Feel like killing monsters? We’ve got that. How about exploring a career in architecture? We’ve got that. Ever wanted to dabble in spelunking? You bet your ass, we’ve got that. Terraria is an action-adventure RPG sometimes referred to as “2-D Minecraft” due to the similar mechanics of exploration, crafting, and building. The game is available as a standalone single-player experience or multi-player romp over the internet or LAN. We highly recommend setting up a server to play with friends. Not only is the single player component lacking the joy of cooperating (and competing) with friends, but some areas are nearly impossible to solo.
From powerful weapons and armor, to decorations for your home - there are a wide range of crafting options which drive the core of Terraria – digging and exploration. The game begins in the wilderness. The player is first tasked with building a house before nightfall, for protection from monsters lurking in the darkness. Using basic materials such as dirt, stone, and wood, Terraria allows you to build anything from simple shacks to elaborate castles. Don’t fret if this seems overwhelming- you start off with a guide who (though lacking in combat skills) will give you advice on how to continue. During your adventure, more NPCs will move in with you, sans-rent, offering greater insight and goods to help with your progression. Just make sure you make room for them in your dwelling, or they quickly become flesh for eager denizens of the night.
As you continue to explore the world, you will encounter multiple environments known as Biomes. The game begins in the surface biome, with grass, trees, and woodland creatures. Other biomes include jungles, snow swept planes and even a lava-filled underworld - full of powerful demons. Throughout these environments, you will find various metal ores, such as copper, gold, and platinum - along with special ingredients to use in crafting recipes, or sell. Each biome offers unique monsters and crafting materials, allowing you to continue creating new weapons and armor for future boss encounters. Defeating these bosses often provides additional resources not found elsewhere, allowing for even more powerful equipment and a much needed sense of accomplishment in life. Who doesn't like feeling accomplished?
The combat system used to fight these monsters is fairly basic – you have access to melee weapons like swords and axes, ranged weapons like bows and firearms, and even a few magical weapons that use your character's mana resource. Each type creates a varied play style to suit individual characters and players. I primarily stuck with melee weapons, and felt it was just as viable as the ranged or magic alternatives, in 90% of the combat. It is important to note that occasionally, melee falls flat against boss encounters. Sometimes you just need that extra range to reach out and touch someone.
The level of freedom and sense of character progression the game provides kept me coming back again and again. Want to upgrade some equipment? Go find your required materials. Planning a trip to the Underworld? Sure, try building a “Hellevator” for a straight shot to the bottom. The thrill of exploration, as well as finding unique and interesting supplies provided me with over 100 hours of enjoyment. After the latest update to version 1.2, even experienced Terrarians will be able to find something new and exciting to experience.
With relatively low system requirements, and a $9.99 price tag on Steam, Terraria is a great buy.