A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
As players terraform and reclaim the wastelands, they are shown how various ecological conditions, such as climate, habitats, and the like, work together. It also teaches how the actions of people can help to repair and restore natural environments.
The game challenges players to take barren wastelands and to find ways to restore their natural balance. By showing how to create ecosystems, the game teaches how people can influence nature in positive ways.
Positive Role Models
Players are generally left to their own devices. There's no interaction with any other people or characters.
The game revolves around building up environmental ecospheres. The only characters in the game are the plants and animals that develop within.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
By design, the game requires a good amount of resource management and strategy. While it does a good job of explaining what everything does and how to use each building, it still takes practice and a bit of trial and error to understand how certain things work together. The game does feature different difficulty levels, which can be adjusted on the fly at any time.
Violence & Scariness
Players are simply rebuilding a natural environment. There's no violence and the only "destruction" comes from using certain devices to carve out riverbeds or to set controlled fires to aid in the ecological reclamation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Terra Nil is a environmental themed strategic building game, available for download on Windows and macOS based computers. Players are tasked with using technology to terraform wasteland regions into fully self-sustaining ecospheres. The game shows players how environmental changes and maintaining certain conditions in environments and biomes can lead to a healthy home for plants and animals on a global scale. Players are generally left to their own devices, which leads to a lot of trial and error when it comes to managing their resources and creating their custom landscapes. The game includes multiple difficulty levels to choose from at any point in the game, giving players as difficult or casual an experience as they may want at any given time.
Is It Any Good?
It's no secret that the world has taken a beating from humankind as deforestation, pollution, global warming, and more have taken their toll. But Terra Nil gives players a chance to turn things around, using technology to give Mother Nature a new lease on life in an otherwise inhospitable world. While the tech and the story are set firmly in the realm of science fiction, the theme of the game and the lessons it can teach are rooted more in science fact. The game shows players how certain elements all come together to keep the cycle of life moving along and how each little change can have a lasting effect. Most importantly, the game teaches how people, with some forethought and planning, combined with hard work and effort, can reshape our world and maybe even restore some of its natural balance. Best of all, at least in the gaming environment, you get to see the results of your efforts on a much grander scale.
Terra Nil give players a pretty versatile sandbox in which to play. Each area is procedurally generated, meaning that no two playthroughs are ever the same. There are also four different regions that can be unlocked, ranging from a dried up riverbed with toxic soil to the irradiated ruins of a flooded city. Each comes with its own unique challenges, as well as its own ecosystems to learn about and reclaim. Outside of the initial tutorials, the game leaves players to their own devices, which works for its Zen aesthetic, but can be rough early on while still learning how different buildings, biomes, etc. all operate and how they all might work (or not work) together. It's especially frustrating after investing a lot of time and effort into development, only to be left with no option outside of restarting from scratch. On the plus side, the game has multiple preset and customizable difficulty levels that can be changed on the fly. There's even a "Zen Mode" option in the Setting that lets players do what they want without concerning themselves with things like resource costs. Eventually, the game can start to feel a bit repetitive, but it manages to never really lose its charm. And there's always a certain tranquil calm that comes from sitting back and simply watching the ecosphere you've helped create finally come alive.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.