Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition is so engaging you might forget to eat in real life

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Sometimes, there are games that are so engrossing that you don’t even realize that time has passed. They can sometimes get you into trouble, especially if you suddenly find yourself still at home in your slippers when you should have been at work 10 minutes ago.

Don’t Starve is an action survival game for the iPad that might cause you to forget to eat dinner while trying to keep your character well fed and safe from things that go bump in the night. We’ve got a full game review of Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition for you today.


A young scientist is sucked into an evil world filled with spiders, pig men, and all manner of oddities. Your job is to help this ingenious survivor from starving to death, or worse, being alone in the dark. In this strange world, there is no telling what kinds of horrors lurk in the shadows, or possibly are shadows.


The graphics and artistic theme reminds me a little bit of Tim Burton and Edward Gorrey. The story takes place in a gothic steampunk world where the good guys have sunken, empty eyes and the bad guys look like something Beetlejuice thought up.

Instead of speaking, characters express themselves through various instruments, like a trombone or flute. Animals also have their own, musical style when they alert you to their presence.

Each game features a randomly generated map that has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, one world may be over-populated with grass, but have very little flint. While another might be filled with more dangerous areas that provide dark materials for doing dark deeds.

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Players spend all of their time during the day searching for materials to help them survive. There are berries, flowers, mushrooms, and seeds that provide nutrients to keep your character from starving. You will also be able to pick up plenty of grass, saplings, and flint to start making rudimentary tools and traps.

As time goes on, you’ll start running out of the basic necessities just by pillaging berry bushes and flowerbeds nearby. You will have to figure out how to catch and kill small animals in order to keep yourself fed. You might as well also start figuring out how you are going to make it through the harsh winters. Building a sleeping area will be helpful when the weather gets bad.

The game starts out pretty harsh. Players are constantly gathering materials and trying to keep from starving. The days seem so much shorter than you want them to be. There is never enough time to do all of the things you want to.

However, by carefully managing your resources and food, you can survive and even build yourself a nice, comfortable base camp.

Don’t be surprised if you die after just a few in-game days. You should actually feel pretty good about yourself if you make it through two weeks. The goal may be to survive, but you exist in a world that really doesn’t want you to.

I recommend, after playing the game a few times and learning some of the basic ways to gather and make new materials, go to the Don’t Starve wiki and read this guide for surviving the first month in-game. It is very useful.

The longer you survive in a game, the more experience points you earn, which unlocks new characters that you can use. Characters have different skills and abilities. For example, Willow the Firestarter has her own lighter and Wolfgang gets stronger when his food meter is full.

There is an actual plan to the game. I think players must figure out how to move through a number of worlds to find their way back home. However, I’ve never survived past two weeks, so I’ve not gotten far enough to discover any special items to help my character go anywhere. But, that’s the fun of this game.

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The Good

This game is so engrossing that you will play for hours and not even realize someone was sitting next to you on the couch. I love the way it looks. The illustrations are adorably gothic. There is always something new to discover. It seems like one map goes on and on forever.

The Bad

I wish this game was just a tiny bit easier for beginners to play. Because there are no instructions at all, you find yourself fumbling around in the dark (literally) for a long time. Then, by the time you’ve figured out how to build something, it is too late and your character dies. I know it gets easier as you discover new things, but it is kind of a rough learning curve for beginners.


Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition costs $4.99, which is an amazing price for a game with so much depth. The replay value is through the roof. The whole point is to keep playing for as long as you can survive.


I love this game and recommend it for players that enjoy games like this. It mixes a bit of time management with point-and-click adventure and throws in a heaping helping of survival. The fantastical creatures and gothic steampunk ambiance make it even more interesting, visually. This game is available on the iPad. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

I recently reviewed This War of Mine, which is another type of survival game altogether. Both are tops on my list.

What do you think of this quirky, gloomy fantasy game? Let us know in the comments below.