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Don’t Starve Review

A unique survival game with an incredible art style.

Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Platforms: PC (Windows, Linux and Mac) , Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and PS Vita, Wii U, Android, iOS
Platform Reviewed on: PC (Windows)

 

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Don’t Starve is a unique survival game that thrusts the players into a dangerous wilderness with only the clothes on their backs, a few key items and traits. Players will find themselves enjoying the vastness of this wild place filled with dangerous animals, dark beings, and the most of all dealing with starvation.

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The main character of this game is Wilson, a scientist, who has been trapped by a demon and transported to a mysterious wilderness world. In this world, players must survive while trying to get back home. The storyline is simple yet interesting. It lets the players put themselves into the characters’ shoes. The focus is on exploration in an unknown world full of dangers from every angle. Players will find themselves enjoying the challenge that the game imposes on them.

Just a warning to players, there’s no instructions in this game. Meaning that players will have to learn the mechanics by trial and error or with the use of a game wiki alongside the game. As a result, not everyone will be able to enjoy what this game has to offer.

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There are nine characters to choose from. Each character possesses their own special abilities as well as special items that will help them survive the elements of this hazardous world. With the good traits and items also the bad. Each character also has a weakness that will hinder their journey. Players will find that they can manage certain characters but not so much with others. Players must unlock certain characters by playing through the available ones. Starting first with Wilson, unlocks Willow and so one and so forth. Another unique aspect of the game as well as the characters is the low whistle sounds substituted as voices that reminds me a lot like the adults in Charlie Brown.

 

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There are two kinds of mode within the game; Adventure and Survival. Players will first start out in Survival mode but once the players start exploring they will eventually find Maxwell’s Door. This door takes the players into Maxwell’s game, Adventure mode. Adventure mode forces the players to survive through five chapters that progressively increases in difficulty.

 

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You have a menu of items that you use to learn new skills and create new items, i.e. weapons, traps, clothing, fire and shelter. Players have a health meter in addition to their “Sanity” and “Hunger” bars. There’s also a calendar that shows the players the time of day as well as how many days have passed. Seasons change throughout the game so therefore day and night changes for example winter has longer nights than the summer and vice versa. Characters will not get sick from being exposed to rain or the cold but the meter will turn blue to indicate the character’s freezing during winter. Exploration is key to survival. The world is vast and full of danger so you must defend yourself.

Surviving the night is a difficult task, the player must build a fire to keep the darkness at bay. Naturally, the darkness is filled with monster looking to kill the player. In addition to this, shadow hands will reach in to grab wood from the fire so the player must remain on their toes to avoid their only source of safety being taken from them.

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The monsters in this world vary. The swamps seems to be the home for everything bad as well as a swamp monster with tentacles that reaches to grab you. There are the hounds that pop up randomly to attack the player but there is a clear warning sound that tells you it’s time to defend yourself. There are many kinds of monsters throughout the game that will pose a challenge for the players.

The Machine is a vital instrument for the characters’ survival. Characters can learn to create new things by clicking on “Prototype”. The more interesting the item to create, the harder it will be to not only make the ingredient for but to find it. For example, crafting magical objects. Crafting the machine itself can be easy or hard depending on the place you spawned as well as how far you will have to go to find these items. The times I’ve played it, I’ve found the gold nuggets to be a little bit of a challenge as there would be times I spawned far away from rocks and stones that have the nuggets. Each spawn at the start of a new game is random so there’s no way of knowing if you’ll get a decent spawn.

The ambiance and music in this game are very well done and makes the atmosphere all the more interesting and intense. The sounds the monsters make gives off an eerie as well as creepy and nerve racking vibe to it all. The sounds, as simple as the trees and the waves and the shuffling of the characters’ feet on the ground, makes the world more realistic.
Players will find this game to be replay able, with a variety of characters to choose from with their own special abilities and items as well as the randomness of spawning locations and situations. Players will find themselves playing a different game every time and enjoying the game more and more as they discover this dark world.

Don’t Starve is an innovative artistic survival game that delves into a world filled with monsters and a harsh wilderness. The developers have also created expansions for the game such as Don’t Starve Together, Don’t Starve Together: A New Reign, Don’t Starve Shipwrecked, and Don’t Starve: Reign of Giants.

 

Pros

  • Strange and awesome characters
  • Great survival mechanics
  • A Large map/world
  • Artistic graphics style

 

Cons

  • Lack of character development
  • Not much story depth
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