The Adventures of Wilson
The day was beautiful, as they all had been. There was a certain peace in the solitude of being shipwrecked. The sea was filled with colors and wonders I had never thought to imagine in my previous life .
There were no memories of that of course.
The raft was sturdier than I had hoped and I had been sailing between a few small islands for days. Already I had collected most of what I needed before I could find a place to settle down. This new island seemed larger than the others I had explored and I prayed that this would be where I found my gold.
Instead, I found a single stone of broken granite, surrounded by the heads of wild beasts. I touched it and released some strange magic. The stones made itself whole and I felt a bond. If my soul fell, I knew it was here I would return to. I looked around, terrified. There were two large patches of berries and a few wild pigs. No one had seen the power bind to me.
The island was larger than I expected, so I headed back to the shore line, intending to scope the boundaries. Along the way, I spotted a bottle floating among the waves. A message! But it was too far out for me to swim. I hastened across the small width of the isle to where I had left my raft and paddled along the peninsula to where I had seen hope.
It had floated deeper out to the sea and I searched for the bottle until the sun lowered and I caught sight of it glinting on the tide. I lazed back on the raft and popped the cork free. The aged paper inside was dry but legible as I held it up to the fading light. I realized at once that it was no message at all, but a map. “X” marks the spot.
I squinted my eyes to take a closer look at the stylized islands surrounding the mark. It took me through the night to locate this small rock among the many vast others.
This world was bigger than I thought.
Those of you who have been avid listeners will know that I am a huge fan of Klei Entertainment’s game Don’t Starve. I was immediately attracted to the game because of its simple and obvious win condition and the appealing art style. Little did I know how much time this game would consume. (Currently 3,674 hours as estimated by Steam.)
I was really excited for the last expansion, Reign of Giants as it added additional mechanics (four seasons and wetness) that made it feel like a real survival game. It was a fantastic upgrade, in my opinion, and became my new baseline-gameplay standard. I had little trouble getting on my feet and all my old make it to day 15 tricks still applied. There were a few surprises along the way, but it was a new game, what did I expect?
I’m going to talk about some of the game play of the new This might hinder your survival experience if you’re the sort of person who likes to figure things out for themselves. If you’re not, then Don’t Starve has a great wikipedia and I recommend heading over to take a look.
Don’t Starve Shipwrecked DLC goes above and beyond the previous release. They are mutually exclusive to each other, which was the first thing that excited me, since my first question had been how am I going to fight off a fire spitting dragonfly on a desert island?
As predicted, however, you wake on a deserted island. There’s a parrot cawing at you and some shipwreck all around you. He flies away. I get up and shake myself off, because that’s pretty standard fare. I know what to do here. Don’t Starve, right? There’s some thorny bushes and some reeds and I think I’ll take a few hits in damage to make sure I get some twigs. Click. Click. Neither resource can be picked by hand. I wander a bit further. The trees are huge, those unobtainable resources are everywhere and there’s no flint in sight.
Eventually I wandered around and found some sea grass. Finally, something I know what to do with! Get some flint, make an axe, chop some trees. Pick some limpets (snails of some kind?) to cook over the fire later, under the assumption that everything is better when it’s cooked.
I’m a little reassured by the time I make my campfire that night. As I eat my cooked limpets I finally take the time to look at my tools list. All the basic tools were there, plus a machete, and then I’m under attack by snake. I scamper around the fire to build a trap, but after kiting the thing into it a few times, with no success, I learn real quick how to dodge their attacks and get the kill.
I spend the next two days wandering the island and collecting resources, wondering how I’m going to do anything since there was no gold spawned on the island when it occurs to me that there’s a new tab on my builder bar. Nautical. I have enough resources to make a log raft or a reed raft. I bravely set forth and starve in the middle of the ocean a few days later.
Game 2, I’m getting the hang of wandering from island to island and how to guess where land is (shallow water). I starve on some island with no food.
Game 3 I starve because I spent days trying to figure out how to set a mussel stick. I looked it up afterwards. You have to place it on some mussels, which are three dark spots in the ocean that I had overlooked as part of the texture of the seafloor. Mussels.
Game 4 I went insane because I hit a touchstone on an island then picked it clean of flint and other resources. Berries were aplenty, so I didn’t starve. But I had two tufts of grass and three saplings, and about four squares of ocean between me and my campsite. Fireflies and a full moon kept me going about 5 days, but I had to start burning down the jungle so I didn’t go insane, which went as successfully as it sounds.
The inspiration for the above story happened a few days later, when I, too, came to the realization that for all I had just figured out, I had barely started to see anything. I was trying to survive on this small handful of islands, and there was treasure to be had half a world away. Don’t Starve Shipwrecked has brought the survivalist out in me, and now that I know how nice it is to use a sail (you need at least a rowboat), I’m ready to see what it’s got.