When Terraria was first released, it was hard to think of it as anything but another Minecraft clone. Sure, it was two-dimensional, which compared to Minecraft’s blocky aesthetic could be considered an improvement, but aside from the visuals, it didn’t really seem like there was anything that was different about Terraria.
You create a player, tweak your appearance, name your world, and (voila!) you’re ready to go. But what are you supposed to do in the game? That’s a pretty broad question, and one of the criticisms of the game when it was first released. So to give iOS players some of the basics behind Terraria, a brand new tutorial mode has been added. The tutorial explains the controls, item crafting, combat, and shelter construction for you and any NPCs you come across. If you’re already familiar with Terraria, you may still want to take a look at the tutorial to see how the controls have been changed.
Other changes in the iOS version include camera controls and the ability to fine-tune your activities like digging and building. When building your shelter, mining, or cutting down trees, this feature is very helpful. A grid inside a circle will appear on the screen, and from here you can point to the rock you want to break, the part of a tree you want to cut, or where you want to place that next tile. There is a range indicated on the grid to show how far you can go, and once you’re outside of that range, you’ll need to move your character to continue your activity.
Once you’ve nailed down the controls, and understand some of the basic elements behind the game, it’s time to go exploring. Here’s how the game starts to stray from Minecraft clone territory and become a little more like Metroid. While for the most part, Terraria is a game where it’s up to you to decide what you want to do and where you want to go, there are goals to achieve while you play the game. The game starts on the surface, but it’s about working your way underground and defeating the monsters that dwell there. Along the way, you’ll discover new materials to build even more powerful weapons, which will make the fights with the big guys a little bit easier.
You’ll also come across NPCs who live in the shelters you build, above ground or underground. They mainly stick around and sell you items that might be a little bit harder to come by on your own. They don’t really add much to the experience, but it’s still pretty cool to see the buildings you put together become populated with citizens from around the game.
Terraria has been rebuilt from the ground up for iOS devices, and it shows. From the controls, the visuals, and the sound, just about everything is here from the original release. This is a PC port done right.