The following notes come from a mysterious journal dropped off on our doorstep one dark and stormy night.
Entry 01: I met a man this evening. He offered me all the science and wonder I could handle. All I had to do was build a machine, and the riches would be mine. I should have known he'd double cross me, and leave me stranded in a strange world with nothing but my wits to keep me safe. Of course, food might be a problem. As could be the residents of this unholy place. If you're reading this, it's doubtful I've made it out alive. Let my words serve as warning, and let me give you the first bit of advice I can: Don't Starve.
Entry 02: Time works differently here than it did back home. There are still days, but they are demonstrably shorter. Nightfall comes quick, and it comes hard. It's best to use some of the rudimentary materials in the world to forge some tools like an axe and a pick axe. Then you'll be able to chop down trees and smash boulders into finer bits of raw goods for even more potentially helpful items. As such, the first few days of my time in this seemingly endless world were spent cutting trees, foraging berries, collecting rocks, flowers, seeds, grass and flint. With these few odds and ends, I was able to fashion some tools and make a fire pit.
The fire pit came in handy quickly. Once night descends in this place, the darkness is absolute, and I'm pretty sure there are things that live in the shadows. I do not like them. The fire seems to keep the mysterious monsters at bay, and if I set up camp in a good enough spot, I can continue working until the early morning, collecting more and more materials so the next day can be spent exploring. What good is my being here in this uncharted land if I stay in one place? There might be all manner of beasts and treasures to uncover.
Entry 03: It's been a few days, and I've finally gotten a handle on the day-to-day routine. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to figure out just what I needed during a given day to ensure I'd survive long enough to see the sun rise on the next, but that I did it at all is a testament to my will and intelligence. Lucky for me, one of the boulders I smashed had some gold in it. I was able to fashion a rudimentary version of my science machine back home, which opened up a wealth of new crafting capabilities. I've managed to create a backpack, so I can take more items with me, and I've also developed the necessary process for creating blocks and boards. In a matter of days, I should be able to start building a proper home with defensible walls from the indigenous wildlife.
That reminds me, I encountered a few friendly... things during my travels these last few days. The pigmen were indifferent to me until I offered them some of my food surplus. Well, surplus is actually the wrong word. I find I eat more here on a daily basis than five men back home. It must have something to do with the atmosphere. My appetite is insatiable most days. Carrots and seeds only stave off the pains for so long. Anyway, I managed to hunt a turkey and trap some rabbits. Befriending these large pigmen seemed like a wise choice after I saw how they handled the vile spiders in the forest. I wouldn't say they're great conversationalists, but we have an understanding, and if I'm in trouble, they'll help me out if they can.
Entry 04: There are some wild buffalo-esque creatures roaming the lands far east of where I've set up camp. They leave plenty of manure around, which I'll gladly take so I can start farming without fear of running out of food daily. They are rather large, which gives me some hope I might be able to get a huge supply of meat and wool from their carcasses, but there don't seem to be many, and I wouldn't want to endanger the supply without learning more.
I also found the skeletal remains of not one, but three different people. How many have come here before me? How many will come after?
Entry 05: I dug up a grave today. There was a ghost inside that chased me for hours. I might be losing it. Ghosts can't be real, can they?
Entry 06: The shadows are talking to me now. They want my blood. They don't even bother waiting for nightfall anymore.
Entry 07: Eleven. There were reasons 11 were never enough. Or was it plenty. I can't recall. What was that? It's getting dark. Where's the fire? Oh, the fire? It consumed the forest. All the trees are ash. Darkness awaits. Take me.
Entry 08: Something happened, which I assume was death, but I was reborn. Of course, I was back in a world similar to the one I'd just left, but the layout was completely different, and all of my goods have vanished. I'll have to start over again. This time I'll be better. This time I'll be prepared. There can't possibly be anything to stop me.
Entry 09: I've woken up in another similarly new world again. The last thing I remember was hunting frogs for dinner. They never stopped multiplying. They just kept coming after me. I believe I was licked to death. It was... unpleasant. Again, I must start over.
Entry 10: The pigmen. I remember them from an earlier time, but these new pigmen did not know me. I suspected as much, but what I did not expect was for them to change into werepigs under a full moon. Thankfully, I was able to retreat down into a sinkhole I'd discovered. While the cave isn't exactly ideal living conditions, I can certainly wait out the dangers awaiting me topside. There are also all sorts of other materials I can collect down here. It seems exploring the world has proved fruitful, even if it was somewhat accidental.
Entry 11: The routine is starting to get me down. I can only hunt so much. I grow tired of this experience. I've found a location that should lead me to the man that brought me here, Maxwell, but I fear what lies on the other side of the door. Still, the hunger consumes me. Heed my original advice, reader. Don't starve. The suddenness of your end will not be pleasant, especially if you've managed to build a new life for yourself here. The challenge continues as the seasons, they are changing. I don't know if I'll survive the winter, but I do know I'll survive the night.
Entry 12: It's the strangest thing. I dreamed I was a wild haired young man, with a keen brain for science. That's not possible though since I'm a young woman who's been trapped here in this strange place for a few days. I wonder if I was him in another life, or if perhaps it's just the voices again. Don't worry, friends, we'll burn this world to ash, just like the one before it.
The journal ends there, rather abruptly. From what our top men have been able to glean from the materials included within, there is another world out there that is ever changing. The dangers are vast, but the prospect of being the first people to explore this new frontier is too great to turn away. It seems no matter how you left our world, you always ended up in this strange place with nothing but the clothes on your back. The learning curve was a bit much for the first few to be sent there it seems, but as more went, things grew easier over time.
A new journal appears every time one of our volunteers ceases to live. We learn from every experience how to approach the next journey better. Every death is seemingly more random than the last, but we're convinced it has more to do with sloppy adventuring than anything else. Resource management is key, and it wouldn't surprise us to learn some of our more daring volunteers forgot to forage for food on multiple occasions. Starting over from scratch so frequently has been frustrating for our superiors, but the job is simple enough they keep allowing us to send people back to the front. One day, someone we send will survive and make it back. The information he or she brings back will be invaluable to our efforts.
We'll continue sending more men to the front now that we've discovered how this scientist, a man named Wilson, got there in the first place. Whether we'll ever find this Maxwell remains to be seen, but we've got the manpower to keep trying.
This review is based on a retail copy of Don't Starve: Console Edition for the PlayStation 4.