Crafting Fun with Don’t Starve

Don't Starve

There’s a certain kind of crafting that I dig when I play games. Hunting animals to craft bigger weapons and pouches to hold more ammo to kill even bigger animals? Sign me up. Huddling in the dark and crafting that one tool I need to barely make it through the next night, while monsters press in all around me? Not so much.

This is part of why I avoided Don’t Starve for so long, despite hearing nothing but good things from just about everyone that’s ever played it. Since Klei’s roguelike survival simulator with an art style right out of a Tim Burton movie went up on PSN Plus this weekend, I thought I would give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

While I’m not one that normally enjoys a game that relies on its difficulty as part of its charm, Don’t Starve balances this through a really well-designed crafting system that gives you a number of options. And since you can see what’s available to you from the start of the game, you’re not just blindly guessing what you might need, but trying to be more strategic about your hunter-gathering ways. Even though I had no idea what was going on when I started playing (there’s no tutorial whatsoever), it didn’t stop me from diving headlong into the game and picking up how I was supposed to be playing within a day or two’s worth of deaths.

And now I’m pretty addicted. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s fun to die again and again, always trying to craft newer and better items. It helps that I can play this thing in small doses via Remote Play on my PS Vita (which is a separate post entirely) here and there. What I really enjoy is that there is no specific goal, yet I feel constantly driven. To me, the game is great because of its simplicity, and having a new world to scavenge within every single playthrough gives it some great variety.

How many of you guys have played Don’t Starve? What other rogeulikes have you enjoyed? Got any recommendations?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

6 thoughts on “Crafting Fun with Don’t Starve”

  1. I quite enjoy Don’t Starve! I bought it some time back during a sale on Good Old Games and I don’t regret purchasing it. Though mine is for PC, nonrelevance aside, it’s really a game to behold. I got hooked on it much the way you did @Eddy. There might be no solid goals but you always feel driven to see if you can survive just a day longer, or craft something that’s just a bit more useful. The artstyle is great and I like the way the craft menus work and that it’s all visible from the start. It’s great that Klei brought it to console. Hopefully they might do it with Incognita when it’s finally released!

  2. Just got this free with PS plus as well, for the life of me I can’t seem to make it pass day 8. But its not too difficult so that I feel the need to give up. There is always some way to do things faster or better, so I keep coming back. Plus its just the right amounts of creepy 😀

  3. In rogue-likes such as Spelunky or Rogue Legacy, I don’t mind dying and immediately playing again and again, but Don’t Starve got to a point where I’m too afraid to load my save game because I don’t want to die. I somehow made it to winter (probably in around day 23) and I just don’t want to die and start all over again.

    It’s sort of like back when Minecraft was always perma-death. After building my house and getting diamond items, I became afraid to play and explore for fear of dying and having to start a whole new world. I wish Don’t Starve would bring in a mode or element like Minecraft did with the bed so that if you do die, you lose all your items, but have a respawn point.

    That being said, the game is awesome and beautiful and I do recommend it to people, I just think my love burned bright and died in fear.

  4. I’m in the same boat as you Eddy. I normally hate this type of game, especially the perma-death thing, loosing all of your hard work. But my god is this game addicting. It will suck when you do eventually die, but you got that much further, gained that much more knowledge required to make it in the world. Which will make your next character that much easier. Imo the thing that actually makes it hardest to survive and thrive with new worlds is finding everything. Finding boulders with gold in them. Finding a herd of beefalo. Finding pigs. On my current character I cannot for the life of me find a swamp, despite having explored an insane amount already.

    Anyway, my current character is the first time I’ve survived the winter (though the next one is coming up!) and I’m officially addicted now. Getting to the point where you don’t have to scrounge for food and run from enemies is so rewarding.

  5. Lol yes, and when (or if) you do end up finding them they’ll be insanely far from your main base so you can’t easily keep revisiting them for manure to make more farms. So annoying. I honestly rely mostly on rabbits for food at this point. They’re easy to find, relatively easy to catch in large numbers (though expensive), they’re active during winter, and jerky restores sanity. Though sometimes other sources of food are more fun. I love the crock pot. I died and unlocked Wickerbottom, who starts with 2 papyrus, so now I finally caught my first bird, and I’m pretty excited to start using eggs in recipes. But now my problem is the only graveyard I’ve found so far didn’t have any gears in it. So I can’t make an icebox yet. And Wickerbottom has greater penalties for eating rotten food.

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