“Hey, I know dad gave us €20 to buy take-out, but why don’t we buy a game instead?” A simple enough premise. We had tons and tons of Christmas dinner leftovers, and didn’t need to buy takeout. The idea was to buy a pack of four games in the Christmas sales to play instead. Makes sense, right?
What none of us anticipated was how long that would take.
We spent two hours choosing a game.
Seriously, we spent bloody ages picking things out. An early contender was Shadow Warrior 2, which me and brother already owned and only needed two copies of. There were a bunch of contenders that were like Risk of Rain 2. Deep Rock Galactic probably would have been picked if it had been in our price range. We also looked at a few couch-coop games as well, hoping to use the cool “play local coop online together” Steam thingy. But that didn’t work too well when we tried it with Humans Fall Flat. Plenty of games also looked great, but their multiplayer modes were PvP rather than coop, which is what we wanted.
The fussy person here was sister, who didn’t seem to fancy anything. There were only two games I’d said no to: Dead by Daylight (because it’s basically L4D generators: the game), and Don’t Starve Together.
Anyway, that’s how we ended up with Don’t Starve Together, for €5.
In fact, we only ended up spending €5 total. Because Don’t Starve Together is a 1+1 pack, and brother and sister already owned the game. So I got a copy and sent the extra gift copy to sister’s BF. It took no time at all to install, and before long, we were playing.
However, we weren’t jumping in completely blind. Brother had played Don’t Starve Together before, and had quite a few hours. He hosted the game and generated an easier world for us to start off in, while explaining things as we went along.
For our very first world, things weren’t too bad? I decided to pick one of the much easier characters, while, of course, sister and sister’s BF picked the more complicated ones. We were doing pretty well until we got caught in a rain storm with wolves and bats chasing us. Everyone died but me so we decided to call it quits and start a new world.
It’s fucking hard.
Most of the basic survival stuff is actually okay. Once you have a base, you start making food and have gathered some resources, you can kinda survive pretty well. But you have to maintain more and more things. You’re not just maintaining hunger and health, you have sanity to maintain too. And on top of that, you have changing seasons and issues that can pop up at any moment. These things can be dealt with, but often require good timing, planning in advance and having the resources to survive. Catastrophe happens when multiple issues pop up at once, and you can’t deal with them all.
Of course, the game is even harder when you pick characters with MASSIVE DOWNSIDES! Settling down near some Beefalo and a pigmen village off-screen doesn’t seem too bad. It’s genuinely awful when you’re playing a character that’s hated by neutral mobs and get attacked constantly. That’s why I picked the easy, simple characters.
The art style though is what makes it stand out.
It’s genuinely wonderful to look at, and the art style carries the game. A lot. Sure, you could probably build a similar atmosphere with a different look, but Don’t Starve pulls it all together so well.
Honestly, Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together would just be another building survival game without it’s beautiful art style.