Xbox LIVE Arcade Reviews

Terraria Review: Nihilism: The Game


I awoke one morning with no particular goal in mind. Being able to live completely off the land I did merely what was necessary to survive. Existing in a world of pointless routine eventually I began to branch out, thinking surely this life must have more to offer, more to see, things to conquer. I was quickly reminded why I had spent so many nights cowering inside my dirt hovel, zombies outside pounding at my door. In the total darkness of the evening I was a sitting duck. And I quickly died.

I respawned outside my front door, determined not to make those same mistakes again. So I grabbed a pick axe and went down into the basement, thinking if there were nothing outside these walls but death (and undeath) then perhaps beneath these walls there might not be more of the same. There was a thrilling moment at my first discovery of rarer ores and minerals as I imagined what wonders I might craft from them, but tunnels choked in darkness dimly lit by torches carried a constant fear of floods, of striking the bottom of some hidden underground lake that would once again make me regret my decision ever to have left home in the first place. I died again, invariably, from demons, lava and/or stupidity.


I desperately wanted to find some meaning behind my life here on this two-dimensional planet, but the only person I had to talk to was a Guide who had commandeered my home the minute I first built it and refused to offer me anything more than the same, repetitive advice. I prayed to the gods for inspiration concerning solitude and fit society, then was granted visions of internet forums and youtube videos which showed a wealth of possibilities, like castles floating in the sky. But as I attempted to convince others to settle here and share my growing sense of ennui, I found it harder and harder to get up each morning. I found myself less and less motivated to explore, and more likely to simply succumb to a reckless despair.

I began doing absurd things like building spires out of dirt to see how high I might climb before escaping gravity. I tried corralling wild bunnies and taming them as pets, but to no avail. I challenged everything that moved, only to have my pixilated ass handed to me by a cursed old man. I hoarded everything, thinking that if I just had enough stuff, perhaps my ingenuity at a work bench, crafting table, anvil, furnace, loom, still or alchemy stand might lend my life real meaning.


Eventually I waxed philosophical, marveling at simple things like how sand was so unstable, or what it would be like to be a character in a video game. I wondered if anyone would sit down and control me, take me through my environment and see all there was to see in this little sandbox that was my reality. I questioned why that person would come here, and what night-time horrors they might be escaping from. Perhaps their lives contained some obvious or over-arching narrative which to them was so urgently pressing that they needed to escape and unwind for awhile, to relax in a world where there simply were no goals. But I had difficulty imagining anything other than what I saw before me.

Maybe people just wanted to connect with me, to recognize my plight as essentially the same as their own. Maybe the enjoyment to be had from my own existence wasn’t so much that what I was doing was particularly meaningful, but that others might have the opportunity to participate. Surely, that must be it then – surely we must be the playthings of some greater creatures whose minds and worlds we cannot fathom, but who derive immense entertainment in seeing us succeed or fail. Surely, that is what I must believe. Otherwise, I can’t help but wonder: what’s the point of anything?


Without that purpose, without that belief in a higher power controlling everything, without that connection to some external reality what here surrounds me is admittedly not all that enticing. I have my adventures, sure enough, but those won’t go on forever, and it’s hard to point to anything and consider it really enduring, when anything and everything can be destroyed by my few tools at hand. As I blink in and out of consciousness these moments of my lack of self-awareness lengthen. Ultimately, I think, whether this life really is a game and all us men and women here are merely players, I will terminally exit that stage, set aside either by the will of my creator or the simple passage of time. In either event, I worry that whatever I’ve done here, as entertaining as it might occasionally be, will eventually all be forgotten. I cannot escape the fear that all I’ve done will fade into mere oblivion, sans heath, sans slimes, sans meteorites, sans zombies. Sans everything. But, at least for one brief, shining moment, I can say that I lived. And that certainly beats the alternative.

SCORE: 8.0 out of 10

A code for Terraria was provided to Pixel Related for review.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s