Don't Starve: Console Edition
Top Critic Average
Don't Starve is a beautiful take on Minecraft's formula that ultimately left me feeling a bit too empty.
An interesting stew of ideas and great presentation can't make up for a game that goes out of its way to frustrate and discourage its players.
This brutal survival and crafting adventure delivers fun and punishment in equal measure.
We expected big things from the studio behind Mark of the Ninja and Shank, and in Don't Starve, we got them. It's a wonderfully dark survival-craft game with great scope for emergent, unique experiences, even if it will make you rage occasionally. The UI betrays the PC roots and can be a little hard to use on a smaller TV, and there are those who will find Don't Starve just too mean-spirited to fully appreciate, but as an intentionally unforgiving survival sim with a sinister twist, it absolutely excels.
Don't Starve is a gorgeous, terrifying, often funny game, albeit one that can chew away at the player's morale with its constant demands and willingness to undo hard work. Provided you go in willing to work hard and take punches on the nose, there's plenty of reward to be had.
No doubt, Don't Starve will split opinion squarely down the middle, but for those willing to put the man hours in it there's undoubtedly a proverbial treasure throve of depth at hand. Either way, Klei Entertainment's offering is a refreshingly robust and intriguing title which sets the wheels of Sony's PS4 indie proclamation firmly in motion.
With an amazing amount of possibilities open to you, most of which I have not mentioned here, no two play throughs are the same. Yes you will get frustrated and yes, your road will be a long and bizarre one, but ultimately it will be a journey of exploration, wonder and the more than occasional scare.
Don't Starve may make your stomach rumble in frustration if you're not willing to invest the required time to master its complex systems, but triumph over its crushing difficulty, and you may find a satisfactory dish here. The beautiful art style, entertaining music, and solid gameplay mean that you owe it to yourself to at least give the title a try – but know that not everyone will want to stick around for seconds.
"Don't Starve's" gameplay is unique, but it's very much a throwback to trial-and-error gaming. It's reminiscent of games that employed a baptism-by-fire approach. In turn, these aspects make the game a social experience despite being strictly single player. Half of its fun is talking to other people who have played the game to share ideas.
From what our top men have been able to glean from the materials included within, there is another world out there that is ever changing. The dangers are vast, but the prospect of being the first people to explore this new frontier is too great to turn away. It seems no matter how you left our world, you always ended up in this strange place with nothing but the clothes on your back. The learning curve was a bit much for the first few to be sent there it seems, but as more went, things grew easier over time.