Terra Nil

Game screenshot showing an overhead, isometric view of a river, surrounded by grass, wetlands, and forests.

I pre-ordered Terra Nil and was super excited to play it when the full game was released.

A summary:

Terra Nil is an intricate environmental strategy game about transforming a barren wasteland into a thriving, balanced ecosystem. Bring life back to a lifeless world by purifying soil, cleaning oceans, planting trees, and reintroducing wildlife, then leave without a trace.

You place ‘buildings’/structures on the map and they transform the area around them. The game is very short—you can essentially clear it in less than five hours. It’s quite relaxing though. I played it on the lowest difficulty, which was easy enough that I could ignore the resource management aspect of the game. After blitzing through it, I think it’s the kind of game I would return to once in a while if I wanted to spend half an hour serenly clicking on things and watching the environment turn more and more green.

There is a little thinking involved, even without worrying about resource management. You have to place structures in a certain order or within range of other things. It’s not very challenging, though it’s probably the kind of thing I would forget and then have to re-learn if I don’t play for a while. Because of this, I would say it’s more involved than Dorfromantik, since having to remember all the structures means you can’t fully zone out while playing.

Overall, I recommend trying it if you’re interested in this type of game. It’s on Steam and also available on mobile through Netflix, if you already have a subscription.

Zoomed out shot of the game map, with half of the map covered in grass, and the other half still wasteland.
restoration in progress.
Zoomed in shot of wetlands, grass, and plants. There are frogs n the wetlands and a tree with a beehive.
wetlands, grass, and fynbos

Demo (January 2022)

My friend sent me this and I tried it out because the demo is free and it looks very relaxing.

  • My first two playthroughs were somewhat stressful, because I was bad at resource management and that inhibited the building aspect of the game.
  • Once I figured that out, it was a lot more enjoyable.
  • Art is wonderful, interactions and sounds are satisfying. There are lots of details in the environment that make it lovely to look at.
  • The core gameplay loop of ‘restoring’ the ecosystem and then recycling all the buildings is nice.
  • I’m excited for the full game.