Publisher: See Above
Released on May 16, 2011
Terraria is a 2-D sandbox game that lets the player choose their own adventure, being given the freedom to craft whatever their heart desires. It combines elements of classic sprite games with open-world exploration to motivate players to survive by building houses, crafting stronger tools, digging through caverns, recruiting NPCs, and of course, defending them from monsters of the night.
Genre: Action-Adventure Sandbox RPG
My Rerun of Terraria
Before anyone asks, no I don’t think Terraria is a copy of Minecraft even though they do share a similar mining system where the player collects blocks of materials and uses a workbench to create more complex weapons and armor. Besides the 2-D graphics and the less-blocky characters, Terraria is in essence, a game about being the chosen hero, who will bring everyone together, to purify the land of all that is evil.
In retrospect, Terraria offers the player more guidance with the controls such as instructions on how to build a shelter. It also has more variety in terms of crafting new items, using biome-themed materials, with the option to customize furniture and housing as one sees fit. Too bad you can’t sleep through the night to get away from the zombies. On the plus side, the lack of exploding Creepers is a relief.
What I did like was Terraria’s ranged and melee weapon builds. Your hero could equip guns, magic staffs, boomerangs, and yo-yos, instead of just swing your sword or shooting some arrows. There are lots of cosmetics to choose from if you want to show off your new house, village, or kingdom, once you amassed enough resources. The sky’s the limit when people construct their own artificial biomes.
During character creation, you can choose the size of the world to be small, medium, or large. The game distinguishes between normal and expert mode by changing the enemy stats including loot drops. Here you can select the difficulty out of Softcore, Mediumcore, or Hardcore. For me, I picked the easiest setting because I would hate losing all my precious items/progress every time I die.
I wouldn’t bother too much with customizing your sprite since they will be wearing full-body armor at all times to protect themselves against hostile monsters. You will spawn in one of many biomes with a trusty guide to tell you how to live past the first night. (Or you may die horribly because he keeps forgetting to close the damn doors!)
Depending on the difficulty, you will either return to your spawn point after losing half your coins or everything you have in your inventory, which really sucks if you can’t find your way back to where you died. IT explains why you need to build a house before the sunsets. Otherwise, you are stuck fighting monsters with a weak copper broadsword for the rest of the night.
According to the Guide, a house is any structure that has a floor and a ceiling, a door, and a fully enclosed wall. Fortunately, you spawn with a copper ax to chop down trees for gathering wood. It can be used to make torches for lighting dark areas and all kinds of furniture for your house. It’s more fun to experiment with different types of blocks because of the colorful pixel-style that is unique to the game.
To create more complex materials, you’ll need to assemble a workbench out of wood/cactus/mushrooms/erm…pumpkins, whatever is around I suppose. Not sure what kind of furniture can be made from a meteorite?
The surface always has plenty of dirt to stack into platforms for moving across dangerous areas. Terraria also lets the player replace background walls and fashion blocks into stairs using the hammer tool. As an open-world sandbox, use your imagination to discover what you can craft out of all the abundant resources available. And whenever your inventory is full, stack those extra stone blocks into a treasure chest.
The real fun begins when you dig deeper. The underground is filled with valuable ores and other hidden treasures. Stronger monsters also spawn there to give you a hard time when you’re mining. You never know when a cave bat will knock you down a deep pit, forcing you to take serious fall damage. Caverns are dark so you want to carry enough torches on hand.
Terraria has many layers to explore in this order: Outer Space, the Surface, Underground, the Caverns, and the Underworld. You will discover floating islands in the sky, mushroom biomes in the caves, and deadly lava pools in the underworld. However, the game may limit how far you can go based on the strength of your equipment.
But it isn’t safe to go down too far unless you’re wearing a full set of iron or higher-tier armor. Digging through the dungeons, you’ll pick up drops like accessories to wear that can boost your defense, movement speed, and melee speed. Though the bouncing slimes won’t ever be a problem unless you drop your wooden sword.
In early-game, I would suggest having either a broadsword or shortsword equipped for melee. But if you prefer to shoot from a distance, the bow and arrow is your best bet. To upgrade your pickaxe so it doesn’t take forever to dig through stone, you can craft one out of ores like Tin/Lead, Iron/Silver, or even Gold/Tungsten. Guns hit hard but have little knockback to fend off multiple enemies.
As for loot, you will often find underground cabins that contain a treasure chest. You typically get potions with special effects, more rope, torches, coins, and at least one teleporting item like a magic mirror so you’ll be able to go home. Mining further down yields more rare loot in chests like stronger weapons. I found an enchanted ice boomerang, a blizzard in a bottle, Jester arrows, and the Hermes boots.
While Terraria’s interface takes time getting used to, you will eventually be capable of switching out items rapidly to take on tough bosses. On top of that, you have an inventory with “quick-equip” enabled as you scroll past every item in boxes 0 to 1. The controls for navigation are flexible enough to let you move items back and forth from tabs including your armor, accessories, and of course, ammo slots.
As you progress through the game, you won’t find a shortage of upgrades to add to your arsenal: Spiky Balls, Throwing Spears, Magic Wands, and Phaseblades are introduced to help you decide how to specialize your hero in combat. You can choose to become a magic-user, gunslinger, or standard warrior. Other pointless but fun activities involve using the camera to take screenshots or reassigning NPC housing.
Once you have a few houses ready, NPCs will spawn in them and live there until they are relocated by you or killed mercilessly by the zombies and flying eyeballs if you let your guard down. Although NPCs are able to defend themselves, their attacks are too weak to fend off large groups of monsters. The first one is the Guide who knows all the crafting recipes like the back of his hand.
The other NPCs won’t show up until you meet certain requirements. For example, to attract a merchant you must have at least 50 silver coins. To get the Nurse on board, you need to raise your max health above 100, and so forth. They may sell useful items like explosives, glowsticks, dyes, as well as a powder to purify evil lands. Don’t worry if you lose one, NPCs will respawn after the sun rises.
Since I often run out of space in my inventory, I just sell any junk I have to NPC shops for some copper coins. As for the underground, that’s where all the precious metals and rare gems are waiting to be found. I soon realized that it would be faster to follow pockets of caves instead of digging down directly in hopes of hitting veins of iron. It’s easy to panic when you are being attacked by monsters in a pitch-black area.
A handful of dangers await you as tunnels may be flooded with water, not to mention the spooky skeletons lurking beneath. You might even stumble upon a spider nest or encounter your first boss battle as indicated by an “evil presence”. At some point, you will have to return home so you can smelt a blade out of metal bars, along with a better pickaxe.
When exploring the caves, be sure to carry plenty of torches, a few healing potions, at least three weapons, and all your basic tools. Get armor with higher defense or accessories that improve your hero’s movement speed. The right amount of preparation could save you from unexpected death. I like to keep a spare workbench in case I need to build a furnace to smelt ores.
In Terraria, there are two types of “evil” biomes that slowly spread nearby, infecting the environment with disease and decay. They are called The Corruption and The Crimson. Your world only spawns with one of the two. You’ll notice them once you get attacked by swarms of ugly worms or creepy spiders. I managed to get this shot before the Face Monsters reared their ugly heads.
This is one biome you definitely want to destroy. The Crimson has buried hearts while the Corruption contains these shadow orbs, both of which you must blow up with bombs. It may set off a meteor crash, and yet the chance of summoning the second boss (Brain of Cthulhu/Eater of Worlds) is just as likely, scaring the unsuspecting player.
I’ve realized that certain monsters like the demon eyes, fly only on the surface. They are easy to finish off in a few hits. But bosses are another story with their own attack patterns. To mark your progress in Terraria, you must fight a series of boss battles, starting with the Eye of Cthulhu. The soundtrack here reminds me of Hellsing’s Thousand Bullets.
I remember mining in a closed-off area when this giant eyeball appeared in front of me. It seems that as long as you have 200 health (10 hearts), a minimum of 10 armor, and obtained 4 NPCs, the eye might be summoned during the night. And no, you cannot teleport away with a Recall Potion since the Eye of Cthulhu will follow you to continue its onslaught until you kill it for good.
The guide NPC will explain how to make summoning items for each boss fight. Don’t worry if you die the first time, you could simply respawn the eye using a few lenses on a Crimson workbench. But for the next boss, the Brain of Cthulhu, I had to gather vicious mushrooms and vertebrae pieces from the blood crawlers.
Why do you want to fight them? Well, the rare loot drops are worth it, when you consider the rarity of Demonite/Crimson ores. They are essentially the milestones of the game, replacing the classic leveling system of RPGs that requires exp gains to level up. Oh hey, what is that glowing thing in the distance? Why are the trees covered in flesh?
Terraria may not immediately capture your interest, but it does drop hints everywhere that there are always new areas to explore, mine for resources, and slay monsters as the chosen hero. Then again, I recall the turning point being the caverns where ores are scattered about and a mysterious atmosphere is created by the ambient music.
Final Verdict: Dangerously Addicting. What do you mean “get a life”?