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A name that was, until recently very unlikely to be on the mind of any console gamer. But much like Minecraft before it, this open world exploration and building game has made a very solid and successful jump to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Although the game launched for the PC in May 2011, the simple design and idea of the game has allowed it to translate well to consoles.
The premise of Terraria is not a new one, although its execution may not be what you expect. Set in a two dimensional world and styled like an old-school 8bit RPG, Terraria has a unique charm that sits perfectly with the tone of the game. Moving through a brand new and randomly generated 2D world, your goal is to gather resources from the surrounding environment and use them to craft various items that you will use to survive while you traverse the different regions you find yourself in. Being able to save your worlds means that you can create multiple worlds that you can jump between, or you can do what I do. Build a world for mining and scavenging, whilst you keep another world for building a mighty tower. Because the world is fully destructible (literally) you can go anywhere you please, be it into the clouds or the pits of hell, or whatever the Terraria world has instead of hell. Either way it’s full of lava and fierce beasts for you to test your mettle against.
You can even do battle with the Eye of Cthulu and the mighty Skeletron!
For those of you who haven’t played the PC counterpart there is a new, short but informative tutorial that will give you a quick run-down of how to play the game and use the new UI. The new UI in the console port of Terraria can be a bit jarring at first. Not having the mouse and keyboard many players are familiar with you may feel that you don’t have as much control over your avatar as before. But this new means of navigation is intuitive, quick to master and very user friendly. A quick snap-to mechanic allows you to quickly mine and chop through the environment around in a 5 block radius, whereas clicking the thumbstick will switch the control scheme to a more user controlled reticule instead of the snap-to cursor. One drawback that I personally had with the new control scheme was the lack of Dpad support for the crafting menus. This lead to some annoying although not game ruining re-arranging time, fans of Resident Evil 4 will know what I mean. I also encountered a few minor sound skipping bugs and a little bit of screen tearing whilst mining but it wasn't frequent enough to be a big problem, a very rare problem but noticeable when it happens.
When you drop into your newly spawned world you will always start with a basic hammer, axe and pickaxe. Your first order of business will most likely be survival and the accumulation of NPC's, because as the gaming adage goes, “it’s dangerous to go alone”. A quick foray into the dangerous wilds will most likely yield a large supply of wood, or you could delve deep into the infested tunnels and mines beneath your feet and resurface with a vast array of metals and stone. Having played the tutorial you will know that in order to survive, you’re going to need a house. So after finding a good position atop a hill or against a mountain you begin the construction of walls and floors, buttresses and turrets. Quickly turning your humble little wooden shack into a towering edifice of black stone and shining gold.
While you quest around the world, fulfilling your own little adventure you’re going to encounter Zombies and Skeletons, Demon Eyes and World Eaters. You can even do battle with the Eye of Cthulu and the mighty Skeletron! Further exploration will lead you into the paths of many greater enemies than these, but to tell you hear would ruin the fun of finding them yourself.
Terraria is a great single player game, but it truly comes to life in Multiplayer. You and your friends all spawn into the world and make a mad dash to once again gather your resources, make power plays and quickly develop a region. You can then take on the various nasties that inhabit the lands with your friends to gather more loot faster, thus becoming a more accomplished little avatar. You can flip the format as well and fight with your friends in death matches to determine who has the better weapons and armour, or try and build the most creative traps and constructions.
Regardless of your thoughts on exploration and building games like Minecraft, Ace of Spades and Terraria. You will always get some fun out of this game. It’s world, design and great soundtrack melds perfectly with the relaxed state you will find yourself in whilst playing. Terraria is a great title, and definitely deserves a place in your collection.
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