By bbsbuzz - Wed Jun 01, 10:20 am
You feel an evil presence watching you.” The warning message flashes on the bottom of the screen while you’re busy chopping down trees in the forest. Night has fallen over the land of Terraria, a time for evil monsters to wake from their daylight slumber and assert their dominance. You need shelter if you’re going to survive their deadly onslaught, but your time has run out. “The Eye of Cthulhu has awoken!” A roar from the darkness sends a chill down your spine. You equip your sword, ready your healing potions, and dig in for a fierce battle while a full moon gazes down. This colorful 2D adventure keeps you on guard by sending demons and monsters to kill you when you least expect it. You’re never safe in Terraria. Surprises abound, both nefarious and empowering. In the dead of night, you may find your home invaded by a goblin army. But on the next night, you may find a
Your adventure begins in a colorful land populated by towering trees, glistening lakes, and flowering pastures as far as the eye can see. After creating a character and choosing which size randomly generated world you want to start in (small, medium, or large), you’re thrust into the game with nary a hint to help you understand what you’re supposed to do. A guide wanders nearby, and he doles out advice when you click on him, but it’s a poor way of introducing you to the basics. His tips aren’t descriptive enough to get you started, and persistent enemy slimes have a knack for distracting you while he’s dishing out his vague advice. Terraria is a game about discovery and exploration, and the thrill of happening upon something completely unexpected is a huge part of the draw, but this is still a poor tutorial. You’re better off glancing at online guides to get your bearings in the early going than blindly trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do.
With a little research or experimentation, you figure out that your first order of business is to build a shelter. You begin the game with a copper pickaxe and axe, and you use these to chop down trees and gather resources. A clever crafting system gives you the power to construct almost anything you might need on your journey. All you need to do is enter your inventory screen, and every item you can currently create is listed in a sidebar. Once you cut down a few trees, you can build a workbench, and from there a world of possibilities opens up. A workbench lets you build more-complex items, such as a hammer and sword, and you use these items to venture out into the dangerous unknown. Eventually, you can craft guns, explosives, and even magical items, but you have to put in a lot of work to get to that level. In the early going, your focus is to find materials to construct basic weapons and armor. Your wooden sword works well enough against docile slimes, but if you want to take on ruthless skeletons, you should forge a weapon made of gold.
Terraria is an open-ended game that never sets clear goals. You decide how you want to play, and there’s always a new territory for intrepid explorers to venture off to. The controls handle like a traditional platformer, allowing you to easily jump around the expansive environments. Melee weapons have a wide range, so you don’t have to be precise with your swinging, and you aim your long-range attacks with your mouse for quick shots. But you’re not going to make much progress if you just hang out on the surface. The worlds are gigantic (even the small maps), and most of that space is underground. That’s where the most valuable minerals are located, and also the scariest monsters. You use your pickaxe to dig through underground mines, gather resources to forge better equipment, and then use your new tools to get deeper with each visit. It’s a tantalizing reward system that continually pushes you along to see what else you can find. Small pleasures carry you through much of this adventure. You may find yourself chipping away at useless rock and dirt for minutes at a time, desperate to find something of value. And then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a sparkle amid the gloom and point your pickaxe in that direction. A small cache of silver awaits. It may not sound like much, but you need it to build the next set of tools, and the feeling of joy when you find such a treasure is hard to contain.