This week, I Played the Steam demo for Terra Nil. Initially, I had no idea how it was all going to come together. After all, saving the planet already feels like a global strategy game in real life, so how is a game going to portray that? Well, I can tell you now that you don’t have to work with world leaders to make vague promises and ultimately do nothing. This game is active, allowing you to have an impact you can see on the world, and it’s brilliant. It’s also incredibly challenging though and requires a lot of forethought.
You have three stages to any one level. First, you must restore nature to the land. You’ll start on a blank desert that looks pretty terrible. You need to place wind turbines, create soil, and then plant life into that soil. Each turbine can only hold 4 soil machines, and you’ve got to work with the space you have to really maximise the amount of green you can produce. You can also fill up the riverbeds to make more lush landscapes appear, and build more rocks to place more power on.
The second stage is about bringing life to this green space. you can place flowers, trees, and bees to make all of it work as an ecosystem. You’ve also got to burn significant chunks of the green you made to make room for more trees to host new life. This felt backwards to me, but I do understand it since a lot of life needs the woodland cover to survive and thrive.
The final stage is all about getting out of there. You place recyclers to pack up all your equipment and then transport it to a single location to build an airship and leave. However, this is much easier said than done. You have finite resources, and you need to ensure that you capture everything you recycle, otherwise you’ll fail this stage. I struggled a lot here, but the payoff is worth the challenge. I’m excited to play the final release of this game when it eventually launches. I think it has a lot of potential, and has just the right balance of stress and relaxation.