Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked Sails Into Early Access

Exploring a tropical archipelago sounds ground, but it’s never that easy in Don’t Starve [official site]. Shipwrecked, the latest expansion for Klei’s open-world crafty survival game, arrived last night with a boatload of new treats and threats in new lands. Also, boats! I don’t know what drives you to place these sweet little computer people in such hazardous situations, you monsters.

Shipwrecked goes down on a new string of islands with new biomes, which survivors can travel between on wee boats. These new lands bring new creatures, resources, and ‘orrible monsters. Of course they do. The sea itself isn’t the friendliest character either. Shipwrecked is in Early Access at the moment, mind. The devs say it “is currently still in development, with plenty of features still to be added. There are some key features that we’d like to release (e.g. more characters, base game integration) before we officially exit Early Access.”

It’ll run you £3.59 on Steam right now.

Shipwrecked’s made for Klei by Below and Superbrothers devs Capy, which is an interesting bit of collaboration. Expansions for AAA games were once commonly handed over to other studios, of course, but I dig the idea of small teams working with their pals. As Capy say, “What started as a friendly discussion between us and our close Canadian pals Klei Entertainment spawned a new challenge for our studio – make something amazing in our friends’ universe.” Bless.

Have a launch trailer:


  1. jeeger says:

    I really want to like Don’t Starve (Art style and sound are superb for one), but somehow, the game doesn’t get going. You search for gold, try to hoard enough food, and then, there’s some red dogs that explode and set everything of yours on fire. And then you have to do the whole thing again. Somehow, it’s always the same early game (find gold, craft lots of traps, craft fireplace, craft drying rack/crockpot) until you get to the advanced stuff, and once you die, you’ll have to do it again. Am I alone in this?

    That said, I’ll probably get this expansion when it comes out, maybe it’ll get me a few hours of enjoyment out of the game.

    • anHorse says:

      I can’t get into DS at all either and I adore every other game Klei makes.

      Even before I’d had enough of survival games I just couldn’t find a way to enjoy it

    • exile2k4 says:

      I get what you mean, but personally I’d still rate the game really highly. I played maybe 5 lives/campaigns since it came out over the space of a year or so, and really enjoyed the 20-30 hours I spent with it, which is great for the money it cost. I was never good enough at the game to get to the ends of the tech trees, and I didn’t quite love it enough to stick through more playthroughs or read guides to get better at the game, but I enjoyed what I played.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I am with you. Ultimately the early game is a complete grind, which for a permadeath game, is just awful. Even Minecraft makes a better permadeath experience if you ask me — there’s a lot of fun to be had building shelters in a hundred different ways. But there’s no creative expression to be had restarting Don’t Starve, just gathering the same things for a frustratingly protracted amount of time.

    • tigerfort says:

      I also really wanted to like Don’t Starve, but rapidly wound up abandoning it because there wasn’t a button that allowed me to start a couple of hours in. Poking around deep in the tech trees was some fun, but not enough fun to make it worth repeating all the early stuff over again.

      • davidelrizzo says:

        “because there wasn’t a button that allowed me to start a couple of hours in…”

        The game HAS exactly such a thing, the ‘Default Plus’ new world setting spawns you with food and many useful items to quickly establish a base but the world is a little harsher. You probably missed it because ‘Default Plus’ is such a terrible name for such a setting.

    • Ericusson says:

      Same here, I love it all and even bought the thing on iOS cause i think it explores some important innovative stuff for video games … but it is too tedious to play.

      Also, I think the permadeath fashion has to die. Give us saves and let us have fun however we want to play games. Make something original about death instead of doing permadeath things.

      Only times I really had fun with don’t starve was when savescumming the save file and experimenting and allowing myself to experiment and die in horrible ways. But for the grind rest … pfff just thinking about starting a game again wants to make me unbuy the whole thing.

      • exile2k4 says:

        I don’t think it’s necessarily perma-death that’s the problem – Invisible Inc. has a type of perma-death, with turn based rewinds limited or removed from higher difficulties, but it works really well and adds to the tension. With Don’t Starve, it just felt (well, to someone like me who wasn’t great at the game) like death could just happen really suddenly, through something I couldn’t have predicted or controlled, and if I wanted to get to the same point again it’d mean several hours of the similar early grind.

        • Kitsunin says:

          And Don’t Starve’s Touch Stones and Meat Effigies are pretty much just like Invisible Inc.’s rewinds, allowing you to erase the less fair deaths.

  2. teppic says:

    I think it’s an addictive game with some great artwork, but the initial grind to get set up is far too steep. I like games that are challenging, but they’ve got the balance a bit wrong here, the start of the game should be easier so that when (not if) you die and have to start all over again, it’s not quite so frustrating.

  3. davethejuggler says:

    I agree that the permadeath thing really should be an option. I love the game and have spent 10s of hours in it, but if i start a new game now I always cheat in a ton of the meat effigies that you spawn at on death. Really looking forward to this expansion though. I’ll probably wait till it’s done but will definitely be diving in at some point.

  4. Crusoe says:

    Don’t Starve is really not very tough once you know what you’re doing, and there are multiple ways to cheat death once it finds you, such as touchstones and meat effigies.

    And once you’re not dying so much – which personally I never had too much problem with – a bit of a mild grind isn’t so bad. It’s certainly a small price to pay for the fun and discovery of so many biomes and items.

    I’ve been playing Shipwrecked and it’s more fun than ever. It feels fresh and interesting. I’d encourage newbies and grumpy ‘I played for 2 hours and didn’t win, boo’ complainers alike to try it out.

    Also, it costs less than a pint of beer.

    • davethejuggler says:

      Thats good to hear. Maybe I will have a go this weekend. I’m always torn about whether to wait for all the features or play along as it develops.

    • Kitsunin says:

      It’s not that it’s too tough — you’re right, once you have a reasonably basic grasp on things you aren’t that liable to die unexpectedly, or even expectedly until quite a while in (but there are quite a few things which are likely to get you the first couple times, before you get to meat-effigy levels of advancement).

      It’s just that when you do die, which does always happen inevitably…my god is it tedious getting back on track. I’ve wasted so much damn time watching whirly-hands pick up crap like grass, twigs, and berries. There’s just no fun at all to be found there, and why should a game involve tedium barring entry?

      • Crusoe says:

        Well I suppose I’d suggest exploring the whole map asap. Since touchstones were introduced I’ve never had a world that didn’t have at least two touchstones. You can usually find at least one quite quickly if you prioritize exploration. And you can call death inevitable but I’ve had plenty of worlds I’ve left because I’ve never died. Just sayin’!

        Two touchstones + one meat effigy is 3 times you can come back to life… kinda like a lot of games of yesteryear.

        If and when I die, I take a break from playing, like a week or more, assuming I made it past the first round of seasons which is what I consider good progress.

        If you find yourself dying a lot, I’d suggest playing the base game to get used to the mechanics, the Reign of Giants expansion is significantly more difficult – and comes as standard in Don’t Starve Together, if that’s what you’re playing.

        Finally, although I’d concede that the early game can be a little frustrating, I think that’s mostly true if you’ve done it more than twice in the same couple of days (IRL time) if that’s happening, you’re not a competent survivor… yet.

        Once 90% of your deaths are only due to systems overlapping (winter storm + nighttime + dog attack + freezing mechanic), the tension in palpable and delicious. Or how about the risk of fighting one of the games bosses, hundreds of feet beneath the earth in order the retrieve a unique and satisfying intem.

        I suppose I can best make my point my telling you I play RoG, with the world settings altered to make it more difficult, and I actively hunt the giants for their sweet meats and awesome drops. As someone who’s poured thousands of hours into survival and permadeath games over the last few years, and having played DS since alpha, I consider it one of the best out there. It’s just so goddamn satisfying to get good at the game, and slay Giants and beasts in the caverns and ruins alike.

        I see people complain that the barrier to entry is too high often, and you certainly make a point (the modding community may help you btw – it’s prolific) that I felt the urge to make this large rant/ list of tips/ explanation. I hate the idea of people bouncing off such a good game. Once you can get a crockpot by the end of of the first couple days, you know you’ve arrived.

        I hope this has helped someone…anyone at all! But now, friends, I have not just a series of Islands tp conquer, but an entire ocean… I believe I’ve found the game that’ll steal my time this festive season. Peace! ;D

        • Kitsunin says:

          Well, you’ve certainly convinced me to give it another shot, well done!