First Impression Game Run of Don't Starve Together

Collaboration with Rosauvio

May 7, 2023

For the first official game analysis we decided to play Don't Starve Together released in 2016. The game had overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, yet I had never played it. To preface I had vague knowledge of the game at the time of playing. There was no prep work prior to the game besides making sure I could play it.

The title of the game, “Don't Starve Together” was pretty much all I really had to go on, so okay a survival based game I thought. Therefore I assumed the game would incorporate scavenging, craft making and battle mechanics. However true, the game was notably sublime.  

Art Style

So as with many games the first impression, for most, is the artwork. The art style chosen was eerie, matching the gravity of the title but with the addition of a comedic childish charm. The player is presented with characters resembling Tim Burton’s character art style, for instance Wilson, the gentleman scientist, resembles Victor Frankenstein from Frankenweenie

Game Mechanics

As the player ventures in this open-world Minecraft comparable game, since it too has crafting mechanics, you gain an understanding of the push for curiosity that the game asks of the player. The consequences behind adventuring is what differentiates this game from Minecraft. In Minecraft you are enticed by your surroundings, the bright colors, open floor, quick gratification and stability. In Don’t Starve Together the adventure is bold, mysterious and consumed in darkness (better hope you are not consumed by it). Even when you zoom out of the game and try to gain a glimpse of what’s around you the player is met with a fog similar to that of Silent Hill where they are forced to explore the unknown. There is no real safety, or at least not so easily attainable. 

As with many games, your character has decreasing status bars: health/life, hunger/energy bars but in Don’t Starve Together there is an additional bar, mental/brain bar, which at first you don't quickly grasp the importance of. This addition further pushes the theme of the game, where the player’s mental instability affects the way they perceive the unknown world around them.


The game very much resembles The Hunger Games, where the characters are individualistic, consisting of attributes that may help them and others, or perhaps not, but either way they have to work with what they got. Much dissimilar to characters from shooter games like Apex, where they are action-heroes and we get a list of just their capabilities/skills. Don’t Starve Together speaks to the truth of individual personalities and skill sets. Once again reminding us of Tim Burton’s characters where we know the flaws as well as their strengths.

I found it interesting how the majority of the characters were children. Being that the game pushed curiosity and adventure it only makes sense to use children as symbolic representation since they embody these characteristics. This also allows that player to relive a naive experience of learning about the unknown world and the excitement in uncovering rewards and dangers. For instance, as we were playing we continued to avoid and be weary of Grass Gecko thinking that they were enemies, as they appeared quick and threatening, only to realize they were more afraid of us. As a result of this curiosity the player learns to appreciate the successes and discoveries made. 

Another interesting realization found about the game was the focus on what's immediately important, essentially what keeps you alive. It’s a constant state of uncertainty that keeps you afloat that touches common day real life struggles like homelessness and a feeling of lack.


The tone of the game is that of tragicomedy. The developers show this by making the characters bio’s silly with the undertone of “wait…what’s that mean?”. This is even further presented in the theme where the exploration of the unknown does have a suddenly sad but lovable end. The player has learned and adventured even if that meant flailing around for the majority of the round.

End Notes

This is a game that is awarded to be played multiple times. It is set up to reward the player at every run, even when they “lose”. Truly there is no real loss unless you didn’t adventure and try something new. This further explains the no need for a tutorial to play the game. In that way it behaves like a rogue-like, giving the player a new experience every time, even if they really give it to themselves. To that note I recommend NOT researching the game and have fun exploring.


A confusing situation was the death of the other player. He was given instruction but did not know which direction to take. But this is a prime example of why to play the game again, to find out how to come back to life. And next time maybe he won’t stay as a spooky ghost for long.