TERRARIA / Re-Logic / PC

Terraria made a terrible first impression. It was only a 16 MB download off Steam, yet had some long complicated install procedure of some microsoft.net crap that managed to take 20 minutes somehow (also didn't warn me that this was going to happen, or give me a chance to opt out.) After two close calls with completely locking the computer up and a restart, and yet a little more Mysterious Installing, the game finally started running fine.

It's also one of those indie games that can't be stuffed to explain anything, even how the basic interface works, or how to do the most basic things in the game. I spent a good 20 minutes of frustration and RAAAGE just figuring out that you have to click directly on things to mine/destroy them, you right-click to talk to people, and you have to move things to your 1-9 button inventory to actually use them in a permanent way, otherwise you're just dropping them and the character will keep vacuuming them back up when he gets near them. The game gives you a list of hotkey commands - not accessible once IN the actual game, unfortunately - but never explains the mouse interface at all that I saw, and that's what you're using like 90% of the time. So that's bullshit.

Even with the basics of how to play sorted out, however, there's a laundry list of things that turned me off to the game. As with Minecraft, there's a day-night cycle, and zombies roam the Earth at night. So the first order of business is to build a shelter. I guess you're supposed to slap together some ramshackle hut out of wood at first, but I was having a hell of a time figuring out the particulars of building anything (you have to use specific crafted materials for specific things like the floor and walls), so I passed the first night in a cave I dug into a hillside and blocked off with stone. OK, so here's the first major problem with the game - for the first few days you're really too weak to be roaming around at night, so you're forced to basically hole up and wait for the horrible night to pass. Problem is, this takes christing forever. I literally went and cleaned most of my bathroom while waiting for a night to pass.

Enemies are a constant respawning annoyance. Your building and mining is continually interrupted by slimes who seem to have nothing better to do in the world but all hunt you constantly. It's especially annoying as there's no real way to pause the game - while in your inventory, the game action continues, so you're having to watch out for endlessly respawning fiends while you're trying to figure out all the unexplained mechanics of the game. And building is hinky as all hell in exactly what you can place, and where.

It didn't take too long before I got sick of the vagaries of trying to figure out how to do every basic thing, and sick of having to pop out of the game constantly to read some tutorial or watch a video or something just to understand what should be basic mechanics of the gameplay (and should be explained in-game.) It might seem like a weird comparison, but I think this one scratches people's OCD itch in a similar way that WoW (another game I've never had any desire at all to play) does. I don't get off on building the biggest castle or hoarding the shiniest equipment, it's just not interesting at all to me. The constant repetitious mining and the 8-bit-caliber combat just seem like such a massively tedious grind. Instead of grinding "mobs" for "rare drops" for hours, you're running around looking for rare metals to mine to build equipment instead. Different mechanics, same OCD.  I just think it's a very hit-or-miss proposition, and the calls for "Game Of The Year!" for it are a little shortsighted. I think the game will either really do it for you, or you'll be done in an hour or less with no desire to go back. It's frequently on sale for 5 bucks though, so I suppose it's worth a gamble if you're curious.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video