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Nature is healing in Terra Nil, Devolver’s new reverse city-builder

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Free Lives have announced reverse city-builder, Terra Nil.

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Terra Nil - Free Lives - Devolver Digital
Free Lives

In Terra Nil, the wasteland is just the beginning. 

Today, publisher Devolver Digital and developer Free Lives announced Terra Nil. Devolver is billing the game as a “reverse city-builder.” Players begin with the cracked rocks and gray slabs of the post-apocalypse. But, through hard work, the barren landscape can become a flourishing ecosystem.

With each new game, players begin the multi-stage work of rebuilding the climate after catastrophe. According to the press release, players must work on “cultivating biodiversity, fixing the climate and even recycling the buildings players used to get there.” And players must tend to a procedurally-generated world, divided into biomes, along the way.
Terra Nil screenshot

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Free Lives’ past games were quite different from the new direction that Terra Nil indicates. Back in 2015, the studio developed the comically macho Contra-like Broforce (which recently left Xbox Game Pass). Then, in 2016, they launched the weetly vulgar (and extremely phallic) Genital Jousting.

Later, in 2017, Free Lives released Gorn, a hyper-violent first-person VR gladiator game for Vive. And the team supported the launh of Apple Arcade with Cricket Through the Ages in 2019.Terra Nil screenshot

Terra Nil is Free Lives’ first strategy game and time will tell how the team adjusts. But, it certainly looks like a fresh and eco-friendly take on a familiar genre.

Take a look at the game’s first trailer.


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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.

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