Posted: March 16, 2014
Say pal, this is a nice game we've got over here, better buy it before night comes.
In all seriousness, Don't Starve is great. You start it up and you have no single clue of who you are and what you're doing, the only thing that you're allowed to know is that you have to "find something to eat before the night comes". From that point on, you learn. You learn which animals you can approach and which you may not, you learn how to craft more advanced tiers of wares than the simple Axe and Pickaxe, you learn how to survive in that particular dystopia you were forced into, but the way you learn about surviving is pretty ironically encountered in death. PERMANENT death, to be specific. In my honest opinion, that is one of the biggest beauties of this game. As a highly unforgiving piece, it just has one strict law you must follow throughout your whole experience: Screw up, and you're done for this life. But then you start a new one, and screw up in that too, sooner or later, until you've witnessed at least a good part of what the game has in its sleeve to kill you, and from that point you can start living longer and longer. Maybe you could even make a town of pig men, maybe you could even unite a herd of beefalo to protect your base, maybe you could even delve deep into the caves to find yourself challenged by many more new mechanics and challenges, or maybe you could just die again. That's always a possibility. The only thing you can't avoid in this game is death, as it comes in all shapes and sizes, and you can never be prepared enough for it.
Now that I took that big chunk of text out of the way, I can talk about something else. The lack of achievements, multiplayer and information in this game. While for many these three factors could be seen as very critical downsides, I see it as what gives the game its format. Let's see: Lack of achievements. Why would they make a game without what's possibly the most common form of reward in the modern age of gaming? The answer is simple: To keep your interest into the game. You see, with achievements, your main goal would just be hunting for them, and then you'd be faced with yourself thinking "What now?" even though the game still has a myriad of experiences to give you. So that's why there are no achievements in this game, to keep the playstyle far from linear. Second point, lack of multiplayer. I don't even feel like there is a lot to talk here. In a game like this one, the aspect of complete loneliness and desertion created by the atmosphere is a critical factor for enjoyment, and the sharing of experiences in the game can be made outside of the game itself, by sharing experiences and weird new discoveries with your friends. I feel like this community wouldn't be the same if Don't Starve had multiplayer. For the third and last point of this review before I wrap it all up, we have the lack of information. This is quite possibly the simplest of the three, as it is explained by a single sentence: Discovery is your biggest reward. Yeah, just that. For dying, you are rewarded with the discovery about something, be it the mechanics of what killed you, be it the existance of a creature you want to find again, be it the fact that you're just stupid and inneficient at doing stuff.
To wrap it all up, I just wanna say that this game is a real work of art, and that we are getting a DLC! Come at me, Reign of Giants, because my body is sure all ready for you!