[Preview] Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve
is a survival horror game of sorts with an arcade feel to it developed by indie team Klei Entertainment who you should know from Mike Eaton’s new review of Mark Of The Ninja. You start your adventure as Wilson, a thin mad scientist that is trapped by a demon in the wilderness with only your wits and the resources around you to survive.

When you start, you’ll immediately notice the unique 2.5D art direction of the game that feels an awful lot like a Tim Burton film with its hand drawn visuals and slightly yellow tinge. That art direction starts off with some whimsy at first but then as it gets darker and you see the monsters that populate the land, it has a definitive creepiness to it that is underestimated at first. The music and noises of the game only help strengthen that feeling as you huddle around your fire at night while listening to the whines, groans and hisses going on around.

The game features an open, randomly generated world and a crafting system much like Minecraft, but stands apart by being a little more themed and narrow in its approach with a focus on the horror survival aspect rather than the construction mechanic. Unlike Minecraft, this definitely feels like its waiting on a formal story to go in so it’s more narrative based, which will be quite welcome and should add even more mystery and creepiness to the game.

As you progress, you earn EXP that is used to open up new characters with their own unique abilities. For instance Wilson grows a beard that can be shaved off and the next character Willow starts little fires in the dark. With a total of 5 playable characters right now, each has their own advantage and uniqueness that you’ll come to appreciate in different playthroughs… And man will you be going through different playthroughs. I’ve had the game for only a short time, but I’ve died in gruesome fashion more times than I can count and keep coming back for more.

You’ll pick up things like rocks, gold, twigs, flint and so on in an effort to craft items to survive the horrible things that come out each night. You’d be crafting items like pickaxes, shovels, miner helmets, log suits, spears and more to try and stay alive longer and longer. You’ll find a bevy of monsters that include tallbirds, spiders, werepigs and firedogs. It seems with each patch that comes out there are additional things that go bump in the night that’ll scare the crap out of you unexpectedly.

Don’t Starve is currently in its Open BETA, but is available on Steam for $11.99 with an extra copy to pass around to a friend. Personally, I can’t recommend this game enough between the awesome gameplay and the price to go along with a really cool indie team that is updating regularly. You should definitely check it out and get a friend hooked on it as well.

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