Subject: Taking baby steps into the world of video games: aka my review of Don't Starve Together
Posted on: 2020-06-24 10:54:29 UTC

Quarantine's been getting to me. I've now started to do something that I swore I'd never do as a little kid: purchase a PC game. Parents were fine with it, provided I didn't spend every waking hour of my life on it.

You see, it started when Klei decided to make DST free on Steam for five days. Since all my friends were playing it, I thought, heck, why not, it's not like it will come at the price of my sleep and mental health, anyway.

I was wrong.

Let me say, this is the most anxiety-inducing games I've ever played. One small step can make your four hours of preparing a base for survival tumble down like Jenga blocks. My toes were curled up the whole time, I was sweating despite having the AC on, and my fingers were twitching. I lost a day of sleep playing this game.

Did I feel awful? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.

I'm not sure about spoilers, but I'm going to warn ahead just in case. So, DST is a survival game where your selected character gets dumped in the middle of an unfamiliar world through a portal called the Florid Postern. I thought it was going to be easy: collect firewood, twigs, grass, make a fire, go out to scavenge for food every few days, and I would be fine. Seeing as I was employing the use of only three brain cells at the time, I was quickly proven wrong. There are several thousand ways to die here, including a malevolent demon of darkness that strikes if you don't have a fire burning by night. You have a couple days to prepare before you get chased by a pack of feral dogs, and every living thing there wants to kill you. Even if they seem harmless, fluffy, or even cuddly. You walk into their territory, you're dead meat. (Looking at you, Tallbirds.)

Now, into my actual feelings on the subject.

First, the music. Oh gawd, the music. Eerie, very in-tune with the theme of the game. And the art. I've heard that the developers were heavily inspired by Tim Burton's movies, and it's apparent in the character design. Simplistic art styles and certain colour schemes can do so much.

And, the story. The whole series began when a young scientist accepted the offer of forbidden knowledge from a mysterious voice on the radio, built a portal, and landed in a world known as the Constant. The game I'm playing is one of the later installments, so I'll just comment on that. Each character is well-developed, with motivations, personality, quirks, strengths and weaknesses, the whole package. Not to mention that almost every player will be able to find a character's playing style that suits them. Additionally, as a multiplayer game, you can play with friends in quarantine, kill some time, ya know? But what's really the cherry on top is how teamwork can save you, especially when you're an inexperienced and hot-headed player (like me). I've connected to my friends a lot better these few days thanks to this.

It's... just a lot. I am very happy to have come across this game.

So, if you like being constantly anxious, fighting against a biome that wants to kill you at all costs, and admiring good art, I recommend Don't Starve Together.

(Now to go through AO3 to find fanfiction... why is a third of them rated Explicit?)

(Really, if you don't want to be mentally scarred, don't search for the fanfic. Just don't.)

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