Is Don't Starve Good?

Is Don't Starve a good game?
Welcome my friends, to the adventure of a -probably regrettably short- lifetime.

Are you in the market for a new game? Maybe you’re yearning for spooky season and wondering if the creepy looking survival game you found on Steam is worth it? With its muted tones, characters with macabre back stories, and its range of slightly off beat beastly mobs, Don’t Starve brings the creepy vibes, no matter what time of year. The premise seems simple, just don’t starve, right?



Greetings from Maxwell
A warm welcome to The Constant

The Don’t Starve story line is fairly open ended. While back stories can be found for many of the characters, the main gist is that they were somehow pulled into the harsh world of The Constant, to be pawns in survival experiments, but to what end? When your character first awakens, they are greeted by the tall, slender Maxwell, who lets them know that things are not going their way, and they should find some food with a quickness.

 The story is mainly open ended after that point, dictated only by the changing seasons and increasing difficulty of spawning mobs, the need to find and collect materials to craft items for survival and progression.  There are hints towards moving the story forward, but there is plenty to keep a player busy without rushing to progress the main story line. 

Overall the hint of a story, along with the availability of progression really works with the open world survival feel, and allows players to explore, craft, build, and face the plentiful challenges along the way.



Don't Starve Hamlet, surrounded by pogs
A plethora of furry new... friends(?) awaits you. 

The Don’t Starve universe has a huge cast of playable characters, 25 in total, all with their own features and limitations, as well as unique back stories that lend them personality. Each character is also voiced by a different instrument, and they all have their own sayings when investigating items around the world.

 While every player will begin their journey with Wilson, new players can be unlocked by experience (gained upon death or escaping to a new world) or certain in game feats.  With such a wide cast, each with benefits and drawbacks (for instance, Willow is immune to fire damage but more vulnerable to cold), playing games with different characters will lend itself to new challenges and priorities.



Armor and weapon at the ready in Don't Starve
We ride at dawn! Onward, to victory, and many spider silks! 

Combat is a strange beast in this game, avoidable to large extents, but necessary for certain crafting materials, and critical in self-defense in the case of hounds, the only frequent mob that will track a player down and attack unprovoked. Hound attacks are short lived, but grow in intensity along with the number of days survived.

Other combat can often be avoided by running away from the hostile mobs, or avoiding their areas.  Once engaged though, combat is simple with melee weapons, point and click, hack and slash.  Any tool can be used as a weapon, but you’ll want to find or craft a basic spear fairly early on, as it is the most effective weapon available early game. Ranged weapons such as darts or a boomerang are available as crafting recipes later. Armor can also be crafted, to save the player some health points, but may come with its own drawbacks and hard choices, like the inability to wear both a piece of armor and a backpack at the same time.



The portal in Don't Starve Together
Safety in numbers, or so they say

Don’t Starve has a multiplayer option available through its online game Don’t Starve Together where players can either set up their own server to play with friends, or join servers of varying types hosted all around the world. Don’t Starve Together has unique features and items within the game, giving a new twist on gameplay. All of the unlockable playable characters are options in DST, and there are challenges, maps, and benefits available through customization that lends itself well to long term play and getting to know other players.



Don't Starve base camp and machines
Reality flickers and wavers like your sanity in The Constant. Best keep your wits about you if you want to live.

Don’t Starve is fantasy type survival game, and surviving can be quite the challenge. New players may struggle with the first few days, even dying and needing to start over until they have the knack for gathering the required resources and staying away from unnecessary fights for the first harrowing days. When even the dark is out to get you, life can be a struggle.

However, resources are plentiful and if you can dust yourself off a few times while you get the hang of things, you’ll find that it’s fairly well balanced game allowing players a great deal of freedom for problem solving. Trying to keep your health, your belly, and your sanity full seems like an easy feat, but the surprising difficulty of it is a good balance for the overall simple game mechanics.



Gathering stone is a necessary task in Don't Starve Shipwrecked
Simple graphics tell a suprisingly rich story. 

The graphics of Don’t Starve are unique and fit well with the story. The game utilizes a simplified cartoonish looking sketch style, but with muted tones, lending an overall uneasy feeling to The Constant. From different landscapes to varieties of mobs, there’s no shortage of visual interest, but it’s clear the goal is not high level, system taxing realism. The graphics incorporate a huge level of variability between different biome type spaces and different worlds, giving happy peaceful meadow vibes in one space, with deep dark terrifying, in the very next.


Updates and New Content

The guard pig in Don't Starve Hamlet
Safe for now, under the watchful gaze of the guard pig. Spoiler- don't attack. It will not end well. 

Don’t Starve, the single player game has had three major DLC updates, Reign of Giants which added new content including mobs, craftables, and mechanics to the base world, Shipwrecked, which takes the players on a high seas adventure where the mechanics are familiar enough to get you started, but different enough to pose a challenge, and Hamlet, where the players are back on land, but in a more hostile, yet somehow more civilized world.

Don’t Starve Together has frequent updates, including downloadable characters, daily gifts, and festivals with unique craftables and rewards.


Sound Effects

The darkness waits in Don't Starve
The darkness waits. The darkness watches. The darkness will not be forgiving. 

This is definitely a volume up type of game, as sounds will give you clues as to what’s going on in the world around you. Crucial information is conveyed through subtitles since the characters don’t speak in actual words but rather using sounds of orchestral instruments. Not included in subtitles though, are environmental cues that may give you a head start on preparations before walking into a potential hostile situation, or the heads up to create backpack room to gather dropped loot from mobs battling it out amongst themselves. The orchestral sounds give a nice ASMR feel to game play



We all have to go sometime. Three days seems a little short lived though. 

Not only will you want to play this game again and again, you’ll almost be required to, as your first few attempts may be extremely short lived. Nevertheless, once you get the hang of the gameplay you can add and remove different mobs and environmental factors to customize your game, not to mention trying out all of the new characters you unlock. Overall with no one trick pony puzzles to solve, and random map spawns, Don’t Starve lends itself well to replays, while you may have the gameplay mechanics down pat, there are many new areas and even new worlds to open up and explore.


Overall Fun Factor

Winter is harsh in Don't Starve
Winter is coming. And then it seems to just... stay. For so long. When is winter going? 

All said and done, Don’t Starve is the type of game that takes just a few minutes to master the controls (no complicated special moves or tedious tutorials necessary, in fact, you won’t get a tutorial at all), but can give you endless hours of exploration and expansion. There are some slow points in the base game, but the Reign of Giants DLC does it’s best to rectify those moments where you feel like you can rest on your laurels next to a cushy campfire. A good value for gamers that are looking for an open world exploration game with the challenge of hostile environment survival.


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A roving bard at heart and a busy mom of three, I love using RPGs and strategy survival games to escape the real world. Also my house is always clean in Stardew. 10/10 would recommend.
Gamer Since: 1993
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Stardew Valley
Top 3 Favorite Games:Don't Starve, ,

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