Indie Game of the Week – Don’t Starve

Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about.  Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.

Welcome to Indie Game of the Week.  Those of you who haven’t played Don’t Starve yet…do it. If ever you’ve been a fan of survival games, this one’s just the ticket for you. The premise is marvelously simple: you play the part of a hapless individual plopped down into a strange, alien wilderness by some strange, malevolent demon. It’s never really clear why he’s decide to bring you here, nor is it possible to determine what his goals are. 

The only thing we know about him is that his name is “Maxwell.” 

The goal of the game is simple: survive. You’ll need to wander about, foraging for food and materials. You’ll be crafting the latter into various tools, items, and supplies. At first, what you’ll be able to make is severely limited: eventually, you’ll be able to construct a handy device known as a “Science Machine.” It’s never really explained how, but feeding items into this machine nets you a commodity known as ‘research points’ which are used to gain access to more advanced crafting recipes. That’s the magic of science, I suppose. 

Throughout all of this, you’ll need to remember to gather enough supplies to set up a campfire, and keep it stocked. Monsters are particularly active at night – but they’re not what you should be afraid of. Those, at least, can be killed. The thing that lurks in total darkness, however…All I’ll say on the matter is that if you’ve played Zork, you’ll understand: you want to stay out of the dark, lest you find yourself eaten by a Grue. 

Oh, and on top of that, pretty much everything is trying to kill you, save the food and the pig men (the closest thing to intelligent, friendly faces you’ll find). Giant spiders, swamp monsters, pissed off trees, giant birds, ghosts…you get the idea. This isn’t exactly a peaceful, serene place you’ve been banished to. 

Don’t Starve also features a rather impressive roster of characters – given that it’s still in beta, this roster is likely to continue to grow right up until release. You’ll start with Wilson, the Gentleman Scientist. For some reason, he’s the only character that can grow a beard – used in the construction of the Meat Effigy; which essentially serves as a re-spawn point in the event that your character should die. 

Again, don’t question it. It’s science. I have it on good authority that the technique is quite well known in the scientific community. A gentleman told me.  

Anyway…let’s get back on track. To unlock new characters, you’ll need to accrue a certain amount of experience; every day you survive grants you just a little bit more than the last. In order to actually receive the experience, however; you’ll have to die. Don’t worry: you probably will, eventually.

All in all, Don’t Starve is a charming and addictive game, with an endearing art style and a decent sense of humor. If you’re looking for a survival game to fill the void, you could do worse. Just don’t forget to eat when you start playing it. 

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