Back in 2011 when Terraria first came out it was dubbed “2D Minecraft”. Now, 11 years later it somewhat managed to separate itself from that label and has managed to gather quite the faithful following of players that still play and enrich its world with mods. Although nowhere near as popular as it was during the peak of its popularity, it’s time to revisit this timeless classic and see what it has to offer in 2023.
Editor’s Note: This review has been updated to reflect the current state of the game. Terraria managed to keep the quality of the content at more-or-less the same level since its original release. It’s still a game worthy of your attention.
Terraria’s adventure-oriented gameplay still has much to offer
Terraria can be considered the ultimate sandbox. It offers much in terms of exploration and adventure, but what makes it stand out from the rest of similar games is its lack of explicit instructions. Some people might be bothered by that, but for me personally, it’s a plus.
I like non-linear games that refuse to push you in a certain direction. Yes, Terraria still has goals you have to achieve in order to progress through the game in any meaningful way, but the journey is all that matters, and that’s entirely up to you.
Some details might be difficult to figure out on your own in terms of crafting and general directions, but you can always consult numerous materials on the web to accomplish your goals.
Terraria looked dated on release, and time hasn’t been kind to it as well
One aspect of Terraria that was always lacking was its visuals. They were fairly dated when the game first came out and the passing of time only made it worse. I get that it has a certain charm, that not everything is about graphics, and that some people even consider the game pretty. But my personal preference is that the animations shouldn’t be as limited as they are in Terraria, and it shouldn’t be so hard to take a decent screenshot of your game.
Luckily, where official updates fail, the loyal modding community comes to the save through numerous high-res texture packs that we have at our disposal.
Terraria’s combat is simple but manages to surprise you either way
Terraria’s combat is in its entirety progression-based, which means that without x weapons you cannot deal with y boss. That sounds fairly limiting until you figure out that there are a lot of different play styles to try out and all of them work, at least if you manage to utilize your items intelligently. You will not be able to apply the same principles and strategies to every single boss in the game. You will have to experiment and die a few times until you figure things out. I mean, there’s always an option to check everything out online, but I wouldn’t recommend it. As I’ve mentioned before part of Terraria’s charm is the fact that you get thrown into this vast world with little general idea about what you should be doing.
Like with exploration, some things are intuitive and obvious, and some manage to surprise you with their depth.
Terraria’s combat is far from its greatest selling point, but it still has surprising quality and excitement to it. Especially late-game when you discover more powerful items and upgrades.
The crafting system could use an upgrade
For a game that centers around crafting and exploring, Terraria’s crafting system is clumsy at best and extremely un-intuitive at worst. Things are worsened by its cluttered UI. Terraria’s crafting systems revolves around pure guesswork which is fine, I’ve already added that it only makes the adventuring side of the game better, but some aspects could certainly be improved.
Terraria still has a loyal and active community
People are still playing and enriching Terraria with custom-made content.
When Terraria first got released, there were a couple of hundreds of items included, and over time that number has risen to a staggering over 5000 items added. If you count player-made items, added by mods that number easily goes well past that as well. Terraria is way past its popularity peak but people are still playing it, and it has a massive modding community that keeps it alive.
Multiplayer mode also keeps the game alive, but I feel like it’s harder to set up than it needs to be, and incredibly un-intuitive compared to most other modern games.
Terraria is still being updated
Terraria’s last big update was in May 2020. The update was titled “Journey’s end” the significance of this update cannot be stressed enough, as it marked the end of an era – the development and improvement of the game were officially over at least when it comes to big additions to the game and major quality updates. Just a few days ago, on September 28 to be exact, another big update was released called “Labor of Love”, while this last update brought nothing new to the table it did introduce some quality-of-life and balance changes in significant numbers so it can be considered a large update. It’s proof that Terraria is still being improved after all these years.
With everything said, it’s obvious that a game as big and complex as Terraria is still worth playing even after 11 years. The complexity of Terraria’s world can easily rival any of the modern games of a similar genre. Terraria certainly has its flaws, visuals and outdated crafting system being among the most obvious ones, but it still doesn’t take away from the original charm that the game had at the beginning. The active modding community keeps it alive, fixing stuff that got overlooked or deemed too unimportant to fix.
If you’ve never played Terraria I strongly advise you to give it a try, and if you haven’t revisited it in some time, I recommend you give it a try as well. Even if you’ve played this game for hundreds of hours I guarantee you will find something to do or something that you missed the first few times around.
You can only be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer after all these years.