- A rewarding combination of discovery and reward.
- A huge amount of content to uncover.
- Placing items and targeted mining is trickier than it should be.
- No multiplayer.
Terraria has not made the transition to iOS unscathed, but its cocktail of 2D crafting and exploration is still as engrossing as ever.
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Terraria has been a popular PC title since 2011, only making its way to consoles and iOS this year. Its brand of expansive exploration combined with creation and crafting abilities have has earned it the label "the 2D Minecraft”. As it's already well-established as an enjoyable craft-'em-up, our main concern was whether the game had made the leap to the App Store in one piece. The answer: mostly.
You start by customising your character's features and inhabiting one of three randomly generated worlds (or by playing the tutorial beforehand). You begin with a bronze sword, pickaxe, and axe to help you fend off monsters and gather resources, either by mining or by chopping down trees.
Your first order of business is to build a house by laying down either dirt or wood, building a door, and erecting a back wall (so creatures don't spawn in your home during the evenings). You'll also want to furnish it to attract non-player-characters to move in.
Your hotkey bar up the top of the screen is obviously a lot smaller than the PC version, with the iOS build allowing for only five quick-access items (with the option to switch to 10 in the options menu). To access your equipment and crafting screens, you need to tap the ellipses at the end of the bar.
Movement is controlled entirely with the left stick. It's a perfectly passable system, though it does make jumping a bit of a chore. Gathering resources and building structures is more of a headache than it needs to be, however. Obviously you don't have the precision that a mouse cursor provides. To compensate for this, a magnification box is brought up when you tap the screen so you fine tune which pixels you wish to effect.
This would be a great solution if you could magnify without having to affect the world, In practise, you end up tapping and holding in the general area you wish to interact with, and hoping you hit your target pixel first time.
If you' ve spent any time with the PC version, then the lack of multiplayer will probably grate a bit. However, despite some interface compromises the game has made the transition to touch screens largely intact. If you like a strong narrative and engaging story from your games, then you'd be wise to look elsewhere for your kicks. But, provided can see past the control niggles, Terraria on iOS does a reasonable job of putting the 2D playground in the palm of your hand.