Survival games are nothing new. It always seems to be the same thing over and over again-- Get placed in a world that never changes just to learn the layout of the world and survive forever. This is exactly where Don't Starve breaks the mold and delivers a brand new experience every time a game starts.
The first thing that most people will notice about this gorgeous romp through forests and swamps is the seemingly Tim Burton-inspired art style. Don't Starve is stunningly gorgeous with it's "2.5D" aesthetic. Characters seem to be a greatly detailed cardboard cutout with simplistic, yet endearing animations. Yes, these animations are smile-inducing. even when it gets dark in the woods and it's time for the monsters to come out.
What a clever name Don't Starve is, right? It fits perfectly. The main goal of this game is to, well... not starve. Not only does one need to eat, but the player also needs to survive the elements of the world itself. While the character that was chosen in the beginning is the only playable character in the world, animals and monsters are abundant. At first players may first see harmless animals, but as time goes by more creatures will be discovered and their goal is to survive as well.
While Don't Starve doesn't feed the player any objectives, the game leaves everything open for one to make their own goals. The crafting system is a perfect example of this. After certain materials are collected, someone can simply click on the left sidebar which shows what a character can craft. Tools can be made from collectibles in Don't Starve. A few twigs and some flint can make an axe to cut trees or a pickaxe for mining. Sometimes, some materials can be hard to make when someone is trying to survive the critters and elements of the randomly generated world. When these things are actually able to be crafted, there is a huge sense of accomplishment not given by most other games on the market. It can be a daunting task, but crafting is an absolute necessity.
Earlier when it was stated that this game looks like something out of the mind of Tim Burton, it becomes even more apparent whilst listening to the magnificent soundtrack and sound design of the world itself. Monsters can sound hideous, but allow players to know what is coming. Birds can be heard chirping, and it allows the person in control to know where to go to steal a bird's food, or simply to capture a bird for an even better meal. The music can allow someone to feel safe in the world and out of nowhere a creature can come and find its meal in the form of human flesh. This is sound design done at its absolute best.
So what are the flaws of Don't Starve? There aren't many. Sometimes enemies get stuck behind trees and this allows the player to remember that they are just playing a game. Other times, it can just be too damned hard to find the materials needed. Finding these materials needed is a must, but this is easy to let slide by as the world is randomly generated. The last issue that some people may run into is the "Adventure Mode". At the time of this review, I have not even found it. It's not just an option that can be selected from the main menu. Instead, one must find the adventure mode door in the world.
Despite the tiny flaws, Don't Starve is an absolute must play. The experience of the world alone is worth the price of admission, but stay for the fantastic art, music, and in-depth crafting system