Preview – Don’t Starve

Dont Starve

Klei Entertainment is known for their Shank titles and, most recently, Mark of the Ninja.  Now they’ve been working on a PC exclusive crafting/exploration title called Don’t Starve.  Minecraft and Terraria seem to have sparked a new genre, and now Klei has crafted a new entry that’s been on pre-order and in beta on Steam since before the holidays!

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A Simple Premise

The title says it all, “Don’t Starve” really is the name of the game!  You step into the shoes of Gentleman Scientist Wilson, as he is stranded in the wilderness and must use all of his skills to survive.  AS in other games in the genre, the freaks come out at night so the first day is spent gathering resources and preparing to hunker down for the night.  Food is scattered around, but will rapidly become scarce over the next few days spent in the game.  In the beginning, you can trap animals or pick vegetables and berries, but a more lasting system will be needed.  You can craft traps to trap and cook animals, or you can craft items that will help you farm plants to eat and survive.  A healthy combination of both is recommended–not for a balanced diet but for both a constant food source and bait for your animal traps (ie carrots).  Using some of the items you’ve gathered you can create a Science Machine to research and craft better items and this is where the game takes a sharp left from it’s competitors.  In Don’t Starve, and progress you make with research will carry over to your next game played after you die.  In other words, dying on Day 3, after you’ve just finished research on that cool spear, and bit off more hunting than Wilson can handle, is not the end of your spear-crafting days.  Simply start over, gather the needed items to rebuild the Science Machine, and your recipes are all still there for the taking.  With the steep difficulty of the game, this certainly takes a lot of the heat off!

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Wilson’s Evolution

As previously mentioned, this game has been in beta for a couple of months and pre-ordering at the discounted $11.99 on Steam will get you instant access to said beta.  It’s changed drastically since the beginning of the beta and Klei has been promising and teasing many more updates to come.  You play in sort of a 2 1/2 dimensional world with no instructions, no help and no tutorial to ease you into the game.  Once night falls, you will need to have enough resources to keep a fire burning until sunrise-it’s the only safety awarded in the game.  If the difficulty is too steep, or if you want to start on a less steep incline, there is a custom sandbox mode where you set the difficulty parameters and simply play without goals or checkpoints. This can help you get the feel of the game or sharpen your skills with new strategies.  Other playable characters are unlockable in the game, each carrying their own benefits or twists on gameplay.  The most recent game updates have been the addition of a goal-oriented story mode, an insanity meter that will see your characters sanity erode as your hunger and stress level increases, and a whole slew of winter effects, creatures and craft items—should you survive long enough to see winter.  The forums are a ripe source of inspiration as Klei is taking any (constructive) suggestions about shaping the game both in beta and beyond it’s retail launch.  If any of this sounds interesting to you, get in on Don’t Starve while the price is still discounted from it’s full price of $14.99 because the long anticipated launch is creeping up on us at the end of March!

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