There’s something to be said for creating your own adventure, in a world of video games that are leaning more and more towards linearity. Enter Terraria, a game where you can build an empire, tunnel to the
depths of hell, and beat the hell out monsters all at the same time.

style="">  If the premise and
pictures make it seem like
Minecraft, that’s
intentional.  After
all, the subtitle to
the game is Shut Up and Dig Gaiden,
so the resemblance is natural, but the perspective objectives are

You start by customizing a tiny
SNES-esque sprite and
leaping into a server, whether it is local or online. 
This character is persistent and will be your
avatar throughout your adventures from server to server. style="">  Next, you’re equipped with
nothing but a pick
axe.  You need to
mine the earth for
materials and make weapons, armor, and utility tools to get around your
man-made cave patterns.

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style="font-style: italic;">It may not look like much, but
each little color splotch will take you a good 5 minutes to dig through
and explore.  This is just one randomly created world, so the
possibilities are endless!

Once you’re out of the Stone Age, you
repeat and
repeat.  But unlike
most games of this
sandbox-esque genre, there are objectives to complete on each server. style="">   An NPC Guide
roams the map and will fill you
in on objectives that can be done to advance the game, introduce more
NPCs, and
unlock more evil to fight, and hopefully, more loot!

Next thing you know, you’ve spent all
day on the game and
that sunset out your window is actually a sunrise. 
Welcome to Terraria. style="">  It sounds like a
winning formula, but do all of the ingredients in this recipe come out
success, or should this title have been left in the oven a bit more?


Rated E for everyone, and for good reason, there are no elements that would scare the little ones aside from the big bad people you might team up with online.

Gameplay - 97 / 100

Controlling your hero is as easy as
some basic arrow keys
for directions and mouse targeting, but it actually works quite well. style="">  Projectiles from bombs to
arrows and even
cool utility stuff like the Hookshot are aimed using your mouse cursor. style="">  It can be a little
difficult to dig precisely
when jumping to hit things overhead and out of your reach, but let’s
just say
that’s an accurate representation of a digging simulator.

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style="font-style: italic;">Construction is key to getting
objectives done and getting the attention of merchants.  Here
we are laying the foundation of what will surely be a glorious empire.
 Each block is hand crafted and placed by you, so you can
build spiraling dungeons or something out of SimTower if you so desire.

Everything from crafting to forming
teams of players is
intuitive and simple.  Anytime
you’ve got
items in your inventory and they can be put together, the prompt will
show up
in the bottom left of your menu.  If
you’re a crafting station, more items can be made and they’ll all be
listed.   These
recipes don’t stick with
you however, so you might be pulling up a wiki fairly often in order to
remember what you’re making and what you need to make it.

The further down you mine, the more
intimidating and
rewarding it gets.  Monsters
will tunnel
through walls, slimes will split upon death, and generally they’re all
good at navigating the terrain you mine regardless of how devious it
may be.  Don’t worry
about making it back up either.  You
can craft basic platforms and ledges to
places, as well as torches to light the way as you descend into the
darkness.  Should
you forget, later on
you’ll have items such as a Hookshot to grapple your way out or even
boots to simply fly on outta there!

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style="font-style: italic;">You still have to light every
individual area of your home.  No one wants to live in
darkness.  Note my friend being a crazy construction worker by
using a hookshot to get to where he wants to lay down walls.

The diversity of items is impressive,
and you’ll be doing a
lot more than swinging a sword and a pickaxe. 
Hell, once you get some serious items going you’ll be
throwing stars
from the heavens, wielding a ball and chain, or even creating vines out
of thin
air to attack your enemies.  style="">  You can craft with
everything from mud and
sand to obsidian or amethyst. 

Manipulation of physics is an
important key to creating cool
cave layouts, and the flow of water and/or lava will follow in the wake
of your
digging if you tap into those areas.  
Since you can drown and of course, burn up, wonton digging
will only
lead to your inevitable demise and a really ugly world to explore. style="">  Of course this means
you’ll have a hard time
making anything truly epic on a public server, since people love to dig
underneath it, or even run a damn river into it. 
Ever wake up to your house flooded? 
It’s about the same thing in two dimensions,
and the frustration that comes with it is quite similar.

If you’re wondering about how the
actual combat holds it,
it’s as simple as it gets with just attacking using various items or
weapons.    The
enemy AI is decent enough
and will navigate terrain fairly effectively, so don’t think you can
use that
against them.  The
same cannot be said
for the NPC AI, who will happily walk around in vulnerable spots during
raids on your position and die horribly. 
Don’t worry, they respawn, it’s just frustrating to see
your nurse go
down because she went for a stroll at night. 
The time cycles do affect the monsters that spawn as well
as a couple
other factors I’ll leave you to discover. 
One of the coolest parts about this game is that no one
has figured it
all out yet and you’ll be discovering things that possibly no one else
has yet.

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style="font-style: italic;">We completed a couple objectives
and our reward was... spawning the goddamn Eye of Cthulu.  And
it's pissed.  Bosses are rough but fair, and have patterns and
weaknesses that can be exploited.

Bosses can be fairly rough to tackle
alone, so that’s when
you fire up a server with your map on it and invite your buddies to
help you
bash heads and collect great loot!

Graphics - 65 / 100

While being nothing short of primitive, the graphics get the job done. The terrain you’re mining is easily identifiable and items are unique in their appearances when they drop. The frame rate is great, which is about all you can say when you’re running around with a bunch of 16-bit era sprites. It captures indie feel of the game though, and sometimes simple really is good.

Sound - 50 / 100

With only a couple sound clips for getting injured and about as many music tracks, please turn on something else while playing this game. You’re not missing out on much. Zero voices and forgettable fantasy music are all you’re going to hear, and the sound effects are nothing to celebrate either. It doesn’t help that everything is repetitive as hell to both fight and do, which means you’ll be hearing a lot of the same sounds as well.

Multiplayer - 95 / 100

Multiplayer is exactly the same but with a few twists. There are no limits to joining a new server from scratch with a decked out previous character, but with no ability to scan or join a public server list, you’re limited to joining friends or finding good private servers yourself. The actual multiplayer itself is spot on, but the lack of a public browsing system is frustrating. No one types in IPs anymore!

A bustling empire.
 These NPCs range from shopkeepers, to healers, to guides that
will assist you with your next critical objectives.  Note that
they can, and will die if attacked, but don't worry they respawn
quickly.  This isn't an escort game and the developers aren't
going to make you put up with that crap.

Value - 95 / 100

For 10 bucks you’ll be getting a game that will eat at least a day or two of your time, and that’s a pretty good money to fun ratio. There’s enough to see and do on each map to last a solid day or so, and then another one is just a random creation cycle away. A lot of the fun isn’t presented by the game itself though, and is created by the player. Is this a bad thing? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Lasting Appeal - 60 / 100

Perhaps the biggest problem is that once you’ve fully cleared the objectives of a game, you’re done for a long time. The developer is patching their game, but the actual new content stream might be lacking until all of the bugs are ironed out, which is a little frustrating to say the last. Not all of us want to ‘catch ‘em all!’ with the inventory and recipes of the game.

Pros and Cons


  • Random World Creation is solid, and doesn't create any
    impassable areas.
  • Even though the graphics are bad, the frame rate and action
    are very fluid.
  • Cheap and infinite fun for the creative who love to mess
    around in a sandbox world.


  • Indie or not, this still looks and sounds like crap. The
    poor variety of sound effects and music tracks especially need work.
  • You basically need a wiki link available at all times if
    you're crafting high quality items--the game won't tell you what's
    needed or missing.
  • Success and replayability are highly dependant on how fast
    content patches are added to the game, otherwise people will go back to
    before long.


Negativity aside, we’ve got a real winner on our hands with Terraria. There are plenty of unique weapons to keep you busy, which are crafted with plenty of unique ores found in the core of the earth or even the sky. With great risk comes great reward though, so I’ll see you in heaven or hell to mine those minerals on a server at some point!

Overall 78/100 - Good

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016