Don’t Starve – Review
Follow Genre: survival game
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
platform: PC, Mac, Linux

Don’t Starve – Review

Site Score
Good: great look, hours of fun
Bad: music doesn't always work, overwhelming at times
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Don’t Starve is the new game by Klei entertainment, the studio that recently brought us the shank games, and the critically acclaimed mark of the ninja. With don’t starve, Klei has taken a new direction away from the 2 side side-scrolling action games of recent, and into the world of survival games. Do Klei have another hit with this one, or did they bite of a bit more than they could chew by taking a whole new direction? Let’s find out.

 DS logo


The main story in Don’t Starve is the story of Wilson, a gentleman scientist who is a bit down on his luck. His research isn’t going anywhere until one day he is contacted by some strange entity who promises him great knowledge if he’s willing to accept it. You know how they say to never look a gift horse in the mouth? Well let’s say a small peek would have saved Wilson a lot of trouble. Of course it turns out to be a trap and the device Wilson builds with the knowledge turns out to be some sort of portal. After being sucked through he wakes up on some weird island filled with all sorts of weird creatures. That’s where Wilson’s adventure starts, trying to survive and searching for a way home. That’s about it, during your exploration of the island you’ll have more encounters with the demon who sent you there but it’d be hard to go further into those without spoilers. The story really isn’t the most important part of Don’t Starve either, it’s mostly a way to explain why you’re stuck on the island and that’s perfectly fine. Not every game needs a deep and enthralling story to make it good.



Klei entertainment really went all out on the graphic style for Don’t Starve, creating a new art style that makes every screenshot of the game looks like it could be part of the storyboard of the next Tim Burton movie. It’s a really nice, very detailed style that clearly shows the amount of work that was put into it. What’s more, the dark style of the drawings fit the nature of the game very well. It only makes sense that in a game where death lurks around every corner, you wouldn’t want it looking like candy land sprinkled with rainbows and unicorns. In short, it’s a great looking, original style that perfectly enhances the atmosphere of the game. Options wise the game is a little disappointing to say the least. Otherwise said there barely are any graphics options. You can choose which monitor you want the game to run on in full screen-mode, choose your resolution, and pick your refresh rate. And then we’re done talking. Now don’t starve isn’t the game that’s going to push high end pc’s to its limit, not by a long shot, but a few more options would have been appreciated.



Now this is where problems arose. The sound in Don’t starve is fine. Everything you do has nice sound effects added to it, there’s not stuttering or distortion. The few times characters talk they there’s no actual voice but some sort of gibberish sound that really has a certain charm to it. The problem lies in the music. First of all the music in the game is rather limited. There aren’t that many tracks and after a few hours of playing you’ll have heard the same tracks quite a few times. That is, when the music actually plays. I don’t know if it’s by design or not but a lot of the time while playing the game there just wasn’t any music playing. Maybe the developers thought that just having no music and only the sound of the wind and the environment would be more fitting. It might have been better then to have the same piece of music loop over and over but now there are just periods of play where you feel as if there’s something missing.


At its base, Don’t Starve is a very simple game. You’re a guy stuck on an island and you need to stay alive and find a way of the island. To accomplish this you need tools for building shelter and fires, and food to stay alive and healthy. Like I said it sounds simple, but at the same time, once you get into the crafting, you discover just how many things you can make and how many different materials you need for them.

There are a few things about the game that could be a little better. Although the game is pretty self-explanatory , there are times where a bit of a tutorial would be nice, or a bit of an explanation on how to get certain materials would be nice. As it is now, the game basically requires you to figure everything out yourself. More often than not you do this the hard way


And the game is hard. There’s plenty of stuff out to get you in the world of Don’t Starve if you’re not careful. Add on top of that the fact that you’re rather squishy yourself at least through the early parts. You can get stuff like armor and fortifications, but if you’re unlucky or walk into the wrong part of the island, you’ll be dead way before you ever get close to making those.

Death is pretty significant since it’s kind of, sort of very permanent. If you die, you’re dead (apart from a few exceptions) and it means having to start over again in a new world. Yes a new world because every time you start a new game an island is randomly generated for you. You can adjust certain thing like how long the day is compared to night, the spawn rate of certain things and the size of the map. Apart from that the game will just generate a new one every time you start a new game, and you’ll be starting a lot of new games.

You also earn experience points every time you die, this goes towards the unlocking of new characters of which there are seven, so in total the game has eight playable characters right now including Wilson. Each of the characters you unlock has unique bonuses like the first one for example is immune to fire and can set fire to things in the dark.

So that’s basically it, you try to survive by finding food, making more and more advanced items, killing monsters and sooner or later you’ll die. Elegant in its simplicity, yet below the surface very complex.



So Don’t Starve is a nice little game in the end. Probably one of the better survival games I’ve played in quite some time. It might not be the most extensive one or most complicated one, but it feels like Klei wanted to make it small scale but polish it up to the maximum of its potential. In the end it seems like they made the smart choice. I was charmed by the beta a couple of months ago, and fully convinced by the polished product that it is today. One or two problems with the sounds aside, it’s a great little game you can spend hours on and certainly get your money’s worth out of if nothing else.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Don't Starve - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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