Browsing the Steam offerings at the beginning of the year, I noticed a new indie looking game called Don't Starve. After a quick glance at the page I see it is labelled as a wilderness survival game developed by Klei Entertainment. OK, sounds like my kind of thing I guess. Scavenge and gather resources, keep the terrors of the world at bay and such. I also see it is still in beta and this is an early release, so expect bugs and an unfinished product. This has not deterred me before, since I found buying Minecraft to be a positive purchase overall.
I have to confess, though. I was not expecting much from it, and not because it was clearly marked as an early access beta. Not that I was expecting bugs from it, simply because I wondered how in depth it could be. Was it purely a Minecraft style game with a different camera perspective? There is something to be said for moderate expectations going into something new.
Maybe I am too cynical for my own good? Maybe I have the right idea to not let high expectations get the better of me? It does leave plenty of room to be happy with my purchase, and happy I was. Being a beta at the moment, the game has little in the way of tutorial and, honestly, it feels better for it as you experiment and explore the world, and learn all there is to know about how you can interact with your environment. I wonder if this is a design choice for that reason alone, or if it is simply not done yet. The game is littered with little details that make a full and rich experience with plenty of replay potential. Though as a means of introduction, I will say that the basic idea of the game is to simply survive, as the blurb on the Steam page states.
|Protect the fire! Quick, grab and axe!|
Rain at night is not fun. In a fun kind of way.
|My winter camp, complete with glowing yellow egg thing...|
And bunnies on my ears. Oh yes.
|Wolfgang gets busy gathering some wood on day 1.|
this game might actually be and the bar of expectation was being closed in on at rapid pace by now. Other instances of depth came when I suddenly happened upon some neutral NPCs in the form of pig men at their makeshift village, and the centre piece of this being their fat 'king' sitting in the middle of it all. Can I give them something? I gave them some food and the pig man stuffed his face with it, then followed me all the way home calling me his friend. I had adopted this pig man who then helped fend off large spiders if they came close to my camp.
Then I found out that not all experimentation is going to yield a positive result as I fed the pig man some monster meat, wondering why I should feed them all the good meat that I will be needing for myself. I won't spoil this one for you though. Needless to say it was not a great time had by all involved. Neither was it funny when I set my camp fire for the night in a thick forest, intent on continuing lumber-jacking into the night, only to have the forest around me catch fire and burn to a crisp. Oops... but hey I had wondered where I should look to get charcoal, something needed to make a crock pot for cooking better food. Hitting the crispy trees yielded a couple of lumps of the stuff so, again I had learned something new!
|Burn them all. Buuuurn them.... aaaaaalllllllll.....|
|Beefalo. And poo. Don't get too close to either.|
areas that are usually full of trees like a thick forest. Very few rabbits inhabit the place though you may find the pig man village and their king. Light green grass meadows can be a mix of all sorts. You should find a lot of food laying around and a few rabbit holes to trap. Also they tend to have a chance of spawning many bee hives. The yellow grass fields are more a grazing ground for the Beefalo creatures who provide wool and manure for farming. Just watch out for their foul tempers when around them. You will also find a lot more tall grass to harvest, though no trees grow here naturally. Rocky areas have.. rocks. Yes, I know! Who would have thought. Ohh and there is also the chance of a semi-hostile creature lurking around there. You will know it when you see it. There are other biomes too and they are randomly stuck together when a world is generated for you with each new game. Earlier in the beta, when I first started playing Don't Starve, the biomes were mostly uniform in their size and shape, like large circles overlapping each other, and usually they were in a similar pattern of distribution. In later releases of the beta the biome distribution and overall map shape are more random. When you die you can continue in the same world, starting from scratch with resources and unlocks, or you can make a new one again.
|Unlocking characters via death XP.|
|Even though it is not voiced, the dialogue is amusing and light-hearted.|
I do know this. I am very satisfied with my decision to buy this game. And I am confident that anyone who buys this game will be satisfied as well. If you want to wait for full release then by all means, do so. I would, however, urge you to put it on your wishlist.