- First off, there has been a major cosmetic facelift. Every biome has been updated with a new background and fauna. Waterfalls are now possible and can be found throughout the world. Weather is another added visual feature, with thunderstorms and blizzards. Once you have access to the Painter NPC, you can also literally change the color of any block in the game. Additionally, there are now color and texture variations among many of the common enemies, especially the ever-present Zombies. Even the sun and moon are different now! This breathes a breath of fresh air to every pixel of the game.
- Along those same lines, there are now 'palette-swap' versions of the original starting ores. For each of the Tier 1 ores, you either get the original version or the new one, but not both. While there doesn't seem to be much, if any, mechanical difference between the old and new versions, it does add some nice variation from world to world.
- The Biomes of the game have been radically expanded, especially the previously bland Snow biome, which now has its own unique monsters and items. The Desert now has a chance to spawn a large pyramid laden with treasures, while even the gentle Forest now has a chance for one or more gigantic trees. Deep within the underground Jungle can be found a giant beehive, while large nests of spiders inhabit underground areas. There is more to see and more to find than ever before.
- Speaking of which, there was been quite a bit of discussion about one of the new biomes which is a replacement for the Corruption. It has different enemies and different mechanics than the original Corruption, but serves much the same function as the old. And like the old and new ores, a world gets one or the other, but not both. While those who wish access to everything in a single world may find this unfortunate, it increases the variation from world to world.
- As far as the early game goes, travel and exploration is now easier than ever. Your character can walk up half- or single-block tiles without needing to jump. He or she can climb vertical walls with rope, or scale them with clawed shoes that seem to be a common early game loot. Your inventory space has 10 more slots, treasure chests have doubled their storage slots, and many common blocks now stack up to 999.
- There are also numerous ways to obtain some of the more desirable accessories, including the Grappling Hook and Cloud in a Bottle. The former can now be made with a large cache of gems (rather than having to grind Skeletons and Piranhas to finally find a Hook!), while the latter can be found in special loot areas of the Snow Biome and the Desert Biome in addition to in underground treasure chests.
- Enemies now have health-bars, and in addition to the visual variation among them, there are a host of new monsters to fight, including flying fish, umbrella carrying slimes, and spiders, just to name a few. None of the monsters seem overpowered, and seem to scale well with those that were already present in the game.
This update is everything an expansion pack should be, and much, MUCH more. Highly recommended!