In the gaming world, there is a lot of talk from gamers about game studios being “overrated.” Fans and haters of different critically acclaimed studios battle it out on forums all across the internet in a never-ending flame war over which studio is overrated or why another studio isn't.
What about the other guys, though--the game developers that bring us great titles but don't necessarily get the appreciation or attention they deserve? There are some that bring up how underrated a developer may be, but for every one of those, there are thousands of gamers saying a developer is overrated. Well, in these “Underrated" articles, we are going to take the time to name developers that could be considered underrated and tell you why they deserve your time.
The first two studios that come to mind when you think about sandbox games are probably Media Molecule and Mojang. Both of these studios have developed games that have had a tremendous impact on the sandbox genre. The LittleBigPlanet franchise developed by Media Molecule has given players the ability to create and share their creations like never before. Meanwhile, Mojang gave players the ability to build on a scale that is unrivaled with Minecraft. With just these two juggernauts of the sandbox genre alone it is very hard for another developer to jump into the equation and meet with success.
Luckily for us gamers there was two men who dared to succeed—Andrew (Redigit) Spinks and Finn (Tiy) Brice, the founders of the game studio Re-Logic. In 2011 Re-Logic launched Terraria exclusively on PC. At first glance one could draw a lot of comparisons between Terraria and Mineraft. Stylistically the games are very similar with the game worlds both being made up of blocks, and both are, of course, sandbox games where you mine and build. These similarities have led many players to write off Terraria as nothing more than a Minecraft clone, but thankfully there is much more to Terraria and Re-Logic than meets the eye.
Terraria may not be a robot in disguise, but it has a lot of new and improved features that make it stand out amongst it's sandbox competitors. With Terraria, Re-Logic built the most in-depth crafting system to date in a sandbox game. The amount of crafting recipes in Terraria are in the hundreds and the things you can craft range from torches to futuristic blaster pistols. On top of the already massive amount of crafting recipes in the game, the console version of Terraria which launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 earlier this Spring had additional exclusive crafting recipes. Re-Logic managed to raise the bar for crafting in sandbox games, but Terraria also has another trick up its sleeve.
The gameplay of Terraria is highly adventure-oriented. When playing you are constantly fighting off creatures as you mine and build—not just in small numbers either. As your character gets stronger the world around you gets harsher, and even worse when night falls. Re-Logic created a persistent world for Terraria and if the player takes too long to advance their technology and discover new resources the entire world can become infested by an evil biome called The Corruption thus making your life very difficult. The adventure aspects in Terraria very much feel like the old days of Castlevania, particularly Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
Re-Logic also added random events that can happen during the day or night that grow in difficulty with the amount of players that are playing in one server. One such event is the Goblin Invasion, and while the PC version of Terraria allows for servers to have as many as 255 players in them, the console version limits servers to 8 players. What this means for the Goblin Invasion is that on the PC with a full server the invasion can consist of an absolutely ludicrous 10,280 Goblins. Meanwhile, with a full server on the console the Goblin Invasion can consist of a less massive but still intimidating 400 Goblins.
The sandbox genre has grown massively in popularity over the years and Re-Logic looks to be one of the great innovators of the genre. With Terraria, Re-Logic manged to successfully create a game that took all the greatest elements the sandbox genre has to offer and combine them with a classic 2D side-scroller RPG formula. Re-Logic has proven itself as a studio that can create a unique and innovative game in a genre that has already been heavily explored by many other much larger studios—this is worthy of our respect as gamers. If you haven't experienced Re-Logic's work as a studio yet give Terraria a shot, you might just dig it!
Next week, we will talk about another developer that we believe is considered underrated. If you missed out on last week's installment of Underrated, check it out right here. Do you think this studio could be considered underrated? What studios do you think are underrated? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to come back for next week's installment!