Terraria is often described as a 2D Minecraft. However, the implication of this description is that Terraria is ‘ripping Minecraft off’, which is completely unfair. It’s more like they’re in the same genre – a genre that was, admittedly, invented by Notch when he created Minecraft. Terraria has taken it in another direction and whilst there are comparisons to Mojang’s ongoing baby, it’s a whole other game. Once you’ve discovered its depths, you’ll see that any comments saying it’s a rip-off are entirely unfounded.
As in Minecraft, you start in a randomly generated map that’s full of caves and caverns and monsters that want to introduce you to the grim reaper. It’s 2D and a side-scroller, though, dynamically lit and with an ungodly amount of content. I’ve played a good 6 hours so far (on two seperate computers) and have barely even scratched the surface.[drop]In the gameplay video below you’ll see the giant glowing mushrooms I found underground as well as the hornet I bumped into and subsequently ran away from when I discovered that it had 100 health and I was doing 3 damage per hit with my bow and only 1 with my sword. After I a bit of wiki-ing I discovered that hornets only spawn in underground dungeons and that I need considerably better equipment to have any hope of tackling the area.
Further wiki-ing continued to amaze me at the wealth of content on offer here. There is a faux-levelling system in place that is actually not really a levelling system so much as an equipment level system. As mentioned above, the underground jungle biome (which occurs underground, obviously) will be extremely difficult to tackle if you have inferior weaponry. Whilst there’s nothing there to physically stop you from entering the area with under-powered weapons, you’ll probably find that you’ll be instantly murdered by monsters far too powerful for your wooden sword and bow.
This holds true almost everywhere, the only exception (that I’m aware of) being the dungeons, which are very high ‘level’ buildings that you can only enter after killing a boss called Skeletron. If you do try to enter, you’ll be instantly killed. Dying isn’t actually too much of a problem in Terraria compared to, say, Minecraft. You’ll lose half of the money coins you have on your person, which compared to the lose-all-items-and-have-to-rush-back nature of a death in Minecraft is really quite tame. You can still reclaim the coins your drop by returning to the scene of your death, of course. This does actually make sense, as it’s considerably more difficult to replace lost items in Terraria than it is in Minecraft.
A lot of these items are acquired in a similar way to Minecraft – you get wood from trees, mine some ores and you can make yourself a sword, or a better pickaxe, or anything else you desire (provided you have the materials). These items neither degrade nor get lost on death, so once you’ve crafted something, you get to keep it. Craft a better pick? Stick the old one in a chest, maybe you can give it away. Or sell it to the merchant if/when you have him move in. You can also find special items in chests that are found in various places, such as caves and dungeons. These items can be weapons, armour or accessories (the latter two of which can be equipped for bonuses such as more defence, speed, higher jumps, etc) and are often considerably more powerful than the craftable weapons.[drop2]There are NPCs in the game. The merchant is an example – he moves in once you have 50 silver coins on your person and you’ve prepared a room for him. Another is the Guide, he’ll spawn with you in your worlds and will give you some advice. For them to move into a house, you need to build them one – they’ll need a room with walls around it, a background wall, a door, table, chair and a light source. All you need to do is wait and/or fulfil other conditions, such as the merchant’s 50 silver coins necessity, killing a boss for the dryad to move in or gain a heart for the nurse.
As you can see, there is a lot of content here. Every time I delve into the wiki I find yet more features or items I didn’t know about before (latest: rocket boots). Even after doing that, I still go into the game and discover something I didn’t know about (an example being the huge glowing mushrooms mentioned earlier and shown in the gameplay video below). I still haven’t found any of the special weapons or items, I still haven’t defeated (or even seen) any bosses after 6 hours of play but am still enjoying myself just exploring.
So no, this is not a 2D Minecraft, nor is it a rip-off. It does, however, raise the same feelings of discovery and exploration I get from Minecraft and rarely find anywhere else. It’s packed with features, it’s randomly generated and it’ll probably play on any (Windows) machine. For £5.99 it’s an absolute steal.
- OS: Windows Xp, Vista, 7
- Processor: 1.6 Ghz
- Memory: 512MB
- Hard Disk Space: 200MB
- Video Card: 128mb Video Memory, capable of Shader Model 1.1
- DirectX®: 9.0c or Greater