I’ve been playing Don’t Starve. While I really want to enjoy the game, I’ve been frustrated with a couple of things that I think are major sins. I’ve also occasionally found these things in other games as well.
First, the game has recipes to build items that are just functionally useless (like the compass, various weather measuring devices, etc.), but until you build them for the first time, you don’t know they’re useless because the recipe description doesn’t really tell you what it does. You can’t preview the item, you have to build it. Resources in Don’t Starve seem like they are important, as is time. The game makes you find resources (like gold, which is limited availability at least early on), and has a seasonal cycle where winter is harder to survive (so when you are starting the game, you want to make progress quickly so you can survive the winter).
For games like this, it seems to just be a cheap shot to the player to have him spend limited early resources to build devices that are just pointless. I appreciate some people like building cosmetic items, but Don’t Starve does a terrible job letting you know what is cosmetic or just silly, and what is useful.
That leads to the second point - don’t make me consult a Wiki to play your game. I believe that you should be able to reasonably figure out all of the puzzles and little tricks in a game from the game itself. There should be instructions, clues, etc. Don’t Starve is terrible at this. I just read something about this skull I discovered, that if you bury it in a grave at night, it unlocks a character. But I have no real reason to know that, nor do I have any real reason to know about the countless other things the game does like this (things that you dig up from a grave apparently can be traded to some Pig King for gold nuggets - why would I ever guess this when I’m digging the stuff up, or even after)?
Now I know someone is going to say there is some little snippet of lore somewhere in the game that I missed that explains the grave thing, or something similar. I don’t really buy it. There’s a point of reasonableness. Yes, you should have to work to a degree, but you should not have to sit there trying out seventy item combinations for everything you run across to just see if it happens to produce some magic trick.
There’s a thin line between providing a clue and just being unreasonably vague (or even silent) on game interactions - I think the Dark Souls games occasionally fall down here too. If I’m only discovering really cool mechanics through a Wiki, I think the game is not doing its job in showing the player its options and tricks.