A million years ago, in a land very unlike the one I currently reside in, I had a wife. Children. A modest house, a valued trade. I was making a living. I was living, well, sort of. The truth was a barely-passable life on a rock I’d chose to call home for no other reason than it had plenty of trees to chop down when I first arrived. Between that first chop and my final breath in the land of Dinora (80 MSP), I was witness to a great many things, several highs and lows, the laughs and frustrations. I know my life, as I refer to that digital existence, the temporary abandonment of my mortal coil, was not in vain. I was, at varying times, a miner, blacksmith, wizard, fairy, knight, a shepherd, farmer, alien hunter, a rescuer, a doctor— such are the possibilities (and then some) present in the game.
Even so, it is plainly obvious that Dinora is a $1 Terraria. One look at the visuals, which, while simple, have an understated charm to them, and you’ll reach the same conclusion. Playing it, a 2D crafter that sees you from such humble wood-chopping beginnings all the way up to the ruler-God of a great city, if you so choose, will be immediately familiar to those that have played Terraria. There is no getting around it. Both games, with the exception of some interface upgrades / downgrades and options, play the same. The opening is the same, battles are the same, mundane tasks are the same, everything is saaaammmme. For the sake of keeping the review manageable, I’ll skip some of the finer details of the setup, as if you’ve played Terraria or have an interest in it, you’ll know the routine. Basically, the world of Dinora is yours to mold and craft as you wish, with plenty of optional quests and events if your own creativity starts to stall.
The original angle that Dinora takes is in its ‘relationships’, your interactions with the various NPCs across the land. After building a Bar (alcohol is the genesis of human interaction, of course) and several furnished homes / rooms, you can befriend and enlist the services of the men and women you meet, setting them up in various professions and teaching them skills, which will pay dividends to you once they start producing goods. You can also find (and woo) a husband or wife, and start a family of your own (they’ll even be dependent on you for food / shelter), watching them take on your features and age accordingly. There’s several options in how you can converse, and each denizen in Dinora has changing moods / needs that you must pay attention to if you want to foster a relationship. It’s surprisingly well-done, and stacks even more hours on top of the hours you’ll spend building / tearing down / fighting / casting spells / leveling up, etc.
Building scenes like this requires a massive amount of time, resources, and dedication.
There’s some nitpicks here and there. Despite some well-handled tutorials and reminders, building / crafting can be a pain to figure out, and the controller can’t match a keyboard & mouse setup. Inventory can be tough to manage, and most enemies are too strong for your initially weak character, though all of these things should be expected in a game where you can literally be doing a dozen different things at any given time. And as a crafter, you should know that the game will be lengthy, though it bears repeating: Dinora is NOT pick-up-and-play, it is a MAJOR time-sink. Expect to put in several hours before you’re anywhere near a stable existence, and triple that time if you want to see some of the more fun aspects of the game, or reach its ‘Darkness is coming’ endgame.
Dinora may be a carbon-copy of Terraria in most ways, though it’s hard to argue its worth when you can get every bit of enjoyment out of it as you would playing the original. All of that game’s tally, and even a little more here, due to the relationships you can forge, essentially unlimited playtime, for 80 MSP. How you choose to live your life on Dinora is entirely up to you, and the game provides an excellent template from which to draw ideas. Original or not, quirks and nagging issues considered, a game with this amount of choice and variety can’t be ignored or dismissed.
Review on Indie Gamer Chick