Don't Starve

Don't Starve: a game with the potential to become the best in the survival genre.

By Admin, Posted 04 Apr 2013

Don’t Starve is a game of survival currently in development at Klei Entertainment. You’ll be attempting to survive while exploring this vast and uncharted world. Not only will you have to defend against monsters and make sure not to starve, but also fight for your own sanity as this wacky world starts eating at your character’s grasp on reality.

Don’t Starve takes some ideas from games like The Binding of Isaac and Minecraft, throws some ideas of its own in the mix with the end result being an incredibly well executed survival game. The game features permanent death, which means death erases your progress, but the game does give you the possibility of bypassing death through a couple of items that can be crafted. There are several playable characters, each with their own abilities. You unlock them by acquiring experience; experience you earn each time you die. The world is randomly generated every time you start a new character, but you do have the option to customize certain aspects of the world to your liking.

Latest update: Doorway to Adventure

First thing you’ll notice when you start playing is the unusual art style. It takes inspiration from Tim Burton, reminding me of Beetlejuice (the animation) and Courage, The Cowardly Dog, especially when it comes to the eccentricity of the creatures that inhabit the world. At the same time, the dark tones of the art style make me feel like I’m inside a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. The world feels like a toy theatre, in that the world is set in a three-dimensional plain, but all the objects in the world are two-dimensional, resembling cardboard cutouts.

You start playing as Wilson, a brilliant, if somewhat naïve scientist, that in his endless thirst for knowledge ends up falling into the trap of Maxwell, a demon, thus being transported to an unknown realm that forces him to rely on his wits to survive. Similar background stories apply to the other playable characters too. In short, Maxwell used the different characters’ hidden desires to trap them in his world. Since the game is still beta, the story isn’t implemented yet, but with the addition of adventure mode, the ground work has begun.

The game is really challenging once you start playing so you should be prepared to die a lot. Despite this, at no point will you ever feel like the game cheated, and with every death you will have learned something new that will help you survive longer and perform better in the next run.

Where’s Smokey the Bear when you need him?

Scavenging for resources and crafting items will help you defend, farm, hunt and even revive yourself. Though at first glance the crafting might seem similar to Terraria and Minecraft, Don't Starve has a better streamlined and neatly categorized crafting system, acting both as a crafting interface and a crafting guide. As such, it's a lot easier to get into the game without needing to spend hours reading a wiki to get the basics down. The interface displays the items you can currently create, but also those that can't be crafted yet, providing you with the ingredients you need to make them. Most items will need to be researched at a science machine, alchemy engine, or shadow manipulator, but once researched you will be able to craft them anywhere.

With a name like Don't Starve, the game had to feature a hunger bar. You will have to always pay attention to your hunger meter, since once it hits zero, you will start losing life and eventually starve to death. Each character has a different hunger level, so the bigger ones will need more food while the smaller ones will need less. But be careful what you eat since some edible objects will give you hallucinations, making you lose sanity, while others will poison you.

The sanity bar functions differently, decreasing at night and increasing during the day. You will also lose sanity if you get attacked or eat certain things. The game does provide you with ways to slow down the rate at which your sanity decays and also ways of recovering your sanity. If you lose too much, your character will start hallucinating creatures and eventually those creatures will become real and hunt you down. Despite this, it can still be rewarding to dabble a bit into insanity since there are some powerful items that can only be crafted by killing those creatures.

We just want a hug!

But there are a lot of other mechanics present in the game such as different seasons, with the day-night cycle’s sections varying in length depending on the season, a naughtiness system, so if you kill too many animals, too fast, a mini-boss will spawn and hunt you down, a weather system that brings rain and snow to the game, 3 unique bosses that require different tactics to defeat and much more.

Overall, despite it still being in beta testing, Don’t Starve feels like a complete game and Klei Entertainment has succeeded in making a unique game, which is really surprising coming from a small studio that has never developed a survival game before. The thing missing from the game is a story, but seeing as the developers are working on one as we speak, I doubt this will an issue for much longer. The game costs 12$ to preorder right now, and not only will you receive beta access, but also an extra copy to share with your friend.

Cirstoiu Alexandru, NoobFeed

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General Information

Don't Starve


Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Klei Entertainment
Developer(s): Klei Entertainment
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Survival
Release Date: 2013-04-23

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