Don’t Starve is an addictive Indie gem that can be better described as an uncompromising wilderness survival game full of science and magic. The objective is pretty simple: avoid death by starvation and do not get eaten alive by nightmarish creatures. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to also avoid being stung to death by bees.
Don’t Starve: Giant Edition
The game features a wide range of quirky and unique characters to play as in the wilderness of Don’t Starve’s procedurally generated worlds. You unlock characters by achieving specific milestones, and you always start with Wilson, an intrepid Gentleman Scientist who has been trapped by a demon and transported to a mysterious world.
You must learn to exploit the environment and its inhabitants if you ever hope to escape and find your way back home. You are literally at your own. You appear in the middle of nowhere, with just one simple tip: Don’t Starve. That’s all the tutorial you will get. What can you do with those rocks? Would it be a good idea to build a pickaxe? Is it necessary to chop those trees? How do you build a campfire before midnight? Go figure it out quickly or die. But don’t worry: within a few lives it’s easy to become a professional at gathering resources to build fires, axes, spears and much more. The hard part comes later, much later. As you go deep in the world and explore, you will find an insane amount of content. And when you think you have explored pretty much everything, you realize there is more underground.
Progression is simply through building new equipment, machines, and by finding new resources, just like in Minecraft. There isn’t any skill tree or stats to upgrade by leveling. Your chance of surviving is based on your current equipment and resources. The more you explore, collect and build, you’ll be able to build all manner of contraptions, including fridges, farms, traps and even some sort of weird pet-mule-dog-chest who will carry extra items for you and follow you around the map, should you want him to. Build some walls, fend off some creatures, and keep exploring, and building, and getting better.
It is also worth mentioning that Don’t Starve is a roguelike game. This means that death is permanent. If you die, you lose all your items and progress. So be prepared to start over and over again as you try to last a little longer than your previous toon. But don’t worry, the amount of content and randomness is pretty high, and this prevents the game from becoming repetitive. You can spawn in a sea of resources or near all sort of wildlife forms just waiting for you to give them a reason to attack. You can spawn near a farm of carrots or near a bunch of poisonous mushrooms.
This kind of randomness is also fun on its own way. Getting your first backpack can be super easy or just plain impossible depending on your surroundings. There is literally nothing you can do to ensure a good start. The speed of your progress is tied to the procedurally generated world you are now playing in.
All dangers aside, Don’t Starve’s world is a charming place to be. The visuals will make you think about Tim Burton movies. It is a really cool isometric 2D style with hand-drawn artwork. The esthetics feel unique and interesting, and there are tons of tiny details to appreciate while you are scavenging food. Remember: your goal is to survive. You will find yourself exploring and paying attention to pretty much everything most of your time, so the game must be interesting to explore. When you are able to fend off most of the creatures, build a few farms and get a steady supply of food, you will be able to go deep into the unknown only to discover more powerful creatures and strange places where not so lucky folk remains rest.
Don’t Starve: Giant Edition also comes with the Reign of Giants expansion included. The expansion pack offers new threats, new items and equipment to craft, but as the game will also warn you, Reign of Giants is meant for experienced players and makes the game even more difficult than before. If it’s your first time with Don’t Starve, or you have little experience, it is highly recommended to play several –and I mean several- runs before going full bananas on the expansion. The basics are easy to pick but hard to master.
Don’t Starve: Giant Edition is definitely an interesting experience. It is fun and challenging as any good roguelike game. Once you get the hang of the basics and start to familiarize yourself with the rules of the world, you realize this apparently simple game is actually really complex. Overall, it’s a great indie title that you will love if you don’t like the idea of a game holding your hand.