limited resources.
Sanity is something that you will usually want high. As it lowers, you start hearing and seeing things and shadows, the lower it gets, the more corporeal they become.
After a point, the shadow creatures will be able to hurt you, and you hurt them.
While your goal is to survive, a lot of times you will need to kill them as they give you an item that is essential to start building magic items and weapons.
The sanity is heightened or lowered by various acts within the game. Most of them make sense in the real world.
For example, picking flowers and sleeping well raises sanity while digging graves and staying up at night lowers it. There are many things that you will have to learn.
Every character’s sanity is a bit different, as some characters are scared more or less easy, and others can raise sanity using unconventional ways.
Now about the seasons. The game always starts in autumn, which is by far the easiest season. It then cycles to winter -> spring -> summer -> autumn until you die.
The rule is that seasons last a specific amount of time depending on your expansion.
Each season (besides autumn, I guess) has something for which you must prepare, lest you die in a few days into the season.
Winter is extremely cold and each night lasts way longer. You must have prepared a lot of heat sources for when traveling (except if you want to spend the whole season by your campfire), and warm clothes. Not preparing correctly will result in death by frostbite.
During the winter, food is preserved much longer, but farms never grow anything.
Spring is full of rains and thunders, and, not only you must build a lightning rod, you must also build umbrellas and other clothes to keep you dry.
Becoming wet is mostly just a nuisance, but it could become deadly as you could freeze.
Of course, due to constant rain, sanity drops rapidly during the spring.
Summer is practically hell on earth. The only good thing is how long days are.
In summer, you must do the opposite of winter. You must find a way to stay cool (you even have endothermic fires instead of the usual fire pit). Failing to do so will result in death by overheating.
Not only that, but food spoils much faster. At least farms grow food much faster as well.
Every season has its own seasonal giant too. They are hostile mobs, but super tanky and very hard to beat, and extremely dangerous. Killing one grant you unique items.
The map generally has a lot of different areas, each with its own danger and things to look out for.
The game is definitely not beginner-friendly, and it will take you a lot of attempts to find out what you must do and why.
Each character has very unique strengths and weaknesses that you must take into account while playing.
The most frustrating thing by far is that death is permanent (except in very rare cases). You can be trying for hours and maybe days, only to lose all progress because you died while not paying attention. Then you must repeat the whole process from the start, which becomes tedious fast.
Fortunately, that is not the case for multiplayer, as there is a (relatively easy to build) item that revives your fallen friend at the cost of Max HP (which can also be fixed).
The combat is very weird. If you have a melee weapon, you can left-click something to automatically attack it once. Repeat until one of you dies.
The problem is that, as you cannot move when attacking, and since the mobs try to attack as well, you must do quite a lot of kiting to battle properly.
Combine this with the fact that every mob has a different attack animation and wind-up time, and you have the recipe for hard.
All in all, the game is pretty complicated from the get-go, and permanent death doesn’t make it much more pleasant than it already is.
However, the game counts score based on the number of days you survived, so I can see why they did it.
The game’s graphics are very cartoonish. That’s not bad at all, it actually helps you have lots of fun while exploring and interacting. The game is actually praised for its graphics.
The cartoonish graphics make the game playable on the worst of PCs, without any fps problem, which further adds to the game’s tally.
The SFX are also nothing short of amazing. Besides the SFX for the game and mobs (which are awesome), every character has a witty line related to their personality when you try to right-click something.
The reason I’m saying this is because when they do, the make a sound effect, and each character has his own specific organ from which the sounds come from.
So the game is frequently compared with Minecraft. The game’s creators have stated that Don’t Starve was heavily inspired by Mojang’s colossus.
But the 2 games are nothing alike. Don’t Starve is far more complicated than Minecraft will ever be.
Sure, you can build a lot of unbelievable contraptions in Minecraft, but the basis is building, you use your brain for the rest.
In Don’t Starve, you must memorize tons of things and make lots of mental notes for every phase of the game.
Minecraft gives you the freedom to do what you want, while Don’t Starve expects you to survive.
While it boils down to personal preference, there is a reason why Minecraft is more popular (besides being more kid-friendly).
General Rating: 6.9
That’s it for my review. Di you play Don’t Starve? Do you prefer it more than Minecraft. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment on the comments section down below.Follow @GamerWelfare
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