Review by Fenriradramelk
"A more fleshed out, finalized, 2D Minecraft"
Welcome to Terraria. The name itself is kind of hard to pronounce, at least a few youtube video's feature people struggling with it. In the game, you play a character in a randomly generated world where you can do pretty much whatever you want. It is very similar to Minecraft, since you'll be spending a large amount of time digging around tunnels and caves. It also features a much easier crafting system, where as long as you have the materials, and are near whatever required furniture, you can craft it, instead of Minecraft's "make an axe by making what looks like an axe in a 3x3 space".
-- Starting Out --
When you first get into the game, your first task is to make a character. This is all done in the menu's before any gameplay.
There's quite a few options for your Hair style, and you can customize the color on a lot of stuff, like your skin, shirt/vest, undershirt, eyes, and pants.
After that you generate a world, which is as easy as telling it whether you want a small, medium, or large map, giving it a name, and off you go.
The map sizes are not a great indicator of how big the actual world is. With a Small map, you'll still have plenty of digging and exploring to do, and probably suggested for newer players. Large worlds are so big they take about an in-game day to go from one end to the other (which in real time is around 5 to 10 minutes). Not only that, but large worlds also have a much higher ceiling of the world, and a much deeper bottom of the world.
Oh, and when all is said and done and you're actually playing, it plops you in a random spot on the surface, with an NPC Guide dude nearby, then you're on your own.
The only bad parts so far are that any/all of your color choices and customization won't matter as soon as you make some armor. Your slick black hair gets under a helmet, and you won't know you have hair. Or your nice nearly-tuxedo suit gets masked by some copper armor as soon as you put it on.
Outside of that is the load times, actually generating a map takes a minute or two (the bigger it is, the longer it takes). Not only that, but each time you load up a game, it sits you through some more loading (actually loading a large world will take a good system around 30seconds to 1 minute).
-- Gameplay --
The gameplay is, in my opinion, much deeper than minecraft. You might be wondering how that's possible in a 2D game, but just listen. Because Terraria is a sandbox style game, a lot of the gameplay comes down to exploring, crafting, and building.
On the exploration part, even on a small world, there is a TON of caves to find. Each map also has an 'underworld' which is comparable to hell, lava is everywhere and the enemies can get pretty tough. There's an Underground Jungle, which has a different feel to it than your average cave system, and a Dungeon which opens up after you defeat a boss. Heck, there's even floating islands that, if you're feeling really bold, you can try and fly to (or build a bridge to).
Naturally there are some treasure chests you stumble into when exploring, sometimes you'll get an accessory that can't be crafted (it can only be found) that changes everything. One of them that did this for me was the Cloud in a Bottle, which allows you to do a double jump, but there are a bunch of accessories.
The crafting aspect of the game is much more streamlined than Minecraft's crafting. All you need is the materials, really, and you select what you want to make from a list. Some items require tools like a furnace, or a crafting table, but you only need to be standing near it to open up those extra crafted items in the list.
The building aspect is really the only thing lacking, compared to Minecraft. The more technical reason is because there's only so much you can do in 2D space. Variety of building materials is plentiful, but you don't really need to use more than wood or stone to build your houses.
Which brings me to the next part about building, it actually serves a purpose for you beyond just being a shelter. Building additional houses will let NPC's move in to the neighborhood. More NPC's basically means you can buy more stuff from them, but by the time you hit end-game, you won't need any of their wares. Nevertheless, having the option to build a small town with NPC's is better than what you'd get in Minecraft (a bunch of empty buildings).
Beyond the main 3 aspects, there's the combat, which is pretty simple. You'll only be cursing at the game for having Zombies with so much health (even with the best sword, Zombies still take 3 hits to kill). There's other weapons to attack with, like a bow and arrow, some guns, boomerangs, flails, and a couple others I missed, but you'll probably stick with what you know best - your sword.
There's the option of having some magic based attacks, which is pretty nice, but I almost never have enough Mana because I use Rocket Boots to fly around
When you kill an enemy, usually you just get some coins to spend at the NPC's. Sometimes they drop an actual item, Zombies can drop Shackles, for instance, which increase your defense by 1. Some really good things can come from enemy drops, ranging from equippable armors and accessories, to crafting materials.
-- Graphics --
Ok, I know, it's 2D. That might drop it's score a notch or two if you only play games with exhaustive 3D graphics.
The sprites are done well and animate fluidly, the different tiles you find when digging and different houses you make can all have different looks to them depending on what you use to build them. I'm personally trying to build my house entirely out of Gold Brick!
The only real annoyance is when it comes to your inventory. Some of the blocks look so similar, like Mud and Ash, that it's hard to tell the difference when you have 500 of each sitting in your bags. This can extend to actually mining, sometimes when some Iron is at the edge of your light radius, you might not even realize it's iron until you dig closer to it, it kind of looks like stone.
-- Music/Sound --
This also drops it down a notch for me. The music variety is non-existent, when it's daylight out, one track plays over and over, when it's night, a different one plays. When you're over corruption, or deep underground, a third track plays. It would be nice if the music were more varied, so we don't get the 1 track stuck in our heads!
Sound FX, like the music, lacks variety. For anything that would use a sound effect (like hitting a zombie), there is only 1 sound effect. I think the only exception is when the player takes damage, which has like 2 or maybe 3 sound effects.
-- Multiplayer --
I haven't played myself, but I have seen a few videos with it. Since I haven't played multiplayer, I'll leave my comments out and allow other reviewers to hit that note.
+ Enough variety where it matters
+ Easy crafting system
+ Huge worlds to explore, even with the smallest world size.
+ Build your own town, complete with NPC's
- Enemies have too much HP, even the lowly Zombie takes a few hits with the best sword.
- Sometimes the huge worlds only add tedium when searching for something specific (floating islands, underground jungle)
- Lack of variety when it comes to music & sound.
Definitely worth the $9.99 on Steam. Even if you're not a fan of sandbox games like Minecraft, Terraria offers a much more finalized product for you to play around in, instead of Minecraft, which has been in beta for over a year.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 05/24/11
Game Release: Terraria (US, 05/16/11)
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