Terraria, for those who don’t know, is a lot like Mindcraft if it were for the SNES. I’ve also heard the game described as a miner simulation, and I got to say, it’s pretty accurate. In all the wrong ways.
I really gave Terraria the old college try. I really did. Much like I gave Mindcraft the old college try. These games have their following, but unfortunately, I’m not among them.
Rather than explain how my experience went, I decided to reenact it here in text. This is, to a large extent, exactly how my first playthrough of Terraria went.
“Okay, I get to create my character. Always cool. Oh, I only get to change the colors? Ooh, but I can give him a beard! I can make a Scotsman! Yeah! This adventure is going to be awesome! I think I’ll name him Angus. Because Angus is kind of my go-to creation when I’m 100% positive I know what I’m doing.”
“All right, generate world. Hmm, better start small for my first go-around. If I get bored, I can always start over and make a medium world. Or hell, even a large world. What do I want to name it? Hmm. Ooh! How about Scotsylvanistan! Perfect!”
“All right, I’m in the game. God damn my character sprite is tiny! Ugh, would it have killed you to make these things a bit bigger? Not even by a whole lot. I feel like I have to press my face against the screen just to see my guy. Ugh, I hate being blind sometimes.”
“Whatever. Here we go. I’m here in the world. Uh… Okay, now what? Well, I guess they want me to start gathering shit. Chop down some trees. Dig me a hole. Okay. Well this isn’t very exciting.”
“Wow, this menu system is convoluted as hell. Hey here’s a thought: if I hit X, how about I equip the thing I selected. Why do I have to do it with… Wait, what button equips? R1? Really? Wait, did I equip it or move it? FUCK!”
“Oh, here’s the creation screen. Let’s see, I chopped down enough trees for a torch. I don’t really need a torch right now, though. I don’t really need anything right…”
“Whoa, it got dark in a hurry. Okay, maybe I DO need that torch. Okay, make… What the fuck?”
“Oh yeah, zombies. Just like fucking Mindcraft. Zombies have to come at you at night. God damn! Leave me alone zombies! How do I equip the fucking sword!? ARGH! Great, now I’m slain. I’d worry about losing my shit, but I barely had anything to begin with. Ugh, whatever. Now I got my sword. Have at thee! Damn there’s a lot of these things. They don’t really go down that effortlessly, either. Oh come on! I just got back here!”
“That’s it, I’m starting over. Maybe the next world they generate won’t have a zombie problem. Let’s see here. Chopping down trees. Yes, make a torch this time. Okay, I think I’m getting the hang of… FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! Fucking zombies just won’t go away! Ugh, this game is annoying!”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when I pretty much quit the game for good. Then I started looking up Let’s Plays to see if I was missing something.
PRO TIP: if you have to look up YouTube videos to figure out how you’re supposed to play a video game… And I don’t mean looking up a Let’s Play to find the solution to a puzzle you’re stuck on, because I’ve done that before with games I love to this day. I mean you have no objective, and you literally need someone from the community to explain what you’re supposed to be spending your first minutes on, that’s not a good design.
Yeah, I get it, it’s an adventure. You aren’t supposed to have a guide: you’re supposed to get your hands dirty and explore. I guess I’m not fucking hardcore enough, because I hate playing games with no objective. The Sims has more of an objective than this. Bejeweled has more of an objective than this. This? The only objective I seem to get is “you’re here. Now do stuff.” I need a little more direction than that.
Eventually, I figured out how to play like a pro, and… Well, NOW I’m bored. I’ve literally been digging the same damn tunnel for two straight hours now. Sure could use something to destroy. And people gave Heavy Rain shit for being boring? I mean yeah, Heavy Rain was tedious, the controls made no sense, and the on-screen prompts during the QTEs went way too fast for me personally, but at least I felt like I had a direction. Here, I just feel like I’m digging just because.
If you like Terraria, and for that matter, if you like Mindcraft and games like it, then fine. That’s all you, bud. I, on the other hand, really don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything with this game beyond wasting hours of my life better dedicated to writing projects. Just my opinion.