South African Free Lives look to have secured another hit on their hands following the release of their latest project, ecosystem reconstruction strategy title – Terra Nil.
Published by Devolver Digital, the game follows a well worn road of similar releases from the developer that includes Broforce, Gorn and Genital Jousting by subverting conventions in terms of game play, but also the perception of what an African game developer is likely to release. By all accounts the game has been viewed favourably.
Some snippets of reviews include:
PC Gamer – A small but satisfying strategy puzzler that comes, does its job and leaves without fuss.
Eurogamer – The reverse city builder is trickier than it appears, but utterly committed to its environmental vision, taking the genre – and every level – to new places.
Kotaku – But as someone prone to bouts of climate doom every time I read anything about carbon levels and ice sheets, Terra Nil was the ultimate form of video game escapism. A little diversion, no matter how unrealistic it is, that rather than asking us to live through the planet’s destruction let us try and recover from one instead.
The Guardian – Even on the hardest of the three difficulty settings, Terra Nil is more forgiving than expected. Everything from its simple interface to an easily understood tutorial and a fantastically beautiful in-game guidebook makes environmental restoration go smoothly. The music and sound effects are very relaxing, and after every successfully restored map, there is a moment where you can just appreciate your handiwork. While a bit more friction wouldn’t have hurt, and the variation from map to map is modest, by keeping it simple, developer Free Lives spreads a clear message: saving the planet could be so easy if we wanted it to be. All that’s missing is a toxin scrubber.
With Terra Nil now shipped, the studio’s focus is likely to shift to one of their numerous other projects being incubated with Anger Foot likely to be the next out the door. But for now, it bodes well for developers across the continent when a release from one of the continents developers is covered and viewed favourably across the board.
The game is now available to buy on Steam and free to play on Netflix for those with an active subscription.