I imagine Don’t Starve is how Tim Burton sees the world. It’s a quirky survival game that plays a little like Minecraft with a dark sense of humour.
You’re thrown into a world full of science and magic and must collect, grow and kill to discover new survival items and tools. Collect enough grass to refine some rope and you could make a sleeping bag to sleep through the night, better tools from wood and flint and get better food from weapons and traps.
The gameplay mechanics are nice and easy to understand. You have three main stats you need to keep up with; health, hunger and sanity.
Health is simple enough. Unlike hunger or sanity, health doesn’t decrease over time. It’s only affected by damage from enemies, starving, freezing, burning or eating certain foods. You can regain health from eating food or using spider glands.
Hunger is a great mechanic in a survival game. You’ll forget that your character needs feeding sometimes, to which they’ll remind you. If you forget to pick up food for them to eat, you’ll desperately look around for food. I made that mistake and accidentally ate a mushroom which ended my thirteen day run.
Sanity is the fun part of this game. Slowly, as the days pass on and you explore the world, your sanity will decrease. You might see a shadow, the world starts becoming more saturated in colour then suddenly your vision becomes blurred and your hallucinations come to attack you. Restoring sanity is the most difficult stat to restore but you can quickly counteract some of the effects by picking flowers. Other methods include fighting your hallucinations, sleeping in a tent and eating cooked food.
The characters are cute. They have little quips about nature, the darkness and enemies. They also have different abilities. Wilson, the gentleman scientist, has a great beard you can shave off to restore sanity. Willow, the first unlockable character has the ability to start fires out of pure darkness (to avoid Grue) and is immune to fire damage. These abilities are designed to help players during different scenarios.
The world is randomly generated but you have options to increase or decrease elements within the world, ensuring that no two worlds are exactly the same. It’s a well-drawn 2D world that’s designed to scare you when dusk approaches.
Since I bought it on Steam earlier in the week I’ve played about 10 hours of Don’t Starve and survived about 25 days collectively. It’s a good little time waster or something you can get very invested in.