Terraria is not a new game, in fact, I don’t think there is a current gaming system that does not have a version of this popular title on it. I think we have it on about five devices already in our house, its available on PC, mobiles, tablets, PlayStation and Xbox. So what makes the Nintendo Switch version different? Is it worth your time and money? These are the questions I will answer in this review and I won’t bother you too much with the ins and outs of Terraria, we all know what it is and what it does.
Terraria is a very popular crafting, building and survival game. I was obsessed with it on the PlayStation and played hours upon hours of it with friends and my kids. It had the bits I liked from Minecraft but with bosses to fight and a bit more variety to the gameplay loop. You start with nothing, build a small shelter and then dig, chop and craft your way to better equipment and therefore, fight harder monsters and bosses. The loot you can find or craft is vast and varied, you can create and all manner of buildings, furnishings, armour and weapons. The gameplay is fun and very addictive.
On to the Switch version then which, let’s be honest, has the potential to be the best console version of them all. It has portability, a touchscreen and the ability to play multiplayer on the go. What could go wrong? Well, firstly, something really annoyed me when I sat down with my boys to play a local multiplayer game. The Switch version has not shipped with local multiplayer, I could not believe it. I had a browse on the net for answers and it seems the developers are working on it but it will arrive at a later date. If I had bought the game I would have been very annoyed. Local multiplayer is one of Terraria’s strong points and with the switch having two built-in controllers it would seem a perfect fit for multiplayer crafting on the go.
Another reason I thought Terraria would be great on the Switch is the touchscreen. I mean, I know its already out on mobiles and tablets but they don’t have physical buttons and I do like the tactile feel of buttons for games like this. I hate playing games on touchscreen-only devices unless they were designed specifically for them. On a game like Terraria, things like inventory management really benefit from the touchscreen capabilities of the Nintendo Switch. I mean the UI is a tad on the small size but re-arranging your inventories really is easier when you can drag items around with your finger. This is only in portable mode though as in docked mode the touchscreen is inaccessible, I play mostly in portable mode though and it worked well.
Terraria on the Nintendo Switch is the same as all other versions in just about every other aspect. Its pixel art still has that quaint quality it always had and its colours really pop on the Switch’s portable screen. As I said earlier, the UI is a bit small on the Switch but it’s perfectly workable and not really an issue. The music is still great, all the sights and sounds of Terraria are still the same as before and everything in this department is just as you remember it. If you are yet to play Terraria or want a portable version then this is definitely the version you should buy.
Performance-wise, Terraria ran very well. I only had one soft crash when I was generating a world for the first time, this only happened once though and hopefully, it was an isolated incident. Apart from that, I had no issues, the game ran well and I enjoyed it a lot. Let’s be honest though, Terraria should run well as it’s a simple game that cannot be too taxing on the hardware at all and it’s not graphically intensive either. That being said it still takes some work to make it run properly and the developer should be given credit for doing so.
This is a nice port of Terraria and I think if I had not played it to death on PS4 I would lose many hours on the Switch version. The mixture of portability, being able to play it on the TV and the touchscreen really elevate it above all other console versions. One of my boys who love Terraria has not let go of the Switch since he realized we had a copy. Being able to play Terraria anywhere, with real buttons and then resume on the big screen is great. The touchscreen really adds to the gameplay and is a nice quality of life improvement. It’s just a shame the local multiplayer did not make it in time for release, this would have made such a difference as a portable multiplayer version of Terraria sounds amazing. If you are buying it for this reason, then hold on until a patch has been released to add this feature. Other than that it’s still the fun Terraria you know and love even if the price is a tad steep.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*