Terranil is a video game version of “Nature is Healing”


Free Lives is best known for the 2014 side-scrolling action game. Broforce.. The game features pixelated caricatures of action movie heroes blasting things with big guns and even bigger American flags. Imagine my surprise in early June when the team announced their next project. Terranil, “Reverse city builder” about the restoration of wild areas after an ecological disaster.

After spending a few hours on an early demo of TerranilIt’s hard to imagine a bigger departure to the studio, but I’m all in. This is the deep and calm distraction I needed after almost two years of over-awakening of returning home brought about by political turmoil and a pandemic.

My demo Terranil The dry riverbed was strapped and started on a flat surface dotted with cracked soil. The first step in rejuvenation was to build a wind turbine. Wind turbines powered four small structures that purify the soil. The secret was to place them. Each has an effective footprint, and the secret is to match the shape of the terrain while maximizing the amount of superiority each structure can perform. From there, we were able to install an irrigation system to make the land greener.

After growing a flower field, you can use open burning to create a dense forest area. The riverbed acts as a natural firebreak, but planning is needed for maximum benefit.
Image: Free Lives / Devolver Digital

That’s where things got a little more interesting. Unlike a normal city builder, I no longer just put a square on the ground. Each irrigation system can be configured to bathe in multiple directions, creating tetromino-like green areas in currently fertile soils. We were able to select the best of these shapes to cover most areas.

As these interleaved systems (power, soil, irrigation) spread to the other corners of the map, I began to refine my design. Instead of packing four soil cleaners around each wind turbine, we found that using only three of them would allow for more efficient irrigation. There was a nice tension in using the least resources possible to have the greatest impact on the land.

But it was a thoughtful, distant kind of tension. It was the same kind of tension I felt when planning the layout of the garden and choosing the walls to accent the living room. And that tension was always relieved by the fun Ghibli-style landscapes and animations of the game. When the land revived, geese swarms filled the sky and frogs and herbivores ran through the forest.

A screenshot of Terra Nil showing a river flowing through a lush landscape.

It is possible to carve a new river using an explosive device. This modifies the geometry of specific sections of the map, allowing for more efficient placement of power and irrigation systems.
Image: Free Lives / Devolver Digital

of course, Terranil It’s one of the most fascinating little games I’ve ever seen.

My only question is whether many interleaved systems can maintain a higher level of complexity.Most of the success of the game depends on the polish of the final round — how Terranil Introduce players to new types of landscapes and the tools provided to clean them up.

It seems that some of that design work has already been done.You can explore the original version of Terranil On Itch.io Paid download.. Earlier versions of the game allow you to explore island-wide settings and choose from a variety of maps. Developer says Released for Windows PCs in 2022, this new version includes “Better Levels, Better Metagames, Lots of New Gameplay Features,” [and] New content. “

You can try this latest iteration Terranil For free On Steam Between Next fest, Will run from June 16th to June 22nd.