Brash Games have previously reviewed the PS4 version of Terraria which covers in detail the game’s objectives, mechanics and quality. As such, in this review of the new Nintendo 3DS version of the game, we will mainly be focussing on the aspects specific to this version of the game.
For the uninitiated, Terraria is a sandbox game based around the mechanic of mining materials and crafting them into fantastical structures and items. When it was first released, many unfairly dismissed it as a 2D rip-off of Minecraft – and while there are many similarities there, Terraria has managed to differentiate itself enough to become an incredibly popular video game in its own right. And, importantly, it has beaten Minecraft in getting released for the Nintendo 3DS console, meaning that it has managed to gain the upper hand over its primary rival on this format.
Terraria is an extremely enjoyable, and very addictive game. This latter attribute makes it well suited to the handheld convenience of the Nintendo 3DS, meaning you can take the game around with you far more easily than, say, the PS4 or Xbox 360 versions. Many hours can spent digging around, collecting the materials necessary to build one’s next great masterpiece, and it’s this kind of time-consuming gameplay that’s perfect for long train journeys, or while waiting at the doctor’s surgery. The touchscreen functionality of the 3DS version is extremely well-handled, and can increase the ease of organising and crafting substantially once you get used to it. As well as the touch to build interface, the bottom screen can be cycled through to show instead a world map, or it can be used as a quick-select inventory bar.
The main downsides of this release of Terraria are fairly obvious. With the Nintendo 3DS having smaller screens and being less powerful than PCs or consoles, the graphics are obviously inferior to other releases of the game. They still look good, however, since their aesthetic is deliberately pixelised to evoke a kind of bright retro vibe – therefore the difference isn’t so jarring as it would be if this was a port of a shiny 3D game, rather than a 2D one.
The 3DS version of Terraria is also, predictably, unable to replicate worlds as big as those found on other systems. However, while the worlds are certainly smaller, they have been carefully condensed so that all the necessary features are still available in the smaller worlds. This is likely to mean less exploration of empty spaces, which could be a negative for some and a positive for others. Unfortunately the game doesn’t make use of the 3DS’s autostereoscopic 3D effect, which is a big shame, as it would have looked nice with the aesthetic that the game has.
So, is it worth getting this 3DS version if you already have it on another system? Well, that depends on how much you’d benefit from portability. Terraria has received releases on mobile phone platforms, but this 3DS release seems to have more content than those, as well as the convenience of two screens and buttons, but one does pay a higher price for these features. The PC version of the game is undoubtedly better than the 3DS version in terms of content (dyes aren’t included in the 3DS version, for example) and the size of the worlds, and also in terms of value (with it being frequently on sale at ridiculously low prices, compared to the 3DS eshop which has few price reductions), so if portability is not a plus-point for you than the PC version would be the most efficient use of your funds. If you’re a Nintendo fanboy/fangirl, then it’s worth bearing in mind that the Wii U version of Terraria is due for release very early 2016.
Overall then, Terraria is a game that’s most certainly worth your money, and a good chunk of your time. This 3DS version is a very good port of the game, but it is missing some features of the other versions on more powerful systems. If the 3DS is your only console, or if portability is a big deal for you, then this version is without a doubt worth a purchase. If not, however, then you may want to pick up one of the superior releases of Terraria on another system instead.
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