Dig, Dig, Dig, Diggity, Dig Dig
3D or 2D
It's something I love to do, digging, in Minecraft, in Starbound and in numerous other games that provide me with countless hours of exploration related fun and frolics. I can while away a lot of time just going deeper and deeper, finding dungeons and treasure, loot and monsters - all the while gaining a little bit more knowledge of the procedurally generated area I'm playing in and discovering a whole host of new things that I didn't know were there before.
I feel the same way about Terraria. We missed the boat on the original 360 version's review, and now we've got the chance to review it for the Xbox One. So I was given that monumental task and to be honest, it's the same Terraria you'll know and love barring some fundamental changes that popped up in patch 1.2 - and if you're like me and you love patch notes - here they are: Patch 1.2
It's shiny, the new version has a lot going for it and whilst things are more detailed, you're not really going to notice that amongst the delving, the monster slaying and the frantic scrabble for early-game resources (against the oncoming night) to build a shelter and stave off the aforementioned monsters with sturdy walls, torches and lots of them at that. I like having a well lit zone to expand from and then dig down into the deeper earth.
The controls are the same on the Xbox One version, building, crafting, world movement are all refreshingly unaltered and it's a pleasure to play the game - discovering new things and crafting the tools I needed to be able to delve deeper and go farther. There's also a real sense of progression to Terraria as you expand your tools, arsenal and build the HQ of your dreams, be it a simple fortress or a series of interconnected, stone wall lined super-tunnels with switch controlled doors and so on.
It also delivers a more structured experience than Minecraft, which in many ways is the ultimate sandbox/executive builder toy. It's quite magical to dig down and find something you've never seen before, or encounter a mini-boss and defeat them to score some sweet loot in a nearby chest. A trip to hell is always fraught with danger and you're wise not to enter hell, or the world above unless you've crafted some badass weapons and armour. Death comes swift and painfully to those foolhardy enough to delve too deep or climb too high.
Then again, it's risk/reward, another good thing that Terraria excels at.
The game has lost none of its charm, or its sense of urgency when night comes creeping at your doorstep and you're miles and miles away from your HQ. In my case I tend to dig down, build a fire and hunker there till morning, unless I can explore the tunnels back towards my base.
As for your base, there are new NPCs and new things to build/discover with which to build the perfect hideaway as you attempt to conquer the easy-mode bosses first. Then it's on to hard-mode and things get even more dangerous just like the 360 version.
It's this progression that gives Terraria a lot more life than other sandbox building/exploration style games for me, the risk/reward of the deeper dungeons and bosses, the new armours/weapons/equipment and items that you can craft or find - things that allow you to fly, boost, jump higher or grapple around like Spider-Man all make the core game as fun as possible.
Fun, there's that word I keep on using - FUN.
This should be the benchmark for enjoyment in gaming, FUN, are you having fun with a game or not? Do I think you'll have fun with this one, YES. Unless you only like Football Sims or Shooters, then you're probably not going to gel at all with Terraria on any platform.
For me, I've had a lot of fun with the 360 version of Terraria playing on my own, with friends and yes there were some issues in terms of lag and netcode, but the latest patch and the Xbox One version seems to have smoothed out a lot of the gripes I had with Terraria's online functionality and networking. I've had even more fun with the Xbox One new-gen version of the game and it's like playing the game again from the start, that wide-eyed feeling of wonder when a new thing pops up!
If you want a fun 2D building/exploration/craft and monster-hunting game you could do with taking a look at Terraria, but be warned, it can be kind-of addictive and lead to hours of scouring the landscape for just the right materials you need to build a 2D facsimile of Notre Dame (or a giant penis if you are anything like the people I met in Minecraft recently).
Give it a go, even if you're tired of Minecraft-y games - this one might just kick-start your love for them again.