Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Terraria

5:00 PM on 04.17.2013 // Darren Nakamura
  @Dexter345

Can you dig it?

It's always been difficult to give a one-sentence synopsis for Terraria. When it was released on PC in 2011, the first description that many gave was that it's "like a two-dimensional Minecraft," but that doesn't really do Terraria justice. More experience with it brings about the description that it is a "sandbox-style Metroidvania," and while that description is apt, it still doesn't hit exactly why Terraria is so fantastic.

Boiled down to its essence, Terraria is about discovery. Throughout the game, that discovery comes in many forms: exploration brings about the discovery of new environments, resource collection brings about the discovery of new craftable items, and progression through the game brings about the discovery of not only new enemies to fight, but also entirely new game mechanics to consider.

With Terraria's recent release on consoles, there is even more to discover than before. However, some things are better left undiscovered.

A beautiful homestead

Terraria (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed])
Developer: Re-Logic
Publisher: 505 Games
Released: March 26, 2013 (PS3), March 27, 2013 (360)
MSRP: $14.99

Terraria is set in a two-dimensional open world. On the PC version, players are dropped into a procedurally generated world with little direction other than an NPC and night closing fast. Without a handy guide, many would be lost. One of the additions to the console version is a tutorial, which was sorely needed to mitigate the aimlessness of the early game. The tutorial sufficiently gives the player short term goals and teaches the mechanics of the world without giving away too much about where the adventure is going.

After the spawn point is secured with a lightly defensible living space, the real meat of the game begins. Traveling along the surface in either direction reveals new biomes, each with their own flora and fauna. More important is downward travel, into the network of caves waiting to be explored. Many of the useful resources can be found there, including ores that can be used to craft better tools, weapons, and armor, which can then be used to dig and fight more effectively.

One of the core elements of Terraria that sets it apart from being a 2D Minecraft is that as you explore, find new things, and gain power, the world itself reacts. While there isn't exactly a written narrative, there is a definite progression of events, and it makes the world feel more alive.

In addition to the progression of events, there are also triggers that affect gameplay on a fundamental level. The early game is largely about resource collection and survival. Digging into the dirt focuses more on exploration and combat. Even further down and it almost becomes a puzzle game as the player attempts to mine ore while avoiding lava flows. And that's not even to mention what happens when you instead decide to explore up.

Simply put, Terraria is enormous, not only in size, but also in scope. Just when you think you have seen everything there is to see in the world, you find something new. Just when you start to get comfortable, a new element shows up to contend with. Even though it happens continually, it is somehow surprising every time.

Terraria is delightful, but it has been for almost two years now, and many already know it. The question this review aims to answer is whether it remains so from its port to consoles or if it suffers in any area.

Exploring the lava caves

One of the biggest worries that Terraria fans had regarding the console port was how to best transition from the quick, accurate control afforded by the use of a mouse to the less precise dual stick setup. To emulate the control of the PC version, the console versions have two separate control schemes. Auto is quick but imprecise, allowing the use of the right stick to point in a general direction of action. Manual is precise but slow, allowing the player to choose exactly which square to target. While it sounds less than ideal, switching between the two modes is a matter of clicking the right stick in, and with a little practice it works fine. Certain things, like digging a three-block-high horizontal tunnel, are even easier on console than they were on PC.

The other worry with the switch from a keyboard was that items and tools would not be as easily accessible. As with the original version, there are ten slots in the backpack for equipment to be used, but for the console version, switching between these pieces of equipment requires cycling through each with the shoulder buttons. There is functionality to map up to four items to the cardinal directions on the D-pad, but it strangely must be re-mapped every time you start playing.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect stemming from the transition to consoles was the addition of more accessible multiplayer. While online multiplayer exists for the PC version, it is not easy do without the use of third party software. Joining a game on the Xbox 360 is as easy as one would expect, but it's afterwards that the problems show up.

Finding a golden chest

When hosting, the game runs well enough, but when joining somebody else's game, the lag can be debilitating. While lag doesn't matter much during the slower portions, it can be infuriatingly unplayable during tense combat sequences. Worse yet, if you travel quickly enough in a friend's world, the terrain will not load in time, causing you to fall all the way to the bottom of the map with nothing to stop you.

One of the welcome additions is a map screen, which shows the areas you have been to and makes hunting for rare ore easier. When joining a world online, you can uncover the map in the same way that you would in your own world, but its progress is not saved as it would be for your own, so rejoining the same world in the future starts you at the beginning with respect to the map. Considering it's still more than having no map at all, it's difficult to get too upset about it, but it would have been nice if it were saved.

In addition to online play, the port also allows up to four-player split screen multiplayer, but it has its own problems too. Even with only two players, Terraria suffers from significant drops in framerate at times. Aside from that, the interface works surprisingly well using only a fraction of the screen real estate, but due to the slowdown, local multiplayer can still be a pain for combat or tricky platforming sections.

A boney boss battle

Some new music tracks have been added, though most of the background music remains unchanged from the PC version. The soundtrack is full of catchy tunes that function to let the player know where he is in the world. It isn't the most amazing collection of music, but each track is fitting for its environment.

The last notable pieces of new content are pets to collect and an additional boss to fight. While neither is a substantial addition, each adds to the already lengthy list of cool things to discover in the world of Terraria.

Terraria is an incredible experience, and no game has filled me with the same sense of wonder and drive to explore in a very long time. In this port to consoles, those feelings are preserved, but perhaps not as elegantly as they could have been. The control scheme turned out better than expected, but the multiplayer functionality is far from ideal. Still, I cannot recommend this enough to anybody with a heart for exploring the unknown and an inherent passion for discovery.



THE VERDICT

8

Terraria - Reviewed by Darren Nakamura
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Darren Nakamura, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Dexter345 Tips
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Terraria


  Jun 08

Terraria is coming to Wii U and 3DS

Eyeball shall cast all sinners asunder


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

Six Reasons Why YOU Should Buy Soul Sacrifice Delta For $8!

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
Gundy avatarGundy
Oh man. Those Next Gen transformations in Megadimension Neptunia are legit as fuck!
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
The first thing I do when I see clickbait is click on it and complain about clickbait.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Wow, uh, after having a lovely time with Kirby Air Ride, I decided to try playing some melee, for old times sake... I pretty much disliked my whole time with it. More details in a comment if I get around to it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Help me gather games for a new blog series - "Worst Sequels Ever"
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
The backend code on the site so fun to read. Going through some of Julio's old stuff: if($vars["fappers"]){ $fappoids = 0; $_xt_loop_name = "fappers"; $vars["fappers_cnt"] = count($vars["fappers"]); reset($vars["fappers"]);
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Watching the second Guyver Movie: Dark Hero, starring David -Solid Snake- Hayter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Roie47-Cuk
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
You didn't think I forgot what day it is did you?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Gonna retire the MOARgasmic avatar for awhile.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Will you be mine?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got out of Deadpool. It definitely was a movie with Deadpool in it. Some parents were shocked to learn it was also rated R for a reason.
Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
So... gender and biology. All I'll say here is please respect people and their identities and don't try to push assumptions as fact. It doesn't need to be said to most here but denying people their identities is pretty harmful and very unpleasant.
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
Any PS4 recommendations for a guy who can't afford PS+, since all I've got is Battlefront and there's next to nothing to do in that game?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
if you were experiencing lag with the dev site today, can you please try again? I moved some js around and am loading smaller avatars for people. some quickpost photos are scaled from gigantic raw uploads so we are optimizing those next to zip things up
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
It's happening people... they're gonna kill off my favourite character... but he's taking someone else with him *massive spoilers in video*
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Can I just say that I really dig the intro music for Yakuza 5? It's pumping!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Hmm... yeah, this seems right.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Would anyone be willing to help out dear ol' Dreamweaver with Destiny? Need a partner to tackle 7+ matches of Crimson Doubles for that 320 Light Ghost Shell. Will have to work on Comments of the Week first, but will be on later. I suck at the game though.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm not digging Trine too much. It has really screwy controls.
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Sonic the Hedgehog's Twitter account gave dating advice here: http://www.gamesradar.com/dating-advice-real-sonic-hedgehog/ I am now significantly less bitter about Valentine's Day.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -