Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Game Review - Don't Starve


Don't Starve is an open-world survival game developed and published by Klei Entertainment, downloadable on PC. It originally looked promising in its teasers and website, but failed to deliver on one of gaming's oldest rules, achievement for the player's hard work.

The game throws you into the deep end with no way out, and an unrealistically steep difficulty curve. By the time night rolls around, you realise just how far out of your depth you are, and the game continues to abuse you from then on.

To say this is an unforgiving game would be like saying stepping on Lego hurts. This game will ruin your dignity. Enemies that kill you before you see them, Winter that forces you to huddle around a campfire for weeks on end, and armour and weapons that break after only a handful of uses.

This game is relentless in its efforts to kill you, and when it does; it's game over. You've got to start again. And even if you do well and survive for a long time, all you get is a measly amount of experience that will unlock new characters to use, all of which have minor upgrades that make surviving slightly easier.

I've played my fare share of games with permanent death, but this falls short of all the others for one vital reason:

There are no achievements, no high scores, no upgrades, and only a handful of unlockable characters. Restarting the game with nothing more than the previous effort is both frustrating for players, and also extremely boring due to the repetitive nature of the game.

You will spend hours simply chopping down trees, mining rocks, and killing things to eat, and you will not be rewarded for it, leaving a feeling of being ripped off.

To have a player work for hours on establishing a base of operations, collecting, building, and fortifying, only to strip it away with an enemy that kills them in one hit, is cruel. At least a highscore table would give players something to work towards, but this game offers no incentive to play again.

This game is not for the feint of heart. It's dark, borderline evil. The game explores very disturbing subjects, and the art style looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie.

I would not recommend this game at all. Whether the game frustrates you to the point of rage quitting, bores you to the point of never going back, or creeps you out to the point of not sleeping at night, it's not going to keep you engaged, entertained, or feeling like you got anything in return for your hard work.

Don't Starve by Klei Entertainment.

1/10 stars.

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