The Average Gamer

Terraria Coming to Consoles

Terraria Indoors Online Multiplayer
Terraria is a brilliant 2-dimensional digging game for the PC, sadly hampered by a lack of tutorial. Its simple layout hides an incredibly complex system and the need to look up the most basic concepts on a wiki or YouTube was very off-putting for new players.

Terraria is coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 soon and hooray, it now includes a tutorial. I could describe the game for you but it’s probably better to give you the paragraph that convinced me to buy the PC version last year – Emily Gera’s GOTY Honourable Mention on Videogamer:

Terraria wants you to feel like there is method to your madness. Digging through the Earth’s core for hours isn’t just a rumination on how to find iron in a hole; it’s a way of stumbling across things like Demon Altars that can be used to summon bosses. Similarly, building a hand-built house isn’t just there to provide a user-friendly panic room to hide in when the zombies come. Build a house and an NPC will show up at your door to offer an easy-to-use menu showing which items are craftable to you. Build enough rooms and more will show up, each with their own speciality – ranging from a demolitionist for bomb material, to an arms dealer for guns and the like.

Produced by 505 Games, the console version will include everything from the PC version as well as adding new high-end content and the ability to have pets. This is no cut-down Minecraftish port. Here’s the trailer.

I’ve spent some time with the Xbox version and the team have done an excellent job of translating the mouse and keyboard interface to a console gamepad. Terraria’s inventory, crafting and equipment menus have been streamlined into tabs that are far more intuitive than the original design.

When you have a pick, axe or other tool equipped, auto-aim mode will dig out the closest three blocks in whichever direction you point; three being the minimum number of blocks you must clear in order to move downwards or sideways. It’s a great addition that avoids the constant fiddly adjustment you might expect with such small targets. Combat is controlled in much the same manner and requires careful timing as your enemies swoop towards you.

Click in with the right stick and you’ll switch to “free” aim mode. When laying platforms or bricks, this is automatically restricted to the highest height that you can jump. It’s these sort of little design assists that make it a much more relaxed experience from the constant readjustment of the PC version.

The game boasts both split-screen and online multiplayer, though you can’t combine the two*. Offline, you can have up to four players at once and you’ll need them for the high-end boss battles. Online will stretch to eight players sharing a map and given the size of Terraria’s maps, you can build for hours without seeing another soul. The largest maps can easily contain hundreds of hours of gameplay covering a dozen biomes, including The Corruption, The Hallow and Dungeons.

Speaking of maps – the console version will actually have one, which, as someone with a hopeless sense of direction, I heartily welcome. Flying around the map with a gravity-flipping potion was fun and a fast way to explore but without a map, I’d have never made it home again.

Terraria Skeletron PrimeUnfortunately for current PC Terraria fans, the new high-level armour, bosses and pets will not be coming to PC, as 505 Games’ licence only covers the consoles. However, PC GamesN has reported that creator Andrew Spinks may be reconsidering his February decision to retire from Terraria PC development. There is hope for you yet.

Terraria for consoles doesn’t yet have a release date but will likely be available on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live in later February or early March.

*Update: You can combine split-screen and online multiplayer, giving you up to 8 players across 2 consoles if you so wish.