Terraria Review for Xbox 360

Terraria Review for Xbox 360

Deep They Delved

When Terraria first hit Steam back in 2011, Minecraft was in the middle of tearing up sales charts, so comparisons between the two games were inevitable. While calling Terraria game “a 2D version of Minecraft” may be somewhat accurate, it also ignores the fact that what makes this game so much fun are the pieces it didn’t borrow from Notch’s famous sandbox game. And now that Terraria has arrived on consoles, it’s the perfect time to take another look at it.

I must say, as someone who has spent dozens of hours in the PC version of the game, it was a pleasant surprise to have the Xbox 360 Edition of the game end up in my review pile for this month. Firing up Terraria for the first time in about a year, I was greeted with the familiar pixilated splash screen, and it wasn’t long before I was bobbing my head to the same retro-inspired soundtrack I had fallen in love with during my time with the PC version two summers ago. It was instantly familiar, yet, with the game’s randomly generated terrain, it also felt completely new. There was a fresh and untamed world just waiting to be settled by a brave explorer like Buster, the character I had created especially for this review.

Terraria Screenshot

For the uninitiated, here’s how Terraria works: When you launch the game, you create a character, then send him or her (unlike Minecraft, gender does exist in Terraria) into a randomly generated, pixellated 2D world. What you do from this point is entirely up to you, though it’s recommended that you build a shelter as soon as possible. (Also unlike Minecraft, you actually start a Terraria world with a few tools that will be immediately useful.)

Your other options include exploring the surface (which basically means choosing left or right and then walking as far in that direction as you can), spelunking, mining, collecting various items, or engaging monsters in combat. Of course, there is a tiered crafting system that has you building basic tools, which you’ll use to acquire the materials to make better tools, which you’ll then use to collect even better materials, and so on. It’s a fairly smooth natural progression that keeps the game moving, and it even encourages you to take on some of the game’s various boss battles in order to acquire rare materials you can’t get elsewhere. Once you feel ready, of course; the beauty of Terraria is that it lets you move at your own pace.

Terraria Screenshot

The look of Terraria is almost comparable to a Super NES-era RPG. While that sounds like a weird artistic choice for a survival/crafting/exploration game, it actually works quite well. It simultaneously makes the game feel stylized and allows the processor on your console to load insanely large random worlds without slowing to a halt. (Though, it must be noted that you will encounter some noticeable frame rate drops in the 360 Edition, especially when you travel across multiple biomes quickly.)

Unfortunately for console owners, this game was built from the ground up as a PC game, thus the control scheme was designed with a keyboard and mouse in mind. Transitioning to a console controller makes mining a bit awkward. There are two different options for how you’d like your cursor to function, and you can toggle between them by pressing down on the right stick. Still, neither of them is as intuitive as simply using a mouse.

Terraria Screenshot

On the other hand, combat becomes much easier. Personally, I always felt the point-and-click combat of the PC version to be less than optimal, and getting to use a standard controller made me into a more versatile monster-fighting machine. Additionally, you can assign various tools or items to the D-pad, which makes swapping between your sword and tools an effortless affair.

Another feature that comes as a bonus to console owners is the addition of splitscreen multiplayer (which unfortunately doesn’t work for players with standard definition television sets.) This means that now you can couch co-op your Terraria experience. Of course, there’s also online multiplayer, which supports up to eight players.

Terraria Screenshot

The more controversial addition to the console version is new content. You see, Re-Logic, the original developer, stopped supporting the PC version a while back. Now that the console port is out of Re-Logic’s hands, 505 Games plans to continue adding new content to the game. This means that the console versions are most likely going to see some new content that won’t end up in the PC version. And this content includes things like new armor, new weapons, new pets, and a new final boss. Oh, and now there’s a new feature that draws in areas on a world map as you explore them in the game world. So it’s a considerable amount of cool stuff to miss out on.

Needless to say, the basement-dwelling PC enthusiasts are thumbing their noses, punching at their keyboards to fill Terraria’s forums with anger and hatred. They feel betrayed, abused, cheated.

While I understand their pain, I think this is ultimately a positive move for 505, as it adds value to the game even for those who’ve spent countless hours in the PC version. Sure, it’s a bummer that those people have to buy a second version in order to see all the content, but it also makes that second purchase worthwhile.

The bottom line is that Terraria is immensely enjoyable. Almost endlessly so, in fact. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re missing out on a very clever 2D crafting/survival game that wears its retro influence on its sleeve. If you’ve already spent hundreds of hours in this world, there’s some new stuff to see in this version of the game. Either way, it’s definitely worth the 1200 Microsoft Points.

Adorable 16-bit graphics. Old school gamers will love the visual style. 3.8 Control
A bit more awkward than on PC, though combat legitimately feels better. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent soundtrack, and great minimalistic use of sound. 5.0 Play Value
The deeper you dig into Terraria, the deeper Terraria will dig into your brain. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Dig, fight, explore, build! Nothing is impossible in this action-packed adventure game. The world is your canvas and the ground itself is your paint.
  • You can do many things in Terraria: make weapons and fight off a variety of enemies in numerous biomes; dig deep underground to find accessories, money, and other useful things; gather wood, stone, ores, and other resources to create everything you need to make the world your own and defend it.
  • Build a house, a fort, even a castle, and people will move in to live there and perhaps even sell you different wares to assist you on your journey.

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