I only got into PC gaming after I turned seventeen. It was around the time I graduated from my country’s equivalent of high school, gaining a brief taste of freedom after studying for most of my life. My three month break before college was spent working to fund what I had desperately wanted for years – a proper gaming desktop.
I also discovered Steam around the same time. I had several older friends who were avid gamers and they introduced me to the wonderful world of online game distribution. There were games the likes of which I’d never seen and it isn’t an exaggeration to say it blew my mind.
My family’s shared desktop was an old relic from the 2000’s and the only other option was to game on my mother’s laptop. Unfortunately, her laptop was geared towards media consumption and office work, which made playing some games a waking nightmare. I can still recall getting frequent headaches while exploring Skyrim, the laptop chugging as it tried keeping to a solid thirty frames on low settings. Other less demanding titles fared decently, but I’d describe the overall experience as subpar. My dream of a decent pc that could run games at the revered sixty fps remained just that. A dream.
Until I received my pay, that is.
A week later saw a custom ordered desktop placed safely in my room. It wasn’t anything fancy. I can’t remember what its exact specs were, but I do remember the seller reassuring me it was able to run Skyrim at ultra or high settings. It didn’t deliver on that promise, though things ran fairly well for the most part. Soon, my library of steam games grew. After Skyrim came several others, the most notable being Mount and Blade: Warband, which has become another favourite.
A little over a year later, Terraria joined its ranks. Due to my propensity for motion sickness, Minecraft didn’t hold the same allure for me since it was played in first person. But I knew Terraria was special when I stumbled upon its store page. It was about fifteen dollars back then, and it was affordable enough that I didn’t think twice about clicking the ‘add to cart’ button.
Needless to say, Terraria proceeded to smash my expectations at every turn. I’d always loved the idea of eking out a living in an untouched world, plundering abandoned areas full of treasure, and building a home from the materials the land provided. The game fulfilled what I’d craved for the longest time, carving a solid place in my heart, never to be forgotten.
I racked up 70 hours before growing tired and branching out to try other games. That happened towards the middle of 2015, my steam account helpfully recording when I was last seen floundering about in Terraria. Fast forward to 2017. After finishing Caveman Warriors, I was suddenly hit by the familiar urge to build something. After several minutes of contemplating, I ended up reinstalling the game.
My old saves were strangely nowhere to be found, so I started a new character and created a new world. As I waited for the game to load I was slightly anxious about needing to learn everything from scratch. But similar to riding a bicycle after years of not doing so, instinct and familiarity kicked after I started playing.
My character was dropped into the newly generated world and I set out to gather resources. The game gives you a broadsword, an axe, and a pickaxe when you first start, so you don’t need to punch trees to get wood.
In a matter of hours my exploring turned up some pretty neat items. My beginner character was squishy and could be killed by a cleverly placed dart trap or even a couple of slimes, which made exploration hazardous. This was where bows came in handy – arrows are surprisingly useful, both in range and in damage. And even better, they only require wood and stone blocks to craft. Cave bats, zombies, and multi-coloured dungeon slimes fell prey to my archery and were dispatched without trouble.
The grind slowly set in after the three hour mark. This can be attributed Terraria’s procedurally generated world as not all underground caverns are conveniently linked. For someone like myself whose mantra is “Just a little more,” forcibly digging through dirt and stone was unavoidable, especially if I catch sight of an empty area near my position.
This is the part I dislike, because it can feel like a chore if you’re constantly digging. Patience is not always rewarded. I could spend fifteen minutes digging my way down, only find an empty cavern and a couple of pots. Ugh. It’s easy for people to drop the game and proclaim it’s boring if that’s all they do in their first playthrough, and I can’t blame them. This is a common problem in open world games and depending on how forgiving you feel, it might be cause to stop playing.
I’d say to give Terraria a minimum two to three hours. If you still find it boring after that, it’s probably not the type of game for you. For around ten dollars (at the time of writing this) I’d recommend people to try it out. The game also goes on sale for a steep discount during Steam sales, those willing to wait can probably grab it at a measly 2 bucks.
I’m on my eighth hour currently and everything still feels satisfying. I’d thought my interest would wane after a while but I still seem to be going strong. For newer players, I’d recommend doing different things if you ever find yourself getting bored. Terraria is also unique in that it has different biomes – with bosses that you can summon and defeat.
My personal favourite is the Eye of Cthulu, mostly because he’s the easiest out of all of them. There’s also the Slime King, but he was pretty unmemorable especially after you get a good set of gear. Another boss I managed to kill was the Eater of Worlds and I had to do quite a bit of preparation for that. I’d been looking to go against it in my current playthrough but unfortunately, I got the crimson biome instead of the corruption one.
Despite playing for 90 hours and counting there’s still a truckload of content I haven’t gotten to yet. Terraria has endless replay value and for the price, it’s practically a steal. There isn’t a game like it, despite numerous efforts to replicate the visuals or general gameplay. I’d confidently recommend this game to anyone regardless of what genres they like. It might be something they would eventually come to love.