Presentation - 10
Gameplay - 7
LifeSpan - 8
While some mechanics may not blend well together, the general experience remains intact. It is a fun, addictive, and brutal adventure that will keep you coming back to its eerily charming world.
“Tim Burton’s hellish collecting adventure” would be a phrase that accurately describes Don’t Starve. With the survival genre becoming larger due to the success of Minecraft; many games in the genre have focus on copying the former’s success with little change in execution. Don’t Starve however manages to find its own creative experience: The game is addictive, frustrating, stylish, and entirely amusing. Don’t Starve Console Edition is a highly engaging game that makes a wonderful transition to the PlayStation 4.
It is hard not to fall in love with the charming presentation of Don’t Starve. The game introduces you into its world with a lingering goal, but quickly throws players in charge of their own fate. It is just you in a strange world that proves to get stranger. Characters make small chatter about the events going around them with a cynical violin voice, and the world is presented in a twisted reality that looks similar to an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. The environments give off an intimidating feeling, but the game is actually more approachable then most games in the Survival/Rogue genre. Most original playthroughs will likely start off by running around the endless and randomly generated enviroments; pretty much collecting anything you can find. Eventually you might want to craft something with the material you have collected, and while most games force players to figure out the recipes Don’t Starve actually gives players the entire list of recipes that can be used to craft items.
This may sound like a casual feature, but the developers at Klei Entertainment still manage to keep a punishing difficulty curve. While most games in the genre hold the difficulty in finding a proper path, Don’t Starve holds the difficulty in actually executing said path. The game is extremely punishing; mostly due to the disadvantages players have in combat. There are a lot of creepy enemies waiting to get unsuspecting players: Trees can’t even be trusted! The game controls very well both inside and outside of combat, but the game makes sure to remind players that humans are not the brute force of nature. In addition, hunger will remain a constant worry throughout most of the experience (hence the title of the game.) No matter how stable I thought my current situation was, it always had a chance of coming to an abrupt end. I had to rely on my wit and judgement in order to survive in this zany world.
Players have to constantly be aware of their survival situation, or else the permadeath feature will eagerly take all of their hard work away. While I mostly enjoyed this challenge, I found its overall execution to be a mixed bag. The permadeath feature arguably doesn’t blend well with Don’t Starve because the game has an inclination to be linear in beginning stage, due to the better sense of direction the game gives with the list of recipies. This problem can be slightly alleviated if the player chooses to regularly experiment with the new characters and world customization options, but I still couldn’t avoid a feeling of tedium. I am not saying that the permadeath feature doesn’t work in Don’t Starve, but my experience with it has been a mix bag. Every other feature however seems to blend well with the core mechanics. I had a blast playing this game and I am sure many others will as well
Overall, Don’t Starve: Console Edition is another great game added to the PlayStation 4’s library. It is one of the most creative games in the survival genre in both gameplay and presentation. While some mechanics may not blend well together, the general experience remains intact. It is a fun, addictive, and brutal adventure that will keep you coming back to its eerily charming world.