Still in beta
Starting this week, you can buy into the Don’t Starve Together beta if you don’t have access already. It’s $5 if you own the base game, and it comes with a gift code for the core package as well as two Together codes.
So how does it work? First you’ll have to sign up for developer Klei’s proprietary service with your email and date of birth. The process was kind of buggy, as the in-Steam browser constantly errored out and didn’t display the right screen. I had to restart Steam twice, and then wait 15 minutes for an “instant” verification link.
Thankfully, everything was smooth sailing after that.
Don’t Starve Together is a separate client from the original, and boots up to a similar looking title screen. But because it isn’t the same build, a few bells and whistles are noticeably absent, like controller support. Klei promises it will come in time as the beta progresses.
Starting a game is just a click away. You can host servers, both temporary and dedicated, join random games, or create password-protected and “friends only” instances for up to six players. Three modes are available: Survival (the basic gametype, where if you die you become a ghost, and can be resurrected with a certain item), Wilderness (players suffer permadeath), and Endless. The former seems to be the standard.
I decided to give the game a shot with my wife, who is the resident Don’t Starve expert with over 200 hours of experience with the game. We started off in the wilderness with nothing, coming out on the same spot in a portal-like contraption. You are just as naked as you are in the original, picking at leaves and cutting trees to build your first base of operations. Speech bubbles appear above your head in your partner’s game, which is a neat effect.
Because of the multiplayer aspect of Together, it was fun to plan out our strategy. We split up and went our separate ways at times, or cooperated to chop down the same tree — it was really open-ended. In theory, you could build an entire base twice as fast, kill enemies at double speed, and so on. With more players in the mix your efficiency will increase, but so will your ability to command the limited pool of goods.
The cool thing about Together is how you can share items, or “give” them to another player by clicking on them. I was able to cook a bunch of food for my wife and hand it to her when she came back from an expedition empty-handed. It really works just as well as you’d expect, and I can’t wait to see how the combination of multiple minds works service of the already fun game.
If you still play Don’t Starve from time to time, I’d highly recommend buying into Together if you have a friend willing to go in on it with you. Stay tuned for more coverage as the beta progresses.