From Hansel and Gretel to Dorothy in Oz to Theseus in the Labyrinth, the horror of being lost is a common trope in mythology. What would you do if you were dropped into a foreboding wilderness? What would you eat? How would you survive the chill of night and attacks from mythical beasts?
Don’t Starve is a strange beast, mixing fantasy, survival horror, construction game, exploration and elegant animation that looks pencil drawn. It’s Minecraft meets early Tim Burton via the Brother Grimm.
Find a sapling and flint to make an axe; chop down a tree; locate some food; use your ingenuity. Make sure to build a fire so you can see things that go bump in the night – and maybe get a chance to bump back. Eventually you’ll mine, farm and even invent new tools and gadgets (both mundane and fantastical).
It’s trial and error; making a torch so you can explore at night seems a great idea at first, until the torch burns out; kill a bee for its stinging tail, but don’t be surprised to be attacked by a swarm.
After you inevitably succumb to the elements or animals, you start again in a randomly assembled environment. Sometimes there are more than enough resources to make tools and weapons, and sometimes there’s plenty of food but not enough weapons – and every variation in between.
Don’t Starve is a confident, gently addictive game that unveils its charms bit by bit. You also have the option to look back over past games in the “morgue” to see how long you lasted and what was responsible for your demise.
It’s a uniquely funny and morbid experience and free for Playstation Plus subscribers. dontstarvegame.com