Don’t Starve Review

Charm, style, and a winning gameplay formula – that’s essentially what makes Klei Entertainment’s “Don’t Starve” an absolutely smashing game.  Melding survival horror aspects with an open world platform, this game pull you in with its overhead perspective 3rd person design.  People who enjoy titles like Minecraft will likely find this game to be highly entertaining as a lot what you’re doing is essentially the same – foraging for things to help protect you from the forces of darkness (you know the drill).  However, as the title suggests, the point here isn’t to build up elaborate fortresses or castles, but rather to avoid starving to death.  Of course that’s not the only threat out there, you’ll also have to make sure that you can ward off enemies and avoid going insane.

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Assuming the role of a ”gentleman scientist” named Wilson (a charmingly snobbish character), you’re thrust into a very unforgiving environment by a trickster demon named “Maxwell” where only your ingenuity will save you.  All in all, the in-game mechanics make sense, even if you don’t readily understand what to do (due to a lack of general instruction); you’ll learn soon enough after a few comical deaths.  The real point of this title is exploration, and there’s plenty of it.

Visuals

Right away most will immediately take note of Don’t Starve’s unique art style, which comes off as sort of “hand drawn” or “roughly animated”.  This isn’t to say that the game looks coarse though, but rather “organic” in its aesthetics.  In terms of pure graphics, Don’t Starve looks fantastic – it’s most certainly nothing to scoff at.  Moreover, since the environment is procedurally generated, there’s actually quite a bit of challenge when it comes to exploring as you never know what you’re going to encounter.

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Gameplay

The truly brilliant aspect of Don’t Starve is its gameplay, which (while unforgiving at times) rewards the smart, creative player with a deeply engrossing and cartoonishly macabre experience.  As previously indicated, the goal is simply to survive, by any means necessary.  In order to do that you’ll need to investigate remote, unknown portions of the map – places where anyone, or anything, might be lurking.  More seasoned open world gamers should feel right at home within the game’s confines, as rummaging around for weapons, goods and treasures is probably second nature to you.  Some might even find the open-ended nature of Don’t Starve to be a little bit intimidating, perhaps preferring to stick with a more scripted experience.  If that sounds like you, not to worry, the game also incorporates an "adventure mode" which features more familiar challenge-based objectives (which increase in difficulty as you progress).  Naturally, this additional mode of play can act as a sort of stepping stone toward additional master of the game.

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Verdict

“Don’t Starve” for the PS4 is a delightful, yet challenging open world title with a definitive flash arcade feel.  In truth, there really aren’t a lot of other interesting titles available in this genre of this caliber, which makes it a must-get game for those who relish in exploration and discovery.  In short, if you’re a fan of anything open world that involves survival, horror, foraging, treasure-seeking or combat with bizarre creatures, this game’s for you.

Rating 8.8

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