If Castlevania and Minecraft had a 16-bit lovechild it would be Terraria. With its mix of exploration, resource gathering, boss battling and crafting, there is something here for gamers of just about any taste.
With a charming retro sprite aesthetic and an upbeat chiptune soundtrack, the randomly generated world will suck you in for hours. Making it portable has only made it more addictive.
One small issue is the amount of time that must be put into the game to get anywhere. It took me a good 20 hours just to attempt the first boss with any hope of succeeding (I tried earlier and failed miserably).
When beginning the game you will be prompted to create your sprite. The character models and environment still look great on the vita in spite of the smaller viewing space.
Starting out the tutorial is a must as it will get both newcomers and veterans alike up to speed quite well with both the touch controls and other general mechanics.
The integration of the touch controls works well throughout: with the tap of a finger on either side of the screen you can quickly scroll through your available inventory.
Working within the confusing menu system is also made easier as touching the tabs and sliding your finger—as well as the drag and drop inventory—just make for a more simplified experience.
Starting with almost nothing, you will have to explore both above and below ground for life-saving resources. It is still safer to explore the top world during the day.
Above ground there are many different biomes to explore, not all of which will usually be located on a single map. There are nine in total if you include the hallow, which is added after the final boss, the dungeon, and floating islands.
Night time is a different story as that is when the hordes of zombies and flying eyes descend upon you in sometimes staggering numbers, forcing you to seek the safety of shelter or move underground where the spawns stay the same regardless of the day/night cycle.
Below ground is where much of the excitement ofTerraria takes place: hunting caverns and chests for rare items and ores. The underground is broken up into multiple strata, each containing different enemies and ores.
The staggering amount of crafting items and ingredients can be overwhelming. For someone new to the game it is best to seek out a wiki page for some of the more obscure recipes, but ultimately it is a highly rewarding experience.
Creating weapons and armor is crucial to success as the stronger you get the farther you can branch out in your exploration of other biomes and strata. Upping your strength is crucial to taking on any of the game’s epic boss fights.
The bosses are important to game progression. The bosses can be overwhelming when alone if you are not well prepared. When you are successful in your endeavors against these titans, they will often drop rare crafting materials and some even open up new areas. Others even gain you access to new NPCs for your village.
NPCs will show up throughout the game when certain criteria are met and there is available housing. The characters will open up shops allowing you to purchase items such as weapons and crafting ingredients, as well as upgrade equipment.
Crystal hearts and fallen stars will be found throughout the game allowing you to upgrade your health and gain magic power. Hearts are found hidden throughout the underground and stars can be found in the top world during the night cycle.
The multiplayer is definitely where the game shines for me. Teaming up with friends to explore a dungeon or fortify your village makes an already great game even better.
With the implementation of cross-platform play between the Playstation 3 and the Vita, it also means that you can play with whoever you want, wherever you are. With up to 8 players some parts of the game become oversimplified as the enemies do not scale depending on the number of participants.
The 411: Making Terraria portable was a great decision. It plays fantastically on the Vita and the control scheme is the best to date making irritating menus far more manageable. The time sink is a little much for some people, but for those who don’t mind it is worth the trip.
A fun retro style with plenty of enemy variations and scenery.
Simple mechanics with a deep underlying crafting mechanic make for plenty of fun but getting there can take quite a while.
Fun and simple chiptunes make a good companion to this retro romp.
So many items, NPCs, ores, and enemies there is never a lack of something to accomplish.
Whether solo or with a group this game will keep you entertained for hours.