Terraria (Vita) Review
- Highly absorbing and addictive crafting and exploring fun that you can now enjoy on the go
Not so much?
- Controls a little trickier than just clicking with a mouse
Terraria, Re-Logic’s 2D answer to Minecraft, has been spreading across a lot of platforms this year. From its beginnings as a PC game, Terraria went on to conquer consoles and even phones, and now it takes a step into the handheld market with this, the Playstation Vita release. But does Terraria’s addictive and fun nature [...]
Terraria, Re-Logic’s 2D answer to Minecraft, has been spreading across a lot of platforms this year. From its beginnings as a PC game, Terraria went on to conquer consoles and even phones, and now it takes a step into the handheld market with this, the Playstation Vita release. But does Terraria’s addictive and fun nature make up for the fact that we’re just seeing yet another release of exactly the same game?
After the success of Minecraft proved that players were happy to sink hours of their lives into open-ended games about, well, mining and crafting, it wasn’t surprising that other game studios wanted a piece of the action. Terraria is one such title, but despite its derivative origins, it stands on its own as a highly enjoyable game.
At the start of your adventure, you get to name and customise a character, and then generate a world for them to explore. Thrust into your new world with just a few basic tools, your first goal is to construct shelter before night falls, because whilst the environment is relatively safe during the day, once night falls, hordes of zombies will emerge to feast on your brains.
From these humble beginnings, there is much to do. Exploring the surface world reveals various different biomes, from jungles and woodlands to inhospitable snowfields and deserts, and even demon-infested areas of corruption. The true treasures, however, lie underground, and it is up to you and your trusty pickaxe to delve deep into the bowels of the earth and retrieve the precious resources you need. Bring them back to the surface and you can get on with the all-important task of crafting everything from dwellings and furniture to useful equipment for your next forays. Build a decent village (or at least a set of rooms), and you may even find that NPCs start moving in and offering their services to you.
What really sets Terraria apart from Minecraft, however, is how much more important monster encounters are. The game isn’t just a massive blank canvas for construction – you can’t ignore the fact that hordes of zombies will come to assault you after dark, especially not on Blood Moon nights when they gain the ability to open doors and invade your dwellings. Not only that, but as you develop your character, boss enemies will start showing up – ignore these at your peril. Death may only be permanent in the hardest difficulty mode, but even on more forgiving difficulties it comes at the cost of losing your coins or items.
Visually, Terraria opts for an 8-bit 2D environment that is instantly cute and appealing – it may lack the construction options of a fully 3D environment, but you can still achieve plenty within the confines of your two-dimensional world. Sprites and environments are always well drawn, and overall the game boasts a simple charm that adds to its overall appeal. Background music is simple and catchy, and changes depending on the environment and time of day.
Whilst it’s perfectly possible to enjoy all Terraria has to offer by yourself, those wishing to share the experience will be happy to avail themselves of the online options. Invite a player to your world, or visit someone else’s, and you can either play co-operatively to explore worlds and fend off those pesky zombies, or make it every man for himself in PvP mode.
All of the above is true for any version of Terraria you might pick up and play – so is there any advantage to choosing the Vita version in particular? Certainly this version of the game offers portability without having to work in the cramped confines of a smartphone. Overall, the controls have mapped well, and both front and rear touchpads are used – the former for selecting items and options, the latter for aiming the cursor. Two cursor modes are provided, a manual one where you can select specific squares, and a ‘smart’ cursor that lets you aim your weapon or item vaguely in the right direction. Both cursors have their uses, and you’ll certainly find yourself relying on both as you play the game. Nonetheless, despite these efforts, overall the interface lacks of the ease of simply clicking the mouse to indicate what you want to interact with.
More than just a Minecraft clone, Terraria is a fun and engaging game in its own right. With its balance of crafting, exploration and battling monsters, there is much here to occupy your time no matter which aspects of the game you choose to prioritise. It’s definitely worth picking up, but be warned