Minecraft has certainly set the bar when it comes to crafting games, but that does not stop developers from producing titles in the hopes of getting the same amount of success as what can be said as the benchmark for the open world sandbox crafting game. Terraria is one such title, and it offers enough differences from Minecraft while retaining just enough elements to make it engrossing and worth spending hundreds of hours playing.
Terraria starts players off with minimal equipment and a brief tutorial. Each world is set differently, which means that gaming experience will vary from each playthrough. There are different environments contain different resources as well as enemies, and exploration is definitely the key in order to craft different items and get the most out of the game.
Enemies vary between simple ones to more powerful creatures, and the latter will require players to really grind for those rare materials so that better weapons can be acquired. In addition, Terraria employs RPG like elements, such as allowing players to equip armor and other equipment to make them tougher in battle. Of course, getting the basics such as shelter and crafting tables should be top priority above all else, as the former will allow you to create respawn points should you die and the latter will let you create better tools and weapons to survive.
The concept of day and night cycles are also implemented within Terraria. Players are limited to minor enemies such as slimes when there is light, but at night zombies and demons will come out and attack you relentlessly, requiring players to have a formidable and defendable shelter as well as a good source of light. Aside from these usual events, random events such as meteor showers also occur, and these occurrences can help as certain items can only be mined while these are happening. Also, a Blood Moon has a chance of occurring each night, where enemies are stronger than usual and NPCs become corrupt and twisted versions of themselves.
With NPCs, Terraria has a much healthier amount of characters that can be interacted with, including your guide as well as other characters that you can save, build a home for, and even buy items from. The game also features several boss characters and mini bosses, and defeating them will often unlock more content as well as new events from occurring.
The game is set in a 2D sprite environment reminiscent of the 16-bit gaming era, as compared to Minecraft’s 3D effects. Terraria is also a side scroller, which makes viewing the extensive world much easier. However, there’s more than meets the eye, as digging deeper into the ground will reveal even more worlds and biomes to discover and explore, and there are even dungeons where players can encounter more challenging opponents as well as acquire much rarer resources to use in crafting.
With regards to depth, Terraria can pretty much match up with Minecraft, especially with its extensive list of items that can be created. The game offers an in-game guide of things that can be created, or they can just opt to experiment and see what items will come out by combining two or more items together. Some materials will also require players to venture to faraway and extremely dangerous lands to acquire, while some would need some serious grinding and searching so that the necessary items can be collected. Either way, Terraria is a very interesting game for those who like to go on long adventures just to craft that one item in order to achieve victory, and generally for those that would like to explore the randomly generating world at their own pace. There’s really a sense of accomplishment once you have found that elusive ingredient in your recipe, or if you’ve finally defeated that monster that has killed you five times, or if you’ve discovered an area that you have never seen before. Terraria is a constant discovery and rediscovery, and that is an appeal that will hopefully get this title as much fans as Minecraft did.
If there’s any complaint about the game, specifically with the iOS version, it’s that Terraria lacks multiplayer support. Also, character movement may seem flaky at times. However, most of these shortcomings are pretty forgivable as you can pretty much enjoy the game for countless hours by yourself by simply exploring everything that the game has to offer. Only time will tell if Terraria can surpass Minecraft in terms of popularity and following, but it can be safely said that this indie game is one of the best crafting games to come out to date.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 8/10
Terraria was released for the iOS on August 29, 2013. It was developed by Re-Logic and was published by the same along with 505 Games and Spike Chunsoft. Terraria is also available for the Microsoft Windows, Playstation Vita, Xbox, Windows Phone, and Android platforms.