Don’t Starve: First Impressions

Hungry for some PS4 games? Don’t starve is out and free on PS+…

Doesn't look like much of a survivor...

Doesn’t look like much of a survivor…

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.



Hope you don’t mind shades of brown, tan and olive. You’re gonna see a lot of that in this game!

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.


  • evilenger

    Tried it last night and managed to survive 5 or 6 days. Could have lasted longer but took a risk and charged in attacking at some bees and a big buffalo which took away most of my health and then killed me. Agreed with what you said. Interesting game but not really something that I could really get into. Then again, time flew and was surprised that I had actually played so much!