Terraria Review – Nintendo Switch

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Title: Terraria
Developer: Pipeworks Studio
Publisher: 505 Games
Websitehttps://terraria.org/
Genre: Action, Multiplayer, Role-Playing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Teen – Alcohol Reference, Blood and Gore, Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
Release Date: 27/06/2019 
Price: £24.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

Terraria, a 2D adventure/crafter/builder game, has, since its original release in May 2011 on PC, gone on to become one of the top-selling indie games of all time. To date, it has sold over 25 million copies across all systems, including PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS to name just a few.  Re-Logic and 505 Games have now brought the game over to the Nintendo Switch.  The big question here: does Terraria have enough new content to justify its selling price for experienced players? In addition, does it have a compelling and interesting gameplay loop to keep new players interested to carry on playing?  Let us find out.

Offering a unique hybrid game, which came off the back heels of the massively popular title: Minecraft, Pipeworks Studio have ensured Terraria is not a carbon copy of the formula that has now become apparent in the majority of “builder” games out there.  At first notice, you will see that it is set on a 2D scale, rather than the 3D perspective that Minecraft and Dragon Quest Builders play out on.  Moreover, and most noteworthy, Terraria is a rather complex package, with a guide being particularly handy to have open whilst playing. Full disclosure, I have played Terraria before, sinking roughly 100 plus hours across the PC version, as well the PS4 offering, not only playing alone but also linking up online with a friend to help complete some of the more interesting and somewhat difficult challenges the game has to offer.

Terraria is set in a 2D landscape where there is no particular aim to the game. When booting up the game, you have the opportunity to do a tutorial, if you please. It lasts for roughly 20 minutes and shows you all of the controls, from how to change weapons, cut down a tree and construct materials etc.  It is a very robust tutorial system and will help new players get familiar with the controls, which can be a little bit on the unusual side, with ZL on the Switch control set up being a jump.  Whilst this takes some time to get used to, Re-Logic and 505 Games have included the ability to change the mapping of buttons to suit your play style, even better in that each pre-set is assigned to a previous version of the game.  For example, you can change it to mirror the Xbox 360 version’s control layout, if that was the version you had played most.  This was a very nice opportunity to fit a method that works for everyone, but they have also included custom control mapping as well.

The game starts you up on a pre-generated world, based on the size of the map that you decided to choose, with 3 distinct selections: Small, Medium and Large.  The game literally throws you into the world and lets you do whatever you please.  However, to survive out in the world, you need to gather resources such as wood, stone, metal ores and so on.  I started out my play session by building a house for my character so that I could survive the night.  During the day you will have various enemies like Slimes and vultures to contend with. When the night comes, more dangerous enemies appear like zombies and demon eyes, who deal significantly more damage than the day time enemies. 

Each world comes with different areas, known as Biomes, such as Desert, Ice, Woodland, Ocean, Jungle and Underworld.  You will find different enemies in each of these areas, with particular areas having very dangerous enemies that fill it. It will require you to gather as many resources as possible to take back to your house and create armours, weapons and different materials. There is a huge number of combinations available, with certain weapons dealing more damage than others, and different armours raising your defensive stats. This game harkens back to an older generation of games, that very much require you to have a guide open whilst playing so that you can see what combination of materials works to create the best combination of weaponry etc.  Also, the guide will tell you the best way to be able to encounter one the highlights of this game: the Bosses.

When you manage to either gather the right combination of items dropped from random enemies, or encounter one at random, you will be challenged by boss characters. There is an eclectic cast, ranging from The Eye of Cthulhu, a flying eyeball with teeth, to a Queen Bee, who shoots a tonne of bees at you to continually poison you as you fight it.  The different bosses offer an incredible amount of depth, in the way that you have to unlock the conditions to be able to fight them, once again proving that a guide will be your best friend whilst playing Terraria.  These bosses are hugely enjoyable and help to give you purpose in the world, as they provide various material drops that help on your adventure, or rare and unique items.  The general gameplay can get a little repetitive but, for me, it is incredibly addictive. I was always striving to play that little bit more, to try and secure a new weapon, or mine some rare materials, or defeat a boss.  

The art style of Terraria is something that has become synonymous with many indie games: pixel art.  However, given the fact that the world is shown from a 2D perspective, much like playing a 2D platformer, the visuals pop, with the world feeling incredibly distinctive and detailed.  From lush woodland settings to detailed sand textures and interesting dungeon layouts, Re-Logic and 505 Games clearly spent a lot of their development time making sure that each area felt distinct and unique.  They have managed to capture each area perfectly, feeling exactly how you would expect them to be.

In terms of the audio, it is incredibly powerful, with each enemy having their own unique hit sounds and cries, so you know roughly, whom you may be encountering at any time. It helps to build the tension when you hear a sound whilst you are down a cave mining for resources and do not recognise it.  I cannot even count the amount of times I become worried that I was going to lose all the items I was holding, after hearing an unfamiliar enemy sound.  

Added on top of this is an utterly amazing and toe-tapping chiptune soundtrack, which helps to emphasises the different Biomes you make your way through.  Each area has its own unique music and will help you to familiarise yourself, once again, with each area, which comes in very handy whilst mining very deep into the ground. You may end up moving from a jungle to a desert section, where enemies are different.  The soundtrack is an utter joy to listen to, both inside and outside of the game.

Across the PS4, PC and now the Switch version, I have struggled to put this game down.  It is incredibly rewarding when it wants to be, and destroys you at times as well.  Imagine sitting down for a decent session on Terraria, and after two or so hours, you have gathered a great amount of resources, crafted some great weapons and increased your defence stats so that you can venture out further.  You go on a quest to find the next Biome, and you are cornered by a group of powerful enemies and die!  

This has happened to me so many times, and I’ve often screamed out in a rage that I have to spend the next 20 minutes to try and make my way across the world, just to gather all this stuff back before I finish playing. You can often spend an hour or longer just trying to venture back to redeem all your item. It is rather frustrating at times, but very rewarding. It’s not unfair but to say this game is challenging would be an understatement.  I haven’t stopped playing this game since getting it, which can be awkward whilst playing on a train journey or a lunch break from work.

Terraria is an utterly addictive and beautifully crafted game, that is both easy to pick up and play and quite complex. The complexity coming mainly from its unlock requirements for bosses and different materials to gather and craft to make more unique and damaging weapons.  The game rewards you heavily for putting a huge amount of time in but also allows you to do whatever you like.  There is no clear objective and if you want to build a huge house, surrounded by a town filled with people with a working railway system, then you have the ability to do so.  It is that incredible freedom that makes Terraria unique, with equal parts frustration and joy going hand in hand with any playthrough.

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can purchase Terraria from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Terraria-1424601.html

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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About Peter Beckett

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