Retro Review: Terraria

The start of the new year and I decided to explore games that I used to play when I was younger. When I first saw Terraria years ago, I admit that it wasn’t something I expected to enjoy. I believed it was just a shameful 2D version of Minecraft. But after exploring the possibilities in this amazing game, I couldn’t continue my vendetta against it. So grab a pick-axe, strap on your sword, and bring plenty of torches, because we are about to dive in to the world of Terraria together.

Terraria is a 2D open world sandbox platformer developed by Re-Logic first release on May 16, 2011. Since then it has been expanded to different consoles.

First Impression

The world is generated at random each time. The player starts with three basic tools: a pickaxe, an axe, and a short sword. I wish there was a more in-depth tutorial, because it took me two deaths to realize that you needed wooden walls to be placed on the background to fully enclose a building. I found the beginning of the game was very trial and error, which I understand is essential to a survival game. But I personally wanted a bit more information at the beginning of the game.

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I liked the fact that the gameplay is very reminiscent to the 16-bit sprite graphical games. Upon playing it, I felt like it was quite refreshing from the realistic graphics of today’s survival games. I found the actual mechanics quite challenging, and as I mentioned before it was very trial and error. Every single time I died, I made sure not to make the same mistake, or I’d find a more efficient way to accomplish stuff. I felt like I was using survival knowledge to survive in a 16-bit sprite game. That is pretty impressive if I do say so myself.

The actual gameplay for mining and battles irked me now and then. I felt that luck held a major factor in the game. After digging my way to the hell biome, I found out that I could not mine hellstone, because I needed demonite or crimstone ore. I spent a week trying to find it, following multiple guides on the internet because I had grown impatient and I could not find any. It was only after joining a friend’s world in multiplayer that we found some in less than an hour. I found this very infuriating.

As for the battle mechanics, this one might just be my personal opinion. But what is the point of a short sword? In the game, a short sword only attacks in a small line and in a single direction. Why would anyone use a short sword, when you can use almost any other weapon that has more range and more area of effect? A yoyo is more useful than a short sword.


I already mentioned the music being peaceful, and I have no qualms about it. I think it fits the game very well, and its immersion effect is top tier. My only concern about the audio is the sound effects. Some sound effects don’t fully represent what is happening in the game. Stone, wood and other bricks all sound the same. I personally thought a little more variety would be interesting.

Another example is that every single death in the game, whether being your own or something you kill, has a very annoying squishing sound. Zombies, slimes, spiders, worms, and even skeletons have squishing effects. I don’t understand if this was accidental or just plain lazy, but when killing hordes of monsters, there was just this continuous weird squishing sound when doing it. It doesn’t fit in the game, and with the variety of creatures in the game, they should at least change the killing audio to fit some of those creatures.

Items and Crafting

Most definitely the best thing about the game, the variety in items and what you can do with them is what makes this game amazing. Apart from the options of short swords, I find it very personalized. There are the normal tier weapons that you can build from materials you can find, and eventually you can craft legendary weapons, like a sword that shoots out nyancats. Nyancats! If that is not one of the cutest and most hilarious things in this world, I have lost faith in humanity. Sure it’s quite normal to fight a boss with sword in hand, or embedding it with arrows, or blasting it with tons of magic. But trust me when I say that it is really fun flying about with a jetpack and shooting nyancats with a sword.


I think the NPCs available during the game were pretty helpful. You can trade with them, and in return they are essential during the early to mid stages of the game. Especially the guide at the beginning of the game. He is the NPC you go for to see what you can build with items. Though I feel like that the more you progress into the game the more they become useless. The NPCs have so much potential as characters, like the gun merchant who keeps talking about going out with the nurse. Yet there is nothing to build on that.

I know it’s a survival game, but perhaps having objectives or quests might give directions. It could be completely optional, but having NPCs just there to trade with gets boring, especially since you are rarely going to buy anything from them later. NPCs are used to drive games forward and to interact with the player. So having them either having more personality or being more enticing to the player is something I wanted in the game.


I had good fun playing Terraria. Sadly, not as much as some games, but it wasn’t the worst. It was a decent game that I don’t mind playing to kill time, the only downside being that it is time consuming. It has evolved so much within the years, but I still feel like that it has so much more potential. So overall, I do recommend it as a casual game and if you like plat formers or survival games. Especially if you like nyancat shooting swords.

Still interested? Get Terraria here.

Sound effects

Review Summary

Terraria is a game that has always had a lot of potential and still does despite being around for years. It’s light hearted with peaceful music and still has an amazing survival aspect despite it’s light heartedness. Apart from NPCs that could be explored and sound effects that are left to be desired, the game is overall good.

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Joel Yap

I love writing anything, as long as I got my fingers on the keyboard. I enjoy games, stories, and the occasional good movie as well.

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