Terraria

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Terraria Game Poster Image
Finicky but fun Minecraft-style game set in a 2D world.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 28 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 80 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about geology, mining, crafting, construction, and conservation in this highly creative sandbox-style adventure. A world ripe for manipulation and transformation allows players to experiment and see how different materials can be harvested and used to create objects useful to human existence. Astute players may also recognize how, with the passage of time, their relentless expansion leads to a resource-depleted setting. Optional cooperative play means kids can work collaboratively on the same project.

Positive Messages

This game revolves around the twin themes of reason and creativity. Players are challenged to solve contextual problems of their own making using real-world knowledge, and encouraged to use their imaginations to design and build whatever they like. Mild monster combat exists, but is presented in rudimentary graphics and not sensationalized the way it is in many other games.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player's avatar is mute and limited to mining, crafting, building, fighting activities. Kids will encounter a few non-player characters who want to provide guidance or trade, and they generally seem like decent folk, but they aren't developed enough to serve as practical role models.

Ease of Play

A tutorial takes players through the basics of mining, crafting, and building shelters. However, this game is somewhat less approachable and intuitive than some others in its genre due to its 2D presentation, slightly awkward menu design, and stiff platformer controls.

Violence

Monsters -- floating eyes, zombies, worms -- attack the player's character regularly. Kids can choose either to flee or to attack with swords, bows, and magic. Attacks sometimes result in tiny square bits of blood being shed. Should the player's avatar die, he or she will leave behind a tombstone with an inscription that might embellish the circumstances of the death, suggesting, for example, that the hero's face had been "ripped off."

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players can craft kegs and brew ale. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Terraria is a sandbox-style mining, crafting, and building game similar to Minecraft. There is a bit of mild monster combat that involves slaying one-eyed flyers, slimes, and shuffling zombies, but the focus here is on exploration, discovery, and creation. Kids will need to use reason and call upon their understanding of the real world to figure out how to craft and build the things they need and want, from a simple shelter to -- if they choose -- to a sprawling mansion filled with details and luxuries. With no story or concrete objectives, it's up to players to choose what to do and how to do it.

User Reviews

Adult Written byAndrea C. November 16, 2016

Inappropriate

The makers of this game thought it would be funny to name components of this game after things clearly inappropriate for children and sexual in nature. So far,... Continue reading
Adult Written byConcernedparent112 April 7, 2013

Great Game!!!

This is a simple, fun game where you can create anything you can imagine. By the way, I myself play this game and I find it a lot of fun. I know that it says th... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 3, 2013

ITS SO DARN AWESOME!!!

Epic Minecraft-inspired game really shouldn't be rated Teen. It is easy to learn how to play, and quite fun. You can build a house, recruit NPCs, slay mons... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperSaiyan April 22, 2013

Don't judge by Xbox Port.

Though it may seem it is riding on the wave of Minecraft fame, this is not entirely true. It's completely a new game in itself. As minecraft is mostly abou... Continue reading

What's it about?

Clearly inspired by Minecraft, TERRARIA is a sandbox adventure game that is proudly without narrative or scripted objectives. Players are plopped into a two-dimensional world with nothing but a few tools and a will to live to see the next day. To that end, kids go about harvesting materials -- wood, stone, flammable jelly from slime monsters -- to create the basics of human survival, including a shelter, a chair, and torch for light and warmth. Essentials looked after, the world is then theirs to do with as they please. Mining new materials and crafting new items leads to ever more useful and complex recipes, allowing players to go from mud and wood huts to enormous mansions and castles, or even giant pixel art murals. The Xbox 360 edition we tested supports solo play, online play, and local two-player cooperative play.

Is it any good?

Terraria's 2D setting -- it's primary differentiator from Minecraft -- doesn't actually change the sandbox mining game formula all that much. You may be limited to digging and building on a flat plane, but the activities of harvesting materials, crafting items, and then placing them in the world to build things should prove quite familiar. And also a lot of fun.

That said, players should be aware that this game isn't quite as accessible as others in its genre. Movement and aiming are stiff and unforgiving and can lead to frustrating demises. Also, it takes time to grow accustomed to the game's awkwardly designed menus, which make working with recipes and ingredients and moving items around more complicated than necessary. Plus, occasional technical problems -- like the minute or so of extreme choppiness that follows after booting up a game in the Xbox 360 edition we evaluated -- don't help matters much. But while it may take a few hours to warm to, Terraria can prove quite rewarding for those tenacious enough to stick with it. It can be a great outlet for Lego-like creativity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about creativity. What sparks your imagination? How do you like to act upon your ideas? Is there a particular media in which you like to express yourself, or do you prefer using whatever is at hand?

  • Families can also discuss conservation. As you played the game, did you notice what happens to the world around you? How do you deal with resource depletion and forest clear-cutting? What is the logical end to your continuing growth and expansion?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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