A world to be invented

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
Author and references

Only the Nintendo consoles were missing and, while the Wii U Terraria is scheduled for the first months of the new year, Nintendo 3DS owners can finally get their hands on one of the most sensational videogame cases of recent years. Released a few months before the final version of Minecraft, in May 2011, but clearly inspired by what had been seen in over two years of public beta of the Markus Persson phenomenon, the game of Andrew Spinks, Finn Brice, Jeremy Guerrette and the their Re-Logic was initially underrated as a blatant clone of the Mojang title which had simply been stripped of the third dimension. However, critics and audiences soon had to change their minds: Terraria had its own personality and characteristics which made it, although clearly belonging to the same trend, an excellent and sensible alternative to the product that has invented an entire genre, so much so that, even without ever achieving the success of the competition, the community that has developed around it is very nourished and passionate, also thanks to constant and consistent support over time.

Terraria lands on 3DS, with its sandbox excellence but also some compromises

What are we crafting today?

The world in which we are projected once our avatar is customized is procedurally generated, provides a day / night cycle, a series of hostile creatures to defend against, is completely destructible, buildable and modifiable and obviously contains all those materials and means that they can be used to create furniture, weapons, building materials, potions and various medicines and so on and so forth. Exactly like in Minecraft, except that where Minecraft is all in three dimensions, Terraria adopts the two-dimensional approach in graphics and gameplay. This involves a whole series of peculiarities that, together with precise design choices, detach it as we said from its putative father, a peculiarity that we will analyze in detail not before having addressed the basics. With the precise purpose of stimulating the player's creativity, a sandbox game starts with few limits and few indications: one of the main defects of the PC version of Terraria was the lack of a tutorial, fortunately instead present on consoles, although it is limited to explain the basics only. It doesn't even have a fixed goal. Although practically everything has to go through the phase of collecting the materials (wood, stone, minerals and so on), some players could dedicate themselves to pure and simple exploration, some others to the construction of an ever larger and more composite dwelling to be transformed into a village and then again into a real city, and some others still adopt a more adventurous attitude and wandering around dungeons and caves eliminating enemies and monstrous bosses.

Creating a refuge is a necessary operation both to defend oneself from creatures that become quite aggressive at night, and to have a base in which to create the most sophisticated objects, for which special equipment such as a workbench or a furnace is needed: but yes can, and in this we personally have found great pleasure, to go far beyond the basic needs and develop their home both in width and height, and provide it with different rooms which also take care of the aesthetic component. Nothing prevents you from creating more houses to the point of founding a sort of inhabited center, and all this has concrete impacts on the gameplay: sufficiently equipped houses attract different non-playing characters each of which with its own role, from the classic shopkeeper to the doctor, the transactions with which occur with a fairly complex monetary system. And coins are earned mainly by killing monsters. Precisely in the emphasis placed on the adventure and platform component lies the main difference of Terraria compared to Minecraft, either by a precise will of the programmers, or by the use of 2D which lends itself well to such situations. The fact that the scenarios look like those of a 16-bit era platformer is relative, given their total modifiability; more important is the presence of real dungeons, to be discovered perhaps by following a vein of precious mineral, where the most coveted rewards are hidden, but also the most ravenous creatures and the most dangerous bosses. There is no real storyline, rather a series of individual stories and goals, although there is no lack of an interesting premise: the world is made up of different scenarios each with its own characteristics, including two "dark" and one "good" that tend to expand to the detriment of the neutral ones. Deciding which side to stand and intervene in this sort of battle could be yet another approach to a game that is the very epitome of the sandbox.

The 3D effect

There is not much to talk about as it is completely absent. A choice all in all understandable given the graphic nature of the game: inserting 3D would perhaps have enhanced the aesthetics, but probably contributing to fuel a certain underlying confusion already present.

Portable crafting

This is basically Terraria, and the Nintendo 3DS version features almost all the elements of update 1.2 on PC, plus a few of 1.3 with the promise of future updates.

Obviously the development team had to somehow adapt their child to the platform and its peculiarities, and unfortunately we must report how the changes adopted are practically all pejorative and make this version, far from being unwatchable, certainly an alternative that is not preferable to the original PC, the brothers for home consoles and even the tablet editions. Let's start with the game world, which is smaller than the other iterations. It still remains large and full of things to do, but it is already one less thing. Then, the graphics. Not that the Nintendo 3DS has problems managing an engine that, although detailed and colorful, is reminiscent of the great classics for 16 bit (even if stereoscopy has been completely given up and the frame rate is anchored at 30 frames per second, which becomes 60. on New Nintendo 3DS), but the small screen size makes some elements, including several hostile creatures, almost invisible, helping to create more confusion in the action; and if things from this point of view improve with the XL versions of the Nintendo laptop, not so the management of the interface, which obviously uses the touch screen. Selecting the various elements with the stylus is easy and intuitive, but even here the small screen means that you have to scroll through the inventory, which can be very large, to reach the desired object, which can take a long time. The touch screen is also usable for a precision mode useful for more surgical operations, and switching between modes takes some getting used to as well. All this can create a certain confusion and leave us a victim of the numerous enemies present, perhaps while you are carrying out a whole other operation and you do not have, for example, a weapon ready in hand. The online cooperative mode is also completely missing, for some one of the main attractions of Terraria, while the local one is present, up to four players, each of which must however have his own copy of the game. Finally, the sound, also linked to the 90s, and the good Spanish translation remained unchanged.


Digital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 19,99 € Resources4Gaming.com


Readers (3)


Your vote

Although it is a version halfway between 1.2 and 1.3, where on PC we arrived at 1.5, even on Nintendo 3DS Terraria is the usual, excellent sandbox that some even prefer to His Majesty Minecraft due to some peculiarities, such as the greater emphasis on adventure and action. Unfortunately, on the Nintendo laptop some compromises had to be made: some, like the greater confusion dictated by the small size and the initial difficulty in managing the inventory, are understandable; others, such as the absence of any online element, less so. In any case, an excellent game, also given the price, which, however, remains preferable to enjoy on other platforms.


  • An excellent sandbox game with its peculiarities
  • Lots of things to do, to create, to build
  • Very honest price
  • Some confusion in the action
  • Total absence of online
  • Generally a series of compromises
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