All of this is old news to the PC crowd, who have been playing Terraria for years. Love it or hate, they say. So what is different about the console version of the game? There are quite a few differences, and almost none of them are positive. Right off the bat, you will notice that the interface is laborious. Where Minecraft translated well from PC to console, Terraria suffers from its native format. The screen is too panned out, making it hard to focus on small objects (and impossible in splitscreen co-op).
The controls are especially awkward. You essentially “aim” your tools, weapons, and items with the right analog stick. Initially, you will find this tedious and painful because the stick keeps “snapping” back to the player when not pressed in a direction. If you play the tutorial, you will find out that pressing in the right analog lets you use a sort of cursor, similar to a computer mouse. The problem is that there is a limited range of movement of the cursor. It is also painfully slow, and there is no option to adjust the speed of the cursor. Combat becomes a chore in the cursor mode, while building becomes a chore in the standard mode. Thus, you will awkwardly switch between the two often. It's very inconvenient, and I could never get used to it.
Terraria for the console has another problem. It is a big problem, that has the potential to be fixed. Simply put, it is a glitchy mess. There are numerous, game breaking, inconvenient, and downright nasty bugs. Some of them will force a game crash, some of them will cause you to permanently lose your items, and some are just an inconvenience to the player. Normally, a few bugs is forgivable, but due to the number of serious ones, it had to be mentioned in this review.
I enjoyed playing Terraria when the game initially released for PC. One of the biggest reasons I got so excited when I heard of the console port of the game was due to the cooperative factor. My girlfriend and I have spent countless hours in Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, and I was hoping for the same great experience with the console version of Terraria.
Unfortunately, like the issue with the game breaking glitches, the multiplayer is a mess. Like I mentioned previously, when you try to play splitscreen co-op, the screen is almost impossible to decipher thanks to the panned out camera. This was on a 42-inch Plasma TV, mind you. I can only imagine the unplayable horror that four-player splitscreen would induce. Certainly it would not be ideal. There was also a problem encountered in local co-op that involved chugging and slowdown. The framerate can get pretty choppy when there are things going on. Like the small screen size, I am certain that four-players would experience this problem as well, perhaps more so. On an SD TV, the game would probably be unplayable.
Online multiplayer wasn’t as egregious as local co-op, however. While there is no option to browse servers online, you can join the worlds of those on your friend’s list. It is easy to invite and join a game, and I had no problems with joining in my play experience. There were some occasional lag problems however, but that varied with the person I played with. The lag was annoying, but not game breaking. While a server browser would have been nice, the fact that you can play online relatively painlessly was pretty cool.
Terraria for console was a very frustrating game for me to review. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I wanted to like it more than I did. The original PC game was a cult classic, and many gamers have logged countless hours into it. The game has loads of content, with tons of loot, and even epic bosses to face. While the creative elements are not integral to the experience as a whole, they are still present and can be used if you want to create structures.
The overall gameplay format and progression is addicting, and the ability to play on the TV with friends both on the same screen and online is awesome. There is even some new content in the form of items and bosses that are fresh with the console experience. However, I couldn’t overlook the poorly implemented controls, game altering glitches, and shoddy local co-op mechanics. Is it worth a buy? I would have to say that unless you want to be a part of what is essentially a fleshed-out beta, wait for some major patches to come along first.
The Co-Op Experience: Terraria is a world building open ended side scrolling action game. Think of it like Minecraft in 2D.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.