Last time, we talked about a great indie game still in Alpha called Kerbal Space Program. Progressing logically foward, we are going to talk about a Slightly less indie, slightly more developed game still in Beta.
Don't Starve is the sum of it's part. One part rouge like, One part Tim Burton, One part Mine craft, one part zombie survival. Don't starve takes the best elements from each of these things and blends them together to make something both interesting, and compelling. You are thrown into an programmatically generated map, in which you collect resources to build structures and survive the night. Chopping trees and using flint to build a fire. Using a science station to refine lumber into blocks to build a chest. All while feeding yourself. The game has three basic lose conditions. Losing your health, Starving, and being in complete darkness. So as you go about your daily activities, you have to keep track of your stomach and feed yourself. As you explore, you'll encounter danger that would attack you. And compounded on top of everything, is the day night cycle, where if you would be in complete darkness, you'll get killed by....something.
The thing that truly stands out is art style. The Art in the game is truly, truly unique. Your character bounces out against the drab depressing background. The animals and insects look gloomy, the sound design complements the art style perfectly. Really It's brilliant. There's a central theme and mood of the entire game and it's never overstated, but it's always prevalent. I could go on, but pictures are worth a thousand words, and the art cries out to be admired.
The theme extends to one central point that I want to put forth. There are only lose conditions. You cannot complete this game, there is no end. You just survive until you don't. Again it's complemented by the Art design as well as the music. As you trudge through the forests, chopping trees, cooking rabbit meat, mining rock and so on, there is the seed in the back of your mind where you know, that this'll end at some point. That you cannot survive forever and eventually, you do starve.
The game, as I mentioned is still in beta. Updates are constantly happening slowly, but the mechanics of the game feel really solid. The controls, the feel, it's all spot on, so fear not. For 12 dollars on Steam you can pick it up, my copy came with a free second version to give to a friend. I don't know if that is still a thing that happens, so it would be worth looking into. Right now there's no co-op, but who knows what the future hold.