Guest Post: Terraria Review

  • Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
  • Developer: Re-Logic
  • Publisher:  505 Games
  • Release Date: March 27, 2013
  • Price: $14.99
  • Official: Terraria

“Sandbox fun”

Tyler Murphy is the writer and editor over at The Delver. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Terraria is one of my favorite games of all time. When it originally launched on PC back in May of 2011, a few friends and I managed to put in a solid fifty hours played into the game’s first week. Since then, I’ve played and replayed the game for a registered 140 hours on Steam. With the recent Xbox Live Arcade release of the game (it’s also out now on PSN), I’ve decided to play the game yet again.

In case you were living under a rock or, like a few of my friends, are a strictly console-only gamer, Terraria is an indie action-platformer sandbox game. It’s difficult to put the game in one specific genre, as it plays like a Metroid/Castlevania and Minecraft hybrid. You fight, jump, and mine your way through a vibrant 2D world filled with great Super Nintendo era graphics.

The goal of Terraria is similar to RPGs where your primary reason to play is finding or crafting newer, better, and ultimately cooler items. Like its cousin Minecraft, the game has a strong focus on resource gathering (Copper, Iron, Gold, gems, wood, etc.) and crafting. The randomly generated worlds keep new games fresh, since finding the resources you need always takes trial and error exploration.

When the resource gathering is done, Terraria also has a ton of options for building structures. With the right criteria met, these structures can attract various NPC merchants. Beyond the combat, the crafting system also has a lot of depth with various furniture and furnishings to decorate your structures. As a great sandbox game, Terraria allows you to completely rebuild an entire world to fulfill your greatest wishes and dreams.

As a console title, the game works fairly well. When it comes to building structures or even just placing torches while you explore a dungeon, cave, or hell, it is best to have an accurate means of control. On PC with a mouse, this is a fairly simple procedure, but with an Xbox 360 controller, it’s a slightly more daunting task. Terraria features two separate control methods which can be switched instantly with a click in of the right joystick.

The first is a ‘smart control’ that attempts to guess which blocks you want to target based on the direction you hold the right joystick. It works fairly well for quickly digging tunnels with your pick, since it defaults to three blocks wide (which is the height of your character when building vertical tunnels and one extra block wide when building horizontal ones). However, it’s nearly useless when it comes to placing objects (like torches, platforms, and building blocks).

The second option is a ‘precision control’ which mimics what you might have found using a mouse but slower. For most of the game, this has been my preferred method, as its the clear winner for placing anything and very functional for digging. If it were quicker, I might prefer it even to the PC’s mouse controls since the precision control automatically limits you from attempting to place a block outside of your character’s reach. This is particularly useful when building platforms up a vertical shaft because it guarantees you will always place the platforms at the maximum jumping distance.

Overall, the controls do not limit or hamper Terraria’s console debut in any significant way. There are some definite sacrifices when compared to using a mouse, but nothing that a few minutes can’t teach you to get over.

Other than the control difference, there isn’t a lot of difference between the console version of Terraria and its original PC release. There is some additional content, but most of it is sprite color swaps (same look, but different color) with better stats. There’s only one additional boss and he is intended to be the absolute final boss of the game. Also of note, the game only allows up to eight players online at a time, but does feature local four player co-op if you have a television large enough to keep the game playable. The PC version allowed for as many players as a server could handle with a cap of 255.

Terraria is a must own and must play title that I cannot recommend more. The console version is a fantastic port. Few games are as addicting, fun, or as deep as Terraria. The game does a great job of blending old school action combat and platforming with simple RPG progression, that does everything it can to promote exploration and creativity. The game is out now on Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade for around fifteen dollars.

The Rundown

 

  • + Fun combat with a huge variety of enemies.
  • + Crafting and building offer a deep non-combat experience.
  • + Great multiplayer with cooperative building and fighting.
  • – Game is really daunting for beginners.
  • – Controls are only okay.

Final Score

9.0/10

“Incredible”

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