Hello and welcome to this Day Z review of Don’t Starve! My name is Rena and I’ll be your hostess.
Don’t Starve is a survival game and that’s quickly given away by the title. The title also describes the entire goal of the game; get something to eat or die.
The game features the good ol’ WASD and mouse, or controller support. One notices its unique art style from the get go. It also gives you lots of customisation options when it comes to world creation, but I opted in for the default world. There are also more characters to unlock, the default being a scientist.
You get thrown right into it – after a short cinematic where someone tells you to find something to eat (thanks buddy) – without any sort of tutorial. Your very own survival instinct will have to suffice. If you have some previous experience with this genre, you’ll know what to do pretty much immediately: make tools, chop down some trees, find food.
My first in-game day went smoothly. I destroyed as much of my surroundings as possible, gathering any and all materials and food I could. I realised that fighting isn’t readily available, but crafting weapons will require the aptly named Science Machine which I wouldn’t be able to craft for a while. I resided to chasing anything with a pulse around with an axe, to no avail. Meat is off the menu, boys! I sustained myself with carrots and berries until nightfall, when I built a campfire and waited till morning to go on with my adventures.
The sun came up again and off I went, chopping, picking up and examining more things. I found a turkey which ran away from my axe. I made a couple of traps hoping to catch some weird looking bunnies, but they totally ignored me and my contraptions.
Here’s some foreshadowing for you: I’m extremely curious by nature. In video games, I will explore/click on/pick up everything possible… and you know what they say about curiosity and a certain animal of feline origin.
So I found a wormhole. I decided to jump in, ’cause why not? The wormhole took me to another map where the first thing I saw was a beehive. Ignoring a childhood trauma I attacked the beehive, which of course gave me the gift of bees attacking me in the face.
And then I was dead. Game over. Fin.
I had to start over. My character was placed into the Morgue. Cause of death: Killer Bee.
Starting a new game, I was confident with the knowledge I had acquired. I went straight to work, made a snazzy armour out of grass, roasted some carrots and embarked on a quest to find the gold nugget that would allow me to craft the Science Machine.
I made it to Day 3 this time. Beehives were ignored, pig heads on sticks found. I also accidentally fed a pig-man, who immediately took a dump. The weird thing is not that he took a dump, but the fact that I could then pick it up. Nooo, thanks.
I entered some sort of creepy swampland where tentacles would occasionally pop out of the ground and smack me. I found a clearing and decided to wait the night out.
At this point something weird started happening. Since my first few moments playing Don’t Starve, I noticed that besides the two values that keep me alive – hunger and health – there was also a third one, described only by its icon: a brain. Judging from the mechanics of other games in this genre, I concluded that this represented sanity. The thing is, mine was in a critical state (much like in real life) and the value kept dropping. I had no idea how to make my poor guy sane again. He started hallucinating and his vision got blurry.
I promptly ignored the fact that I was going absolutely nuts and went on exploring. I found another wormhole, said what the hell, and jumped straight in. On my brand new world, I was able to mine some boulders, which granted me the much sought after gold nugget. This was a hollow victory, however. My sanity was drained, at which point the nightmarish monsters I was seeing started attacking me.
The world went dark. Cause of Death: Terrorbeak.
Epilogue: Don’t Starve seems like a great game. Is it great for me? I am not yet sure. It is definitely eye candy, both with its art style and the sheer amount of things available for exploration. I describe myself as an old lady trapped in the body of a 27 year-old, so the sense of urgency oozing from this game makes me a bit uncomfortable.
I will be definitely revisiting this weird world.
See you all on The Hangover review of Don’t Starve.