Visiting my nearest second-hand video game store, there were at least 10 copies of Terraria on the shelves. This, and the brightly pixelated cover, was enough to get me interested in what the game had to offer.
Clearly it had enticed a great number of players to give it a chance… but it had then ended up at the second-hand store in bulk. So, is Terraria worth playing? I purchased it and took it home to find out.
This article is a cross between a beginner’s guide and a review – it contains no spoilers but it does have a few helpful tips!
What is Terraria?
Terraria is an indie game with a sandbox style that was first released in 2011. After the sudden obsession with Stardew Valley, I can see why this style of game might be gaining traction over a decade later. It has some action-adventure combat elements, but if you don’t want that to be the soul of the game, it doesn’t need to be – this isn’t exactly Worms! You create a character and are dropped into a world which you can explore. The map is a pixelated flat-earther’s dream, which you uncover by exploring above ground, below ground, and in the sky.
What to Do First in Terraria
I jumped in with no knowledge of what the game was about. So, the first night, I inevitably died. And died again. And died again. Respawning was a nightmare!
The first thing you should do when you land in Terraria is chop down some trees and use them to build two walls and a roof. You’ll now be locked inside a rudimentary square building and totally safe should nighttime creep up on you. Next, craft a little work bench and from there you’ll start creating doors, background walls, and everything else you need.
If in doubt, chat with the guide or use Terraria Wiki. But with your first safehouse complete, you’ll have a good starting point to really explore what Terraria is all about. I recommend crafting the best weapon you can with the materials available, then heading underground to find some life crystals.
Terraria Summed Up
This is an exploration, mining and combat game, if I had to sum it up for my Terraria video game review. There are numerous elements, enabling you to collect items and meet people (see NPCs below) too, but I found the exploration, mining, and combat elements of the game to be stand-outs.
The vast underground areas are the most exciting to explore, but the various biomes above land are also fun (and challenging) to traverse. There’s a lot of cutting things down and killing monsters for drops that can be used for crafting.
Terraria is a Wonderful Game for Crafting
One of the things that has really hooked me on this game is the sheer number of things you can craft. This really allows you to make the gaming experience personal, especially when building homes for your villagers. From create dyes and paints to change colours, to capturing wildlife to keep in glass cages, you can really use your imagination.
Figuring out what you can craft is a little tough, however. Even with the guide NPC who can tell you what can be crafted from items you’re currently carrying, a lot of it is a mystery. I recommend using Terraria Wiki to create a multi-crafting area and storing your items in chests. Try to keep them organised – all ground/soil type materials in one chest, for example. From there, play around with different ingredients to see what can be crafted.
Key Elements of Terraria
Other key elements of Terraria worth mentioning in my review are the NPCs, designing homes for them, the bosses you may encounter, and some of the challenges.
There are numerous NPCs in the game that only appear when you build empty houses and meet certain requirements. They come with perks, like being able to sell your items or buy unique items from seeds to bombs. So, it is worth building a village.
However, I didn’t feel like the NPCs really had much of a story behind them. They also don’t move about once you’ve given them a place to live. It would have been much cooler if you could travel with them or unlock some kind of story element or challenge with each one. The angler, at least, gives you something to do.
Terraria House Designs
For beginners, building simple square buildings is the best way to start. Even if your inner architect is screaming to build something more elaborate, it takes time to harvest the resources so you’ll need a rudimentary shelter for the meantime.
I love this aspect of Terraria and can find no faults. It takes time, patience, and a little math to calculate sizes and blocks, but you can put together some really beautiful homes.
There are bosses in Terraria. You can find better guides than mine for how to find them and beat them. I am not really into combat games, but I had some fun beating King Slime at least! Having a good weapon, potions and edibles is really the trick here. Unlike Pokémon Go battle strategies, you can get quite far with just luck. Even with my limited combat talents, I could beat some of the lower levels in one try.
That being said, there are aspects of the game including bosses and unmovable objects that are only for ‘hard mode’. As a beginner, this totally threw me and I had no idea why parts of the game couldn’t be accessed. I wish Terraria did a better job of explaining this in-game so I players didn’t have to rely on Reddit and Terraria Wiki so much.
Meteorites and Blood Moons
The final aspect of Terraria that I was impressed by is the random events. Goblin invasions, blood moons, slime raining from the sky… there’s a lot to keep the game fresh and surprise you! I won’t spoil it all here, but let me just say, it’s always worth having life potions on your character at all times.
So, Should You Play Terraria?
The short answer is yes. I’ve played the game for several months now, racking up a few hours every evening, and I’ve yet to find a glitch. If you read my Potion Craft review, you’ll know how much of a relief that is for me. Even with a medium-sized world, I haven’t explored every inch and there’s still so much yet to collect and craft. My bestiary is also only 40% full, meaning the vast majority of monsters haven’t even been discovered yet. So, I have no doubt that this game will keep me occupied for a very long time.
I can see why some people might have got bored of the game, but not me. As you can purchase Terraria very cheaply for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 on Amazon (or even cheaper at the second-hand store), I definitely recommend giving it a try.