A benefit to life in modern apartment buildings is that they have not been around long enough to accumulate a sizable ghost population. But reader, I am haunted by the houseplants that have died under my watch, and they do not have kind things to say about my obsession with Terra Nil. Our latest collaboration with Devolver Digital and Free Lives grants me a fictional green thumb that, while unable to atone for my transgressions against plantkind, does make the weight of those sins easier to bear in a very philosophically unconvincing way.
Terra Nil is a game about restoring life to a dead planet. You will use advanced technology to enrich soil, irrigate land, clean polluted oceans, and restore local flora and fauna. Videogames often fulfil power fantasies for players, often in the form of violently destroying those who would oppose you, but sometimes by offering a green thumb to those shockingly unable to keep a "hardy and adaptable" potted bonsai alive. For those of you with a better track record than my own, the game remains a charming, relaxing, and educational experience that provokes thought on the nature and trajectory of our own, single, finite, life-sustaining-for-now planet. When the sea reclaims the earth, will we sing in ghostly chorus alongside the trees, or will our voices be lost forever, as if we were never here to begin with?
Terra Nil is available now on Steam and Netflix for Android and iOS.