Terraria is best described as “the upgraded evolution of every platformer you’ve ever played.” Its graphics are old-school pixel art that reminds you of classic Super Nintendo at its best. The playstyle has traditionally been described as “Minecraft flattened to 2D,” although it’s not a fair comparison because Terraria has a far more linear progression, and an item system that has to be the biggest assembly of items in any game, anywhere. Seriously, this game has 36 kinds of chairs. You don’t even sit in them, they’re for the NPCs.
I should note: While Terraria is a cross-platform game available for Android as well as PCs and consoles, all our notes here cover the desktop version only. Your humble Penguin plays the desktop version on Linux courtesy of Gog.com, which runs flawlessly.
Terraria Journey’s End modes
The first thing I’ll say about the modes is that they’re a bit misleading in name.
I was expecting “Journey Mode” to be more like an endless map where you don’t build a base, you just keep going in one direction and rely on what you can carry. That would have been interesting. Instead, Journey Mode is best described as “granny mode.” It has adjustable difficulty and features that basically cut the challenges of the game down to nothing. I’m currently playing through with a Journey character just to see how fast I can speedrun it. I don’t know who these people were complaining that Terraria is too difficult, but here you go.
Master mode is nothing but an extra-hard Expert mode. It is also available from the difficulty slider in Journey, which we’ll discuss in depth here. Master mode has little to distinguish it except a few tweaks:
Enemies deal more damage and have more health
You and the NPCs have less health
You get an extra item accessory slot
Bosses drop a new kind of decorative trophy
Bosses drop new kinds of summoned pets
That’s it, Master mode is covered! Now on to the interesting one:
Terraria Journey Mode overview
In the first place, you start out a Journey character on a Journey map (and never the twain shall vary) with a starting set of equipment that itself negates half the early game challenges. If you’re in Journey mode, it completely rewrites standard Terraria strategies.
Fledgling Wings – What fall damage? Start out with a smell set of wings allowing flight from the first second. They’re about the weakest flying gear in the game, granted, but still, wings!
Finch Staff – This is a summon weapon which permanently camps a bird’s nest on your head. The summoned bird pecks at enemies, almost exactly like the summon from the Hornet Staff, only a tad weaker.
A Magic Mirror! – Completely negates the hundreds of recall potions you’ll be digging out of chests.
Iron standard toolset – Not that different from regular starting gear.
The next most overpowered Journey Mode feature is the item duplication system. Collect X of any item, sacrifice it to the “research” box, and you have infinite max stacks of that item forever afterwards. The value X varies from 1 (for individual items like weapons and tools), through 25 for crafting materials, on up to 100/400 for building blocks and walls.
Note that duplication also works on money! Get your first 100 copper coins, then you research those and you can convert infinite copper into silver, research that, and so on until you’re a platinum millionaire. This completely negates the only downside of dying as well as giving you an infinite line of credit with all NPCs.
There’s a number of aspects to the duplication system alone which breaks the game:
Infinite ammo for anything – even the Star Cannon!
Infinite metals and gems for crafting – Get a stack of 25 platinum, boom, all-platinum gear.
Infinite drops from bosses – One kill gets you all the demonite or crimtane you’ll need.
Negated Goblin Tinkerer – Why go through the hassle of reforging equipment when you have infinite materials to keep crafting equipment until you have all-Godly all-Legendary everything?
Infinite potions – A stack of 20 is all you need. Pretty much negates gardening after that.
Beyond the broken duplication system, the rest of the god-mode powers in the Power Menu make things even easier, right up to a literal Godmode itself where you take no damage, spend no mana, and don’t even drown. Also notable is your ability to manipulate time and weather, so you can end a Blood Moon or get to start the Skeletron battle at a whim, as well as adjusting ideal fishing conditions. Also the Placement Range slider is set to max by default, so you can place, switch, and mine anything almost anywhere in your visible screen.
And now, thanks to Journey Mode, please welcome our first Terraria Moon-Lord speed-run in less than an hour, real-time:
Once you’re done with Journey mode, the other new Terraria features are very well-rounded. The game has had a complete facelift, and added NPCs, items, enemies, goodies, music, splash screens, mechanics, two new bosses, a new weather, a new mini-game, and a bunch of tweaks and features. This is definitely a new version done right!
One mechanic I’m not even going to bother with and can’t see anybody else using is the new Pylon thing. You have to build housing for NPCs only in certain combinations of two or three per biome, then get a teleporter for that location. This system is more complicated than it needs to be, and I’ve never liked games that assign NPCs to be prejudiced.
I mean, what does selective friends / enemies NPCs do for a game? Who are these people saying “I have a whole town full of NPCs, but I sure wish they’d fight and hate each other because I’m just sick and tired of all this happy cooperation!”
Graveyards, on the other hand, rock:
In addition to our previous guide on items worth hunting out, we’ll add some new items worth striving for from Journey’s End:
The Magic Conch – Teleport from coast to coast. This plus the Magic Mirror cuts all horizontal land travel down to about a third. Just one more reason not to bother with the arcane pylon nonsense.
Snake Charmer’s Flute – Automatically creates a tall rope-like structure which you can climb. Note that you can place platforms beside the rope, then hop on that and generate a new rope off the flute again from that platform and climb higher. You basically have all vertical space conquered as soon as you get this.
Golf – Notable only in that you can buy a ball and long-range club, hit it straight up in the air, and the camera follows the ball giving you a view above. Sorta nice if you don’t have another item like the binoculars. Good luck with the golf minigames out there.
Taken all into account, the Terraria 220.127.116.11 update is awesome and a must-see. It’s revitalized Terraria, a game that had been getting a little long in the tooth. The update does just what updates should do: Give you a reason to get back into the game and rediscover all the fun with a fresh perspective.