Don't Starve review - Utterly insane survival

by Stephen Heller Featured

2 Comments 13 Votes 25802 Views 07/05/2013 Back to Reviews

There I was, sitting in the middle of the darkened woods, rain beating down on my grass-woven suit and my once crackling fire began to hiss. I was running low on firewood; a lengthy chase with some spiders during the day diminished my ability to chop down some trees to survive the night. My stomach is rumbling, but all I have are two carrots and I need to trap some rabbits tomorrow. I keep running the same dialogue through my head, over and over like a record stuck in a groove.

"Don't Starve, Don't Starve, Don't Starve."

Klei Entertainment are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. They proved their art abilities with the hack and slash adventures of Shank, then stepped it up a notch with the award-winning stealth title Mark of the Ninja last year. Now they have release the ambitious, quirky and utterly insane Don't Starve, a point and click survival game that I simply cannot dissect in the following paragraphs of this review.

If I could describe Don't Starve in a nutshell, I would advise you to imagine Tim Burton movies ala The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands and Sweeny Todd were thrown into a blender. That gelatinous goo formed from that mish-mash of genre conventions was then placed on an ominous island in the middle of the sea, and you would be fairly close to the aesthetic of the game.

Don't Starve is literally insane, and that's what I love about it.

Don't Starve is literally insane, and that's what I love about it.

Players fill the shoes as Wilson (initially at least), a scientist who is trapped on a procedurally generated island. Starting with literally nothing, players will need to gather resources such as logs, flint, rocks and grass, all of which can be crafted to make items.

Tools make resource farming much easier, but players also need to take Wilson's needs into account. Just like every human, he becomes hungry and loses his sanity when things become a little hectic. Therefore you will need to create traps to capture animals for food, weave grass to make sleeping bags to Wilson can sleep, and of course you need to make a fire to survive the nasties of the land.

They mostly come out at night, mostly. By they, I mean super insane ghouls of the night who will kill you in a moment's notice. Don't Starve may have you crafting a bunch of items to survive, but more often than not I found myself questioning whether I wanted to continue living in a world this dangerous.

As the days progress you will soon learn that certain items can grant you certain functions. For example, grabbing some manure from gigantic animals to create a farm, where you can grow your own vegetables may actually be more beneficial than attempting to slaughter the giant beasts for food. Perhaps creating a base camp will keep you safe at night without the constant need for fire and protection. Learning how to survive doesn't come naturally, and it will certainly take you a long time to wrap your head around the game.

Don't Starve doesn't want to make survival easy. There is no tutorial system, no hand holding to be seen - it's just you, your surroundings and the natural resources of the land. You're going to die, that's inevitable, but it’s the stories you encounter along the way that make Don't Starve really stand out as something special.

Death is permanent, and is actually the entire point of the game. Each “run” has no real objective, other than to out-survive your previous attempt. My best is a total of eight days, and that’s after putting well over ten hours into the game. It’s not necessarily because I suck at the game (and I have given that considerable information), but more about the fact that I am tempted to run into battle unprepared, all with the aim of finding that special item that will craft the next level of items in the game.

Don’t Starve features some really great audio that can be downright terrifying at night. The art style is simply outstanding, creating some kind of living, breathing nightmare that is beautiful and horrifying at the same time. I’ve never played something quite like Don’t Starve before, and a lot is due to the art style alone.

The Final Verdict

Who would have thought the developers of an award-winning stealth game would create an utterly insane survival horror adventure like Don’t Starve. The unique art style alone is something to applaud the developers for, but the deep and challenging crafting mechanics put in place, and the sense of constant struggle in a dangerous and frightening world makes Don’t Starve one of the standout games this year. Definitely worth the $15 price of admission.

 

Don't Starve

Platform: PC / PS4
 
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Don't Starve review - Utterly insane survival Comments

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Oh man i wish you gave it a 10. I absolutely love this game, its everything ive ever wanted in a sandbox-y type crafting type game with CHARACTER! though i did not except any of the stuff ive experience in my 10 hours of gameplay, absolute perfection.

good review though!
If this game was multiplayer ,will be fun :)

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