A sandbox game of discovery and crafting. The long time PC darling Terraria makes its long awaited debut on Sony’s PS Vita.
Terraria has often been described as a 2D Minecraft, however that would be doing it a bit of a disservice. Whilst there are many similarities, Terraria offers more of a game than Mojang’s title.
The things that are similar to Minecraft work really well. There are the randomly built worlds, that can be played online or completely on your own. You have the day night cycle, crafting, wandering, resource management and it is a game that lets you run wild with your imagination.
However, unlike Minecraft there is more of an endgame, there are quests of sorts that give you a bit of direction, there is even an end boss should you choose to take it that far. But whether you choose to do any of that is completely up to you. That is the beauty of a game like this and how sandbox should be done.
Completing certain tasks will bring various NPC’s into your world, who can occupy the various buildings you may or may not have bothered building. Enemies seem to arrive frequently too and must be dealt with, which can become a bit of a pain, but usually can be fended off with ease. Destroying the enemies is worthwhile though, as they will drop loot that becomes vital to crafting, some of the bigger boss enemies will drop much rarer loot.
Should you choose to take a game as far as you possibly can,you can unlock hard mode, which is pretty much more of the same, but with harder enemies and bosses to deal with, but with that better rewards for crafting yet more items. Which is an interesting mechanic, because as said, it is sandbox, you can ignore all this, but by pushing forward, you can get so much more to play with.
Despite being totally 2D doesn’t hamper the creativity one bit. You will start by building a simple hut, purely because that is the best you can manage before it gets dark and the danger arrives, but soon after you gather more wood, ore, stone, etc and your creative juices start to flow.
Gamestyle started with a small hut for safety, but decided to dig deeper into the hill we were nestled against, and pretty soon that hut turned into a house, which then had extra levels added to it, before becoming something of a mansion. Rooms had lighting, some got given furniture but then something else was realised.
By digging down, it was possible to get to some rarer materials, so at the back of our newly built mansion, we built a special room that led into a series of mining tunnels, that took us deeper into the map. This wasn’t something that happened in a quick play through though, this was hours, upon hours of gameplay. Going a bit further, gathering those resources, doing a bit more crafting, going back down the mines, further discovery and so on.
It became so easy to forget what you were meant to be doing and what initially set you on this journey you were on. A few days in (in real time) and barely was any of the game actually touched. At one point it became apparent that our mining tunnels had taken us back to the surface, right by a lake, the perfect place to build another structure… so that’ll be another few days lost then.
Whilst initially impressed by our own journey, it paled in significance when looking at the internet and seeing what others had accomplished, homes that made our own look like a mud hut were bad enough, but other people had just gone for broke with the creativity. There are literal works of art out there and can only serve to inspire.
That is what Terraria is all about though, allowing you to use this world how you want, there aren’t any real constraints in place, but at the same time, it sees itself as a game and should you choose to push through to a completion, then that is fine too and that end game is in place for those that seek it out.
This is a game that has been about a while on PC, 360 and PS3 but the Vita version offers up something of its own. The screen is smaller, which can be a pain with some aiming being a little clumsy, but the use of the touch screen to navigate section works really well and does away with some of the minor frustrations of navigation on other console versions.
Being on the Vita, means you can simply pick up the console, play for a bit, put it to sleep and return later. This is ideal for playing during quick work breaks, or on the bus, etc. There is also the ability to cross-play and cross-save, which means that you can spend time on the PS3 version when you have that spare time, then upload your save and maybe work on those smaller details whilst out and about, or whilst the TV is in use.
Terraria really is a joy to play, you can spend hours, upon hours doing things and seemingly get nowhere. But that works, it isn’t a stressful game, it is very relaxing and something that will become a permanent fixture in your gaming life. The possibilities are endless and the only barrier is your own imagination.