Revisiting The Ultimate Survival Game: Don’t Starve

Don't Starve, The Ultimate Survival Game!
Bimo Prasetyanto

You open your eyes to the scorching hot sun. You find yourself alone in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by curious creatures. While your stomach is growling, the unseen horrors stalk behind you, waiting for your sanity to weaken. One thing that you keep in mind in this survival game, Don’t Starve!

What would you do if that scenario happened? That’s the premise of this Klei Entertainment’s masterwork, Don’t Starve. First released in 2013, this survival with Tim Burton-esque art style is considered one of the genre’s classics. As a decade-old game, does Don’t Starve still hold up?

Interestingly, even after 10 years, Don’t Starve still has a healthy amount of players. Incidentally, it’s currently 75% off until June 28th along with other Klei Entertainment’s games.

A Survivalist’s Fever Dream

Survival game don't starve
experience unworldly horrors. Klei Entertainment’s youtube channel

With more than ten years on the market, what drives people to like Don’t Starve? After all, there are countless survival games with similar gameplay. What does set apart Don’t Starve from other survival games? Let’s find out.

In Don’t Starve, you’re playing as Wilson, a researcher transported to a cartoonish yet horrific world. As you scour the randomly generated world, you’ll encounter monstrous creatures, uncannily similar to what you’d find in the wilderness. From simple yet deadly beefalos, the elusive koalefant, to giant thunder ducks.

You’ll endure extreme weather, season changes, and other dangerous biomes. Each biome comes with its different flavour (and hazards). The swamp is teeming with Lovecraftian fish-like creatures. Chop enough wood and you’ll upset the tree guardians.

However, the true threat of this game lies within what’s happening to your character. Hunger, sanity, and health are the game’s primary mechanics. Eat questionable meat or plants, then you’ll end up hurting yourself. Spend too much time exploring without searching for essentials, you’ll find yourself running out of food and not enough fuel for fire.

When the sun begins to set, you need to start worrying. Not only because of the dark instilling fear and the constantly declining hunger meter but also because of your fragile sanity.

Uncanny Psychological Horror

Don't Starve Darkness Arms
See for yourself what lurks in the darkness. Klei Entertainment YouTube Channel

As you can imagine, being stranded in a strange land without anything but the things on your body will eventually take a toll. As you spend time in unfavourable conditions, such as being hungry, getting attacked by creatures, or simply finding yourself alone in the dark, mysterious and shadowy hallucinations start surrounding you.

Are they really just your character’s imagination? These shadow creatures are manifestations of your character’s insanity, slowly eating them from the inside. However, they cause more harm than merely meddling with the mind. Reach a low enough sanity level and you’ll notice their number increases.

Well, this can be quite a problem, or you can make it to your advantage. What’s interesting about these horrific creatures is they are tied to the game’s lore. Survival games like Don’t Starve often leave little clues for players about their lore.

The story is akin to a puzzle, leaving you as a lost person to solve it yourself. And, the key to finding the truth in this survival game is to know what to do, especially in the early game.

Survive With Friends, Don’t Starve Together

Don't Starve Together trailer
Don’t Starve together. Klei Entertainment’s YouTube channel

Maybe, a survival game like Don’t Starve is a bit much for you to play alone, especially when the dark surrounds you. Klei understands that playing solo isn’t everyone’s style. So, they made that you can play with friends in the wilderness Don’t Starve offers.

Enter Don’t Starve Together! Take everything great from the original game and add multiplayer gameplay to them. Now, you have Don’t Starve Together. Although the in-game experience is pretty much the same, there are a few differences between the two games you might want to check out first.

Ultimately, the Don’t Starve series is one of those games you must play at least once in your life. Not only it’s a classic often praised by survival game enthusiasts. But, it genuinely gives great content, gameplay-wise and lore-wise, even by today’s standards! So, if you’re a fan of survival games, Don’t Starve is worth both your money and time.

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