Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. Mar 29, 2023
    Terra Nil is a masterclass in everything that it attempts to be. A resource management sim that can be as difficult or relaxing as you want, that successfully provides an alternative to classic city-building games by completely flipping the core pillars of the genre on its head, and showing that a game about fostering nature can be just as engaging as one about destroying it. The game does an amazing job of evoking emotion in the player with just its environment alone and even allows you a moment to relish in the majesty of each region you have restored before heading on to the next. Terra Nil wants you to find love and beauty in nature, even if you have to leave it behind. Endlessly satisfying and elegant, any fans of city builders should give this outstanding take on the genre a try.
  2. Apr 7, 2023
    The most impressive thing about Terra Nil is how it manages to effortlessly balance all these different goals. It’s both a relaxing city-unbuilder and a brain-bending strategy puzzler, because the underlying mechanics lend themselves to both styles of play. It’s a satisfying, extremely enjoyable game to just sit down and play, but also a powerful environmental message—and rather than being at odds with each other, those aspects feed off each other, build upon each other, and the whole game benefits. Sometimes I want to play a game with a statement to make and a cause to uphold; sometimes I want to challenge myself; sometimes I want to just turn my brain off and relax. Terra Nil is the rare game that lets me do all of the above at once.
  3. Apr 5, 2023
    With its vibrant graphics and constructive gameplay, Terra Nil is a breath of fresh air. Regenerating badlands ravaged by nuclear fallout is a unique pleasure, and the puzzle-solving required offers a unique challenge. The main campaign is quite short, but maybe that's the secret charm of Terra Nil: wiping clean the work of the past to play again, and hopefully create something even more beautiful.
  4. Mar 29, 2023
    Terra Nil is a truly unique sim game that does a fantastic job in showcasing various ways the environment can be affected, with an astonishing level of hard work put into the tools needed to make things better. With simple yet incredibly fun gameplay, striking and gorgeous visuals, and a nice level of challenge that rewards players for properly planning things out without putting them under too much pressure, this is a terrifically wholesome and clever game that’s worth checking out.
  5. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is not and does not try to be a triple A title with an infinite amount of content that will keep us glued to the screen for months and months; Instead, I found it a product that conveys a very clear message while relaxing us with its beauty-oriented style. Perhaps it is not the best choice for those looking for a hardcore experience, but I find it brilliant how the design choices help to convey the environmental concepts that the Free Lives developers evidently have at heart. So on the spot I can't tell which other gaming experience can do the same.
  6. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a strategy game about the beauty of nature and how terrible it is to lose it. It serves its purpose very well: it is entertaining and relaxing in a way that few other games in the genre are. Its nature and environment theme carries an important message at its core and delivers it in an experience that is accessible to everyone, even players new to the genre. It is a must for wildlife lovers and those who love building and management games.
  7. Apr 3, 2023
    Terra Nil is the ultimate Zen experience when it comes to city builders and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
  8. May 11, 2023
    Instead of explosive power fantasies, you're invited to an ecosystem-saving hero story.
  9. Apr 21, 2023
    Terra Nil completely turned the concept of city bulider strategy on its head. Instead of building cities in it, you restore the ecosystem and you can relax incredibly.
  10. Mar 30, 2023
    This is an excellent strategy with a green approach and ideas that manage to both test us and deliver a relaxed gaming experience.
  11. Mar 28, 2023
    There’s something rewarding about this game. You’re working to restore a dead world, with tangible results to keep you engaged. The mechanics get pretty complex after a while, true. And it can feel like your mistakes are indelible, even as you’re restarting a stage. But the labor feels worth it. Better still, developer Free Lives is putting a portion of pre-order and post-launch sales towards the Endangered Wildlife Trust. In that sense, playing this game actually does some good for the environment. If you’re looking for a peaceful, yet sometimes stressful, gaming experience, consider Terra Nil. You might even reconsider our actual planet as a result.
  12. Mar 27, 2023
    Beautiful, complex, and captivating, Terra Nil is a delightful strategy game only held back by a smaller amount of content and some difficult-to-fulfill objectives.
  13. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is one of the most beautiful and peaceful games I’ve played in quite some time. Turning the procedurally generated wastelands into paradises has been really therapeutic. Free Lives not only did a great job of creating a reverse city builder but showed us why we need to give back to nature. Even with some frustrating elements, Terra Nil is worth your time.
  14. 85
    Terra Nil is a deftly executed environmental strategy game that flips the script and delivers something unique and quite unlike the city-builders you grew up with. It might be a peaceful experience, but its mission statement is gravely earnest.
  15. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil delivers an eco-based message with themes found in its core experience as you aim to bring Earth back to its glory days. Although terraforming each map can be difficult, even in zen mode, you’re encouraged to keep trying thanks to a relaxing gameloop. Its pacing allows players to focus on creating what is essentially a painting of a beautiful eco landscape which makes completing each area of the world worthwhile. From wasteland to beauty, Terra Nil delivers a much-needed vacation to players looking to sit back and create.
  16. May 8, 2023
    Terra Nil may initially seem like a city builder in reverse, but it’s more than that, it’s a challenging title that is, at its core, built on puzzle elements. Challenging and intrinsically rewarding, Terra Nil is the kind of game that ticks all the right boxes for having a fun time.
  17. Mar 27, 2023
    In Terra Nil you spend time demolishing your buildings - for the sake of nature.
  18. Apr 20, 2023
    An exciting idea and a great execution. The joy of watching vegetation regrow successfully replaces the satisfaction of seeing your metropolis thrive in traditional city builders. Terra Nil is a pretty and rewarding game with a valuable message and it’s a pity it offers nothing besides the campaign that left me with overwhelming feeling of emptiness.
  19. Apr 13, 2023
    There are lots of games about the environment here lately and it’s understandable as to why given that is a very hot button issue in society today. Terra Nil’s approach to take that very real fear of the worst environmental disaster but instead of continually stoking the flames of that fear they present you with the tools of opportunity of recovering from the brink, in a word showing that there is hope for a better tomorrow. Much like the avatar that players will play as in game, Terra Nil is a fantastic little game that comes in, does its job and vanishes into the night once it’s done.
  20. Apr 11, 2023
    Terra Nil’s focus on ecological restoration is refreshing to see, and it feels particularly poignant in the face of worsening global warming. Luckily, that strong theme is backed up by equally strong gameplay elements that all tie into that overarching theme. Generous thought has been put into each step of the restoration process, and whether you want a challenging city builder or a laid-back puzzle game, Terra Nil can fill either role.
  21. Apr 4, 2023
    When all’s said and done, you leave, and nature remains. It’s a fitting end to Terra Nil. It’s a small-scale, unique city-builder that is short and sweet. It does just what it needs to, and moves on. Maybe that’s not as in-depth or infinitely playable as some strategy heads might want from a city-builder. But I personally loved that even Terra Nil itself is about entering, making a positive impact, and leaving. It’s easy to be pessimistic about our future, but Terra Nil is at least a small slice of hope amidst it all.
  22. Mar 29, 2023
    Terra Nil is a game that you can just love, even with some of its flaws.
  23. Mar 28, 2023
    Even though it’s described as a reverse city-builder, I’m inclined to describe it as the anti-city builder, too. By its very nature, Terra Nil shows that games in the genre don’t need to be focused on rampant urban expansion to be engaging.
  24. Mar 28, 2023
    A bite-sized strategy adventure, Terra Nil offers up the refreshing possibility to right past wrongs instead of exerting dominance in another way.
  25. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil provides an excellent break from the usual fast-paced, action-heavy video games. Though short (the core game only provides less than ten hours of play-time), randomly generated maps can make this a great game to return to every once in a while to decompress. This is a game that rewards careful planning, patience, and thoughtfulness, and it’s good to see more of that not just in video games, but in the world in general.
  26. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is an optimistic and well-designed reverse city builder. Its gameplay ideas are easy to understand and each scenario poses specific challenges that take attention and care to solve. Gamers will love the feeling of hope that infuses the painstaking process of taking a barren landscape and getting it to a point where flora and fauna are in harmony and no human presence remains. The mix of levels that are procedurally generated with a variety of biomes also keeps the challenge fresh. Greening the levels seems relatively easy at first but there’s a lot of mechanical depth to explore. Terra Nil never reaches the complexity of some of its city builder competitors but has a unique angle and innovative gameplay.
  27. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a superb management experience while keeping its focus on its ecological message.
  28. Terra Nil is the Bob Ross strategy game about planting happy little trees you never knew you needed in your life.
  29. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is not what you might expect from a typical strategy game. There are no opponents to face, no incessant clicking, and no steep learning curve. It is a game that takes the concepts found in many city-building games and turns them on their head, emphasizing sustainability and conservation rather than endless expansion or usurpation of resources. While the game's mechanics didn’t always work as expected, what few issues I encountered did little to take away from an otherwise enjoyable and meditative experience.
  30. Mar 27, 2023
    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.
  31. Mar 27, 2023
    A small but satisfying strategy puzzler that comes, does its job and leaves without fuss.
  32. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a a deeply soothing and relaxing game. Very beautiful artistically, we only regret that it is too short.
  33. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a charming and deceptively deep strategy game with a lovely aesthetic that flips conventions in a compelling way.
  34. Mar 29, 2023
    Terra Nil is a strategy game that's devoid of land colonisation, the exploitation of natural resources, or anything else you'd usually associate with a game of this ilk. But it's all the better for it. If you want a tranquil terraforming game, this is a good fit.
  35. Mar 29, 2023
    Terra Nil successfully communicates its environmental message to players through its meticulously crafted gameplay and levels. It subverts traditional colonial building games by showing players that the process of reconciliation with nature can be enjoyable. Although the game is not very large, there are always new elements to experience as you play through each region. The difficulty options also ensure that different players can enjoy the game in their own way, whether by strategizing or experiencing the game's Zen.
  36. Apr 7, 2023
    The positive influence of games related to protecting endangered animals. While the concept of games that restore the natural environment is impressive, the weak interactions, repetitive and short volume make it difficult to immerse and enjoy.
  37. May 19, 2023
    The main complexity of Terra Nil comes from wasteful use of currency and poor planning during the building process, and it might force you to restart the stage or even the entire map at some point. But once you are done, the biomes have been restored, the animals have been repopulated and your equipment is all gone, you will get to see it. The map, restored to its former glory, inhabited and alive, created by your hands and mind.
  38. Apr 17, 2023
    More of an elaborated puzzle game than a strategy game, Terra Nil is an interesting experience that lasts a little too little.
  39. Apr 17, 2023
    What is on offer at release is worthwhile, both in gameplay and message. In focusing on environmental expansion instead of human expansion, Terra Nil delivers something wholly unique. While the peaceful nature and serene tone are sometimes interrupted by uneven mechanics, Terra Nil is a worthwhile experience for those looking for a new twist on the sim genre.
  40. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a simple but ingenious game. It's not the deepest, it's not the longest, but it speaks to the environment in a subtle way, with great art direction and a relaxing soundtrack.
  41. Apr 6, 2023
    Terra Nil has no ambitions to be the next big city-builder game, nor to set off a revolution in the genre, but it is concise and focused enough in its mission to be considered successful. Above all, and contrary to what is usual, it does not want to lock players in an endless cycle of expansion and construction, but rather to show how easy and necessary it is to let go of our creations and let nature take its course.
  42. Mar 27, 2023
    Terra Nil is a wonderfully relaxing strategy game. Its unique approach to the strategy genre is refreshing when compared to its peers, and although its scope is a little limited, players will still want to revisit to get the optimum outcome of each level.
  43. Edge Magazine
    Apr 20, 2023
    Yes, the planet looks prettier than it did before we arrived, but this is a rare act of beautification that leaves a bitter aftertaste. [Issue#384, p.114]
  44. Apr 20, 2023
    A beautiful and relaxing game that is over too soon, and is too bare bones to encourage replaying.
  45. Mar 27, 2023
    In Terra Nil, the player must rescue and restore life in a desert scenario by creating biomes for the restoration of life on a desolate planet. With an incredible graphic style and relaxing music, the game presents addictive challenges and mechanics. It’s sad that such an enjoyable game to play has so little content - I wish it had more stages to play. Even so, I recommend that you spend hours and hours with this game.
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  1. Mar 27, 2023
    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. [Eurogamer Recommended]
  2. Mar 27, 2023
    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.
  3. Mar 27, 2023
    As I played, I kept thinking, Let me love you, as I built so many pylons and tramway poles just to complete a scenario. I played the demo over and over again when it was first released last year, excited for what would come. Even if some of the gameplay feels unnecessarily rigid, I still have a lot of respect for the way this game emphasizes environmental stewardship, especially within a genre that tends to focus on the exact opposite. Despite the roadblocks, that sense of wonder is enough to bring me back into the game’s world.
  4. By the time I launched my final rocket from Terra Nil, I was happy to leave it behind. It certainly feels refreshing in the citybuilding genre, which is so often focused on creating infinite growth and bustling metropolises, nature be damned, but ultimately, it's still a game about chasing numbers, and filling meters that allow you to progress. That alone could be comforting, some much needed calm in a busy world as you create a lush landscape, but I found its repetitive nature was more frustrating than relaxing. Topped off with a level that shifts the focus from its previously hopeful tone to one of somber silence as you suck away the radiation, Terra Nil struggles to cement its identity as the calm, meditative puzzler that it seems on the surface.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 18
  2. Negative: 5 out of 18
  1. Mar 30, 2023
    The idea behind Terra Nil is beautiful. A destroyed bioma that must be recovered. BUT there is nothing else apart from that. Very simple andThe idea behind Terra Nil is beautiful. A destroyed bioma that must be recovered. BUT there is nothing else apart from that. Very simple and not attractive gameplay and mechanics.

    I really like the concept but this game it's just a concept with beautiful art. Don't expect much.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 2, 2023
    This game had so much potential. It's very pretty and the optimization puzzle is engaging, as the demo indicated it would be... but there areThis game had so much potential. It's very pretty and the optimization puzzle is engaging, as the demo indicated it would be... but there are only 8 puzzles in the game total, and 4 of them are essentially reworks for the first 4. This game is woefully short and I feel like I was ripped off at full price. I would have loved to play this on game pass or something, but at $25, this is a rip off. Full Review »
  3. Mar 31, 2023
    Its a terraforming tetris, not very exciting and if you are an ocd perfectionist you arent going to like it because nothing fits perfectly,Its a terraforming tetris, not very exciting and if you are an ocd perfectionist you arent going to like it because nothing fits perfectly, you can fail the stages very easily if you dont think a little. Full Review »