Terraria

Common Sense Media says

Finicky but fun Minecraft-style game set in a 2D world.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players can craft kegs and brew ale. 

Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety issues. Players can choose to play online with others with open voice chat. That means players may share identifying information or be exposed to language and subjects of conversation that could be inappropriate.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • rocks and minerals
  • geology

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting
  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • problem solving
  • applying information

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • initiative
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • group projects

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Some kids may be frustrated initially by the lack of stated objectives and finicky controls, but that attitude should change as they figure out how to set and achieve their own goals and begin making cooler things. 

Learning Approach

Players draw from their understanding of the real world -- how wood leads to making walls and workbenches, how stone can be used to create a furnace to smelt metal to build better swords -- to solve the game's contextual problems.

Support

The lack of explicit direction and purpose can be discouraging, but the pre-game tutorial should provide players with some ideas. And a thriving PC community is eager to offer up crafting recipes and project ideas. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • rocks and minerals
  • geology

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting
  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • problem solving
  • applying information

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • initiative
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • group projects

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows
Price:$15.00
Available online?Not available online
Developer:505 Games
Release date:March 27, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:T for Violence, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Terraria was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 9, 15, and 18 year old Written bySpecimenB April 12, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Fun sandbox but mixes blood and guts with occult.

Exploration and building are great. Lot's of monsters with violent deaths (ie, blood and body parts). Dig deep enough and you end up in Hell with some monsters that can be scary to younger kids. There's also a bit of an occult aspect as players can craft items that summon demons.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old April 3, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

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 monsters, mine for precious ores, craft, and much more. EPIC! MUST BUY THIS GAME!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperSaiyan April 22, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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 about building, Terarria is more focused on adventuring, fighting monsters and collecting all kinds of items and weapons. There are all kind of environments with different kinds of blocks, creatures and items to explore. The combat is fun and simple, and there are many bosses to test your skill. As for the controls, the Xbox 360 edition did not work out well, as the controls were clunky and frustrating, but you really should play the PC version, which controlled smoothly and effortlessly. Overall one of the most imaginative and fun games I have played in a long time.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide