Don’t Starve. Don’t Panic. Die Anyway.

From the title, you can probably guess which game I’ve been playing lately. Don’t Starve is an indie survival game from Klei Entertainment. And it is BRUTAL.

The point of the game is to survive for as long as you can. There are people who do this incredibly well.

And then there’s me, who can’t make it past day 25 without freezing to death. That’s if I avoid the spiders, the lightning, and accidentally ticking off a whole bunch of pigmen and being pummeled to death.

Here are some things that have killed me more than once:

Darkness: 6 times. Feels like every time.

Spiders: 3 times. Fun fact: I once set a forest on fire to avoid spiders. A perfectly reasonable response in the game and reality.

Freezing: 2 times. Because winter is a harsh, demanding witch who won’t let me be a vegetarian.

Stupidest things that have killed me: Frogs, plants, mushrooms, and food.

And yes, I have starved to death. But so far, that only happened once. For a game called Don’t Starve it’s interesting to note that starving is usually the least of my worries. So far, the hardest thing to survive has been the darkness. I keep forgetting to get the fire going before the lights go out.

The most frustrating death I have experienced so far was when I was well set up to survive the winter, and then the lights went out. I quickly made a torch and then realized I had too much in my inventory. I frantically tried to drop something but I couldn’t, because of the darkness. I had to watch as the darkness ate me knowing that maybe I could have survived the winter if I had just lit the bloody fire two seconds earlier.

This game hates me.

Don't starve fire.png

I have done this many times. Mostly by accident.

That said, I am getting better. I’m getting better incredibly slowly, but it’s happening. Like anything in life, surviving Don’t Starve requires a lot of practice. And a great home location. And a metric ton of luck.

Yep, it’s just like life, actually.

So if you’re thinking about trying to play Don’t Starve, here’s a few tips to remember.

1. The Pigs are your smelly, greedy friends

Build your base near the pigs, but not right on top of them, because like most good friends, they will eat all your food if given the chance. But, they are great sources of manure (hopefully not like your friends), and you can always run to them if you need help. If something mean is chasing you, run to your piggy friends and they will murder it for you. This is how I have survived every hound attack. Just don’t attack them, even by accident. You will die.

2. Stock up for winter

If you want to survive longer than me, you’re going to have to prepare for winter. I’m not going to tell you how to do it, because I haven’t figured it out myself. I understand the principle behind surviving winter, but in practice, it’s a little less clear. The last game I played, I am pretty sure I could have survived off of the massive amount of tallbird eggs nearby, but then the darkness took me, so I’ll never know.

3. Make sure to set up your camp soon

If you haven’t made your camp by day five, you’ll be over run by hounds with no where to go. From what I understand, it’s recommended you build walls to stave off these attacks, but the last time I tried, I got half a wall and then ran into it and was eaten alive… So, do your own thing. I’m clearly no expert here.

Above all, if you’re going to play this game, have fun. It’s cruel, unforgiving, rage-inducing game that loves to hate you, but hey, you paid for it. It is fun, once you stop wanting to throw your computer across the room.

Treat it like a contest with yourself. If you immediately try to go for the 1,000-day mark, you’re going to end up demoralized fairly quickly. Just try to beat yourself. Just not with your computer, no matter how much you may want to.


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