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Must. Dig. Deeper. With its cool retro 2D aesthetic and exhaustive range of open-ended adventuring pursuits to follow, Terraria is a habit-forming romp through massive 16-bit-inspired worlds filled with secrets to explore, crazy stuff to build, and an absurd level of components to collect and build with. Minecraft fans, take note: This is a similarly addictive and creative experience, albeit one viewed through the lens of the Super Nintendo era of gaming. Far from a straight port from the previous PC and console releases, this portable version of the indie hit packs (almost) all of the wonder and depth of the original, alongside a few really excellent tweaks that make playing on iOS a real treat.
The gist of Terraria is simple. You're a pint-sized adventurer dropped into a massive 2D world that's fully destructible and laden with rich resources for you to harvest. Armed with a few crude tools, you set out to mine, dig, explore, and create. From there you can pick up tons of raw materials and goodies that let you build houses, new gear, powerful weapons, handy armor, and all kinds of marvelous doodads. The pursuit of loot alone is maddeningly absorbing here, but ample dangers up the risky thrills, too. Zombies, demons, slimes, and other perils await both in the surface world above and the sprawling subterranean realm below. Battling these creatures and the extremely powerful boss demons you can summon is only a small portion of the fun to be had.
Terraria's revamped interface on iOS feels really intuitive and easy to use. The virtual dual-thumbstick setup works well, and the ability to tap and hold the screen directly within a circular radius around your character makes it easy to target specific blocks when building and mining. We also love the fact that your adventurer emits a faint glow now, allowing you to see a little better underground when you run out of torches. Being able to pinch the screen to zoom in and out is also a great new feature, and the menu system is equally easy to navigate. The improvements feel thoughtful and well-designed, and the only thing missing in this portable release, sadly, is multiplayer, though local Wi-Fi support is planned via a later update.
The bottom line. Even if you've played it elsewhere before, Terraria on iOS is a must-have for on-the-go exploration, building, and adventure.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Cool pixel-art retro vibe. Exhaustive depth and options to tinker with. Thoughtful updates to the interface make playing on iOS a breeze.
No multiplayer at present.