I don’t remember ever re-planting bushes but I have made it to the Winter without rabbits FWIW.
But that’s spot on, about setting up camp near to critical resources. Back when I played, some games did not start out lucky enough to have them conveniently arranged, so the first task was to survive long enough to explore and find a good spot.
Such as perma-death being completely optional? Don’t Starve’s school of thought is definitely rogue-like: you get killed and start all over again. You make progress, then it turns out the game has a counter. In that, it’s more classic than most.
While not sure how they could have balanced it best, IMO Don’t Starve should’ve isolated perma-death, into a separate hardcore mode.
Also, survival games ought to have an audience which is somewhat like that of platformers, when it comes to difficulty: having a different perspective on what constitutes a dick move.
The perma-death dilemma in a nutshell. That’s a problem so many games have got around by limiting the length of an average run, by providing permanent unlockables, and/or designing a progression that has the hardcore mode as a “final form” the player is led to, through practice and incremental steps.
Don’t Starve has a long enough run that death feels definitely like a set-back, which is not sufficiently obviated by a helpful kind of variety across different runs, its permanent unlockables, AFAICT, do not make the player more powerful, and its idea of a progression is shove the player into cold water and let them learn to swim. Classic, like I said.
Perma-death as a design novelty has lasted long enough, surely the tide has already turned? Like for platformers, indies will keep churning out tough-as-nails perma-death thingies for the initiated, while everybody else moves on to the next big thing.