Review: Don’t Starve On PS4 Is A Survivalist Dream
Klei Entertainment are well known for games like Mark of the Ninja and Shank and always bring quality to their projects. Don't Starve, a game previously released for PC, has now been ported over to the PS4 integrating the DS4 controller fuctions and brings the survival adventure game to console gamers. The question remains, however, of how well the game performs on the PS4?
- Worth The Time?Don't Starve is genuinely worth the time.
- Things LovedThe art style is exceptional, there is a cast of unique characters and enemies. The game is challenging with rogue-like gameplay and there is no hand-holding, and the crafting system is easy to use.
- Things HatedDon't Starve does everything admirably well. However, the game does suffer from issues that many of these types of crafting survival games do, and that is repetition whereby your progress is continually hampered because of perma-death, and ultimately making progress is more about patience. This is not for everyone, especially players who despise having to essentially restart a game from square one. I didn't notice any bugs or elements of the port that were distracting in any kind of way.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy survival games with rogue-like elements this indeed may be for you. Also, if you're a fan of Klei Entertainment's work you should definitely give this a go.
- Name: Don't Starve: Console Edition
- Genre: Survival
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PS4, PC, Mac, Linux
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Publisher: Klei Entertainment
- Price: R216
- Reviewed On: PS4
Don’t Starve is a survival game which mashes together a rogue-like with a randomly generated open world to explore, survive, craft, hunt and build within. The aim of Don’t Starve is to survive for as many days as possible, something which is made even more challenging by perma-death which can be the result of the most minute of mishaps. The main character you play as is called Wilson, and he is is a gentleman scientist with no specific special abilities which makes his odds of survival lower than the other characters you unlock, like Willow who is immune to fire damage and a strongman named Wolfgang who is more of tank with higher offensive abilities than the other characters. You are pulled into the odd world of Don’t Starve by the antagonist named Maxwell a “puppet master” who lures Wilson into a trap by helping Wilson to create a giant machine, which he switches on and is inadvertently pulled into another dimension by Maxwell’s ghostly arms.
Most of the game’s initial action occurs in the “Sandbox mode” where you are pitted against nature, creatures, night and day, and have to survive by your own wits. Finally, if you make it through a number of days of survival you are then gradually pitted against Maxwell in various ways. In the game, there is a persistent world with a day and night cycle. You have to manage your health bar, hunger bar and mental stability bar. You sate your hunger by eating and cooking food on a fire, you replenish health through eating and certain recipes you can craft, and your mental stability can be regained through pursuing certain activities. If these indicators hit a very low percentage you can start seeing things, losing further health, becoming delusional and eventually dying.
During the day, you can gallivant around the world gather food, wood, various items, recipes which allow you to combine items to make prototypes of parts of structures which you can build, weapons, farms, tools, implements all (which are further upgraded by initially building a science machine, and those which follow). You can attack enemies during the daytime but you must be cautious because without a weapon and suitable protection you could die in a matter of minutes. When nighttime hits you have to light a fire, be it a torch, campfire or fire pit. These are all necessary to stay alive because if you venture too far into the dark you will lose health from enemies attacking you. So it is probably most advantageous to stay near a fire during nighttime and wait for it to pass, and make a move during the day.
Crafting is a central element of the gameplay and is possible through combing various items you pick up and manage with the right analogue stick, and then can craft with in the quick menu which is available through one of the left shoulder buttons on the DS4 controller. This is a pretty simple layout and works well. You can craft protective armour, prototype tools, gadgets, weapons, clothing, traps and building materials all to make survival all the more plausible. The crafting menu gives you a ton of options, especially if you build the various upgrade machines that give you access to an increasing number of items to craft. You need to craft a serious number of items, weapons and gadgets because as Wilson, and later other characters you unlock, you have to fight off and kill many types of monsters from one-eyed giant birds, to spiders, to pig villagers, tentacles and tree monsters. Everything is out to kill you in Don’t Starve.
Progressing in the game is quite a challenge and can sometimes feel like a chore. You can be making progress and can instantly die to due to starvation and a number of other reasons, and then have to essentially restart your game from square one, collect resources and attempt to make progress once again. You have to tolerate pain and Don’t Starve is not for the weak of heart.
Visually the game is comparable to a Tim Burton animated feature with qualities from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Don’t Starve has a macabre and gothic art style that makes it stand out from much of the indie crowd, and makes for a visually stunning game. The audio design is also impeccable work on Klei Entertainment’s part. Klei Entertainment have developed a game which is engrossing, challenging and oddly charming by its own merits.