Don’t Starve is a wilderness survival game. You play as a scientist who gets trapped in a peculiar world where everything is especially deadly. The game is riddled with unique monsters and creatures that you can eat, fight, or flee. There’s also a wide range of farming options you can cultivate to help your survival. The challenge is balancing both and protecting yourself as the wilds try to consume you.
Klei Entertainment is known for making “darker themed” simulation games. Don’t Starve meets this standard in both the eccentric art style and uncompromising gameplay. This game values the experience of survival and in-the-moment problem solving over quests or virtual achievements. As a result, there is no tutorial and no clear path for the player; everything is self-propelled. The lack of direction makes this a game of trial-and-error. The only sure thing is that your character will inevitably die.
This game has a great aesthetic, and the gameplay is different from other survival games out there. It’s more of a puzzle than anything else. Each character has a set of traits that influence how you interact with objects in the world. Some can make friends with monsters, and others need to eat wooden logs to survive. You have to get creative to make these traits work for you. Online you can personalize your characters and with the Together expansion even play with friends. It’s a bit easier to survive if you have someone to help you when the demon ghosts come out to play.
While this game is intriguing, I don’t think it’s for everyone. It’s honestly a little enraging. I have more of a love-hate relationship with it. There have been times I’ve declared I would never play Don’t Starve again, then continued to check it out three more times. The challenge spurs me on, but the inevitable death is frustrating and annoying. It would be easy to give up on this game, but I think it preys on the stubbornness of its players.
I (begrudgingly) rate this game a 7 out of 10
This game has an ESRB rating of T for Teen ages 13+
Check out the Don’t Starve Official Website for game updates and new expansion packs