I’m a huge fan of the PC game, Terraria.  Whilst I also own it for Xbox and iPhone, I don’t think it plays as well on those systems as it’s primarily a mouse and keyboard game.  However, I’ve seen a lot of friends, who I think should love the game, struggle to get into it.  Everyone’s tastes are different, of course, but I suspect that their frustration is from not fully understanding the game.

The easiest way to think of Terraria is as a 2D version of minecraft.  You mine resources, make things and try to survive.  Whereas Minecraft has a creative and survival mode, Terraria has just survivial.
You start with wooden tools and a NPC guide.  He’s a helpful person to have around as he’s a walking cookbook of all the recipes you can make.  Your first task to make a house.  You can either use your axe to gather wood or your pick to get some dirt.  Place this is a square around you and when it comes to night, you’ll be safe from the zombies and flying eyeballs that zip around.
Even if you make your first house with dirt, you’ll want some wood so you can make a workbench.  This will allow you to make additional recipes like doors and wooden armour.
You are then on a mission to upgrade gear.  Dig down into the earth and eventually you’ll find seams of different ores, caverns and monsters.  You’ll need to mine stone to make a stone pick so you can mine copper ore which you can use to make a copper pick and so on.  It’s not quite that stringent but there’s a sense of gearing up a stage at a time.
Terraria worlds also have a number of different biomes ranging from desert to ocean to snow and the evil corruption and crimson biomes.  Each of these have specific resources, obtained either from mining or lot drops from killing monsters.
Along the way you will find chests.  They’ll often contain accessories you can equip and showcase part of Terraria’s charm.  You see, the accessories and weapons can sometimes be a bit insane.  You can get Rocket boots and wings and grappling hooks, sometimes as accessories, sometimes via component parts to create via recipes.  You want to keep everything and a good plan of action is knowing you can ‘mine’ empty chests and take back to your base so you can store everything.
You’ll also unlock NPCs as you go, and you’ll need to make them housing.  Rooms need to be of a decent size with lighting and a table and chair.  These NPCs will sell you items that will help you progress.
You’ll also find items that can be used to summon mini-bosses.  You need to make sure your gear is up to scratch but defeating these will unlock items such as new ores or access to dungeons that allow you to continue to progress.  Eventually you’ll kill the Wall of Flesh miniboss and put the world into Hard mode.  All the mobs suddenly have more health, there are new resources in the world and further progression is unlocked.
But here’s the trick to Terraria.  You can take your character and their inventory between worlds, so as you play, you’ll find that you have multiple worlds.  Indeed there are now so many biomes that you’ll need several to get  all the resources you need.  You’ll find you have a main world you use to be the equivalent of Minecraft’s creative mode, building yourself a palace (seriously, go google some of the buildings players have made!)
But one of the other joys of Terraria is co-operative play.  It’s possible to set up PvP although I prefer working together.  “You go grab some snow I can make into snow bricks, I’ll start constructing the vault”.  It’s also a lot easier to build a shaft straight down into the hell biome (the Hellavator) if there’s a couple of you.
You’ll die a lot in Terraria, usually in hilarious ways – some caused by your own stupidity, some by your supposed co-op players.  You’ll lose money when you die but not your inventory.
And when you get bored, just create a new world or a new character.  If one character drops something into storage in your home world, there’s nothing stopping a new character picking it up.  That might feel like cheating but you play the game your way.
Terraria is a great game and the new 1.2 update added over 1000 new items to the game that people are still discovering.  Best of all it can often be picked up for peanuts on Steam.  Check it out, you might like it!