Don’t Starve: First Impressions
Hungry for some PS4 games? Don’t starve is out and free on PS+…
I used to watch a show called Survivorman, where an outdoor survivalist braves the wilderness with only his camera and a few random supplies. While I always told myself I would never find myself in any of those situations, it would be cool to have the opportunity to brave the wilderness and prove that you have what it takes to survive.
Vancouver’s Klei Entertainment (creators of indie hits Shank and Mark of the Ninja) probably had the same thought when they developed Don’t Starve – a game that is pretty much a virtual representation of Survivorman – but one that you can play from the warmth and comfort of your own home.
Nevermind the weird mad scientist intro when you boot it up – I’m sure it comes into play later but it’s irrelevant at the start of the game. The name pretty much says it all. Don’t starve!
When you begin, you’re dropped into a randomly generated game world. You’re not given any tutorials or hints – you just have to go around, explore, pick up items, and survive. Objects you pick up can be used for a variety of purposes, and combined with other items to produce useful tools that will help you survive longer. The game features a day-night cycle, so you’ll need fire for when it gets dark, and you’ll have to keep yourself fed. I haven’t lived long enough, but apparently there’s also season changes, which add extra wrinkles to your gameplay.
Random critters roam the countryside, and can range from harmless (butterflies and birds) to murderous. In my first few playthroughs, I was attacked by bees, bullfrogs, and some unidentified thing that killed me in the dark when my torch ran out.
You will die in this game. A lot. And while it may be a bit depressing to think of how pointless it is to play, it also gives you that much satisfaction when you get things right.
The look and feel of this game is a bit of a departure from other Klei games, which for the most part tend to possess a more cartoony feel to them. Don’t Starve on the other hand employs a more old-school look with muted colours, and a visual design that looks like it was cut out of paper. It’s not flashy, it’s somewhat drab, and the character design reminds me a bit of the old Beetlejuice cartoon, but it works for this title and produces a creepy, chilling, Tim Burton-esque vibe upon first glance.
The sound is a bit minimalistic too, with no vocals – but what is there works to add a bit of atmosphere to the game.
The Old Guy in me Says
It’s not bad for a free game, and the download size is manageable at under 500 mb, so there’s really no excuse not to download it if you have a PS+ subscription.
Unlike the other free PS+ offerings Resogun or Contrast, Don’t Starve doesn’t strike me as a “pick up and play” kind of game, but one you’ll want to invest some time in to figure out the nuances and get the most comprehensive experience out of. The game will scale up as you advance further, scavenge more things, and build more things, and unlock other characters.
But if I haven’t made it clear earlier, this is a tough game, and you will die.Those who have no patience for trial-and-error might want to just steer clear and stick with tried-and-true games with finite stories and straightforward gameplay.
First Impression: Quirky but potentially frustrating title with a steep learning curve. It’s still a must-download, but after the first few rounds, it will probably only be played when there are droughts in new title releases.
An ongoing series where we play a new game for a short time and give our initial thoughts about it. We simply don't have the time to finish the game quickly. However, what we do have is enough gaming experience to be able to tell you what we think of the game and if it's worth it for you to invest your own time to playing it.
A note on our rating scale: We rate things out of five, but don't confuse it with ratings from other publications. We’re not professional reviewers who do this for a living, we don't get sent free copies of games, and we don't have the luxury to play a ton of games during our work hours - we buy/borrow all our games and do this during our off-time, outside of our jobs and families. Our ratings take into account the time and money spent, and are here to help you make an informed decision on whether this game is worthy of your hard-earned cash and limited time.5 – An almost flawless game with good graphics, sound and gameplay. You might even want to replay it many times, despite your busy schedule. A must-buy.
4 – It has some flaws, but it’s still worth a playthrough. Buy it if you like this type of game.
3 – An average game targeted to specific niches. It has its redeeming factors. Buy it on sale or if you fit its target demographic/niche.
2 – The game sucks, but some will get enjoyment out of it. Play it at your own risk.
1 – Broken, ugly game with few redeeming qualities. Probably shouldn’t have been made. Leave this game alone and don’t even look at it.
0 – Worse than garbage. Game companies should pay you for the time you spent playing this trash.