Don’t Starve: A Hit Indie Steam Game Lands on Chrome

Imagine being launched into an unexplored world, without food or shelter, all alone and with an overarching fear for your hunger, sanity and health. That’s the context to Don’t Starve, a game all about surviving in a procedurally-generated wilderness made up of the resources you’ll need to survive and the dangers you’ll need to avoid. It’s a game that’s taken the Steam marketplace by storm, but most surprisingly, it’s also available as a web app in the Chrome Web Store.

It’s not everyday that a hyped Steam game is also available as game that’ll run in your browser, so we had to check it out.

Survival, Survival, Survival

Don’t Starve is a game all about survival. It’s a hardcore game so when you die, all your progress is lost and you’ll never revisit the lands you once explored, although your playtime will be recognized in levelling up to unlock new characters to play with. In order to avoid death and the loss of your game, players are obliged to keep an eye on three metrics — hunger, sanity and health — as when they deplete, you’ll either outright die or your insanity will get the better of you and your hallucinations will attack.

Food is top priority when you spawn into a world without any basic resources.

Food is top priority when you spawn into a world without any basic resources.

Naturally, the game presents numerous opportunities to avoid extreme hunger, insanity and death. The procedurally-generated world hosts a variety of resources with their own benefits (and disadvantages) to the three metrics. For example, picking flowers will help your sanity and eating food will refill your hunger. Keep these figures up and you’ll survive another day. There are, of course, dangers in the game world too. Mobs, each with their own unique features, can spawn and attack players, damaging health when they do, although a successful execution is a recipe for valuable loot and, in some cases, vital sanity.

Death is never that far away.

Death is never that far away.

You’ll want to setup camp and there’s craftable items which can let you live in some sort of luxury out in the middle of nowhere. It’s nothing like Minecraft or any other survival game that has a focus on building, but you can eventually build complexes of farms and machinery… if you’re able to survive that long.

Storybook Style

Part of Don’t Starve’s just appeal comes in it’s presentation. The game takes on a visual style reminiscent of illustrations in a book and there’s a magical aura to some of the less-than-realistic entities in the game. The sea is a great example of this, where it resembles layers of paper being moved by hand.

The world can even be customised before starting a new game, making it easier or more difficult to play.

The world can even be customised before starting a new game, making it easier or more difficult to play.

All-in-all, Don’t Starve has a notably unique style that is executed to a level of polish above the norm. Performance-wise, Don’t Starve in the browser runs surprisingly well and provides a seamless, straightforward and foremost enjoyable experience.

YOLO

Don’t Starve is a hardcore, permadeath experience. There’s a few legitimate, in-game means of resurrection, but generally the rule is that once you die, it’s game over. This can present a disheartening affair when you realise all your hard-work is eventually going to go to waste. Add to this the fact that collecting resources — prior to moving them into a more efficient, densely-popular space later in the game —  is a tedious process and you get a disappointing sense that the game isn’t that replayable.

A lot of in-game time is invested in collecting resources.

A lot of in-game time is invested in collecting resources.

This isn’t always the case, though. Sure, after dying you probably won’t want to jump right into a new game and start fresh, but when you get around to having another go, you may well have new characters unlocked and even more knowledge about the game’s mechanics.

A Browser Game? Really?

Don’t Starve doesn’t look like your average web app, and that’s because it’s not entirely. From the initial setup, it definitely seems that Don’t Starve relies on local, downloaded files rather than running entirely on the web and reports suggest not all, if any, Chromebooks are supported.

A map will help you guide yourself through the random world... or at least the explored parts.

A map will help you guide yourself through the random world… or at least the explored parts.

However, the game does come from the Chrome Web Store meaning you don’t need to download and install any native clients yourself and it’s pretty easy to jump into your game by simply opening a new tab. Hopefully it might be possible to solve some of the issues with Chromebook compatibility which would make this an excellent game for users of the browser-only platform.

Final Thoughts

Don’t Starve is a really fun game. At times collecting resources and performing tasks like batch crafting can be tedious, but the constant tension that comes with avoiding nearby death keeps you on the edge. The game is still receiving content updates on a regular basis, however, so future changes could see some of the repetitiveness addressed. Being spawned into a unique world each time, Don’t Starve certainly is replayable, but it’s not the sort of game you’ll jump right back into once you do end up dead.

Don’t Starve is available through the Humble Store, Steam or within the Chrome app for around $14.99. Whichever platform you choose to buy it through, you’ll get access to the PC/Mac/Linux and Chrome versions, so you can even use those few dollars lying in your Steam Wallet to buy the game to run in Chrome. A version for PlayStation 4 is also planned, although it’ll most likely be sold separately.

Want more great Steam games to run on your Mac or PC? Check out our brand-new roundup of the best Steam games for the Mac on our sister site, Mac.AppStorm.


Summary

Don't Starve is a hardcore survival game with one core goal: don't starve.

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