Slimes, Demons and Cthulhu. A Terraria Review.

Terraria logoTerraria is an odd creation. On one hand it has a few RPG elements typical to Action RPGs. You pick up potions, use a wide selection of weapons and spells and there are plenty of chests with treasure in seemingly random places. On other other, it feels a lot like Minecraft. You can build impressive creations from pretty much any material you obtain. Be it, construct a mountain range on flatland, a dark fortress, or a simple stone house, with a chimney. Since you can randomly generate a map each play through will feel different, and you can use characters from previous games… so in the end, the question is, what is Terraria?

[For our guide to Terraria click here]

When I think of RPGs I think of a campaign, where a character has to accomplish some incredible task. A quest of sorts where you try to find a lost relic or defeat a great foe. In Terraria you do not have that, per se. There are bosses which you will have to face when you reach certain benchmarks (such as, open a specific chest type, or gather enough health), but you are never tied down to going from quest giver to quest giver and forced to gather or kill a certain number of creatures or items. Terraria is as much a sandbox as a sandbox can get. You can do whatever you like in it, and just like in Minecraft the choices of what you can do are only limited by your own imagination.
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Rarely does a simple fight against a Vulture look so epic. Although the poor thing did not stand any chance it was a rather interesting scene. And in case you are wondering, yes, this is a desert, and no I am not a demon. That's just my Necro Armor (and Axe of the Night)

 What can you do for example? I myself went the obvious path and decided to obtain the best possible gear and build myself a Dark Tower for my “Mage”. No, there are no classes or skills, but there is a wide enough choice of different weapons and spells that you can pretend to be a class. My aim was gathering all the possible spells, while also making my character a classy outfit. In order to survive you need health which is increased with the use of health crystals, which are only found underground. Mana is increased by creating Mana Crystals, from falling stars (they look like little Mario Stars). Spells themselves I had to find through a lot of scavenging underground and on “Sky Islands”. Weapons and armour? That’s the tough part. There are tiers of each armour and weapon/tool type and you often progress through them tier by tier. Sooner or later, in order to dig through “Ebonstone” (think of it as super-hard corrupted stone) you will have to farm “Bosses”. Most Bosses either appear at random or can be summoned (except for Skeletron who only appears once). These Include the Eye of Cthulhu, the Eater of Worlds, the King Slime, Pinky and Skeletron. All of these bosses drop something unique and usable. For example the basic tool to dig through afore mentioned Ebonstone is the Nightmare Pick. In order to make that you need Demonite Ore (which the Eye of Cthulhu drops) and Dark Scales (dropped only from the Eater of Worlds). Demonite Ore can be found deep underground, but if you can summon bosses for a bigger bulk order, why bother?

 

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When visiting hell for the first time note not only the big pools of lava, but also the numerous denizens that will gladly push you into it.

 That is a bit of a problem with Terraria. The very same thing that did not bring about any appeal in me for Minecraft. Why bother? You can get the best gear, defeat all the bosses, and then perhaps go online and show off your skills and treasure to other players. I do not find that much appeal in that however. What did tickle my enjoyment was playing it with my friends. Organising expeditions into Hell or the Sky Island, or making jokes about each others silly character brought about a lot of laughs. Building impressive houses and then arguing whose is better is also fun. The alternative of course is joining up a Terrarria server and making a name for yourself there. There are RP (Role Play) servers which you could join to try something different. You can also export your maps and send them to other people, when you want to show off a dungeon you created or your house. Alone you can bare Terraria only for so long, or I could at least. When you have nobody to tell how funny it was when you fell down your massive mineshaft, having forgotten to place ladders and then miracously fell in a pool of water it is just that much satisfaction lost
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It should be noted, that the game is fun and very simple! NPCs and enemies do not have any advanced AI, and with the use of the Terraria Wiki it is easy to discover how to make specific items, or how to bring about a specific boss to appear. Myself being the “Mage” I was overly zealous to gather all the needed materials to brew the most powerful or useful potions. The most basic materials are easy to find, such as creating basic healing potions, you only need a mushroom and “Daybloom” both of which grow on the surface. But, for example to make more powerful healing potions you need to go deep underground and obtain glowing mushrooms. Since everything is in 2D digging and building is hugely simplified. It is fascinating to go as deep as you can the first time, especially with a group of friends. At the same time, the game is balanced. You are well aware of the moments when you can proceed further into an area, and when it is unwise. All too often though, it is possible to cheat. When I reached the Underworld (a sort of “Hell”) I did not fight the hordes of demons, imps and other dangerous creatures. I built a tunnel, using my grappling hook to travel around it. With the tunnel in place I could visit the Underworld and explore it at will, without the interference of the numerous dangerous creatures constantly trying to eat me. 

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The marvel of "creating" Obsidian. A stone which rarely comes about naturaly and as seen here needs water and lava combined. Although a bit of a bother to obtain without it you will not be able to create the most powerful equipment!

  Aside from the gameplay factor, the game is very pleasant to the eye, very “Fairy-like”. Nothing like the darker Fantasy setting of Oblivion or equivalent. The music is fine, although I am used to instrumental music the Terraria style “electronic” sound was good to listen to, and often fitted the area or event you ended up in (you can even get a soundtrack here). Light is an important factor in Terraria, and as you progress underground, away from any light sources, everything will turn pitch black. In turn, certain types of plants, lava and ores will produce light, leading you to some open cavern or creature (in some cases). Visual effects of spells, attacks and (later on) special armour/suit types add that special something when you play.

In summary, should you get yourself Terraria? The quick answer is “Yes”. But to expand, the game is fun, but I enjoyed it way more when I had somebody else to play it with. Do not listen to people who say Terraria is a Minecraft clone. There are similarities but Terraria holds more content overall. You do not just focus on killing creatures, or building a massive house. You can set yourself a goal to obtain a certain armour set, or a combination of spells and weapons. It might feel terribly grindy, when you have to collect a massive amount of ore to make a full set of armour, especially when at a “lower level”. Travel is much more simple though, and more fun in the 2D perspective. When you obtain the right items you can run off into the distance leaving dust clouds behind you, or with a Grappling hook pretend to be Tarzan over flaming lava pools. Whatever your decision, Terraria is open for your suggestions.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

Rating:7/10
Pros:Simple!
Fun!
You can't go any more "sandbox" than this.
Cons:Can get boring quickly.
Best with friends.
Game producer's website:RE-Logic
Official website:Terraria Website
Game available at:

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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