Terranova teaches ecology through game play
I like to think I am doing my part to save this little blue marble we call Earth, but Terranova has me beat. My recyclables find their way to my curb every week, I shut the lights off when I leave the room and I only wash my underwear twice a week. Alright, I made that last one up. Terranova is an environmentally sensitive planet sim where players try to survive on a planet by planting flowers and other terraforming activities.
Players begin the game by crash-landing on a barren planet with little plant-life and an abundant supply of garbage. Which is amazing since the player is seemingly the only intelligent life on the planet. He never touches the ground and instead travels from place to place using a jet pack. When the player finds a patch of green, he has the option to grow a flower, cactus or other plant. It is watered and grows into an adult. Each plant expands the green space and more can be added and so on and so forth.
The ultimate goal is to create as much green space as possible and make the planet as ecologically diverse as possible. The more plants and greenery that are grown, the higher your bio audit and overall biological health of the planet. There are also quests to be done, such as building water and energy facilities, fixing bridges and creating a flow for a river.
Players can also visit their friends’ planets and take a look at how their terraforming is progressing.
Every four hours, players can do a health audit, which examines changes you have made and gives you money and experience. Money can be used to purchase plants, machines, dumpsters for trash and decorations. Player can increase their levels using the experience gained from the audit, planting flowers and completing quests. Levels unlock more plants, machines and decorations to help turn your planet into a thriving ecosystem.
Terranova is heavily into teaching about recycling and being a good steward for the planet. As the game loads, there are little environmental factoids, such as “90 percent of the oceans’ edible species will be gone by 2048” and other cheery, keep-your-children-up-at-night kinds of tidbits.
The game provides an interesting take on the simulation experience by tying in environmental aspects. The graphics of the character and the foreground are rather cartoonish and a stark contrast to the breathtaking background of stars and planets. There is an area called “the cliff” that really showcases the beauty of the game’s backgrounds.
The game is rather small, with the player visiting the same places over and over again, but there are a couple of areas that are expanding so I hope for more to explore soon. There was also a “coming soon” banner for a pet companion in the future.
Terranova is an interesting sim, but it’s very small compared to other games and can become boring rather quickly. I hope the game expands both in space and options for plants and machines.