A standalone sequel to the well-received predecessor: <Don’t Starve>, <Don’t Starve Together> is a multiplayer survival game with cartoon-style graphics set in a scary yet quirky 2.5D world. Produced by Klei entertainment, it is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Players have to survive in a randomly generated world with monsters lurking in the dark. Players will cooperate and gather resources to defend themselves against the harsh elements and enemies, eventually thriving in the dark and mysterious world. During their adventure into this dark realm, they will have to constantly monitor: their ever-depleting health, hunger and sanity statuses. Players can craft weapons to defend themselves against monsters and search for food to curb hunger. Players must gather enough resources in the day to sustain fire through the nighttime; otherwise, something in the dark will drive the player insane. As a rogue-like game, death spells Game over for the players. Thus, they will have to strategise and navigate the world carefully to survive for as long as possible.
Lens of Elemental Tetrad
There is a large array of characters to play from. Each of them has a unique perk and quirk. The quirk provides the player with a certain advantage during gameplay at the cost of the perk where the player will be faced with a certain constraint. An example will be a character called Wigfrid who deals additional damage to monsters but this character can only sustain her hunger status with a particular type of food.
There is a large variety of monsters that the player can encounter that has different abilities and methods to defeat. An example is a boss monster called the Spider Queen which can spawn smaller spider monsters. One of the creative methods in defeating her is through the use of the environment by luring it to a place that spawns pig monsters and letting them defeat her.
Players can craft various tools and weapons that serve different functions that can help them further the game.
4. Day/Night cycle
There will be a perpetual day and night cycle where the players will have to carry out resource gathering in the day and survive the night time with gathered resources and fire where the monsters are more active.
There are different seasons such as summer and winter where they will have a different environmental effect on the player. For example, winter will cause the player to freeze thus they will have to regularly seek a heat source to maintain the character body temperature otherwise their health will start depleting quickly.
6. Randomly generated map
The random and procedural generated map with different monster spawns provide the player a unique experience with every game play.
The characters lore are not directly discoverable in the game but instead embedded as puzzles in various animated update trailers to entice the player to discover and piece together the backstory for the different characters.
The style of the graphic is gloomy yet comical similar to a movie based on Tim Burton novel: “The nightmare before Christmas”, effectively setting an eerie tone yet a palatable experience even for the faint of heart. The environment and monsters appearance change with the varying season. Players can also discover and update the skins of their different characters to spice up their gameplay.
This game is developed using a custom-build in c++ engine which has since ported to numerous platform. As most of the gameplay scripts were written using LUA, it has high portability which allows the game to be available on numerous platform. Adobe Flash are largely used for the art of the game and it uses FMOD as its sound effects engine.
Lens of Skill
- The game expect the players to have a good micro-management skill as there are numerous status and resources for the player to manage.
- The game expect the players to have the standard gaming skills such as kitting and side stepping when they are dealing with monsters.
- The game expect the players to strategies and plan the direction of gameplay they will adopt depending on the player spawn area and the type of resources make available to the player at the start of the game. The players have to be flexible and take in consideration of the random factors when they are coming up with tactics.
- Large amount of knowledge to be learnt for the game
The large number of skills that is required from the player to be good at the game helps to create a steep learning curve.
Lens of Chance
- Varying rarity of skins to customise different character are obtainable from simply playing the game. It serves as an additional motivation for the players to continue playing the game.
- Monsters have varying drop rate. Boss monsters have a low chance of dropping extremely useful items that player can use to craft advance tools to further advance the game. Players have to constantly weight their risk and reward with their current status as boss monster can easily make or break their current gameplay.
- There are various type of terrain with their associated monster that can be randomly generated as the player explore the map. Only certain monster drop items that the player required in a certain point of time.
The randomness are well balanced to give the player a mixed sense of excitement and challenge. It also helps to create a unique experience with every gameplay and ultimately helps in retaining the game’s player base.
Lens of Challenge
- The game has a balanced level of difficulty where it gets progressively more difficulty in the form of seasons where the constraints becomes more unforgiving.
- With so many verbs and objects that a player can interact with, there is a steep learning curve for a player to be good in the gamer.
The steep learning curve ensures that when a player becomes better at the game, the player does not get bored quickly as the player will eventually progress into a point in the game where he will not be able to survive due to the increasing difficulty. This motivates the player to get better at the game such that the player can advance further into the game. The game has balanced difficulty and skills really well as the progressive increase in difficulty ensures that the player does not experience anxiety because of a large gap in skills and difficulty level.
Lens of Freedom
- Players are allowed to do anything they want, free to explore any part of the map without direct constraints.
- Players are allowed to craft any tools, use their creativity to survive the game as there are no one correct method to play the game.
- Indirect constraints like the character quirks and perks, day/night cycle and seasons
The game has indirect control over the player through constraints and goals. It forces the player to player the game in a certain manner and carry out certain task within certain time interval. However, a sense of freedom is created by leaving it up to the players to figure out new and interesting ways to meet the restrictions and goals. Players will not daunted by the large degree of freedom the game provides as they have a clear goal to head towards using the freedom given.
Lens of Community
- The game allows players to host their own servers and play with their friends and even strangers from different parts of the world.
- Dedicated forum for the game where players can share their experience and knowledge of the game.
With so many different factors in the game influencing the gameplay, there are too many interactions for one player to discover on his own. Players are encouraged to play with different people and learn from each other to tackle the steep learning curve. This helps foster a knitted community of players.
In summary, this game is known to be difficult and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good challenge.