maxopower's Don't Starve (PC) review

Don't Starve!

Don't Starves demands are simple but brutal. It wants you to give in, it wants you to live in its world. It wants you to get familiar with it. But no matter how much you seem to give it, no matter how many thoughts or how much time you poor into it, it’ll still kill you in an instant. Don't Starve do not care about you. The world of Don't Starve lives on. It barley acknowledge you. If you want to make it in the world of Don't Starve, you need to be as greedy, brutal and apathetic as the game. You will need to kill, to steal, to trick, and generally not give a fuck about your surroundings. Because if you give in, if you start to care about the trivial, the aesthetic, and the superficial. It will kill you.

The world of Don't Starve is nothing like the plains of Minecraft. Getting around is easy and quick. The games’ messaging is always crystal clear. Yet the game establishes a great and unique identity through its hand drawn visuals. The procedural generated worlds of Don't Starve are all challenges. They aren’t generated as new adventures like in Minecraft, or as new aesthetic experiences as in Proteus. They are cold and hard lands mixed up only to confuse you, and make the game more difficult. But though the lands always feel somewhat familiar, and though the variations are slight. Playing the same map long enough will still give you a great sense of place. You will come to learn the local forest, and the bare and brutal stone grounds south of the camp. You will get familiar with the grassing beasts of the north, and the aggressive pigs of the west.

The narrative of Don't Starve is sparse, but there is just enough to keep you interested. But as any games of Don't Starves type, the real narrative is the one you create yourself. The narrative isn’t about Wilson or any of the other playable characters, it’s about you, and your interactions with the games tools. The game is packed with simple variations of the same few systems and mechanic. The game can be learned and mastered whiten 30 minutes. No, the challenge comes instead in form of something totally different. Both systems and mechanics merge beautifully together to form a game about planning, planning for the night, the winter, the year. It’s a game that will punish you based on poor decisions concerning light, heat, food supplies. It’s a game that couldn’t care less about the shape of your fields, or the material that forms the walls of your needless “home”. Don't Starve is a game that doesn’t care, that demands everything of you. And ONLY gives you as much back, as you put into it. Nothing more and nothing less, which might also be the game weakest point. Because after getting beaten repeatedly, after freezing to death on the last day of winter, after watching all your food burn down in a fire started accidently by lightning. It becomes hard to care, and then the game dies. And then you’re left empty and miserable, though still secretly waiting for the next update to come around.

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