I’ve always appreciated Klei Entertainment’s rouge-like survival game Don’t Starve. The art-direction and aesthetic, its in-depth crafting system, the constant micro-management of mental and physical health, the entire premise as a whole – I just really love the game. Well, I wanted to love the game more than I actually did.
I understand that Don’t Starve is fantastic. There is no denying that it’s a great game. I’ve jumped at the opportunity to first play on PC, and when I got my PS4 it was one of the first games I bought along with all of its DLC, but I didn’t play it all that much. I always figured I’d get back into it, but it just sat in my library never used and never deleted. For me Don’t Starve felt too lonely – yeah, I know it’s that way intentionally, but I felt like I needed at least one other person to play with through the struggle, and to learn the ropes with – together.
I love Don’t Starve Together. Klei took a game that, on paper, I’d like, and added the ability to play with up to five other players (six player co-op), creating a new sense of adoration that I could only long for in the past. I don’t even need that many people to play with; like I said previously, I understand that isolation is part of the player’s experience, but having an extra person with you makes the blow of dying after a 15 day struggle less devastating, and the process of getting to that point more enjoyable.
You can delegate roles to your party members. My current role is Manure Collector. It’s not a glamorous job, but it must be done - especially since I’ve replanted a couple dozen berry bushes around our base without knowing I had to fertilize them. We live and we learn, eh? Ian Polenske (fellow writer here) is currently building Bee Boxes and trying not to accidentally attack them. It’s a work-in-progress. He’s been stung a lot.
I think the most fun I’ve had so far is teaming up to track and hunt down an elephant-like beast. We followed his trail and surrounded him; one of us usually chasing him towards the other. It was a feat that would have been clumsy for a single player to accomplish alone, but with even just one extra person the successful hunt was extremely satisfying.
A new element to Don’t Starve Together is that when one player dies it’s not an immediate game over. You become a ghost and have the opportunity to either locate a resurrection shrine, or have a teammate craft a magical-means to revive you. Just try your best to keep clear of each other because your teammates sanity will decline pretty quickly with you hanging around. Or don’t stay away, and purposely haunt nearby objects and creatures to quickly send your once friend into a psychotic frenzy. It’s a fun mechanic that gives a second chance, and new challenge at the same time.
Don’t Starve Together is an extremely fun addition to the series, and I still have many more hours to spend on it (I need so much manure it’s not even funny). It’s been out on PC for quite a while now, but it’s just recently been made available as a stand-alone game on PS4. There’s still no word on an Xbox One release, but it seems likely to happen in the future. For $14.99 on PS4 it’s a steal.