It’s been a few weeks since the last entry of Conquering the Backlog, but I’m back with a new game to add to the list. As a refresher, Conquering the Backlog is a series in which I’m trying to complete as many games in my backlog as possible in 2020. The list has been growing at a very slow rate so far, but this week, the new entry I’m adding is a big one: Terraria.
It’s an exciting addition for me because this full playthrough of Terraria is 9 years in the making. I’ve written about Terraria plenty of times in the past, as it’s my most-played game on Steam by a country mile and one of my all-time favorites. Despite that, I’ve never truly completed the game, which I count as defeating the the Moon Lord (Terraria‘s final boss) and collecting the end-game items for my character.
It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. I first purchased Terraria around the time it came out in 2011. In the nine years since then, I’ve logged nearly 900 hours in Terraria, making it very deep into the game on multiple characters and in multiple worlds. For some reason, though, I’ve always run out of steam as I closed in on the end, whether I was playing by myself or with friends.
When Journey’s End – the final major update for Terraria – launched in May, I was determined to finally beat the Moon Lord and actually finish the game after all these years. So, together with a couple of friends, I created a new world on Expert difficulty, popped it up on a server, and we got to playing (the screenshots in this article are from that playthrough). Then the same thing happened that always happens with Terraria: We ran out of steam.
Toward the end of our adventure, we definitely played a lot less, maybe playing the game an hour or two a week if that. I’m not sure why I seem destined to want to play a game less the closer I get to completing it. Is it because I don’t want the game to end? Maybe I simply get burned out after sinking a bunch of hours into a game in a relatively short period of time?
Whatever the reason, we broke out of our funk and rallied to defeat the Moon Lord. We aren’t quite done with Terraria yet, because I said I wanted it to unlock all of the achievements with this run and I still have one more to complete, but for now, Terraria can go on the list. When I do get that last achievement, which will likely happen this weekend, future versions of my list will reflect that it was an “all achievements” completion. Before we get to the list, though, let’s dive into the recommendation.
Terraria Quick Take
Terraria launched at a time when interest in Minecraft was really accelerating, and it’s often referred to as “2D Minecraft” by people who have probably only looked at the Steam listing for the game. As anyone who has actually played it can attest, Terraria is definitely a lot more than 2D Minecraft, so if you’ve been dissuaded by that comparison, you can disregard it.
It’s true that in Terraria there’s a big focus on building and digging, just like there is in Minecraft. I haven’t seriously played Minecraft in a number of years, but for me, it always felt like Terraria was more structured and more focused on progression than Minecraft was. Both are great games, but they’re also very different.
In Terraria, there’s a heavy focus on collecting items and crafting. There are thousands of items in this game to find, craft, and use, whether those are armor sets, weapons, tools, or accessories that have all kinds of different effects. There are also a bunch of bosses to fight, and many of them serve as progression benchmarks, dropping the tools or materials you need to craft better armor and weapons.
Recommended? Definitely, especially if you’re really looking to stretch your buck. I purchased Terraria in 2011 for a mere $2.49, and even if I would have purchased it at full price, it would have only run me $10. With 900 hours in the books, that’s a deal anyway you want to slice it, and if you’re primarily concerned with value and trying to get as much playtime as possible for each dollar spent, Terraria is one of the best games for that.
Beyond that though, Terraria is just a ton of fun. The game’s progression loop is really well tuned so that each encounter with a new boss actually feels like a challenge, especially on Expert or Master Mode. Even though I’ve now beaten all the bosses and “completed” Terraria, it’s a game I’ll return to for years to come because it’s just so much fun.
Games I’m working on and The List
I’m still very slowly working my way through Steamworld Heist, which is a fun game that I prefer to play in short bursts instead of bingeing. I’m also getting the urge to dig into an RPG, but I’m not sure what that will be. My candidates include Pathfinder: Kingmaker, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Persona 4 Golden, and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (a game I’ve started multiple times but have never finished).
Regardless, I need to finish some games, because the list is still very short and we’re about to barrel into August. Here’s the list as it stands on Saturday, July 25th, 2020:
• Cat Quest
• Chrono Trigger
• Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (100%)
I’m looking to expand this list significantly in the coming weeks, so here’s hoping for a string of regular additions. Be sure to check back next Saturday for more on my progress, but in the meantime, head down to the comments section and tell me what you’ve been playing lately.