That does not mean that it is a worse game, rather, Minecraft is the best game to compare it for new players as it’s more popular and quite similar.
I’m here to help you with this choice.
This comparison will focus on each game’s storyline, gameplay and visuals. I will also tell you my occlusive thoughts in the Final Thoughts section. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
The 2 games have very similar storylines, in that neither has any.
Being of the sandbox genre, they prefer to “let you live your own story, your way”.
Minecraft does have some lore tidbits however, but it isn’t really anything.
Terraria’s developers have released some backstory as well.
Neither game has in-game lore however in the forms of quests or NPCs, or even a specific path to follow.
As sandbox games, they inevitably would have similar gameplays. And that’s why we’re comparing them.
I’ll start with the similarities.
The first thing you’ll notice is that at start you start with scarce resources and you’ll have to mine them from your surroundings.
The games are very similar from then on; you build a base while finding better and better materials to craft better and better equipment.
Another similar thing in gameplay is how the night is far more dangerous than the day.
You can also create farms in both games, both for enemies and for resources.
The NPC system relatively similar as well, as each NPC requires a house in both games, and each house has requirements in order to be considered a valid house.
NPCs are used for trading, though trading itself is different between the games.
Even smaller things like the inventory and hotbar are the same.
Crafting works similarly as well, with each item requiring their exact materials from their recipe.
Now to the more important part; their differences.
I said their crafting are similar. That’s because Minecraft requires you to have the materials and also place them in a specific place. Terraria just requires you to have the ingredients and be near the correct crafting station.
That’s another difference by the way. Terraria has many different crafting stations which can get frustrating.
I also mentioned how trading is different.
In Minecraft, in order to trade, you need Emeralds which isn’t common to find. Some of the NPCs though offer emeralds for other resources but at a scarce rate.
In Terraria you trade gold, which is the in-game currency, collected by enemies and by selling to said NPCs.
Another difference is the sheer amount of items. Minecraft has less items with actual functionality but many decorative items.
In fact, combat is actually completely different.
Minecraft has 2 melee weapons, swords and axes. The sword does swiping damage to multiple enemies, and the axe deals more damage to a single enemy.
It also has 2 ranged weapons, the bow and crossbow, which work similarly.
Minecraft also offers some potions as thrown weapons in order to debuff enemies or hurt them directly.
You also have the option of enchanting your weapons granting them more damage, or various effects.
The same goes for your armor.
In terraria there is a huge amount of weapons. They are all split into 4+1 categories: melee, ranged, magic, summoned and thrown. I’m saying +1 for thrown because thrown weapons are worse as the game goes.
Melee weapon doesn’t mean it’s actually just melee, many melee weapons have projectiles, the classifications are for their damage. So, for example, a projectile from a melee weapon is going to deal melee damage.
Damage type is very important as the game goes as you have to choose a class to specialize eventually.
Beside that, armor types help with your specialization later in the game, and they also give you set bonuses (a bonus if you have all the armor pieces of a type).
In terms of content, Terraria has more of it.
Beside the items and armor types, Terraria has a myriad of different enemies, various events you might get every day or night and many, many bosses.
Minecraft doesn’t have as much content, but it gives you lots more freedom to do what you want.
In Terraria there isn’t much to do than follow a walkthrough and go through with it.
In Minecraft, you will certainly get sidetracked from anything you have set as your goal.
Their differences extend to their difficulties. Speaking on their default difficulty level, in Minecraft, if your adequately prepares, few things will give you any real trouble.
In Terraria, being adequately prepared is the basis to give you a fair fighting chance. Their hardest is miles apart, as in Terraria it’s almost impossible not to die in Expert mode, but in Minecraft, you only have to play it safe.
I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s just easier than Terraria, the only thing that can screw you is bad RNG.
A huge difference they have is the map itself.
Minecraft’s map is “limitless”, it’s not infinite, but it has billions of blocks. Terraria’s biggest maps take only about 2-3 minutes to traverse (with mounts).
Not to mention that Terraria is 2D, while Minecraft is 3D.
Finally, another big difference I’d like to point is the hunger system that is utilized by Minecraft, but not from Terraria.
In other words, in Minecraft, you have to be careful not to die from starvation, something that doesn’t exist in Terraria.
Terraria has tons of player customizability, allowing you to set anything you like in your social slots. Social slots won’t grant you the item’s effect, but will be visible. There are also lots of dyes to further enhance it.
Minecraft does have dyes, but they’re mostly used for blocks, flags and carpets. That means that Minecraft leaves more room for construction customization, but on the character end, there’s not much to do. If you really want you can download a free mod that allows your armor to be invisible so your character can be visible.
In terms of graphics, they both have the same pixel-art graphics. Minecraft is more polished though, and can be further enhanced by resource packs, which are supported officially by the main client.
The games are very different as you can see, but in their core, they are the same casual, sandbox adventure games.
Of course, fans of the one will try to bash the other if they think they are wronged. But in the end, I think that both games are awesome, and they both deserve a chance to play them. If you can play both, you definitely should.
But for the one who can afford (or want) only 1:
Minecraft is freer, with an emphasis on creating big interesting contraptions. In fact, it even has a material that encourages many weird machinations.
You are freer to do things, and you can have a lot of fun adventuring outside of the “main quest”. You can build a castle, rearrange the landscape to your will, and the possibilities are endless. Even more so on Creative Mode.
Terraria is more of an adventure style game, where you have an ultimate purpose, and almost everything you do leads to that point.
You will be fighting enemies and bosses, finding better and better weapons, improving your class. Sometimes you’ll get sidetracked looking for the perfect hat to match your attire, or a great companion (with no other bonuses whatsoever).
Of course, each game can do the opposite, I’m just stating their main focus.
What’s for sure is that Terraria didn’t take the successful Minecraft engine and tried to replicate the success, instead, it’s a brand new, fresh experience.
Though I’m pretty sure that everyone who likes 1 of these games will like the other.
That’s it for my comparison. Do you agree with me? Do you have anything to add? Which game do you prefer and why? Leave a comment below.
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