‘Reverse city builder’ Terra Nil: A new game from Free Lives

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Free Lives – arguably the biggest name in South African game devs thanks to titles like Broforce and Gorn – have announced that its next project is a game called Terra Nil.

This isn’t some pie in the sky announcement either, as you can actually play the game, right now and for free, on itch.io.

This is because Terra Nil was a part time hobby project by Free Lives members Jonathan Hau-Yoon, Jarred Lunt and Sam Alfred. Free Lives has now adopted the game to become a full commercial product for Steam and “other platforms”, as outlined in this announcement.

Alfred describes the game as a “reverse city builder” which is focused on reconstructing the ecosystem instead of tearing it down.

“Turn a barren wasteland into an ecological paradise complete with different flora and fauna, then clean up after yourself to leave the environment pristine. This strategy game/city builder/puzzler subverts the conventional goal of the city builder genre. Terra Nil is about the restoration of a ravaged environment, where the lightest touch is best,” reads the description on itch.io.

The current free version of the game uses a rather chunky pixelart style that we really love (see the gallery below). That will change with the new commercial version of the game, however.

“The new version is going to be the same game you all know and love, just reimagined with better levels, a better metagame, a bunch of new gameplay features, new content, and a wonderful new painterly art style, inspired by the work of Studio Ghibli,” the announcement adds.

You can see an example of this art style in the header image above, showing off some concept art for some buildings.

Strangely enough Terra Nil isn’t the only in-development game from Free Lives that you can play right now. Back in September the developer released a playable prototype for the game Vital Signs which sees you acting as a medical droid trying to save the incapacitated crew of a spaceship.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.