I’ve played a lot of 2D games over the years, and there are some pretty amazing 2D games out there. Developers have constantly proved that games can be filled with depth even if they lack a third dimension, but there’s no game that’s ever come close to the level of quality that Terraria has.
While I mostly favor playing 3D games, Terraria constantly sucks me back in for another playthrough, and each experience I have with it is always completely different. I’ve been convinced that Terraria is the greatest 2D game for a while now, but I’m more convinced than ever after the release of Journey’s End, the final Terraria update.
It’s honestly kind of a bittersweet moment for me. The update is absolutely incredible, and adds so much new content that it’s overwhelming, but the name Journey’s End refers to the completion of a game that I’ve been obsessed with for over 7 years.
Although Terraria came out in 2011, Journey’s End was released in May of 2020, and the PC version of Terraria reached an all-time peak of 486,000 concurrent players. This is an insane achievement for the game, but a lot of people seem to still bash Terraria despite its raving fan base.
Total honesty here, Terraria is my most played game, but I’m going to explain why I think Terraria is the greatest 2D game ever created. I won’t be discussing the basic gameplay since I’m assuming most people here are familiar with it, but I will be talking about the reasons I think the game is so good.
The first thing I should cover is a couple of arguments people have about why they don’t like Terraria.
Argument 1: Terraria is a 2D Minecraft
All I have to say about this is that if someone honestly thinks this, they probably haven’t played the game for more than a few minutes. The basic similarities are mining blocks, building, crafting, fighting zombies, and that’s about it.
Minecraft is a game mostly focused on building and surviving, whereas Terraria’s core gameplay is focused on killing monsters and upgrading your character. You do spend a lot of time mining and building, but both of those experiences are so completely different than Minecraft that it doesn’t feel similar even a little bit.
Argument 2: Terraria doesn’t have a goal
The game does lack a story, so it’s kind of easy to see where people get this argument. There’s no main quest to complete, leading many people to aimlessly wander around until they get bored and quit.
It’s a sandbox game with RPG gameplay, so you need to enjoy both creating and exploring to get into Terraria. The new Journey Mode gives players more options than ever, since it allows you to play the game however you want.
I see forum posts all over the place where people say they don’t like the game, and one thing they all have in common is that they barely played it. You need to give Terraria a couple hours of playtime before you decide you don’t like it.
It’s a highly versatile sandbox game that gives you basically infinite ways you can play. But, if you don’t like any game that lacks a story, then Terraria probably won’t be on your list of favorites.
So with these 2 arguments out of the way, I’m going to give you all the reasons I think Terraria is the greatest 2D game.
1. It caters to a ton of different playstyles
This has been the case for years, but Journey’s End gave us an insane amount of new ways to play. Master mode is insanely hard, but it’s a great challenge for veterans of the game.
Journey Mode is basically creative mode but with a lot more options to play with. You can basically create your own games rules for unique playthroughs, such as insane enemy spawn rates but on a low difficulty level.
There’s also the core difficulty levels, Softcore, Mediumcore, and Hardcore. Softcore characters only drop coins upon death, and in my opinion is the best way to play the game, at least at first. Mediumcore makes the game a bit more like Minecraft in that you drop everything when you die, forcing you to have another set of gear for recovery runs.
Hardcore on the other hand, is only for people who don’t mind losing everything. When a Hardcore character dies, that character is entirely deleted from existence. You become a ghost that can float around the world, but after you leave the world that character is completely gone.
Native mod support was also released with Journeys End, giving modders an easier way to add whatever content they want.
My point here is that with all of these options, most people will be able to find a play style that’s right for them.
2. Terraria is about the journey
To enjoy Terraria, you never really need to think about beating the game. Once you have the best weapons in the game, there’s not much else to do besides build cool things around your world.
My personal favorite part of Terraria is from the start of the game up until when you beat the Wall of Flesh. There’s something exciting about being vulnerable in a new world and having to blaze your own trail. Progression is slow at first, but eventually you get good enough gear to start exploring the world more freely. You need to be careful every step you take, or else you’ll easily be killed.
But, entering Hardmode gives you access to some insanely overpowered gear, which although that gear is awesome, it makes the game less about survival and more about grinding. Beating the game basically makes you the god of your own world, but it almost seems pointless unless you’re planning on doing a lot of building.
Most of the time, I stay in pre-Hardmode as long as possible. I enjoy that feeling of vulnerability and survival, and I love to find creative ways of navigating the world.
Terraria really was never about finishing the game, but rather about enjoying the journey along the way.
3. Terraria has been constantly refined since release
I remember the early days of Terraria where there were only a couple bosses and a lot of little things that needed improvements. The developers have listened to the community in every single update, and everything they added only made it better.
If you ever played the first version, you’d barely recognize it from what it is today. The final update added over a thousand new items and the changelog was literally 40 pages long. I’ve followed every major update that’s come to Terraria, and none of them were ever disappointing.
It really takes a lot of creativity to somehow please the community every single time, yet somehow Relogic has managed to do it every single time.
Besides that, the game never costs more than $10 on Steam, and every new update was 100% free.
I honestly can’t think of a game so cheap that has so much value packed into it, so it definitely deserves its overwhelmingly positive ratings on Steam.
I could probably go on and on for hours talking about reasons I love Terraria, but I think those 3 reasons are why the game has such a raving fan base. The community for this game is probably one of the best communities I’ve ever seen, and that can all be attributed to the amazing work Relogic has put into it.
So, while Journey’s End is the final update for Terraria, it’ll be adored by fans for many years to come. There may have been some extremely impressive games released in the last decade, but my opinion is that Terraria is the greatest 2D game ever created.