Don't Starve succeeds in areas where other survival games have miserably failed.
There are multiple characters that can be unlocked in the game to add some variation to every play session. Each of the characters have their own amusing dialog to accompany their personalities, as well as having their own special abilities that allow you to survive the wilderness in different ways.
Wilson is sort of the main character in the game, in that the overlooked story revolves around him. He's a gentleman scientist that was in the middle of an experiment that went wrong before he was trapped in this wilderness by Maxwell the demon. Wilson's character is that of a man who's normally ignorant to his surroundings and at times gives off the "I'm a scientist so I'm better than you" attitude. His dialog mostly consists of referring everything back to science. His characters motto is: "I will conquer it all with the power of my MIND!" Wilson's special ability is that he can grow "a magnificent beard". This may some humorously ridiculous (and it is) but the beard is nothing but an advantage in the game. It can be used to craft a specific item if shaved off, or it can be used to keep Wilson warm during the winter periods.
Willow is an unlockable character in the game. She is a pyromaniac who adds extra humour to the game by maintaining a very pyromaniac perspective on the environment. Her character motto is: "Things are so much prettier when they burn." During gameplay, if Willow is nervous she may light a fire at her feet, which if near a forest, can burn the entire thing down. Her special abilities are that she starts the game with a lighter that never runs out and that she is immune to fire. This is beneficial to the pyromaniacs out there and people who "accidently" light entire forests on fire.
Other unlockable characters include Wendy, who doesn't seem to be bothered by death or darkness and can spawn her dead twin sister Abigail to aid her in the game. There's Wolfgang who's nicknamed the strongman as he has the ability to hit and melee harder in the game but ironically he's afraid of the dark. WX-78 is a robot that can eat almost anything, is charged by lightning and damage by rain. There are 4 other characters to unlock, like Wickerbottom, Wes (who's practically uselss), and even Maxwell. The most interesting would have to be Woodie. He is a lumberjack who starts the game with an axe that he calls Lucy. Apart from his abnormal hatred towards birds, he has a special ability that allows him to turn into a werebeaver, giving him special supernatural abilities.
Unfortunately there isn't much of a major story for Don't Starve to discuss. From the moment the game finishes loading, you're thrown right into the wilderness, with Maxwell standing over you, commenting on how you don't look so good and then telling you to find something to eat. He then disappears, leaving you to navigate this spooky wilderness all alone. There is an adventure mode that adds some story and takes you out of the sandbox style gameplay, but I actually have yet to come across the door that activates this mode.
The gameplay in Don't Starve is fairly simple to start off with. The idea is that you have to survive for the longest amount of time possible, which is calculated in days. You can also earn experience points which goes towards unlocking new characters. The longer you survive the more experience points you get.
The controls are also fairly straight forward. You use W, A, S, D to move, Q and E to rotate your camera, Tab to bring up your map and Space near certain resources or objects to interact with them. This is great since the game throws you straight into the sandbox environment with no tutorials at all. This allows you to get a grip on the controls nice and fast.
If you're not into using the keyboard you can use the mouse to move your character around and interact with the environment or a combination of both keyboard and mouse.
The user interface in Don't Starve is also another simple aspect. To craft an item you simply need move your mouse over to the bar on the left side of the screen and select which category for the items you'd like to craft. The game then uses resources straight from your inventory to create the item. On top of this, when you mouse over each item it, displays the resources needed and what you already have in your inventory to use for each item.
Apart from not starving to death or getting killed in the game, Klei entertainment have added another interesting aspect to the player's survival. This is the sanity meter. Due to being all alone in this spooky wilderness, you don't really have anyone to talk to and unfortunately you can't craft a volleyball with a red handprint on it, draw a face and give it a name.
If you let your sanity meter drop over time, you'll eventually start hallucinating, which is a really nice feature that isn't often seen in other survival games. More and more as it drops, the hallucinations start including horrific, ghost like creatures that can actually start to attack you, and eventually kill you if your health is depleted. Fortunately though, something as simple as picking pretty little flowers and making a Garland can bring you back to a sane state.
The map in Don't Starve is another great aspect since it can get very large. It's also fairly dynamic in making sure that every time you start a new game, the map looks different or starts you in a random location. This is good as it forces you to adapt to your surroundings. In 1 play through, you may get lucky and find a field filled with animals where you can set traps to hunt for a continuous food source. On the other hand, in another play through, you may struggle to find a simple resource such as 'flint', which is a valuable resource for crafting the main tools such as axes. There are the addition of caves that can be found in the game as well. The player can explore caves for extra resources but will require some form of constant light.
Enemies in the game are almost unforgiving, especially if you haven't crafted protective clothing in the form of grass, logs or stone. Unfortunately this is where the games difficulty can rise unexpectedly. If you're lucky, certain enemies can be killed, but in a maximum group of maybe 2-3 for small monsters. Larger monsters like the Treeguard on the other hand, are best kept at a distance or dealt with by luring them into groups of passive NPCs. Otherwise any chances of trying to film a Tim Burton themed Lord of The Rings parody are next to 0.
If the difficulty is too much of an issue for you, the game has a map customisation option that allows you to modify how much of a particular resource or monster you want spawning in the game. You can choose less of a particular resource or enemy, leave it at its default setting, or select more to either make the game difficult or easier.
The visuals in Don't Starve have an intriguing art style that could typically be associated with Tim Burton. The graphics obviously aren't like Crysis standards, but this is fine as it adds to the spooky and quirky vibe you get from the game. If you're familiar with Tim Burton's Corpse Bride or even his work in general, than you'll understand what I'm talking about. On top of the effect that it adds to the game, it also adds to the humour. Simple things like walking look dorky and ridiculous but in an amusing way.
The sound in Don't Starve is fairly good, although nothing like a masterpiece, it adheres to the games quirky style. Things like mining rocks, trees or walking are made noticeable fairly well and sometimes birds chirping in the distance can be heard to add some liveliness to the environment. During gameplay, the music is like a combination of spooky, quirky and cheery at the same time which also adds a little bit of amusement to the game.
Don't Starve isn't a perfect game but it succeeds where a lot of other survival games have failed. The game offers a lot of replay value and continuous play value depending on how long you decide to survive for. Depending on the way you play, the game can be easy or difficult. This is both a good and bad thing in its own way.
Unfortunately the game does get repetitive after some time, but depending on how you feel, you could probably easily get a nice 10-20 hours out of it or maybe more if you're dedicated to seeing how long you can survive.
With its small flaws aside, Klei Entertainment have done well to make Don't Starve worthy of a purchase. To top this off, they've done so well that it's the kind of game you'd want to see from a 3rd or maybe even 1st person perspective in the future. The game is also undergoing updates every so often, which may even include extra content and adjustments to the gameplay in future.
For everything Don't Starve currently has to offer, I give it an 8/10.