Terraria Review

Terraria is just as magical and content-rich on consoles as it is on the PC, although the controls aren't ideal for every situation.

by

Many games set out to be a sandbox--an interactive world filled with options and untapped potential--but Terraria embodies this concept in a way few games do. The game drops you into a 2D pixelated world with a handful of tools and tells you to explore, dig, build, and, oh yeah, survive. Now that the adventure is on consoles, there's one more way to lose hours mining for ore, and you can do it with a friend or three on the same screen.

Sometimes exploring is more fun with friends, especially if they're on the same couch as you.

Since its release on the PC in 2011, Terraria has sometimes been referred to as a two-dimensional Minecraft, and though that comparison is somewhat unfair, you'll notice the structural similarities between the two games straight away. Progressing through Terraria means chopping down a lot of trees, digging a lot of dirt, mining a lot of stone, and fighting a lot of monsters. Just about everything you cut through with your pickaxe, axe, sword, or hammer provides a resource with which to build and craft new items. Wood can be fashioned into shelter or platforms. Ore can be used to build armor and tools. Even cobwebs are valuable for making fabric, which in turn can help you craft things like flags or robes. There are a wealth of opportunities in the world, and it all starts with a few tools and some trees. What follows is up to you.

While the PC release dropped you into a randomly generated world with no instructions, the console version of Terraria includes a tutorial that gets you up to speed with gathering resources, changing the environment, and building shelter, all of which are essential skills if you are going to survive your first night. It also gives you a primer on crafting items such as torches and walls, which are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many things you eventually have the means to create, including impenetrable armor, magic potions, fancy furniture, and boots that let you double-jump.

It will take a long time before you can build anything even remotely this cool, but the journey there is very satisfying.

Even so, Terraria is a game you might want to play with a guide close at hand, whether it's a more experienced friend or a source on the Internet. While the game's crafting system is good at telling you what you can build with what you have in your inventory, it's not always great at telling you what might be crafted if you find additional resources. Also, the game's bosses and non-player characters tend to have very specific summoning criteria, which you're unlikely to stumble into without countless hours of exploration. An in-game guide (the first NPC you encounter in the game) is there to consult for some early help and crafting advice, but his menus can be a bit unwieldy, and his tips cover only so much.

Then again, maybe you don't want the help. There's certainly a lot of joy in the untainted discovery--in choosing a direction, saying "I'm going to go that way," and seeing what happens. Maybe you'll dig deep and find hidden caves and treasure. Maybe you'll journey upward and find a floating island. So what if you don't discover how to get the best armor. So what if you don't fight every type of monster. Maybe that's not what the game is about for you, and that's OK. Terraria lets you play how you want to play.

It's the sense of discovery and the promise of new rewards that help make Terraria such an engrossing experience. It's the exciting feeling of "Oh, I've never seen this material before. I wonder what I can craft with it?" that serves as a great incentive to keep you playing until the wee hours of the morning. You always feel like you're making progress, and the rewards (even the purely cosmetic ones) tend to be worthwhile.

Terraria's bosses are giant, menacing, and deadly.

When playing with a console controller as opposed to a mouse and keyboard, you get an interesting trade-off. While most actions in the game are faster and more fluidly performed on the PC (including item switching, inventory management, and, most importantly, building), the acts of digging, putting up walls, and grappling (with a craftable grappling hook) are actually faster and more comfortable with the controller.

Digging with a controller in particular is a welcome time-saver, because you do so much of it during your time in Terraria. By aiming in a direction with the right stick and holding down the action button, you automatically dig a hole forward that's just big enough for you to walk through, making it much easier to pick a direction and simply explore than by using the individual pixel digging of the PC version. If you find you need the added fidelity that a mouse might provide, however, you can click in the right stick to get a more free-moving cursor (this is particularly useful when building structures).

If you don't want to explore alone, you can easily gather four people around a single TV for split-screen multiplayer, which works very well provided you have the screen real estate to accommodate a quartet of adventurers. You also have the option of going online with up to eight people, but there are some unfortunate limitations. Unlike the PC version, which lets you run a permanent server but requires an IP address, the console version swaps these pros and cons: you can't create a permanent server, but it's also easy to invite people from your friends list into your world. In some sense this might be for the best, since your friends are perhaps less likely to gleefully destroy your hard work and steal all your carefully crafted items, but it does make it a bit harder to find people to play with if your friends don't own the game. There is no quick match or lobby option.

Don't dig too far without being properly equipped. You might find you're not quite ready for a hornet attack.

Along with the new controls and split-screen multiplayer, there is some new content that, at least at launch, is exclusive to the console versions of Terraria. This content comes in the form of some new armor variations, a few new uninteresting enemies, and a new boss. While the new zombie boss may sound enticing, none of this content is especially exciting when compared to everything else that's already in the game. Also new is an auto-drawing map, which is an extremely helpful addition for new players but slightly dilutes the more do-it-yourself nature of the PC version.

Even without the additions, however, Terraria could not be accused of lacking content. While deceptively simple at the start, Terraria has many layers of depth that are dug up only with hours of playing. Even the "small" world option could take many hours to fully explore, and that's not even on the unlockable hard difficulty level, which adds new items and enemies.

Terraria is a great game packed with content regardless of where you play it. Your platform of preference may depend on what you hope to do: If you want to build magnificent structures above- and belowground and show them off with a dedicated server, you will have a faster, easier time on the PC. If you simply want to explore and fight monsters with friends (maybe while sitting in the same room), then the console version might be more your speed. Be careful not to get too comfortable on your couch, though, because when Terraria sucks you in, you might find yourself digging and crafting for far more hours than you originally intended.

The Good
Massive worlds with freedom to explore how you want
Plenty of items to both craft and discover
Easy to invite friends along for the journey
Tutorial and map make the learning curve more manageable
The Bad
Console controls take getting used to
No easy way to create permanent servers
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Terraria

About the Author

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Britton Peele is a freelance writer for GameSpot and a Digital Entertainment Editor for The Dallas Morning News. Find him on Twitter @BrittonPeele.

Discussion

91 comments
Loufadoros
Loufadoros

This game is awesome! So many things to do , so many weapons ,  so many craftable things so many epic things in a 2D game! I hope it will go on sale soon ! Definitely gonna buy it !

Darkstalker77
Darkstalker77

This looks so epic but here in the UK terraria isnt out for PS3 yet so i have to wait for an unknown length of time until i get it , could be weeks, days or months :(

Shakey_Eric
Shakey_Eric

hey, dumb question, but what is the saving system like? if i start a new world, will it retain my inventory from the old??

Atheosis
Atheosis

I find the controls to be better in all honesty.

dogfather76
dogfather76

This is such a fun game.  It goes to show that you don't need to spend 100 million dollars to entertain people.

mrac1234
mrac1234

While people tend to compare Terraria to Minecraft, my first impression was that it is simmilar to Motherload , old flash game which has stolen dozens of hours of my life. Terraria now continues that, 100h dissapeared like a moment.

Tried Minecraft also, doesn't suck me in. It is more about building, and Terraria is more about exploring. (like dungeon crawler, hack'n shash)

B_STATS
B_STATS

Why on Earth would anyone play THIS when  there's MINECRAFT!?

G-N-C
G-N-C

Why is this being reviewed now, its quite an old game now....

andmcq
andmcq

The only accurate review of this was done by 'The Best Gamers' on Youtube

Dasim64
Dasim64

Played this on PC for quite a while months ago and it's a very good game. The main reason I stopped was the lack of updated content and the world size being somewhat limited. Once you get a decked out character and your routes down the world starts to feel very small. But it is a great little game and very much worth playing. It's very easy to lose a lot of hours to this.

kratospete
kratospete

i bought it for pc..so far i have no idea how to play this game

DGWTF
DGWTF

This is a very joyous comment section. Odd.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Awesome game, enjoyed it on PC, glad its good on 360.

kalgert123
kalgert123

Does this mean that there's new stuff for Terraria now for PC? Because last time I stopped playing it because it had no new updates...Have to see if it's any more updated now

N4o7A
N4o7A

omg, when did this happen?!

nomailx
nomailx

Aaaand one more "Let's overrate indie games so we look deep and cool" from Gamespot.

Tauu
Tauu

If you like Terraria keep an eye out for their next game Starbound. It's looking great.

Jeebus_Price
Jeebus_Price

@Shakey_Eric Characters are saved separate from worlds, so inventory can be transferred into any new world you enter. Also, piggy bank and safe inventories are also saved to the character, so you can transfer those too.

Darkstalker77
Darkstalker77

@mrac1234 

oh my god yeh thats what i thought when i first saw it, i spent hours on mother load but i always went so deep i kept running out of petrol and exploding lol

Loufadoros
Loufadoros

@vadagar1 Yea kinda... It worth a shot... you should try it really :) I ve played on a friend's pc and I will buy it soon!

zen120
zen120

@vadagar1 Except it's only that for about 2 hours.  Then there's floating islands, dungeons, about 3 times the armor and tools, bosses, biomes that are actually important, npcs, longer length to get the best stuff, etc.

zen120
zen120

@Savior4Life  10 bucks.  10 BUCKS.  With the amount of content this game has, there's really no reason not to pick it up.

Loufadoros
Loufadoros

@B_STATS Believe me , Terraria is so much fun game. I enjoy it more than minecraft

cjlebron
cjlebron

@B_STATS Thinking of the choice in either/or terms is probably not the right way to go. Minecraft is brilliant - it's vast open-world aspect is truly phenomenal. Terraria offers a great deal of opennes but because it has something akin to boss battles and events, the completion of which makes higher tier crafting possible, it feels a bit more like an RPG. That may not appeal or be important to everyone, but it's a real difference in game design that impacts how one experiences the game. For what it's worth, I've put in over 100 hours and could easily double that number.

snxx
snxx

@B_STATS Maybe you could try and see for yourself? :) I'm not saying Minecraft is bad, but to me Terraria is like 10x better. Terraria is much more action/adventure oriented.

macca366
macca366

@G-N-C Old for the PC, but just recently released for consoles - this review is for the console version

Loufadoros
Loufadoros

@kratospete you will find out... Just kills some jelly creatures , cut wood , dig rock make a furnace and you will find your way :)

cjlebron
cjlebron

@kratospete The key (for me, at least) is to get a grasp on two things. First, the tiers of craftable items and the ingredients they require, and 2) the resources and difficulties in exploring both various biomes and depth layers. The thing that helped me focus was setting boss battles as goals which made me focus on the necessary equipment which motivated me to climb the crafting ladder. Once I had that squared away, the game became very easy to manage.

zen120
zen120

@kalgert123 After the console version got a bunch of new stuff, Re-Logic began working on a new update that's bigger and better for the pc version.  That's slated to come out in late May.  This review is for the console version.

Atheosis
Atheosis

@nomailx An 8.0 is underrating it actually.

EuroLaser
EuroLaser

@nomailx Terraria is a good game. Not overrated. But you sir are cool. Because you bash Gamespot for having their own opinion.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@nomailx truth be told I enjoy indies on the same level as AAAs, some even on higher level, while of course some on a lower level, if you haven't tried any I advise you to do so

dogfather76
dogfather76

I'll take innovative, fun indie games like this instead of some of those "big budget" games that you think are so great.  This game has made their indie developers millionaires while EA and SE are talking every day about how their hundred million dollar games are all losing them money.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@nomailx This comment makes me incredibly sad. Why label games like this anyway? The budget, marketing, of whatever else determines an indie vs a blockbuster in you mind doesn't factor in at all to the quality of the experience.

snxx
snxx

@nomailx And as someone who actually owns Terraria, I have to say the game wasn't overrated at all in this review: the game is very good. I practically forced three friends of mine and my girlfriend to try it (it may not look very appealing at first to most people) but they all loved the game after trying. You should do the same.

Jamoid
Jamoid

Or perhaps because it's a good game. Games should be measured by how much fun they provide and to a lesser extent how long they can provide said fun. This game provided a LOT of fun for a LOT of people for a LONG time.

Say the journalists were to pander to the demands of the people on your particular bandwagon, how do you feel the industry would be affected if journalists started to shy away from giving high scores to anything but AAA games?

Mega_Loser
Mega_Loser

@Tauu 

i remember you saying that in other threads as well, are you in the dev team?

it's looking good, btw.

SkamArtist
SkamArtist

@snxx @B_STATS I also prefer this game over Minecraft. I've been playing it for a little over a year now.

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

Some of them are from the Terraria team i believe. Starbound development begin after Terraria demise was announce...but terraria dev went back on their decision and revived Terraria. They announced a new patch and possibly a terraria sequel so shit in the fan.

Terraria More Info

First Release on May 16, 2011
  • Android
  • iPhone/iPod
  • + 4 more
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Xbox 360
Terraria is a side-scrolling, action-adventure sandbox game with an emphasis on crafting and exploration set in vast and vibrant worlds.
8.2
Average User RatingOut of 1131 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Re-Logic,
Published by:
505 Games, Re-Logic, Merge Games, Spike Chunsoft
Genres:
Action, Platformer, 2D
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
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