Terraria: console review

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  • Format: 360 (version reviewed), PS3
  • Unleashed: Out Now (360 worldwide, PS3 in NA), TBA (PS3 in PAL regions)
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Developer: Re-Logic
  • Players: 1-4 (offline), 1-8 (online)
  • Site: http://www.terraria.org/

Terarria has been described as the 2D Minecraft. This is accurate and for those of you who like Minecraft, to save you time, we’ll say that if you enjoy it but want an experience which is a little bit more linear and streamlined, then Terarria is for you. Review done!

For those that don’t play Minecraft, let’s take a step back from the end of the review and break down Terarria for you. You exist in a 2D open world, which is populated by all sorts of wee beasties. You can customise the look of your character, which is a funny process as with some of the parameters you are literally changing 2-3 pixels due to the 8-bit art style. Armed, initially, with an axe and pickaxe you’ll be able to dig up land and cut up trees. You also enter the game with the ability to defend yourself with a simple copper sword. There are no real objectives as the game is completely open world; however it does push you in directions, not least through the achievements/trophies on offer.

The developers want you to explore, not just the surface, but up high and down low. You can build steps and platforms, and dig deep into the ground. As you do so, you collect more wood, copper, stone and other materials which can all be used to construct new weapons, potions and buildings. There are a range of computer controlled characters to meet along your journey and you can build houses for them. Each character has their own attributes and can assist or sell you different types of resources to help you with your journey.

As with Minecraft, the day and night cycle requires your attention. At night zombies and other nasty creatures will appear and threaten you. Taking safe refuge inside your house or a safe shelter is a must if you are to survive the night. This means that more often than not, you will use the daytime to prepare for the night time. If there is a purpose to this type of game it’s to firstly survive, explore and then develop yourself as much as you can to be able to experience the full richness of the world in which you inhabit. Similar to life itself then!

The art style is 8 bit, but the visuals are engaging, colourful (during daytime) and crisp. Character design is inventive and the developers have allowed their imaginations to run wild with the types of enemies and animals you will encounter. There is no common theme; they are strange, exotic and totally random in style, whilst referencing a wide range of other genres as a tip of the hat to seasoned gamers.

A game like Terarria is also only as good as its user interface and controls. On PC you can get away with more complexity and confusion, but on a console the controls are distilled so that they work with the limitations presented by a traditional controller. We found that they work very well in-game. You control both your character and a cursor for targeting at the same time (left stick for character and right for your cursor). By clicking in the right stick you can switch the cursor between being coupled to your character and moving in relation to him (or her), or you can de-couple it and make it semi-independent (it will still only go so far in any direction away from your character). Moving through menus is simple and fast. and there are plenty of help and tutorial scripts to go through if you become stumped.

Terarria is a relaxing and gentle game. It’s not completely free of tension or drama – after all there are monsters in it, and you can die. On the higher levels of difficulty those deaths really do hurt you, whereas on easier levels of difficulty you can just continue where you left off. However, there is no rushing in this game, and if you take your time to prepare well and take refuge in safe areas at night, then you can travel through the world without too much harm coming your way.

The music is lovely and the art style really draws you in. The controls work very well and with online play (with full player versus player or without) and local play there are a good number of options to make your experience a social one. Overall Terarria is a delight to play, even for those who could never get into Minecraft. Whilst 2D might be perceived as a watered down experience it is, ultimately, for some at least an experience which is fun. Less of an ordeal and more of a game.

critical score 8

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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands. He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner CriticalGamer.co.uk. He enjoys FPS, Third person 'free world', narrative driven and portable gaming. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to CriticalGamer.co.uk.

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