Don’t starve has been out for a while now on the PC and it’s fair to say that it has been quite successful. Now developer Klei entertainment has released Don’t Starve: Console Edition for the PS4, promising all of the same content from the PC version as well as all past and future updates. The premise of Don’t Starve is fairly simple at first, you awaken in a strange – procedurally generated – world and have to scavenge and craft during the day time, and huddle around a fire to keep the nasties away at night… so far – so Minecraft. There are some key differences of course that set this game apart from it’s blocky cousin. The first thing many will notice immediately is the art style, its sort of what I imagine a Tim Burton game would look like. the world and it’s inhabitants all look like they have been doodled and cut out – the effect is a dark and creepy looking game where nothing is as it seems.
The early game plays much like any other survival game, you explore the world looking for things to eat and craft with – once you make the science machine (Don’t Starve’s crafting bench if you will) then thats when things get really interesting. The main objective of the first in game day is to gather enough resources to create a basic camp fire in order to stay alive through the night. all the while there is a clock counting down until night fall, and when it does come you will find yourself staring at it – wishing for daylight. There are a few other elements to be mindful of as well – the first is your hunger bar, if this drops to zero you will start to lose life until you die. Keeping a good stock of food is a must. The other element is the sanity meter, this meter is almost always depleting, once it drops below a certain level your character will start to hallucinate things that either aren’t there such as creepy shadow men – or once harmless looking rabbits will turn into ‘beardlings’ that will sap your sanity even faster when you are closer to them. Sanity can be replenished by shaving your beard and craft new items among other tasks.
There are benefits of letting your sanity drop, for example one crafting machine depletes your sanity as you use it but you can create some of the most powerful items in the game. This balacing act is what makes Don’t Starve so entertaining and for the most part it has made the transition to PS4 seamlessly. The visuals look great running on Sony’s new machine and I rarely encountered any bugs. The controls while they take a bit of getting used to are actually an elegant way to control this game. movement is handled with the left analogue stick, the right stick navigates your inventory and you use them with the D-pad, pressing L2 brings up your crafting menu.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, I felt that there were some balance issues. New players may be completely overwhelmed and confused at first which may hinder enjoyment. Also the Winter segment of the game is brutal for the unprepared player. While I appreciate the games ‘no hand holding’ stance, staggering the difficulty curve would go a long way to help new players. However after a few deaths these issues become insignificant, as with every death you learn something that will keep you alive one more day – And its that ‘one more try’ aspect that will keep you coming back again and again.
Don’t Starve is January 2014’s free ps plus game so there really is no excuse not to try this fantastic game. Every PS4 owner should play this game.