You begin the game as a scientist trapped in a strange new world. By scavenging the surrounding area and exploring, you will have to do whatever it takes to survive. With the things that you collect, you can craft useful items such as light sources and tools. There are multiple tiers of items that you can make, each requiring the next science machine which all need complex ingredients. It is a race against time to build the best items so the game difficulty doesn’t catch up with you.
There are three stats that you need to prevent dropping down to 0, and each have their own unique ways to be replenished. The first obvious one is hunger, which is always in a constant decline. Regenerating hunger is the easiest thing to do, since there are plants to pick all over as well as hunting animals and monsters for their meat. Health meter works just like it does in every other game, it will only go down if you are hurt by enemies and sometimes if you eat the wrong kind of food. It will be the hardest stat to keep at max because the healing items you can make have ingredients that are sometimes hard, though luckily almost everything that you can eat will give you a small amount of health. The last stat that you need to keep an eye on is sanity, which is basically how your character is handling their situation. Completely reducing your sanity won’t kill you, but will put the game into hard mode since it will be harder to see stuff, enemies stop dropping good food, and show enemies will start to attack you. It is an easy stat you keep up since picking flowers or sleeping at night will replenish it slowly.
Enemies and resources of all kind can be found scattered all over the world that you arrive in. Starting out you will mostly just find bees and spiders along with their nests, while hidden trees and giant snow monsters come into play later on. Whether it’s gathering wood and stone, or going out and picking flowers and grass there is always something to collect to help you create stuff to survive. Most resources aren’t replenishable unless you cause them to do so yourself. Trees require you to plant their pinecones while anything that is gathered from mining like rocks and gold are only renewable if you’re wandering around in a cave and an earthquake happens. As for everything else, you have to ration them carefully since they will run out. Carrots and flowers and most other one pick plant material won’t respawn or grow back, so you will have to wander to new lands to find what you’re looking for. Special items and areas are the most important things that you can run into. There are areas that will cause you to respawn in case you die somehow, as well as finding already made farming plots ready to go.
The biggest element in the game is the day and night cycle. During the day you can easily see all around you and is the safest time to wander around. When it becomes dusk, it gets somewhat dark and your sanity will start to slowly drain. At night time, if you don’t have any kind of light source it will become completely dark and you will lose sanity much quicker and get attacked by monsters. The game will also get progressively harder as more and more days go by, and even the structure of days can change since there are seasons and day/night time lengths are different as summer and winter are active. All of these sections of a day will effect the world around you, such as enemies will be more aggressive during night time even if you have a large bonfire.
Probably the best thing that exists in this game is how customizable it is. Other than the few extra characters you can unlock through playing, you can completely customize exactly what will appear in a new game. You can customize the map size, resources, animals and monsters, and even make it so it is always nighttime! Most of the settings range from making elements non existant or appearing everywhere that you go. Especially when you make drastic changes, even the start of the map is affected from the generation, like being surrounded by the most dangerous enemies. With the amount of customized and generated maps that you can create, Don’t Starve has unlimited replayability.
Previously only available through downloading through the main website, you can now get all the mods that you want from simply using the Steam Workshop. You can expect to see mods such as entirely new characters and simple changes to how the game already works, such as items stacking up to 99 or tools never breaking. If you’re interested, you can even make your own mods to upload to the workshop.
Don’t starve is pretty bare when it comes to options and graphics, but the game isn’t ugly or anything. Even the sound is great since sometimes you might even think that the birds you hear are real and outside your window.
Anything negative about Don’t Starve can be attributed to the random map generator. Even if you customize a map just how you want it, it might still not generate a forest or swamp or rocky alcove anywhere close to where you spawn. Gameplay wise, combat can be kind of tricky because all enemies and animals have a hit box the size of their model which means that bees are hard to click on and you might just end up walking around stupidly while getting stung.
Since you can customize pretty much everything that exists in the game, if the game ever seems hard you’re able to simply lower the amount of enemies and how often you get bad weather, as well as increasing the amount of food and resources that you can find. Even if you do change the settings to the easiest possible, since the worlds are randomly generated you might still get a hard map to play on. The base mechanics of the game might not be the easiest thing however, and they can’t be changed.
The game automatically saves every time you survive a whole day, and you can save at any time that you would like. A single playthrough can take a long time, but the fact that you can do a little here and there without spending hours at a time is good. Being a rogue-like with perma-death, any hardcore player will enjoy Don’t Starve. Once again, if the game ever gets to being too easy, just a little modification on what elements spawn on the map will make it fun again. If you’re up to the challenge, you could try playing at night only!
There are currently about 7 characters to choose and play as, but you have to unlock them by earning experience by playing the game and dieing. The longer you survive, the more experience you can acquire. Even though they aren’t unlockables, there are a ton of secrets to discover while playing Don’t starve and it will take you a bunch of playthroughs to find everything.
Don’t starve is currently available for 15 dollars. With the amount of replayability that this game has, as well as constant free updates, this will be one of the best purchases that you can make when it comes to games currently.