Terraria is a 2D crafting exploration game. It has called itself the 2D Minecraft, but this game puts a higher emphasis on combat. More enemies, more attack patterns, more weapons that do unique things including grappling hooks, grenades, throwing stars, sticky grenades and so on.
Once you create your character, the game generates an entire world when you start, so no two playthroughs are exactly the same. When you begin, you have a pic axe, wood axe and sword. Wood axes cut down trees, pic axes dig and take down things you’ve put up and swords, spears, bows and other weapons are efficient for dealing with enemies. The only problem here is switching between all three with the use of the mouse wheel. Not just that, but you’ll need to aim your mouse cursor at blocks and enemies. Mouse aim on a platformer isn’t that fun, but its even worse on PSN.
The left mouse button is to use the object you have highlighted in your inventory. The right mouse button interacts with things such as opening doors. There is a jump key that thankfully you can rebind, since I find it difficult to traverse when I need to move to the right, jump and aim with the mouse. There is an inventory button where you’ll not only see a list of 10 hotkeyed items up at the top, but a crafting system that lets you easily craft from things in your inventory. You won’t have to guess what combination of things will make something, the game bluntly tells you that you can make this, because you have this and that. You will need workshop tables and smelters to make more complex items like armor. Its a nice system, but the array of items you can craft is limited to one column instead of an entire grid of things. This causes you to have to scroll to what you want to build instead of just selecting it from a giant grid like the inventory.
You can equip your character with armor, helmets, greaves (leg armor) and other things you find along the way like climbing claws. Its as easy as drag and drop. Life will regenerate, but if you don’t have the time, potions will do and you can even craft a campfire to increase the generation. The game gives you treasures that make me feel overpowered and invulnerable too early in the game. Finding things adds another interesting layer because of how much loot is in a single chest and getting to the treasures is always interesting. Finding underground rooms, having to dig a chest out of a wall that you may have missed the first 8 times you passed by it.
With all of the materials you harvest, wood, dirt, stone, gold, copper, and so on, you can use them to build and craft. Build platforms to get to higher places or keep from dropping to your death. Build walls to protect yourself from zombies at night. Build doors to let you and other NPCs through, but keep out enemies. You can make your own creations. Want a treehouse, go for it. Want to make a Castlevania style mansion with stone gargoyles made with copper walls? Go for it. You can even have friends drop into your world to help and play.
There is a lot of creativity in the game, both in enemy design, world terrain and what you can craft. Stronger monsters lurk in the dark either in caves or at night. You can put down torches to keep them from respawning and you can carry a torch to light your way, you just can’t ‘work’ or fight while carrying a torch. The enemies feel good, they’ll jump, float and fly at you from odd angles, but the combat just doesn’t. Uneven terrain with a sword that only goes forward can leave you at a great disadvantage, especially flying enemies that come from all sorts of different angles, but luckily a lot of weapons have mouse aim and even then it can be difficult to hit enemies. Axes and other weapons have a full overhead to forward attack that seems good. Some weapons have a chance to knock back enemies that feels helpful.
Because this is a game of exploration, you have a mini map that helps a lot if you want it, but not just that you have a big overall map. You’ll only see territory you’ve explored. You don’t have to have it or use it, in fact there’s a permadeath hardcore mode, but whenever I spend hours in a single playthrough, I don’t want to feel like my time was wasted like that. My work and time spent chopping down trees, digging through dirt, assembling things.
There is a lot of creativity and the chance to build a 2D castle of your dreams, mold strange worlds to your liking and explore the depths of lava labyrinths. You can sink hours, days, months and years into this game by building and exploring. With all of this being said, the game feels more like work than fun. I want a game that I can play. I never felt that I was getting anywhere with hours into it. Playing with friends in the game was a lot of fun, but friends make everything fun.