Why I Love…Terraria

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Have you heard of that new game, Terraria? Terra-what?

And that, my newly found friends, is how I fell victim to the latest sandbox life hoover to hit the PC. Selling over 50,000 copies on its first day, Terraria has been dubbed as a “2D Minecraft” provoking the usual yells of ‘copying’ from hardcore virtual miners. Thankfully these accusations have died down due to the creator of Minecraft, Notch, tweeting about how the game looks amazing and he can’t wait to play it, problem solved.

You’d have to of been living under a rock for the last year or so to not see that Re-Logic’s massive hit draws huge inspiration from Minecraft, however after sinking 30+ hours into Terraria in a rather small amount of time (I’ve just finished University, I can go back to playing games without feeling guilty), I am going to throw a rather brave statement out there…..I think Terraria is better than Minecraft. Assuming I haven’t just lost 80% of the readers, I’ll continue.

After creating your tiny hero and choosing your desired world size, Terraria drops you off in a randomly generated environment with nothing but a flimsy set of tools. The first enemies you will encounter are the various coloured bouncing slimes. They’re rather easy to fend off, and also drop an important material for creating torches, your life line for when night descends. Following suit with Minecraft, you’re first priority in Terraria is to chop down any nearby trees to create a shelter. It’s vital to create a safe haven before nightfall, as tougher enemies such as zombies and flying demon eyes spawn to scare the bejesus out of you. Once your base of operations is established, you can begin harvesting materials to create armour, weapons and better tools, which is where the fun really begins.

There are an abundance of items to be crafted and discovered in the world of Terraria, whether its digging down to the pits of hell risking life and limb to get precious ore, or slaying the various bosses which can be encountered and obtaining the stereotypical Sword of Awesomeness +10 from their overflowing loot bags. Not only are there cool weapons, there are sets of armour too which can be obtained, giving your little fella a boost to his stats for completing the full set. There are also trinket like accessories, allowing you to jump higher, run faster and much more. Once you feel tough enough you can go looking for the large dungeon that exists on each map, containing even more goodies. But be warned, gaining entry to this dungeon can be tougher than it may seem.

Terraria also cleverly somersaults the ‘grindy’ pitfall that similar games fall into. Yes, you have to spend hours digging to find ore, chests and other goodies, but it’s an insanely entertaining process which is why I think this game should come with a health warning. When you sit down to play Terraria,  time will fly by quicker than you can say “OMFG I FOUND GOLD!!!”, and looking in the mirror will reveal an impressive neck beard, a throne of diet coke cans and Dorrito crumbs. Mining isn’t exactly a cakewalk either, slimes will ambush you from above making you scream like your girlfriend use to (if you’ve played Terraria, shes already left you and taken all your possesions) and man eating worms will randomly burst from the earth around you.

I can’t stress enough how much better Terraria is when playing with other people though. Despite the fact that the bosses and dungeons are pretty hard to solo, the game really shines when you team up with some mates and strip mine the hell out of everything. Exploring with pals and tackling everything the world throws at you is an incredibly rewarding experience. Alternatively, you can turn on PvP mode and whack the crap out of each other. Terraria even supports team based PvP, providing a huge range of possibilities, such as constructing your own forts and defences. The thought of burrowing underneath an enemies base, coming up in the middle of it, chucking dynamite left right and center and repainting the interior with their own blood and entrails really brings out the barbarian in you. There are plenty of public Terraria servers on the net too, many with anti-griefing rules in place to ensure some ballbag doesn’t come and wreck your marvellous house.

Your house may seem unimportant, but it’s much more than just aesthetics. It’s a safe den for creating items and storing your new found riches, with placeable chests and even piggy banks which only allow you to access them. When your house is big enough, computer controlled characters called visitors will begin to move in. These villagers sell useful items such as weapons and potions, and also allow you to sell unwanted junk. Certain criteria must be fulfilled in order for a villager to move in, for example, the scantily clad Dryad villager will only rock on up when you have killed a boss.

I could talk about Terraria and why I love it all day, whether it involves grinding through layers of dirt and rock seeking out those all important rare metals, PvP’ing with a couple of mates on an online server, or gathering some supplies to cross the treacherous landscape with your eyes fixed on the dungeon and it’s rewards. If you like Minecraft, you will love this, and for £5.99 you can’t really go wrong.

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