Parents' Guide to

Terra Nil

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Restore nature's balance in this Zen-like strategy builder.

Game Windows , Mac 2023
Terra Nil package artwork

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 1 parent review

age 4+
The game is easy to get into but it poses great challenges, especially in the later missions, requires thorough planning and managing of limited resources and maintaining spaces for terraforming and adding new buildings. The game is friendly for all kids but it will be too difficult for them.

This title has:

Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Game Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate