The Hunger Game: Don’t Starve

By Adam Smith on November 19th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Macabre survival nightmare, Don’t Starve, is available to play in beta form via Steam, in addition to the Chrome variant. Updates appear to be scheduled regularly, with the next due in a week, and I’ve been dabbling in preparation for a closer look at some point in the near future. There are no instructions provided, which is fitting because when lost in a weird world, a gentleman scientist does not receive an instruction manual. Instead, he must craft tools to exploit his environment and build fires to ward off the inky sea of night, and the horrors that scratch and squeal within the darkness.

I don’t know how many creatures and objects exist within the randomly generated landscapes at present because I died before I could count them all. While wandering I initially stumble dacross spiders, birds, rabbits and butterflies, and managed to make a fine set of tools. Then I met bees. Discovering new interactions contributes to the sense of exploration, even if the actions themselves are simple. The lack of tooltips and directions makes every click a potential discovery.

Throwing a log onto a fire and watching it explode into life, banishing the growing gloom, brought about a sigh of relief. Despair followed as the flames quickly spread, burning down all of the berry bushes that I’d planted the day before.

Baiting traps with carrots seemed like a sensible way to catch rabbits as well but when the little hoppers refused to come close, I was forced to chase them, axe swinging wildly. That pursuit led me to a hive and, with the game’s title echoing darkly in my mind’s ear, I craved the honey within. What bee could resist the sharpened flint of my weapon?

The answer is ‘all of the bees’. They were large and they were many. I died surrounded by the rabbit morsels that I had chopped into messes.

I’m impressed and very curious about this one. The design is tight and the level of polish is impressive, but I’m not sure there’s quite enough content to keep me locked inside for hours just yet. Based on what I’ve heard and read elsewhere, I need to spend a few more hours to discover how deep the rabbit hole goes. More doomed adventures await as the next update approaches and I’ll report back shortly after that.

Buying into the early access scheme provides access to all beta updates and two copies of the game. You can do it through the game’s website or on Steam.

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24 Comments »

  1. scorcher24 says:

    I got it as a gift from a friend that bought the game on Steam.
    It is marvelous! Really fun and addictive to play.
    It has some problems atm, I don’t really like the research system, since it is so easy to exploit, but in general it is a fun game.

  2. yurusei says:

    Adam my boy, you have barely scratched the surface.

    Lots more stuff to build now. Get excited.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I’d be gouging away at its innards if I had more free time today. It has its hooks in me.

      • Jarenth says:

        Just don’t underestimate the giant yaks. Trust me on this.

        • callmeleonard says:

          Or your pig men companions during a full moon.

          • yurusei says:

            Update thread in forum says they’ll be introducing hounds.

            The way the game is changing it’s like a zombie epidemic.

      • Kregoth says:

        Just to clarify some things for the game :) You get 4 keys if you purchase the game directly from the website. 2 for Chrome and 2 for Steam, buying the Steam version right now only gives you 2 steam keys. I think you should add that as a note on the article :)

  3. Tiax says:

    This game is developped by the guys who made Mark of the Ninja if I’m not mistaken.

  4. QualityJeverage says:

    Picked it up for my girlfriend and I the other day, and we’re both neck-deep in it now. Even in its relatively unfinished state, it’s grabbed me in a Civ-style “One more night…” sort of way.

  5. Mr Bismarck says:

    If you buy the game through the Chrome store then you get two Chrome keys AND two Steam keys. If you buy it through Steam you just get the two Steam keys.

    This is really good, especially considering it’s still in Beta. It really benefits from the joy of discovery and from not being told what to do, but discovering it yourself. Some things will be immediately obvious, some… not so much.

  6. TehK says:

    I’m quite intrigued to say the least. But I don’t quite understand how the beta-access stuff is working, because on the website it says:
    “Both copies will get the Steam version when it launches!”
    and later:
    “Redeem it on Steam!”

    Can anyone confirm that I will get 2 Steam keys if I preorder the game on their site? Or do I have to use the whole Chrome app thingy to be able to play it?

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      If you buy through Chrome you get four keys – two for Chrome, each of which has a Steam key attached.

      You’ll then get an email with *one* Chrome key in it, (the account you used to buy automatically gets the other Chrome key attached). You access the Steam keys from within the chrome version, by pasting in your Chrome key and clicking a button to generate a Steam code.

      You can give out the other three keys without issue, if that’s what you want to do. Or keep a Steam key and hand out the other two. However you want to play it.

      • TehK says:

        Ah, that’s how it works! Awesome, thanks a lot.

        …and…. bought it ;)

  7. golem09 says:

    I did’t even bother to chase any rabits. I simply chose to build my campsite near a bunch of rabbit holes and placed the traps directly besides them. Every morning before going out and doing some gathering I would empty the traps, and set them up again. And the same again when I come back in the evening.

    • yurusei says:

      Protip to hunting bunnies:

      1) locate target
      2) determine their nest
      3) charge in the opposite direction to which they would run to their nest
      4) get rabbit meat

    • JuJuCam says:

      A strategy I haven’t gotten around to trying but I think could work well would be to make a bucketload of traps and place them in a circle with one trap in the centre. Bait the centre trap and all nearby rabbits should march inexorably to their doom.

  8. notenome says:

    I think I stumble dacross a typo.

  9. InternetBatman says:

    This game looks great. It’s now on my wishlist.

  10. wu wei says:

    Is there an offline mode? Or do you need to log on each time to play?

  11. lordcooper says:

    Played about 10 hours of this so far and it’s bloody fantastic for a beta. I’m really looking forward to further updates.

  12. Phantoon says:

    Looks interesting, needs a demo.

    Also, according to the bit where you buy it, the sale will last until January 4th. On another part of the page, they say the current price of eleven bucks will continue until the game is released.

    So, probable January 4th release.

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