Review: Terra Nil

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Today we set out to transform a barren wasteland into an ecological paradise with a variety of flora and fauna in Terra Nil.

Welcome to Terra Nil. We were pleasantly surprised by what the indie developer Free Lives created.

The helpful notebook.

Usually in city-building games  we build huge production facilities, bases or cities. Terra Nil goes the opposite way. Reverse building is carried out here, i.e. where nature had suffered through the influence of humans, it is now our task to renaturate these areas.

However, Terra Nil sees itself more as a puzzle game than a strategy game or manager, even if we want to take bioresources into account here. A mini-campaign introduces players to the features of Terra Nil. So we learn that in the beginning the soil must be detoxified in order for us to take care of the watering and plants. Various tools are available for this, which on the one hand intervene in the existing landscape, but also modify things that have already been created by the player so that new things can arise.
Buildings have an area of ​​effect and cannot be placed directly next to each other. This is quite tricky at first, but the overall learning curve is relatively reasonable. The lovingly designed manual is always at our side with just the advice we need.

What’s the ecological state of the planet?

A small example: First you have to create a blooming landscape with simple plants. This field is then set on fire using appropriate technology. The resulting soil, rich in nutrients, can now be used for forests. This is how we keep advancing through Terra Nil. Depending on the area, this creates different biomes with different requirements. In addition, there are points of interest that depend on the temperature and humidity, but also other parameters. This requires further technologies so that the weather can be controlled. These are activated depending on the map in the game. In the later course we have to settle animals. Animals have special demands on their environment. The longer you play Terra Nil, you start to know what the animals need in the early stages of the game and can therefore create the biomes in more productive way. But the map is still not finished, because towards the end we as humans have to leave the section without a trace. Buildings are dismantled and recycled.

Terra Nil gives the player a Zen mode in addition to offering various difficulty settings, in which you can completely ignore the biological resources. In the higher levels of difficulty, on the other hand, we have to use our resources properly.

After work.

The graphic style is simple, but kept in a very lovingly beautiful style. The animal animations and small details are well worked out. Terra Nil looks like it was made from one piece. With the built-in photo mode, which hides the user interface, we can capture our most beautiful Terra Nil moments. The soundtrack also fits in well with the game. With its laid-back atmosphere, Terra Nil really invites you to relax. Terra Nil can be played wonderfully in between, since there is no hectic pace, the game saves automatically and you can leave it at any time.

The campaign consists of 4 maps. As soon as you have completed the campaign, more maps will be unlocked on which you can start with the renaturation. You quickly notice that what started out easy can become quite demanding later in the game, depending on the level of difficulty. But here, too, the end of the game has enough time to think about his moves and there is never a rush.

Terra Nil is distributed by Devolver Digital via the Epic Games Store and Steam. There you can buy the title for €24.99. In addition, the building game is available with in-app purchases via the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android.

The turtles are happy.

All in all, Terra Nil is a really well made building game that we had a lot of fun with. Graphics, music and gameplay mesh perfectly. The game features decelerated eco-puzzles and sets a scenario that may soon come to pass. Only the small number of maps could be criticized. We think Terra Nil is a really nice title where you can experience calm and nice puzzle moments.

The publisher provided us with a PC copy of the game for review purposes.