Sense of Progression
Now, a lot of skeptics were originally turned off to Minecraft because they felt it had no sense of direction. In order to accommodate those players, a sort of guided progression was implemented, which ultimately leads players to a final boss fight against the Enderdragon boss. Now, this might actually make the game more enjoyable for a certain type of player, but I think that most of the people who were drawn to Minecraft in the first place appreciate the ability to invent their own objectives. The more creative a person you are, the more enjoyment you'll glean from Minecraft.
Terraria is far more centered around its own sense of progression. It has a tiered system of armor similar to what you might find in an MMORPG. You'll explore the world looking for the best ore you can get, build a set of armor from it, then fight a boss, which will drop a new, harder-to-get ingredient or type of ore. And so on. Eventually, you'll be equipped with the best armor and weapons in the game, and you'll take down the final boss. And then you'll realize the game is no longer any fun. You've got nothing else to do, so you put it down and wait for the next update to add a new tier or two so you have an objective once again.
In Minecraft, on the other hand, the dragon fight isn't necessarily what you're ultimately trying to accomplish. Sure, it's there, but it's not the focus. If you do happen to actually bring it down, you'll most likely shrug your shoulders and go off to build another castle or something with your friends.
Admittedly, Minecraft is a slower game. Gathering resources will take hours upon hours, and there are a lot of side activities—like breeding cattle, taming wolves, and farming—that cater to players with a little more patience. Terraria is much faster paced. The combat is quicker, and the side activities tend to be more about battling monsters—fending off massive hordes of zombies during a Blood Moon, for instance. Also, items like jetpacks and rocket boots will allow you to get around much faster. Minecraft has its mine cart system for travel, but building a lengthy track will consume a lot of your time. If you're looking for a quick rush, you probably won't find it in Minecraft.
At the time of this writing, Terraria is $9.99 on Steam, and Minecraft, in its full-release form, is $26.95. So Minecraft costs a little more than two and a half times as much as Terraria. In fact, for $29.99, just a few dollars more than Minecraft's entry fee, you can get a four pack of Terraria and gift your three extra copies to your friends. This is a perfect solution for those of you who don't want to tackle the game on your own.
But let's consider what you're getting for your money here. Either one of these games is a steal for the price, as you'll easily lose dozens of hours to each one. However, as I mentioned earlier, Minecraft just has more staying power. Once you bring down the final boss, Terraria is pretty much over. (Until the next free update comes along, of course.)
The bottom line: Minecraft may be more expensive, but even so, it offers more for the money.
Neither of these games is superior to the other. Sure, for a lot of people, Minecraft will simply stay fun longer. But let's be real here. If you're only planning on spending 30-40 hours in one of these games, Terraria will most likely keep you entertained that entire time. Especially if you play it with friends. The most important factor when deciding between these two is what you're looking for in a game. If you want a firm progression system and fast-paced combat, Terraria is your game. If you'd rather spend your time crafting, building, and exploring, you should probably stick with Minecraft.
Of course, you could always just pick up both of them. Neither is likely to break your bank account, after all, and purchasing games like these supports hardworking indie game developers.
By Josh Wirtanen
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*