Terraria for iOS review: A beautifully ported game with flawed controls

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The Good Terraria for iOS looks and sounds just like the PC and console versions, with huge maps to explore, tons of items to craft, and challenging bosses to fight.

The Bad The touch-screen controls are not as good as a mouse or controller. Playing on an iPhone or iPod Touch is even worse with less viewing area and zoom window problems.

The Bottom Line Terraria is an incredibly involved and challenging game that's worth buying as long as you play it on the iPad.


8.1 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 10
  • Interface 5
  • Performance 8

Terraria for iOS brings the popular 2D sandbox adventure game that was loosely based on Minecraft to the touch screen. As a longtime player of the game on PC, I was excited to get my hands on the iOS version, and after a few hours of playing, I think it stacks up well with the original. But one flaw makes the game much better on the iPad than it is on either the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Never the same experience
One of the great things about this 2D adventure game on any platform is that when you start a new world, it is built randomly so you never get the same game twice. The maps hold all the same elements, but you never know where the different biomes, one large dungeon, or the floating islands will be. This means the only way to explore the enormous map is by walking over land or mining your way into the depths.

To get started, you can customize your character's look by choosing either male or female, then choosing the color of your hair, eyes, skin, and clothing. Then, you simply give your character a name and then name the world that will be created.

Playing the game
Early on, your character is fairly weak and once night falls, zombies and other baddies will be on the hunt. That's why it's important to start chopping down trees right away to build a shelter before nightfall. Later, you'll also want to build housing for NPCs that arrive as you pass certain milestones. But rather than giving you a step-by-step guide for the early parts of this extremely involved game, the best resource for learning how to play Terraria is at the Terraria Wiki. Generally, the key is to explore and mine blocks in order to craft items that will make your character stronger so you can take on the game's five difficult bosses.

As you dig deeper, you'll come across giant caverns that may contain chests, valuable minerals, and dangerous monsters. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET