Posted in Indie

Terra Nil: A reverse building simulator

Moving along in my sampling of this summer’s Steam Next Fest was Terra Nil, a builder with a unique angle. Instead of populating a map with structures, the idea is to clean up the leftovers of society and return nature to a pristine state. I thought that was a cool idea, so here I am.

The premise was a mite bit misleading. I thought it was about garbage and junk removal, but rather this is about turning dead land into living once more. You do build a number of environmental-friendly structures, like irrigators and turbines, but these are in service of restoration.

So the initial goal is to restore a balance of three types of biomes: wetland, forest, and flowery meadows. The second of these involves using fire to burn areas down to ash, then planting a whole bunch of trees.

Ta da! Seeing the landscape transform is mesmerizing and probably the biggest draw to the game. It’s satisfying to see a lifeless hunk of land turn into a beautiful park.

I was generally pleased with how my area turned out, although I can just imagine how many mosquitoes it produced. However, the game does go on to add another layer, which is to build an airship and then start destroying all of the structures you built. This is where it kind of lost my interest. It felt like an unnecessary layer too far.

Curiosity satisfied? You bet. It was neat and I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t think Terra Nil is going on my wishlist at this point.

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