City-builders and industrial management games tend to be about expansion: the aim is almost always to spread out, build more, and extract natural resources. But as we’ve recently observed, this has left a climate change-shaped hole in many of these games’ approach. Terra Nil, a newly announced ‘reverse city builder’ by the developers of Gorn and Broforce, is doing something different and new with the genre.
In Terra Nil, your goal is twofold. Your first task is to reclaim a barren wasteland, finding ways to reintroduce plants and wildlife into an ecologically devastated area. Using sustainable energy sources and low-impact construction methods, you’ll reestablish watersheds and lush fields, plant forests, and create homes for the wildlife that’s long since abandoned the area.
Once your ecosystem is up and running again, your job shifts: now you’ll need to up stakes and leave, removing any traces of your presence in the area, and completing your work to restore the area to its former natural glory. The structures you’ve built to help foster growth will all need to be removed or recycled, and – if all goes according to plan – you’ll leave the region in a pristine state for the birds and frogs and bears to enjoy on their own.