There are a lot of great city building games. Some make it possible to design massive and modern cities. Others focus on historic or even futuristic urban sprawl. And still others fall into various sub-genres and categories. But none of the ones I’ve played let you do the opposite: rebuild all of nature that is dead. That was until I played Terra Nil, a game developed around that.
Terra Nil just South African Developer Free Lives, the same people behind Broforce and VR success Gorn. But unlike those games, which were fun, over-the-top action hits with comedic gore, Terra Nil is a quieter and more relaxed game about saving the world and bringing back nature. To do this, you will need to manage your minimum resources carefully and clean up after yourself.
Terra Nil’s gameplay and perspective share a lot with city builders and even factory building games like Dyson Sphere Program. But the goal is entirely different. Your goal is not to build a big city, but to use green energy and a minimum of man-made structures to bring back grass, trees, blue rivers and even animal life.
You only have one resource to manage, represented in the game by leaves. Build a Wind Turbine and Fertilizer Machines and you will use part of this resource. But if you use the grass seeder, you can quickly get back everything you used and even more, assuming you place the seeder in an optimal position.
Quickly the puzzle of Terra nill became clear to me and I became obsessed with it. Trying to maximize the amount of green you bring back to the world, while using very little technology, is very satisfying. It’s also an easy dance to fuck up. Focus too much on restoring wetlands and you’ll run out of the resources you need to build forests and recycle drones.
Terra nill Smartly locks and hides all the buildings and tools you will be using while you play. It’s only after you’ve achieved your goals, like increasing the temperature in the area or covering most of the greenery, that these latter tools will unlock. This keeps the game from getting too overwhelming and makes it easier to know what to focus on at any given time.
Currently a demo of Terra nill is playable through the ongoing Steam Next Fest, which ends on June 22.
I highly recommend downloading and playing it. The blend of freshness building, nature-healing and wonderful music combine to create something very special that I have already spent over three hours playing. And this is just the demo. The developers have committed to adding more and more once the full game is unlocked and I’m excited to play more when it finally releases at some point in the future.