Don’t Starve is a wilderness survival game full of magic, science and monsters. There isn’t much to the story in Don’t Starve, you play as a character named Wilson a scientist who seems to be trapped in a mysterious world by a demon. He must learn to survive in this strange world and its inhabitants if he hopes to escape.
It doesn’t take long to see that the core of the game has been inspired by Minecraft and Terraria. The world seems like a mixture of the exploration in Minecraft mixed with the magic and creatures from Terraria along with its own ingredients to create an interesting and open game.
The world is randomly generated each time you start a new game, this makes each playthrough seem fresh and adds a small element of luck in how the world will turn out. The game throws you straight into the wilderness, when you start a new game you will spawn in a random location on the map and begin your fight for survival. There are no tutorials, guides, tips or hints in the game, you are put straight into the world with nothing and start crafting, hunting, researching, farming and the more obvious surviving.
You are able to create basic crafts at the start of the game with easy to find materials but more advanced items require the creation of machines, these are effectively crafting benches that expand the amount of items you can create. To unlock the item for creation you will need to make sure you have the required materials and thus create a prototype, this unlocks information about the item, what it is, what it can do and any effects. Hunting is a big part of this game or survival in general, while you can eat any items that are edible some of these can cause harm. Although you will get to some stages where you will have to eat that strange thing to prevent yourself from starving, there is a lot of risk but equal amount of reward. Hunting is nearly impossible without the right set of traps and bait to trick your prey, the amount of effort that is put into hunting seems to be wasted with the amount of hunger that the meat fills, it just seems to increase less than it should. Fruit and vegetables become you main source of food, creating farms to grow produce. The enemies are powerful and not to be underestimated, once you realise how easy it is for a frog to kill you the much larger enemies become more terrifying. The better equipped you are the safer it is to fight enemies, or out smarting them. The game does live up to its titles name, you end up starving more often than not, having a nice abundance of food is rare and will diminish fast.
As well as a day and night cycle there is also a weather and season cycle. You can build devices to monitor the weather to be prepared for what the seasons may bring, the weather can be just as dangerous as the numerous enemies in the wilderness. During the night your insanity starts to decrease, oh yeah you have an insanity meter. The less sane you are the more you start to hallucinate, although what is and isn’t a hallucination? Trees just appear out of nowhere and you start to see slight fades of monsters. During the night at the darkest point you see evil glowing eyes just waiting for you fire to die down, you feel the most vulnerable at night as you don’t what it waiting out in the dark abyss. The light is your only friend.
There is no set play style or way to approach the game, the game is about exploration and survival so naturally is a fully open game. The game becomes a form of trial and error, without any help or instructions it is down to you to learn the world and how it works. The first few playthroughs will force you to take bigger risks and learn until you know enough to start playing safely. The more time you put in the more rewarding the game becomes, you start to feel a sense of achievement as you master the survival techniques without any help from the game. The game is made to make you think outside of the box, not taking the same approach that led to your doom in the last playthrough, this is a refreshing change as you can play this game however you desire and the outcome could be surprising.
Surprisingly there is a level up system as well, this isn’t for in game but more of a reward after you die. The amount of experience you receive is based on how many days you survive, the longer you survive the more XP you will get. The reward for leveling up is unlocking new characters to play, their are six characters to unlock each with their own unique abilities. More characters are to be added as the updates are released, but this may prove to be a rumor. I won’t mention the characters and their abilities as it is a reward for surviving the wilderness and makes your efforts worthwhile with some of the characters having very cool abilities.
If you get bored of playing the game on default mode you can adjust how the world is generated, adjusting the amount of enemies, food, resources, day cycle, weather and seasons this adds a bit of spice to game. Personally I feel that two player co-op would have worked really well with a game like this, joining with a friend to survive your randomly generated world and its perils together this won’t make the game any easier but add to the experience. The most fun in this game is experimenting and finding out the consequences with what you do, set fire to a tree and you might just spark a forest fire.
There is a nice variant of music, but when you are fully immersed in this world you sort of drown out the music as it doesn’t impact the core of the game, it’s very ambient. It adds to the sense of survival and how you truly are alone in this mysterious world. There is no dialogue audio this is all done with text on the screen, when your character talks it sounds like an assortment of trumpet noises.
It’s a unique perspective for a survival game, an isometric 3D world with 2D inhabitants, and is constantly being updated with new content monthly. The premise of the game seems simple but as you start to play it becomes more deep and mystical, you start you wonder what may lie further in the wilderness. The more you play the more the game grows on you along with your knowledge on how to survive the wilderness and weather. It’s a refreshing game with a relaxing beginning that progressively increases with difficulty as the days move on. It feels like the world is trying to work against you to make sure you do not succeed in escaping. Prepare to starve. A lot.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.