Terraria iOS Review

The sidescrolling Minecraft-like Terraria makes its way to iOS in a faithful conversion with just a few control issues.

Terraria: On the plus side

Terraria is a side scrolling fantasy based game with strong creative elements; the easiest way that almost everybody describes it as is that it’s like Minecraft if it wasn’t in 3D, and with quite a bit more combat. So why shouldn’t I?
It’s like Minecraft if wasn’t… Oh, you already knew that, did you?
Actually the chances are quite high that you did; Terraria first came out on the PC back in 2011, and has been solidly successful from there on Xbox and PS3, with a Vita version still incoming. It’s been around, and the anticipation for an iOS version (and there’s also an Android version) was relatively high. I’ve been a little slow in reviewing it, but then it’s a relatively deep game.
Heh. Mining. Deep. No, folks, the jokes won’t get any better than that.

Iron ore... something else. (I did warn you about the jokes, right?)
Iron ore… something else.
(I did warn you about the jokes, right?)

Like other crafting games, the joy is in the exploration and uncovering of relationships between different tools, starting out with simple log cabins to attract new people to take up residence, hunting underground for rare materials and, as is always the way with games of this type, remoulding the world into a vision that suits your particular tastes.
With just a dab of combat on the way, but then you need to be aggressive from the get-go if you want to make something as simple as a torch, and it only goes on from there.

Terraria: On the minus side

Terrraria on iOS features a tutorial for new players, which in theory should make it more accessible, were it not for the fact that it’s a tutorial that’s been built on a precise script within a world that lets you do almost anything. As such, it’s pretty easy to get things wrong, and to get confused because the explanation text often obscures the tool or button you’re meant to be pressing.

It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.
It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

The controls for Terraria could also do with being a little more precise. The developers have gone for what amounts to a touch mouse controls as well as tap movement controls, and it’s a mix that only really works about half of the time. Terraria’s structure is such that this is rarely a genuine problem, given you can always break up a poorly placed block, recover it and just try again, but it’s frustrating to have to do so. Combat plays a large role in Terraria, and not being able to swing your sword with ease is a little galling.
There’s also no multiplayer — at least not yet — which makes Terraria feel a bit big and lonely compared to the original game. That’s something that’ll hopefully be addressed quickly.

Terraria: Pricing

Terraria for iOS costs $5.49

Terraria: Fat Duck verdict

Terraria is an interesting bit of code conversion. In some ways it’s a fine effort in getting touch controls to work in a complex game setting, but at the same time, the lack of multiplayer and those same controls lead to an experience that can be as frustrating as it is engaging.

Hang on.. Jeffrey? How can I be sure this game wasn't written by Steven Moffat?
Hang on.. Jeffrey? How can I be sure this game wasn’t written by Steven Moffat?

If you’ve got the capability to play Terraria on any other platform, I’d say go for that first. If you’re a die-hard Terraria fan who absolutely must play it on iPhone or iPad, it’s a faithful enough conversion, but be prepared for disappointments.

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