Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Don't Starve - From The Gaming Enthusiast

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, but my video game "game" has been strong this summer! Well, mostly I've been playing Sims 4, but I was also recently re-introduced to World of Warcraft, which has been a ton of fun (fyi, if you'd like to hear about WoW from the PoV of a gaming enthusiast, let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to do a post dedicated to WoW :) ). Recently I came across a game on steam that one of my girlfriends mentioned to me when I was helping her with errands at her current/my prior university.

It's called Don't Starve, and it's a game that she frequently plays on her tablet. I'd seen it advertised on Steam but hadn't ever looked into it in much detail. Melissa told me about the survival aspects, and about how different characters that you can unlock have different powers that can help you survive. One thing I remember specifically is her telling me about the starting character, Wilson, whose only power was being able to "grow a sweet beard" XD That stuck in my mind when I came across it again recently, and I took the plunge and bought the value pack that included the base game, both DLCs, and the multiplayer variation of the game. Now I am OBSESSED!
As previously mentioned, Don't Starve is a survival game, where the main goal is to - you guessed it - not starve to death. But you're also working to keep yourself from getting killed by various monsters, to avoid the dark at all costs, and to try and maintain your sanity as much as humanly possible. It's incredibly easy to get into, and I highly recommend this game, which is playable on PC as well as most consoles and in mobile form, for those who would like to ease themselves into the realm of video games.
Throughout the game, you are working to collect resources, at first to keep you alive but then your goals will expand and you will want to build a science machine so that you are able to build better tools to continue collecting resources, but you will also want to start establishing a home base and building items that will make surviving easier, like different traps and ways of making and preserving food. And of course there's always surviving the winter to look forward to...
There are a plethora of creatures and monsters that you'll inevitably encounter in Don't Starve. There are a pack of wolves that will track you down and attack you every once and a while, and the pack continues to grow each time they visit. And there are spiders that you can hunt down for their meat and for spider silk that is used to make a variety of tools and other items. But not all of the creatures in Don't Starve will attack you without provocation. There are the peaceful packs of Beefalo, who produce piles of poop for you to pick up and use to fertilize plants and gardens (and you can also shave them at night for their fur, but be warned: they'll look super sad the next day).

There are also pig people that live in wooden houses scattered about your randomized world and in clustered villages. They don't like the dark and are skittish by nature, but if you give them a gift of monster meat, they will instantly become your best friend and will follow you around, helping you chop down trees and defending you against monster attacks.
There's a degree of creativity involved in Don't Starve, especially with setting up your home base. You have complete freedom in the set-up, though there are layouts that are more strategic than others.
The cast of playable characters is quite colourful! One of my favorites is the first unlockable character, Willow. She's a pyromaniac who comes with a lighter, can gain sanity by standing close to her campfire, and she'll often set random fires when her sanity is low.
There are also two DLCs available for the base game - there's Reign of Giants, which adds a degree of difficulty to the original game, with more monsters to fight, as well as additional resources. And there's also Shipwrecked, where instead of being stuck on a plot of land surrounded by dark waters, you are shipwrecked and have the ability to craft various rafts and boats that allow you to travel between islands.
And to really rev up the fun, you can try and survive with your friends with the separate game Don't Starve Together. Whether you want to join a server and make some new friends, or create a server for your usual gaming group, this multiplayer version of the base game leaves nothing out - plus, it actually allows you to ride a Beefalo, which is pretty freaking awesome!
I highly recommend giving this game a try, whether it's on your PC, on a console, or on your tablet (I imagine this would be super freaking hard on a smart phone). In fact, for anyone that wants to try playing together on a server in Don't Start Together, comment below or, more effective, tweet me @KacieCruise and we can DM to figure out the details. I'd love to game with you guys, and even walk you through Don't Starve if you haven't played before.

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