Mod Review: Tough As Nails (1.12)

If Survival Mode Is Too Easy For You, Tough As Nails Will Remedy That Toot-Sweet

I’m an adult, or so people keep telling me. And as an adult, Minecraft’s survival mode has always lacked something I’ve desperately wanted to see more of: Survival.

In MC, surviving is as simple as eating some porkchops and not falling or drowning. The environment adds color, and little else. But when I think “survival mode,” I think of being forced to survive despite the environment, and so I’m always quick to test out mods in single-player that enhance this experience.

Enter Tough As Nailsa survival mode enhancement mod from the same team that brought you Biomes O’ Plenty.

Tough As Nails is mod that at long last puts the “Survival” in “Survival mode,” introducing three mechanics into Minecraft that Mojang should’ve included in survival mode to begin with: Thirst, seasons, and temperature.

Other mods have tried to introduce these elements into Minecraft, but they’ve always failed. Your thirst bar drains too quickly, or the seasons are clunky and laggy, or you instantly freeze to death. But not in TaN. The folks who made this mod thought out these mechanics thoroughly and entered it with those negative experiences of other mods in mind, and it definitely shows.

We Need Water! Thirst in Tough As Nails

A proper thirst mechanic in Minecraft? One that actually works and isn’t obnoxiously intrusive into your gameplay experience? What evil sorcery is this?

TaN’s thirst system is pretty simple. You have a thirst meter, depicted as little water droplets, which slowly depletes over time, and depletes a bit quicker when you’re running around or laboring. To fill up your thirst meter, you simply fill a glass bottle or a canteen with water and drink it. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, in real life you wouldn’t want to drink water straight from a river. It’s loaded with bacteria and deer pee. No thanks, I’ll pass. TaN simulates this by making dirty water slightly poisonous; not so much that it will kill you, but just enough that you’re annoyed into seeking out clean water, using a filter or a rain catcher.

The mod includes several juices, and that’s cool, but one beef I have with the mod is that it doesn’t recognize drinks from other mods, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

Freezing To Death In Minecraft

Perhaps my favorite feature of Tough As Nails might be the one that sends some of you running for the hills: seasons and temperature, which TaN implements beautifully.

Temperature is pretty easy to wrap your head around. Warmer biomes make your body warmer and cooler ones make you cooler. There are four distinct seasons — Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter — and they each manipulate the temperature in their own ways.

In the winter, your vanilla crops will die, forcing you to harvest enough in the fall to get by and break your crops so they don’t literally “wither on the vine.”

If it gets too cold, you’ll suffer hypothermia and freeze to death. Too hot, and you’ll suffer hyperthermia and burn to death, just as you might experience in real life. Hyperthermia in particular does need to be fine-tuned a bit better, but we’re getting to that shortly.

To combat these temperature extremes, you can build campfires and craft wool or slime armor to keep warm or cool respectively, and there are a handful of other tools at your disposal, too. But temperature introduces a few major flaws within the mod that haven’t yet been addressed, which brings us to our list of the mod’s cons.

Tough As Nails Still Requires Some Much-Needed Improvements

Tough As Nails is an absolutely excellent, must-have mod for enhancing Minecraft’s survival mode. But there are a few quirks and full-blown problems the BoP/ TaN team should attempt to nail down. See what I did there? You like puns. Don’t lie.

The biggest issue by far is TaN’s lack of mod interoperability, which this mod needs like Gérard Depardieu needs a napkin. Pam’s Harvestcraft is inarguably the most popular and widely-used food mod in the Forge world, so why can’t Pam’s juices, sodas, coffees, and teas fill my thirst meter? If I’m wearing fur armor from another mod, like PrimalCore for instance, why does that armor not increase my warmth rating? Even just offering configs that allow you to add new items to TaN’s temperature and thirst functionality by hand would be ideal, but there are no configs for adding armor or beverages and then manipulating their temperature or thirst ratings.

Another big issue TaN encounters, and some will argue I should’ve listed this first, is that the temperature extremes can get a bit ridiculous. Starting out in an excessively hot or cold biome is a guaranteed death sentence; you’ll likely freeze to death before you can build a shelter, start a campfire, collect iron to craft flint and steel, and also gather enough wool for clothing. The most aggravating of these extremes is hyperthermia — death by overheating — in warm climates and summer months. I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer, and I’ve never once burst into flames.

It’s difficult to do your summer activities, like farming, when you need to run to the nearest water pit to cool off every few seconds during daylight hours. This needs rather desperately to be fixed, and soon.

Another thing that irks me a bit is that your body never acclimates to climate. Spending all of your time in a jungle biome should result in your body growing accustomed to the heat and doing a better job at surviving it.

One final issue with TaN is one that most mods suffer from: a lack of stuff. There should be more armor. More colors for their wool armor. Better ways of warming and cooling players and their homes/ bases. Crafting cold drinks for summer and warm drinks for winter (and incorporating soda, coffee, and tea from Pam’s Harvestcraft, of course). Hot food should warm you up as well. These are all things the developers are probably planning to add in the future, I’d imagine, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The Verdict

Tough As Nails is mod that certainly has its issues. But this mod being made by the same folks behind Biomes O’ Plenty leaves me confident they’ll improve the mod and enhance its features in due time. Until then, if you’re looking for a mod that actually puts the “survival” in “survival mode,” TaN should definitely be a mod you add to your list. The issues aren’t game-breaking, and I’ve had a heck of a lot of fun playing around with this mod despite it’s issues. If Minecraft isn’t challenging enough for your liking, give this one a go!

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