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The Hunger Game: Don't Starve

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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Adam Smith

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