Arts quarantine theater

Trying to not starve together

Giving ‘Don’t Starve Together’ a whirl thanks to Steam’s Halloween sale

Don’t Starve Together
Developed by Klei Entertainment
Published by Klei Entertainment
Available on macOS, Windows, SteamOS+Linux

During times when we can’t physically hang out with our friends, virtually meeting up and trying to survive in a bleak realm riddled with monsters and wormholes is certainly a suitable alternative. And coincidentally, that’s exactly the kind of world Don’t Starve Together presents. A spin-off of Don’t Starve, Don’t Starve Together provides a multiplayer version of its parent game — there’s a certain kind of solidarity when you’re starving to death with friends that’s worth capitalizing on. 

Prior to playing the game, I had no idea what it would be about. Upon joining a game, players are given the option to choose a character. I chose Winona, a Rosie the Riveter type of character, for our first round playing. My friends chose Wickerbottom and Wendy — there seemed to be some sort of pattern with most of the characters’ names beginning with a “W.” None of us really knew what we were doing, just that we needed a source of light for when darkness fell. And that was the part we struggled with, and as a result, we died on the first night and ended up restarting. 

We picked new characters for the second attempt, which resulted in two of our characters possessing specific dietary preferences, something we were not aware of. You would think that if you’re near death, you would eat just about anything, but alas, berries were “not fit for a warrior’s diet,” and Warly, the chef character, accidentally destroyed his crockpot, so both of our characters did indeed starve together. Fortunately our third and last attempt for the night only yielded one death, which we will hopefully be able to reverse the next time we play. 

I found the game to be fairly intuitive especially given that we entered with very little information about it. When we messed up early on, it was simple to just make a new server and restart. The lack of instructions allowed for the game to be extremely exploratory; we didn’t encounter any guided quests or suggestions on what we should or shouldn’t do. We were quite literally tossed into this grim-looking world with the only goal being to survive. It was my first time playing an open-world survival game like this, and I thought it was pretty fun to just explore and figure out the rules of the game by way of pure adventuring and trial and error. There were, however, aspects such as not knowing that certain characters were picky eaters that were a little frustrating to overcome (and in our case we simply didn’t overcome it and just ended up restarting). It was also disappointing when characters died; the only thing left to do was to haunt random objects as a ghost with the only hope of resurrection depending upon the surviving players’ ability to search the map for the required materials. Though I think this was just a characteristic specific to our game mode which was “survival.”

The game graphics are very unique — they gave me some Series of Unfortunate Events vibes, and the game animations are very well done. The whole design coupled with some fun haunting background music created an atmosphere that was the perfect balance between spooky and whimsical, which definitely makes the game suitable for any occasion. It’s less intense than other survival games (partly due to the 2D animation), but I think it’s just as enjoyable and probably less stressful. 

Overall, my friends and I really enjoyed playing Don’t Starve Together; it’s a great option for some casual multiplayer gameplay after a long day of work. Nothing like running from monsters and jumping into wormholes late into the night.