Terraria was dismissed by many upon its original release as being "just 2D Minecraft," but what the people who said this failed to take into account is what a fundamental shift in gameplay the move from 3D to 2D provided. Terraria felt like a completely different game to Minecraft because, common elements of gathering resources and constructing things from them aside, it was a completely different game.
Unfolding more like a procedurally-generated Metroidvania starring early SNES-era Final Fantasy characters, Terraria was an interesting experience that rewarded persistence, exploration and experimentation. It also felt somewhat more "gamey" than Minecraft did thanks to the presence of bosses, a wider variety of enemy characters and some vaguely RPG-style progression.
Despite its differences to Minecraft - or perhaps because of them? - Terraria never proved quite as popular as Mojang's classic, though it still has a healthy following online and proved successful enough to warrant ports to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. Later this summer, mobile gamers will be able to get in on the mining and crafting action thanks to an official port of Terraria by Codeglue.
The new mobile version will include leaderboards, achievements and Facebook integration for you to
bore impress your friends with screenshots of your adventures. The controls have been completely redesigned for touchscreens and the game has been "tweaked and balanced to give players the perfect on the go Terraria experience," apparently. Platform games aren't the best fit to touchscreen controls, however, and since Terraria involves a fair amount of leaping around precarious platforms, let's hope Codeglue has found a suitably workable control scheme that will minimize frustration, otherwise it's fighting a losing battle with this port.
Potential control issues aside, the only other trouble that Terraria might run into is the huge number of similar games that are already available on mobile platforms. Leaving aside the 3D games that simply rip off Minecraft and somehow manage to get its simple formula completely wrong, there are also a hefty number of 2D exploration and crafting-based games on mobile, including Pixbits' excellent Junk Jack and Bytebins' massively-multiplayer steampunk take on the genre Deepworld. Terraria at least has something of a head start by being known already, but it remains to be seen if mobile players will take to it as much as PC and console players have.