Terraria Review | Minecraft Meets 2D Platforming

A dirt and wood shelter to protect me from the night flying eyeballs!
A dirt and wood shelter to protect me from the night flying eyeballs!

Terraria is an exciting new 2D platformer that takes old platforming technology and crafts it into a shiny new gem. Every time you start a new world, it is randomly generated and every block in the world can be destroyed, moved or used to create new items. Is this starting to sound familiar yet? It should. It should also start to sound awesome.

I'm going to say the M word here, because the similarities to Minecraft cannot be overlooked, not because Terraria is a Minecraft clone or rip off, but because Terraria is one of the first games to follow Minecraft into the genre it popularised.

Similarities to Minecraft:

  • Randomly generated worlds.

  • Crafting system.

  • The ability to create and destroy at whim.

  • Day and night cycles.

Differences to Minecraft:

  • It's a 2D platformer. That's a pretty significant difference right there.

  • In game character customization. Sure, you're customizing what I'm pretty sure is a 16 bit sprite, but Minecraft sure doesn't offer this option. You can even play a female character right off the bat! What do you think about that?

  • There are NPCs who can be attracted to live in a town you create. This addresses one of the major failings of Minecraft, the fact that you spend much of your time building monuments to heart breaking solitude. There are a wide range of NPC's including nurses and dryads.
  • Healing potions!
  • Currency!
  • And more...much, much more...

Gameplay goes thusly. First you must create a character, which you can customize using RGB sliders and choosing from a handful of hairstyles. Next you must create the world. (Sagan would probably say you first need to create the universe, but he was always given to complicating matters.)

Starting up a new world takes a bit of time, but once you're all set up you spawn in a new world with a handy guide who can be talked to by right clicking on him. He explains that your survival is dependent on your willingness to plunder the world of its natural resources and tells you that you should use your copper axe and pick axe collect the aforementioned resources.

Combat comes quickly and often in Terraria, but it's fairly easy most of the time. Within minutes of starting a new world you will probably be assailed by green slimes. These can be fought 'Simpson's styles ie, by standing there and windmilling a weapon. If the slime gets too close (which it will) then it gets hurt, but that's hardly your fault, is it?

One fairly major gripe I have with Terraria is that the game doesn't put you back where you were when you exited. This means that you can build a shelter and respawn outside it. Very, very annoying and very, very dangerous.

Yes, this game is Minecrafty, very Minecrafty, but before you get all up in arms about that fact, remember that Minecraft's creator Notch loves Terraria, and like Terraria's creator Redigit says, “People need to understand that Minecraft isn’t a game anymore, it’s a genre. There are so many possibilities with the gameplay mechanics in question that they shouldn’t be limited to a single title. I think a lot of us are waiting for the big names in the industry to pick up on these concepts and start incorporating them in to the new major titles.”

Terraria is available on Steam, which is either awesome or terrible depending on how you feel about Steam. Unlike a great many games released on Steam these days, it actually works out of the box, so there is that.

Check out Terraria!

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