"Say, pal, you don't look so good. You'd better find something to eat before it gets dark out."
Don't Starve is a sandbox survival game by Klei Entertainment. The player awakens in a procedurally generated world, populated by various monsters of varying levels of friendliness (these levels being "indifferent" and "murderous".) From there, it is up to you to survive and explore the world. To do this, one should gather resources, do science, and most importantly... Don't Starve.Don't Starve started as an app for Google Chrome, but later became available on Steam. It saw a full release on April 23, 2013, with new content continually being added post-release.Like every other video game and its dog, it has a wiki. The official website can be viewed here.
This game provides examples of:
Added Alliterative Appeal: The Dangling Depth Dweller, a type of spider that resides underground and drops from the ceiling before attacking.
Adipose Rex: The Pig Kings. These guys are very useful for one reason: they give you gold if you give them meat! Since meat is a replenishing resource and gold is not, this is one of the few ways to regularly get the best equipment in the game.
Adorkable: Wilson. The comments that he makes when examining things are pretty funny. For example, he will say, "It's all piney." when he examines a tree. Another is when he is examining a hammer, and states, "Stop! It's time. To hammer things!" So dorky indeed.
Bandit Mook: Krampus and Splumonkeys. Krampus will take items only if the player has been "naughty" enough, while Splumonkeys will knock items out of the inventory onto the ground and take them. The player can take everything back from both only by killing them.
To a lesser extent, Frogs will knock items out of your inventory when they attack, but not steal them.
Pigs and many monster types will eat food left on the ground.
Bedsheet Ghost: Abigail, and the ghosts that occasionally appear when you dig up a grave.
Bee Bee Bomb: The Bee Mine (which occasionally shudders and buzzes when laid).
Berserk Button: Bunnymen are normally quite docile, but they despise all forms of meat, and having any in your inventory enrages them, turning them hostile.
Black Bead Eyes: All of the current male cast have these. Some mobs also sport black bead eyes.
Boss Battle: Complete with its own unique theme music. There are currently three boss monsters in the gamenote The Treeguard, the Spider Queen and the Deerclops. but even if you managed to defeat them there's still more where they came from.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Tallbirds. They tend to be encountered in the same areas as spiders, but they have a ton of health and can kill an unarmored character in two hits. (Unless you're playing as Wolfgang, in which case they kill you in four hits)
Played straight with Maxwell, who starts the game with several powerful late-game items and has considerable passive sanity regeneration which more than makes up for his low health. Unlocking him requires beating adventure mode by clearing five increasingly-nasty challenge maps, consecutively. Any player capable of beating Darkness likely does not need any more help.
Breakable Weapons: Most weapons have a "durability" that appears as a percentage, which lowers every time they're used. They break when the number hits 0. Unlike most games where this mechanic is used, this time it's justified - you can't expect an axe made out of a twig and a piece of flint to be very durable.
Buffy Speak: The name of the structure that teleports the player to the next world is called a Wooden Thing. The parts that must be combined with the Wooden Thing are the Box Thing, Crank Thing, Ring Thing, and Metal Potato Thing (the last of which is the reason why the fully assembled Wooden Thing is often called a Teleportato).
Bullfight Boss: Though not exactly a boss, the Clockwork Rook will charge at you at an alarming rate. It will often break through marble structures and even trample its own allies to get to you.
Also the behavior of the Ancient Guardian, which the Clockwork Rook resembles.
Captain Obvious: Every character has their moment, simply calling something what it is upon examination.
Wendy: "The darkness! It is too dark!
Chess Motifs: One of the many mysterious themes in the game, it’s present here in the form of Clockwork Bishops, Clockwork Knights, and a single Clockwork Rook, all of whom guard the Teleportato to the next world in both Sandbox and Adventure Mode.
Combat Tentacles: The subterranean swamp monster, otherwise known as the tentacle, is an ambush monster that can be found within swamp/marsh biomes. You never get to see the creature it's attached to but regardless it is hostile towards anything that comes near it. What makes it worse is that it remains hidden until you're inches away from it and it also deals massive amount of damage. If you manage to kill it you'll get the spiky part of its tentacle which you can wield and attack foes with. So, in essence, you can technically obtain a combat tentacle, too.
If you die in the Adventure Mode, you get back to the Survival Mode with all the items you had when you left. This means you will have to go through all 5 chapters again.
Detect Evil: In a way. Many monsters have an insanity aura, meaning characters will lose sanity when they're close to them. Since Tentacles are hidden in the ground until mobs get very near, watching the sanity meter for the downward arrow is a good way to detect if a Tentacle is nearby and act accordingly.
Difficulty Spike: Surviving 'til Winter is an accomplishment. Surviving through Winter is an even greater one.
Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Played straight. You won't drop your equipped tool no matter how many times you get hit, unless you encounter frogs or Splumonkeys, who have an attack that drops your items with each hit.
Downer Ending: The ending to the new Adventure Mode has you figure out that Maxwell is merely a pawn for the Shadowy Forces that run the world and has actually been trapped on a Throne of Nightmares for an eternity, and if you free him from the Nightmare Throne it will trap whoever you are currently playing as there forever... or until you beat Adventure Mode again.
Just to emphasize this trope, they only spawn at low sanity levels, and they drop literal Nightmare Fuel. Yes, Nightmare Fuel is an item in this game.
The Ancients may have worshipped or even harnessed Eldritch Abominations, considering the quotes from some characters upon examining the Ancient Pseudoscience Station.
Elite Mooks: The spiders have a much more dangerous variant called the spider warriors. Basically, they're gigantic jumping spiders which makes them a lot more difficult to run away from: luckily, they only come out when you attack their den or when spawned by a Spider Queen.
Hounds have Red and Blue variants (for summer and winter, respectively). They set you on fire or freeze you.
Endless Game: Survival Mode. The introduction of Adventure Mode gave the game a proper ending.
Enemy Summoner: A Spider Queen, who don't summon Spiders and Spider Warriors so much as she gives birth to them.
Experience Meter: Unlike the usual, your experience meter appears when you die (or when you move to the next world map) and increases depending on how many days you survived.
Face Hugger: The slurpers in an upcoming update do this. When they attach, they take up the head slot of the character's inventory, dropping whatever is there. When attached, they provide light and slowly drain the character's hunger. Make of that what you will.
Fish People: The Merms, who often drop Fish when killed. Developers' explanation? "They are made of fish".
Foregone Conclusion: In October 2013, Klei released a series of puzzles to accompany the "All's Well That Maxwell" update. Dubbed the William Carter puzzles by fans, it elaborates on Maxwell's backstory as well as that of a girl named Charlie. The same Charlie confirmed to be the Night Monster. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
For SCIENCE: The crafting aspects in the game, as well as Wilson's motivation for building the Wooden Thing in his backstory.
Gaia's Vengeance: Chopping down a tree in the vicinity of other trees will very rarely spawn a Tree Guardian. For added fun, it happens to be a boss level monster.
The first official mod was released in October 2013, titled ''The Screecher''. It was also the first total conversion mod to be possible on the game's engine.
Steam has a workshop for the PC version. There is also an in game link to a community filled with mods that aren't on the workshop.
Gameplay Automation: The space bar. Use it to chop down entire forests, strip mine rock fields, harvest crops, pick up items and kill hordes of monsters with only one button.
Geo Effects: Swamps and spider webs impede movement, while cobblestone and dirt roads boost movement speed.
Giant Spider: The spiders, the most common hostile mob in the game. They live inside spider dens and roam around near it at night. They're about the same size as your player character's head. There's also an even larger spider called the spider queen. (She is, essentially the den that the smaller spiders live in.)
G-Rated Sex: When beefalo are in mating season, their babies spawn off-screen.
Gravity Barrier: There are no beaches. The edges of the game world are surrounded by cliffs.
Grievous Harm with a Body: The Bat Bat is a giant Batilisk wing that not only damages foes but gives health to the player with each hit, and the Tentacle Spike, the end of a Tentacle, is the most damaging item in the game with no harmful effects on the user.
Hammer Space: The characters' pockets can hold a great number of items, including wall segments and flooring.
Harmful Healing: Monster Meat is very filling, but dramatically lowers your health. The same goes for Monster Lasagna. The mushrooms qualify too; typically, eating a mushroom will recover one stat and lower another.
Harmless Electrocution: WX-78 will not only become supercharged upon being zapped, but will come out of it with a large health boost. It will take a toll on the ol’ Sanity Meter though.
Hell Is That Noise: Distorted growls and moans generally signify the approach of a powerful mob. Hounds bark, a distant Deerclops growls and shakes the earth, and the Night Monster hisses periodically. Player characters have a tendency to panic at the noise, which also provides a warning to those who have their sound off.
Heroic Mime: Wes, who gets bonus points for being an actual mime.
Hive Mind: The Giant Spiders and the bees. Attack one of them or one of their dens/hives and all of them will attack you. Each have their own worker and warrior classes. At the moment, however, only the spiders have a queen.
Hive Queen: As of the "Long Live the Queen" update, the colonial spiders of the game now have a queen.
Oddly subverted with the bees, who don't have their own queen. (Not yet, anyway.)
Idle Animation: Every playable character in the game does the same idle animations. When they're facing the camera they scratch their heads, when they're facing sideways they kick the dirt and when they're facing away from the camera they scratch their backs. Depending on their sanity, they might also shake their heads back and forth in paranoia or wince from having a headache. If they're freezing, they'll huddle and shiver, and when they're hungry, they'll rub their stomachs.
Instant Sedation: Subverted with sleep darts, as they can take several uses to sedate one target depending on its size, but played straight with the Pan Flute and Mandrake.
Joke Character: Wes has lower health, sanity, and hunger than the other characters, and isn't able to properly examine things (he will just make odd gestures and remain silent). Word of God says he was introduced to challenge players who thought the core game was too easy.
Joke Item: The Ham Bat, which does the same damage as a Spear but is more costly and can spoil; and the Powder Cake, very similar to a real life Twinkie, which only decreases health, can't be fed to allies, and takes 18,750 days to spoil.note With each Don't Starve day taking 8 real life minutes, that's over three months of real time.
The Ham Bat has now been fixed so that it does nearly TWICE as much damage as the spear on top of having infinite use for as long as it's fresh making it a Lethal Joke Item.
Just Add Water: Some of the crafting recipes make sense, and some don't. Four logs, four rocks, and a hunk of gold make a Science Machine. Two sheets of paper and one or two other items make a book. Two pieces of flint and some twigs make an axe. Corn and honey make what's basically a Twinkie. And so on.
Karma Meter: Killing too many innocent animals results in Krampus appearing and stealing the items in your chest.
Killer Robot: One of the unlockable characters is WX-78, a robot stated to have a homicidal hatred for all organic life.
Kleptomaniac Hero: The player can destroy pig houses even with the pig still inside and take all the components without the pigs minding.
The Krampus: A monster named after this shows up if the player kills to many innocent animals.
Lampshade Hanging: A lot of the characters wonder why golden tools are more durable than flint-based ones.
Generic:"Hey, isn't gold really soft?" WX-78:"GOLD IS MORE DURABLE?" Maxwell"Must be game logic."
Maxwell questions how an entire wall can fit into his inventory.
"Pocket-sized wall pieces. Yup."
Butterflies rarely drop butter when killed. This is pointed out by one of the characters: "Some puns are irresistible".
Laser-Guided Karma: Killing too many non-aggressive creatures will make Krampus spawn. He is very fast and will break your chests, grab your stuff, and run away.
Letter Motif: All the playable characters (Wilson, Willow, Wendy, Wolfgang, WX-78, Wickerbottom, Woodie, Wes and William Carter) have names that begin with 'W'. As a matter of fact, the only ones who breaks this rule are the NPCs Maxwell and Abigail.
Lampshaded in that Maxwell's playable character file is called Waxwell.
Level-Map Display: It only displays your current location and some objects and structures in the game.
Life Drain: The Bat Bat heals the player for 6.8 health every time it hits an enemy.
Life Meter: The game's life meter consist of a circle filled with red that decreases when damaged. Along with it is a heart icon that slowly shatters and disintegrates as your health meter nears zero.
Loading Screen: The game has one every time a new map is generated. Rather than actually say what parts of the game are loading, the loading screen will say things like, "Iterating upon spiders", "Reticulating Wilson's beard", "Embiggening game theory", and "Framing a keen sense of despair".
Loud of War: When the player character finds Maxwell, he's stuck in the Nightmare Throne while the phonograph next to it plays the same ragtime song over and over. Turning it off will make Maxwell thank the character and say that he's been listening to it for an eternity.
Monochromatic Eyes: Willow and Wendy (and by extension, Wendy's sister Abigail) have blank white eyes for some reason. Some mobs also sport white eyes.
Mooks Ate My Equipment: Lureplants are surrounded by Eyeplants that will eat birds, rabbits, and anything that can fit in one's inventory. They're sort of like Bandit Mooks, though they'll eventually digest the animals and food.
Mook Maker: Spider Queens will spawn smaller spiders every few seconds. What makes it even worse is that she also spawns the spider warrior variant, and all the while other existing spiders will follow her around, making it extremely difficult to kill her directly without some special tools and advanced tactics.
Mundane Made Awesome: Growing a beard as Wilson allows you to shave it. With four beards and four pieces of meat, you can create an effigy of yourself, which means you can never die as long as you have a fresh effigy. A full beard also provides Wilson warmth during the winter.
Mushroom Samba: Eating 'shrooms relieves some hunger, may restore or damage health, but always takes out a chunk of sanity.
Nemean Skinning: The Spiderhat, which is obtained only by killing a Spider Queen.
Nice Hat: You can craft headwear in the game. All of them possess unique properties when worn like sanity recovery, built-in light source, warmth during the winter, bee protection or armor.
Nobody Poops: Averted. Although the protagonists never do, many other creatures do. A lot. Manure is of vital importance for farming. Pigs will "produce" after you feed them, and Beefalo do it all the time. In fact, it would probably be difficult to find another game that features poop so prominently.
Nominal Importance: All pigs are named, but the player can more easily see them when they've been befriended. (Hovering the cursor over an allied pig gives "Examine (name)" instead of "Attack".)
Non-Indicative Name: While there is a hunger mechanic, it quickly becomes apparent that starvation is the least ofyour worries, though the addition of food spoilage made obtaining food regularly a much more urgent task.
No Periods, Period: Averted. Beefalo go into heat during mating season, indicated by a redness on their backside. During this time, they become quite aggressive.
No Plot? No Problem!: The game's plot can be summarized with "You are on an island; don't die". This was changed with the introduction of Adventure Mode.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Pigs stuck outside during a full moon or given four health-damaging foods (mostly monster meat) transform into Werepigs, retaining whatever hats they had as Pigs. They will eat all the food they find on the ground before attacking the nearest living thing. A Werepig will stop to eat something even while chasing or fighting someone. The transformation lasts 2 minutes or until the sun rises. Woodie transforms into a Werebeaver on a full moon or when he chops trees too many times in a short period. The only way to stay as a Werebeaver indefinitely is to gnaw on trees and foliage, filling a meter. The meter diminishes over time or when Woodie gets damaged, and when it empties, he becomes human again. Thus, on a bad night, your gameplay might be interrupted by your befriended Pigs and yourself becoming Were-critters.
When you're wearing a Beefalo Hat, Beefalo in heat don't attack you when you go near them. Presumably, they think you're a Beefalo too, or at least no threat.
Wearing a Spiderhat (a Spider Queen's head) will make Spiders and Spider Warriors follow you and fight for you, even against a Spider Queen. Pigs, even those you've befriended, will see you as an enemy and attack.
Perma Death: If you die and don't have an item to revive you, you will have to start over in a new world.
Petting Zoo People: The indigenous pig peoplenote Or just 'Pigs,' according to actual game terminology.. They live and spawn in pig houses and they will become your ally/minion once you've given them meat. They will chop your trees and fight your enemies (even at the cost of their own lives) just as long as you keep feeding them meat.
Pig Man: There are pigmen in the game. They are simply known as "pigs" in-game. They live in pig houses or villages and worship their own pig king. You can befriend one by giving them meat,and you can also trade with the pig king with grave-dug objects like lawn gnomes or buttons in exchange for gold nuggets.
Player Character: In the beginning you'll start out with Wilson, unlocking new characters for you to play with as you level up.
Point of No Return: Once you activate the "Wooden Thing" to travel to another random world map, you'll never be able to go back to the previous world.
Power Crystal: There are several crystals available in the game, all of which are used to craft magic items. Unless dug up from graves, they're obtainable in the late game.
Power-Up Letdown: You can use a carrot to bait a trap, and it'll catch a bunny faster. However, in this game there's so little to eat in a rabbit that you might as well have just eaten the carrot.
Precision-Guided Boomerang: A weapon useful for attacking from a range. As long as the target doesn't move too far, the boomerang will always hit and return to the player.
Protagonist Without A Past: So far only Wilson has been giving a proper story for why he's in the Don't Starve world, though it's been suggested that everyone is there because of a certain brand of radio.
Pyromaniac: Willow. Her special abilities include being immune to fire, being able to restore sanity by standing next to an open flame, and starting fires if her sanity gets too low. The other characters can burn down trees and spider's nests with torches.
The player character will always respawn at the same spot every time you start a new game (assuming it's the same map from before).
The Meat Effigy also counts as a respawn point. The advantage of this method is that you'll still be in the same playthrough, and you get to decide where you respawn by placing the Meat Effigy where you want to respawn. Touch Stones have the same effect as the Meat Effigy but are randomly spawned at certain areas on the map, can only be used once, and don't reduce your maximum health like the effigy does.
Screen Shake: Warns the player when a Deerclops is nearby. Also occurs during an underground earthquake.
Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: You can lure a hostile monster to another kind of hostile monster. They'll start killing each other giving you a chance to escape or watch the fight and kill the softened surviving one.
When she examines a spear, she says "I have become the destroyer of worlds", a reference to a Hindu text (the Bhagavad Gita), which says, "Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds." The quote is more commonly known for being said by J. Robert Oppenhimer when detonating the first atomic bomb.
The gentleman scientist, Wilson. Implied to be one anyway. In-game he is no different from the others except for his "beard growing powers" which makes it a lot more easier and safer for him to construct the meat effigynote Crafting a Meat Effigy requires beard hair. Other characters can only get these by letting their sanity slip so that beardlings would appear. Beardlings drop beard hair when killed.. The design of the meat effigy itself (modeled after his own visage) suggests that he invented the thing himself. He also made the Wooden Thing.
Wickerbottom can prototype all Science Machine and some Alchemy Engine recipes without having to build the Science Machine. Her examinations of various objects also implies this, giving you more detailed descriptions of the object than any of the characters in the game.
Speaking Simlish: Well, kinda. The player characters (except Wes) are subtitled but their speech is represented by rapid instrumental notes. Wilson's is a trumpet, Willow's is a flute, Wendy's is an alto flute, Wolfgang's is a tuba, Wickerbottom's may be an oboe, Woodie's is a cello, and Maxwell's is a harmonium.
Spider Swarm: The spider enemies live in a spider nest, attack all together, and a nest can spawn a "Spider Queen" who spawns spider followers.
Suicidal Overconfidence: All of the neutral or hostile monsters will attack you - even if you are wearing the best gear in the game, and/or if you have an entire army of pig people, a flock of Smallbirds, or a cluster of spiders by your side. Pigs will attack monsters no matter how powerful their foe is or how outnumbered they are.
Sure, Why Not?: That characters' names all begin with W was a coincidence, but after the first few, the devs ran with it.
Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Sometimes averted with skeletons surrounded by loot, but often if you see a pile of meat, there's a nasty surprise waiting for you. Also some setpieces are traps: For example, opening a chest may immediately set the surrounding area on fire, or change the season to winter.
Swamps Are Evil: Very evil. Even the frogs are trying to kill you. There's even a giant spiked tentacle that pops out of the ground and lash out on anything that comes near it.
Ten-Second Flashlight: the torch lasts only for a little over a minute. Of course, the game's day is also only eight minutes long, so you can (just barely) make it through the night with just one torch, except in winter.
Theme Initials: All playable characters have a name that starts with W. In the game files, the player character 'Maxwell' is specifically named 'Waxwell', just to keep the theme going.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Smallbirds will protect their player at the cost of their own life. However, when they grow, they act as regular tallbirds and will attack the player on sight.
Vague Age: None of the characters in this game have a definite age. Some characters look like children; but due to the stylized nature of the art design and their in-game models (all of them have big heads and small bodies of the same proportions), they may actually be much older than they appear.
Vendor Trash: Played straight with certain items that are dug up from graves, such as buttons and kazoos, since they literally have no tangible use but can be traded to the Pig King for large sums of Golden Nuggets.
Video Game Caring Potential: Befriend pigs and you can learn their names and give them hats while they talk about how great you are, like a talking dog. The pigs smile and dance and clearly adore their Giver-of-Meats. You can work to make sure they stay alive and safe by your fire. Or...
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Lead your recently befriended pigs into a hopeless battle, leaving them to take the brunt of the damage and then move in for the kill on the softened enemy, then cook and eat their bodies and use their hides for clothing. Oh, and the player becomes a Karma Houdini because pigs dying in battle doesn't count as the player murdering them. One can also feed a pig enough health-damaging meat to turn it into a Werepig, then having its former kin kill it in its temporary monstrous state for more meat.
Villainous Breakdown: In Adventure Mode, Maxwell becomes steadily more unhinged as you clear more and more words, symbolized by his elegant business suit becoming a worn, ratty cloak, and his trademark sneer becoming a deranged snarl. By the time you finally reach him in the Epilogue, he's pretty much completely given up and lets you kill him.
Voice Grunting: Each character is "voiced" by a different musical instrument. For instance, Wolfgang sounds like a tuba whenever he talks, and Wendy sounds like a flute.
Wall Master: Tentacles, which come out of the ground to kill anything that walks near or on the ground it's in.
Warp Zone: The Wooden Thingnote Named after the base of the device. The actual name of the device is unknown. Once all the parts are found and assembled, it will act as a dimensional gate way to a new world map.
Since the Doorway to Adventure update, there is also Maxwell's Door, which is, well, a doorway that takes you to Adventure Mode. Somewhat subverted in that you get taken back to Sandbox Mode if you die while in Adventure Mode.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Dark Sword is the strongest weapon, the Night Armor is the toughest armor, and the Night Light is a very efficient light source. The catch? Using them will eat through your Sanity Meter like a pig eats through a piece of meat.
Yet Another Stupid Death: Many player deaths are preventable, but occur when they take stupid risks out of desperation, like attacking monsters or pigmen to eat them.
Your Mind Makes It Real: The hallucinations can damage the player and produce Nightmare Fuel, Beardlings (rabbits) and Beardlords (bunnymen) give beard hair, and the Night Hands can put out fires. The items obtained stay as Nightmare Fuel and beard hair when sanity is increased.
The craftable item Night Armour is made with five aforementioned Nightmare Fuel and three pieces of papyrus. It's wholly possible that the character just slaps a bunch of paper to their chest under the belief that it's armour.
You Require More Vespene Gas: The limit on how well you progress is dependent on finding certain key materials. You'll need flints to make the most basic tools, and gold to make the science machine and most better tools. Without flint or gold, all those sticks and berries you got won't go far.