Mediocre Reviews for Excellent Games: Don’t Starve


You have probably heard of Don’t Starve when discussing about indie games as it is a well-known success. Despite this I am still writing a review for it because there are still those who have not tried it or possibly never even heard of it. There are those that think of Don’t Starve as another Minecraft clone, but I am here to say that it is definitely not. With a wonderful dark atmosphere and a fantasy-like setting, Don’t Starve is a game that is a beautiful fusion of genres.

Don’t Starve is a game by Klei Entertainment released back in April 23, 2013. The game has a very simple goal: don’t starve. The players are greeted by the antagonist, Maxwell, who challenge players to survive as long as possible. As soon as Maxwell disappears, the players are stuck with no tutorial and must survive the first night. The game is a mixture of a rogue-like game and a survival game as players will need to start a new game after each run. On top of needing a constant source of food to survive, players will also need to survive the wilds, as magical creatures generally look to kill you and can slowly cause the characters to go insane. These challenges are both the bane and allure of Don’t Starve.

Starting off as Wilson, the Gentleman Scientist players can unlock the other characters through multiple playthroughs or a single try. The different characters force players find unique ways to survive with them as each of the nine playable characters have a trait that gives them an advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation. Though it may sound repetitive, players will find that the world they spawn in is different every single time, which means that they cannot rely on the early items to be in the same place. In addition to this constant change of worlds on each try, the game has a unique game mode that changes the players’ play-style dramatically with Adventure Mode.

Adventure Mode is considered the story mode for Don’t Starve. After surviving a long enough time in sandbox mode, players may have the opportunity to start Adventure Mode, which will place players in an entirely different world with one of five possible challenges. The goal is still the same except the challenge can be never-ending winter or less resources throughout the world. Much like in sandbox mode, the only way to leave is to either die or go to the next Adventure Mode world. There are five worlds in total for Adventure Mode and this is what experienced players challenge themselves with. There is no need to worry if players do die in Adventure Mode because they will just respawn back where they were in sandbox mode and can continue to try with that character.

The presentation of the game is extremely well-done as everything from the music to the art style makes players feel in a dark world. The music does a good job of remaining in the background and allowing the characters’ voices or the sound effects of actions be the main focus. On top of this, the characters’ voices are very unique because they are not voiced by actors, but rather by instruments. This uniqueness makes it so the voices of the characters do not become annoying as the player goes far enough into a single try and also adds to the atmosphere of the game as it links quite well with the art style. Don’t Starve has an art style that reminds me of a children’s picture book with the 2D style of objects seeming to pop out. None of the objects blend into the background, which makes it very easy for players to notice objects no matter where they are.

Klei entertainment does not limit players to what they have set to the game and have openly encouraged modding for the game, which has created mods that can change how the game is played. From mods ranging from characters based on Youtube personalities to HUD improvements, the mods have all been unique and allows for even longer gameplay.


The Octodad Mod

Don’t Starve is on Steam for the price of $14.99 and I highly recommend that you at least try the game out. This is considered one of the more successful titles in the recent surge of indie games with over a million purchases by the end of 2013. There is not enough I can praise this game for and I am glad that Don’t Starve is as successful as it is because it is one of the best indie games of 2013. Even if you dislike the genre or the elements, I still recommend you to at least try it because this game does so well in both presentation and gameplay that it is the first game to combine survival adventure and rogue-like to such a degree.

One Response to “Mediocre Reviews for Excellent Games: Don’t Starve

  • Sam Sterling
    10 years ago

    I think this game epitomizes a rising genre of indie games: fast-paced action with a simple story-line and straight-to-the-point gameplay. It may be two-dimensional mindless fun to some, but to others it’s a timeless concept packaged in visuals that manage to be as alluring and compelling as franchised Playstation blockbusters.

    Also $14.99 isn’t such a bad deal if you consider that it won’t drain your wallet with in-game purchases *cough* LEAGUE *cough*

    Well-written article 9/10 would mustache again.