A known affiliate of the Dark Lord, Stephen takes only a passing interest in the affairs of mortals. A life of extreme slothfulness has fostered in him an obsession with gaming - one which he will spread to the world in a dark tide of game reviews and news blurbs.
Lightning crashes around me as driving rain pulverizes my little shanty. As I huddle beneath the undersized, rickety roof, my campfire stutters and dies outside – yet I dare not venture out to add fuel. Beyond the crumbling stone walls of the encampment, monkeys hoot and howl in anger, for I have slain many of their kind. They lob stinking lumps of dung over the meager barrier and pelt my shelter – I’m covered in the stuff. I scream oaths of vengeance, but they are drowned out by the thunder and torn away by the howling wind. It’s useless in any case; I’ve been too sick to fight for over a day now.
While cutting brush to fashion a new ship, I was bitten by a snake, and the venom now courses through my veins. I had hoped that the symptoms would pass, but they’ve sapped my mind and body to the point of no return. I can’t tell if the monstrous, shadowy figures lingering at the edges of the darkness around me are figments brought on by my fevered, intoxicated mind, or if the very demons of hell now come to take me from this place.
I know there is no way out. This night is my last. The fire dies.
I’ve been playing Shipwrecked, the new Don’t Starve expansion, and this is how my character spent his final moments. I’d managed to make him last three weeks before my well-laid survival plans fell to shambles. On the 22nd day, poison and an onslaught by my sworn enemies – the primates – brought an end to his life.
Now I sit post-playthrough, coping with familiar feelings of loss and disappointment: the survivor I’ve meticulously created over the past few hours has perished, to be washed out and consumed by the unforgiving sea!
It’s this anxious sense that at any second everything you’ve worked for could be completely demolished if you simply forget to start a fire or repair your boat that keeps me coming back to Don’t Starve. The new DLC (while still in Early Access and incomplete) delivers that same signature fear and suspense; if anything, Klei Entertainment‘s experience and a partnership with Capybara Studios have only refined and improved Don’t Starve‘s formula.
Shipwrecked is the first major setting change for the game. The first DLC, Reign of Giants, added lots of new crafting, creatures, and environmental features (not to mention some terrifyingly enormous foes), but the environment felt similar to that of the base game. Now, we have a very different world to explore.
Instead of a vast wilderness, Winston (or your character of choice) finds himself confronted by a remote archipelago, inhabited by creatures wondrous and terrible. The most apparent difference is the addition of sailing! Obviously, there has to be a way to move from island to island. This is accomplished by way of numerous craftable sea vessels that range anywhere from the crude yet iconic log raft, to a mighty ship armored by seashells and equipped with cannons.
The new seascape brings with it a whole new biome of wildlife, of which I’m sure I’ve only seen a fraction. Lobsters, friendly flying skunkfish (my favorite), and killer swordfish make traveling between your island bases much more than just a boat ride. Throw in high winds, sudden storms, and rickety rafts and we’ve got ourselves a truly nerve-wracking experience.
Though it’s only in Early Access, what I’ve seen so far from Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked has me frothing at the mouth for more content. Despite the nail-biting anxiety and monkeys that make me want to throw poo of my own, I left my playthrough satisfied – yet I feel as if I’ve only touched the surface of this ocean.
I hereby summon all fans of the survival genre to hop aboard this high-stakes adventure! Well played, Klei Entertainment. You’ve dragged me into the wilderness once again.