The only negatives this game gets are descriptors of the genre. You will die, but you will learn from every death.

User Rating: 9 | Don't Starve PC
I'll start by saying that this new "genre" of games with heavy rouguelike influence is probably my favorite thing to come out of indie gaming. And I think the sales and overall player support shows that it is a genre that is going to stay.

That said. I feel that reviewers need to understand what they are reviewing before they go making statements like "no overall progression" or "punishing difficulty".

Don't Starve is a difficult game. When you first play you will die often. But if you are moderately intelligent, then you will not die in that same way again. In a way, dying in this game is just how you learn your way around the game. Think of your first 20 deaths as the "tutorial". This is the overall progression you make in the game. It isn't that you gain levels, unlock new powerful items or get shortcuts. It's that you as the player become better at the game until those things that were once difficult become routine. This is how gaming was meant to be. Look back in the history of both PC and console gaming and this is how games originated. You didn't "unlock" anything by getting reallly far in mario or centipede or Angband or Rogue or Pac Man or (you get the idea). Your "achievements" were achievements, progression, and experience were all on a personal level as a player. If this does not appeal to you then you are simply form a different generation of gaming, and it is possible that you simply play games in a different way. I would like to add (before I stop ranting and actual review this game) that you can choose to play this game on much easier difficulties. You can in fact turn off enemies all together. Or make your world so full of food that starving is impossible. You have total control over what kind of world you spawn in, so if you are the type of gamer that likes a more relaxed setting and doesn't want to panic every time the sun goes down, then mess with the options until you find a comfortable place for your play style. However, the default is very difficult, and that is on purpose. Also, they do have bi-weekly updates where they add things directly from community feedback. So if enough people don't like something about the game, there will likely be a new option to fix that.

Okay. So now that my rant is over here is a more standard review:

Graphics (10): This game has some of the best graphics in an indie game I've seen. It takes the hand drawn charm of games like Braid and really runs with it, creating a world where every new item, creature and location is drawn and implemented to the level of an art exhibit.

Music/Sounds (10): Music is obviously a personal opinion, so I can only say that I truly enjoy the music of don't starve. It doesn't intrude on gameplay, it often keeps things lighthearted when you are feeling bleak, while still turning to a more serious tone during battle or near death. Overall I think they've done a great job with the music. The sound affects are also top notch here, with everything sounding as you would expect in a terrifying world.

Gameplay/controles (8): The gameplay is standard click on stuff to do stuff. If you've played any other game in a top-down view you will feel at home. There are often a few issues with misclicking, but as of the most recent updates I think most of these have been dealt with. There is also an auto-loot/combat/harvest button that really does exactly what you want to do about 80% of the time just by holding it down. This makes actions like chopping trees, harvesting berries, killing spiders, etc. much easier. There is some repitition to the gameplay (gathering wood, sticks, etc.) This has been dealt with mostly in the "new game+" mode where experienced players get the chance to start with better gear at the cost of a more difficult world. However for newer players who lack the skill to deal with this (or the knowledge about the items) this could leave newer players choosing between dying too often, or enduring the tedium of chopping wood (i personally enjoy both, as the "tedium" of chopping wood is very relaxing).

replay-ability(10): Obviously by the very nature of the genre this is going to be almost infinite. Procedurally generated world, difficulty that will make it so you are rarely going to "win", and a beautiful environment to explore all lead to a game that has the ability to be played (and enjoyed) for a long time. Not to mention all of the updates, so even if you do manage to master this game, that mastery will likely only last a few weeks.

Overall (9): I give this game a 9 because I feel that I could recommend it to anyone who enjoys the "genre" and also to many who may not. I think giving it anything lower than this simply means that the individual did not enjoy the game, or does not enjoy/understand the genre.