Terraria Review

Terraria Review

Can survival crafters work in a 2D setting?

Welcome to Terraria, a world where the grass is, in fact, greener on the other side, and the caverns have more depth than most strategy role-playing games combined.

Survival games like Terraria have expanded comprehensively in terms of breaking conventions. Terraria is easily one of the best examples of this.

Terraria asks the ultimate question of whether the genre can work in a 2D setting, and not only does the game manage to pull this off, but it highlights its masterful game design in the process.

Story and concept

Terraria offers a less traditional story as the game doesn’t focus on explicit storytelling. A story told through the ludo-narrative, Terraria drops players into the starting area with a simple guide NPC. Players in Terraria will carve their own identities into the game world.

The guide himself provides several helpful tips for players to get their footing and recommends some survival basics, such as building a house and arming oneself.

Other NPCs give the world more life as you meet them by expanding your home and give the player more comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone.

The King Blob Boss NPC in Terraria

Terraria is primarily a sandbox experience. There are snippets of details throughout the world that help shed a bit more light on the more supernatural elements. In particular, the dungeon is an area that offers a stark contrast compared to most of nature in the overworld, with it being a human-made structure, albeit with no inhabitants.

The most exciting part of the game is the drastic tonal shift halfway through once players take down a particular boss, which activates the game’s hard mode.

As a concept, Terraria does a phenomenal job at keeping players engaged with its widely diverse world, with players filling in the gaps with their tale and the bits and bobs provided.

With so many ways to be flexible in the creative department, each player and group of friends will always have their unique tale to tell.

Graphics

Minimalism is the name of the game. Terraria manages to achieve more by using less in the graphical department. Spritework for Terraria looks lovely in motion with its simple yet incredibly charming characters and foes.

Animations for weapon attacks range from arcing sword swings to arrows being let loose from players’ bows to magical spells that offer varying shades of colors and flashy effects.

One of our favorite items within the game world is the shooting stars, which provide a cosmic glow and illuminate the land around the player as they fall from the sky. These situations are made comforting and sometimes eerie, with the backdrops and terrain used inside each biome.

A Cozy Cabin in the Terraria Snow Biome

Terraria’s winter biome, in particular, offers plenty of snowfall, and lava effects are prominent within the cave systems as well. Each biome displays a high level of attention to detail and provides a different experience and feel.

Enemies in Terraria also have the right amount of intimidation factor with their sprite work and combined with the cave systems’ backdrops and darkness factor. Terraria is a hallmark that a game can succeed in creative whimsy and style in the graphics department rather than relying on photo-realism.

Sound and atmosphere

Between the music and sound department, there is a lot to love within Terraria. There is a beautiful blend between synthesized instruments and a hint of strings in many tracks throughout the game.

Each biome offers music appropriate for the setting. The starting forest has an upbeat tune that comforts players when building a house and crafting essential tools.

Once the sun goes down, the once cheery overworld music shifts to hint at the unseen dangers of the night, which is appropriate given how the threats are significantly more dangerous without a proper light source.

Boss fights can also make players uneasy with their more rapid pace, which only further contributes to the game’s pleasant atmosphere.

Striking Pixel Art Scenes Are Common

Terraria opts to have a powerful contrast between the different biomes by having unique enemies, objects, and visuals to find.

Players can discover eerie statues and obelisks within zones such as “The Corrupted” or “The Crimson,” which hint at a greater evil lurking around the corner.

Despite the happy-go-lucky feeling in many zones, Terraria isn’t afraid to let some Eldritch fun take center stage with its cultish objects and oppressive undertones.

The Crimson biome focuses on a more gory depiction of the land, which is a far cry from the peaceful forest players start in.

Underground biomes can go from a relatively peaceful cave to an underground jungle teeming with life to a nightmarish hellscape filled with lava and demons.

With all of these different biomes, the immersive factors thrive with a player’s innate sense of exploration, making us feel like Terraria was our home away from home.

Gameplay

The single most substantial aspect of Terraria is how addictive the core gameplay is. Like other survival games of its kind, players will need to acquire the necessary tools to chop down trees and eventually craft a workbench.

Players will work their way up the tier list from copper tools to luminite. Endgame tools even can be hybrids, such as the Hamaxe, which is convenient and sounds just as impressive.

Every area of Terraria has something unique to discover, and with its sheer amount of items, players will be overwhelmed with the number of things they’ve collected.

Terraria has a wide variety of armors and equipment, aside from standard swords and bows. Player armor sets can offer unique abilities, such as dashing with the solar flare armor.

If you’re tired of using typically ranged weapons, why not try the boomerang chakrams? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even opt to become a spell-casting wizard with your very own in house magic meter.

Those stars from before are much more than a lovely collectible, and they are the key to upgrading your mana pool to cast even more spells.

One of the best parts about Terraria is its inclusion of engaging boss fights. Being naturally goal-oriented, these boss fights offered some of our group’s most satisfying moments while journeying through the game.

The Moon Lord Boss Fight

Everything we did had a sense of purpose. Simple things such as spelunking gave us the necessary resources to build up our armor to tank more hits against our foes, and searching for extra hearts felt as satisfying as ever.

We’ll never forget the sleepless nights we spent trying to go ever deeper into the cave system only to find ourselves face to face with the dreaded wall of flesh boss.

In particular, this boss is the way to access the game’s hard mode, which is the only way to get some of Terraria’s best items.

Terraria’s developers, Re-Logic, gave a vast amount of attention to boss fights, knowing how important they would be for many players.

Replay value

It is unbelievable how much there is to do in the Terraria game world. The random world generation, working in tandem with the multiplayer components and creative aspects, allow players to work together or to compete against one another in the quest to survive.

Like any good survival game, it’s ultimately defined by how well the core mechanics feel. Terraria is no exception with its delightful bosses, exciting exploration, and its overall sense of pure joy.

One major update remains for 2020, and it will continue to drive many players, including us, to continue playing this title into the future.

Wrapping up our Terraria review

Without a shadow of a doubt, Terraria is easily one of our favorite survival games played to date. Platformers were and still are one of our favorite genres, and being able to explore an entire world in this fashion is something we could have only dreamed of as kids. Being able to do so with friends, that just magnifies it.

Terraria will always hold a special place in our hearts as it was the game that allowed us to experience one of my dream games, and being able to complete 100 percent of it with friends will be amongst our fondest gaming memories.

If you have a friend that’s interested in getting started with Terraria, point them over to our simple Terraria Beginner’s Guide to get them pointed in the right direction.

About dg

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

View all posts by dg →