Don't Starve: Shipwrecked

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Don't Starve: Shipwrecked App Poster Image
Tough island-survival game could confuse, frustrate players.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but game throws you in without any sort of instructions; figuring out what's in your inventory is difficult. 

Violence

Players can attack, be attacked by wide variety of animals, but no blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No drugs, alcohol, but character will experience hallucinations from eating certain foods. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Don't Stave: Shipwrecked is the sequel to 2016's hit forage-and-survive role-playing game. Like the original, the game has a dark sense of humor that might be a bit scary for younger players, but there's no blood or gore and the darkness is offset by the game's humorous tones. Players will battle wildlife and monsters, but there's nothing explicit. Parents don't have to worry about language, sexuality, or that their kids will be "upsold" on anything, because the purchase price covers everything in the game. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In DON'T STARVE: SHIPWRECKED, Wilson, the ill-fated hero of Don't Starve, returns, only to find himself shipwrecked on a desert island filled with new resources and new threats. This time, he not only has to battle starvation (by collecting resources and building tools and traps) and monsters in the night but also the elements. The game brings a new variety of tropical seasons, which make it harder to survive. Additionally, resources are scattered over a large number of little islands, meaning you'll have to brave the sea as well (once you collect enough resources to build a sailing vessel). Every world is different each time you play, as the game creates them randomly.

Is it any good?

While it improves upon some of the faults of its predecessor, this darkly humorous survival game is still a tough sell to some customers. The learning curve is less steep, but there's no tutorial or any instruction on what you're supposed to do or how to get it done, which can be frustrating for new players. And once you figure out Don't Starve: Shipwrecked, it's still an intentionally difficult game. That's going to make it irresistible to some people and off-putting to others. 

Feature-wise, though, Shipwrecked is a solid title. It demands players wisely allocate resources and always focus on the game. While it's hard, it doesn't go out of its way to alienate players. There's already an established community around the PC version of this game -- and this mobile sequel likely will keep them happily satisfied. The biggest complaint probably will be the lengthy time the game takes to generate new worlds. Rather than the five to 10 seconds most players are used to, there are load times of more than two minutes (and there's a black screen delay between the load and the start of gameplay that may cause you to think the app has crashed). If you can overlook this and the high level of difficulty, you could find an enjoyable adventure to take on the go.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how best to allocate limited time to prioritize tasks. When approaching tasks, how do you know what to start with first? Why do you approach things that way?

  • Talk about learning to utilize your environment to improve your situation. How can orienting yourself around landmarks and your environment help you when camping, when hiking, or in an emergency?

App details

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For kids who love role-playing games

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