Terraria is a strange game. It’s filled with monsters to kill, loot to grab and things to craft; it’s kind of like 2D Minecraft, but with more monsters, more loot and more craftable stuff. I really like it but it’s also incredibly hard to get into. I’ve tried to play it with some friends and they either know way more than me, wanting to rush ahead, or they aren’t inclined to wait out the slow grind that is Terraria’s learning curve. It’s one of those games where you can pootle along at your own pace and not really get anywhere or if you know how to then you can charge right into it and get really far really quickly, again, much like Minecraft. Whilst the basic concept of this game is intriguing at first it soon washes away; often feeling as if all that’s left is a grind to get materials and loot which is heavily dependent on luck and your ability to absorb entire wikis into your mind.
First off, the art style of Terraria is pretty basic but cool. You’re not going to suddenly be thinking “Holy shit. Is this real?” although, if the lack of a whole dimension wasn’t enough to convince you otherwise then the pixel artishness probably won’t either. The trend with games now so often seems to be for them to progressively develop better and more immersive graphics which works to the benefit of some but Terraria’s minimalistic aesthetic feels just right. In fact Terraria’s style is one of the reasons it’s so good. Everything in the game looks good, unique even. It’s vibrant and fresh which is nice. Unfortunately good looks alone do not maketh the game.
Terraria’s downfall is unfortunately the array of shite that it has to offer you. Whereas Minecraft offers simplicity, with the opportunity for true complexity through applied thought and ingenuity, Terraria has always seemed to me to be a game best played with an encyclopaedia-like knowledge of the game and what to do. There are simply too many items for anyone to know what they are and what’s going on unless they knew prior to getting them. Otherwise, it will end with you not actually playing the game, you’ll spend it on Google searching for things like what to do with the random drop that some random monster gave you, why you can’t mine this thing that you don’t even know the name of and how on Earth do you get a gun as you’ve totally seen them in the trailer. This type of game simply put isn’t very approachable. It’s great that there are plenty of forums and guides to help you along your merry way but once you’ve bought a game it’s not fun to spend hours trying to figure out how to play it. With friends it’s slightly different. You can cover more ground to get stuff done quicker and you can share the fun experiences but of course that can be said with anything. That’s just logic at work and nothing at all to do with the game.
When you do figure out what you’re doing however there are some interesting quirks to the game that keep it interesting. The staggering amount of loot, whilst daunting at first, provides diversity when approaching situations within the game. Different types of weaponry and armour can give you certain abilities which can change the gameplay dynamic. The sheer amount of different enemies and environments too makes for a long playtime. It keeps the game fresh and exciting for longer which allows you to farm more stuff to craft into… well… even more stuff really, again, kind of like Minecraft. Assuming you haven’t already quit that is.