The premise of ‘Don’t Starve’ is deceptively simple: don’t starve. You start the game by waking up in a dark and dangerous world and are told to find food before nightfall. The game doesn’t give you any more instruction than that, and it’s up to the player to figure out how to survive.

The game is challenging and fun. There is a lot of hidden depth to the game, which you probably won’t discover the first time through. There are multiple characters to choose from, and the world changes each time you play. You can also change the settings and make various biomes, animals, weather, etc more or less common.

I bought Reign of Giants at the same time as the main game. It adds extra challenge, environments, items, monsters and seasons to the game, and if you enjoyed the main game, you’ll probably enjoy the additional content from Reign of Giants as well.

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The world of ‘Don’t Starve’ is fairly large, and there are lots of biomes to explore each with different resources. You’ll need access to all of them to build everything, though early in the game some are more useful than others. You have the savanna, with grass and rabbits, and sometimes beefalow, you have forests, marsh with reeds, grasslands with bees, rockylands and more. You’ll need to collect resources to light a fire at night, keep you warm in winter, and catch food. The map is incredibly detailed and useful – as well as showing all the biomes, it shows the location of all the trees, grass, beehives and berry bushes you’ve found. The map will update as well if you change the world, by burning down forests, growing new ones, and moving berry bushes around.

You can build a wide assortment of items in the game; tents, traps, weapons, farms, armour, crockpots, clothes, tools etc. A few items are open for building at the start of the game, but for the rest you’ll need a machine – science machine, alchemy machine, and so on. The game tells you what you need to build an item, as well as whether you need a machine to unlock it, but not how to use an item. It’s up to the player to discover all the uses of the items in the game.

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There are also lots of monsters in the game. Some monsters are neutral, such as pigs, and you can use them to kill other monsters, or give them items to have them follow you for a short time. Early in the game fighting will be quite dangerous, as recovering health is difficult, but once you build some armour and weapons, fighting will get a lot easier.

You have three statuses in the game to maintain: health, hunger and sanity. You need to maintain all three to survive. Your sanity goes down during night time, or when you’re attacked. As your sanity gets lower your character will start to hallucinate, and if it gets low enough, your nightmares will attack you. There are some instances when you might want to lower your sanity however, such as to collect nightmare fuel.

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As your day count gets higher, the game gets tougher. Hound attacks will become more frequent, and the hound packs will grow in size. As winter approaches, the days will also get shorter and colder, making exploration and maintaining sanity difficult. You start the game in summer, and you’ll want to build a good camp (it’s good to have more than one), and prepare enough food to survive winter.

You earn experience in the game, which is used to unlock more characters, either by dieing or escaping the world using the teleportato. As well as escaping to a new world (with stat bonuses, recipes and some items intact), you can also play in adventure mode, and explore the caves and ruins. To enter adventure mode you need to find Maxwell’s Door in survival mode. If you die in adventure mode you come back to survival mode outside the door.

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The game is repetitive and addictive. Every time I die in the game I want to go back to the lonely, dark world and learn from my mistakes and see if I can survive a bit longer. Once I felt comfortable with the main game, I enabled the Reign of Giants DLC. Reign of Giants makes the game quite a bit tougher, and adds a lot more content to the game. It adds more playable characters, more seasons, monsters items and recipes. It also changes a few of the mechanics of the game: rain is more damaging to WX-78, and captured animals will eventually die if you don’t feed them. Food made using the crockpot will also go bad eventually if left there too long. All in all, I really enjoyed this game, and I’m still enjoying the extra challenge from Reign of Giants.

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