Tedious game with a beautiful make-up. Don’t Starve is one of the more popular indie games of the recent years for reasons I simply do not understand. It does look charming indeed. In fact, it has beautiful Tim Burtonesque style graphics and the game easily grabs the attention of anyone who takes a look at the screenshots. You start as a character whose only goal is to survive as long asTedious game with a beautiful make-up. Don’t Starve is one of the more popular indie games of the recent years for reasons I simply do not understand. It does look charming indeed. In fact, it has beautiful Tim Burtonesque style graphics and the game easily grabs the attention of anyone who takes a look at the screenshots. You start as a character whose only goal is to survive as long as possible. Similar to other survival games, you farm, craft, build to stay alive. The first problem with Don’t Starve is that the grinding part is simply boring. Often, it feels like a flash game with a fairly bad user interface where you click, click, click with your left mouse button without having any kind of fun. If you are curious about how grinding can be fun, please check Terraria out.
Second major problem with Don’t Starve is the permadeath. I am not suggesting that permadeath is bad per se, it can be quite enjoyable when it is done right. In Don’t Starve, however, it turns the tedious game design into something unbearable. You may find yourself grinding for hours, just to die by a random encounter (and it won’t be your fault). Oh yeah, some might suggest “that’s what the game is about” or “you will learn from your death”. Just give me a break… By now you should have played plenty of difficult video games to differentiate good game design from bad ones. Just look at the Souls series. When you die, you know you made a mistake. Maybe you made your move too early. Maybe you did not block the attack when you were supposed to. And if you die, you may lose your “souls” and thereby some of your progress, but not the entire game. In Don’t Starve, unless you are playing with a second monitor with wiki open, there is no way of knowing what will kill you. The only way to learn about what kills you is to be killed by it. And then you will start over, go through the tedious grind for hours and die again for another reason you could simply not prevent. In Don’t Starve, you are Sisyphus…
Last but not the least, the combat is atrocious. Combat in Don’t Starve is literally the same combat in any of the other thousands of flash games. If you have a good armor, left click the enemy until it dies. Or alternatively, make the enemy chase you and do your attacks while you are on the run.
If dull, repetitive games with poorly executed game mechanics are for you, play Don’t Starve. If you have a friend who happens to have the same tastes as you do, play Don’t Starve Together. But if it is the art style that pulls you in, your valuable time would be much better spent rewatching The Nightmare Before Christmas.