Terra Nil (2023): an intricate environmental strategy game about transforming a barren wasteland into a thriving, balanced ecosystem

Arcanium is another one, a deckbuilder.

I’m only into one of those three things and the name alone makes me want to try it.

I played this on my phone (Netflix just takes you to the Play Store, where you can install it). Playing as a Gardener (easy). I like it much better than the PC demo. Remember how I couldn’t scroll the map on PC without your help Qt3? No such problems on the phone, everything is really intuitive and easy to interface.

That is great to hear.

Wow, Netflix hasn’t done much of a job promoting these. Had no idea. Just played like 18 levels of the cat/yarn game because Match 3 is fun mindless gaming while watching TV.

There’s some good stuff in here.

So you say, finally the Netflix subscription my family bullied me into during covid has something to offer also for me? I was searching for an excuse to terminate it, but now I have an excuse not to… [sleek smile]

Terra Nil makes my phone very warm.

Tried to grab this for Android via Netflix and weirdly (and very specifically) it is not supported for my Samsung S22 Ultra. I wonder why that model in particular?

Is the cat yarn one on Netflix too?

Same. But to be fair, every game I’ve ever played on my phone makes my phone very warm.

Odd, my much older S10 it works fine, other than making my phone very hot.


If you click into this one, you can then click the publisher name to see all the other offerings they have.

Beat me to it @lordkosc! Although judging by the chatter, I think this should be called the Gaming on Netflix Thread! :)

I chucked Terra Nil in with my spring sale haul last week because I adored the demo but what really drew me to it initially was that it’s so refreshing to see a game that focuses on restoring habitats and wildlife instead of destroying them in the name of industry and growth.

I live in the UK, ‘one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries’, depressingly, and every day I’m reminded that we’re not doing enough to put the brakes on that, let alone reverse it. A city council felling over 100 mature trees in a green space against public opposition. Raw sewage being dumped into our waterways. Emergency approval of neonicotinoids. Adoption of 3G pitches and astro turfing. Continued widespread use and sale of herbicides, pesticides and peat-based compost (which will be banned for amateur gardeners from 2024, thankfully). Garden centres selling invasive species such as rhododendron ponticum and cotoneaster. Don’t get me started on the ornamental plants that the community gardening group plant around our village.

Outside our house we used to have a big wild field full of common knapweed, birds-foot trefoil, vetch, field scabious and many other flowers and grasses, surrounded by brambles, hawthorne, blackthorn, elder, rowan etc. In summer the field was abuzz with bees, butterflies and other insects and for a couple of years or so it was home to a barn owl. Here’s my girlfriend getting a much closer than expected look at it: https://photos.app.goo.gl/RriRWcvBSy27jrU66

Over the last year, a development of 47~ dwellings (private and expensive–they applied to get rid of the affordable ones) was finally approved so the land was levelled and the entrance way cleared of trees. I suspect the remaining trees (which currently have magpies nesting in them) will be cut down later in the year before it is complete and replaced with fencing. Ultimately however, the field is gone and will never return. But don’t worry! They’ve installed five bee bricks across the entire site. To add to this, the developers use polystyrene for insulation (like most new builds these days) and so much of it has ended up littering the surrounding area (along with other litter from the builders themselves). I’ve complained to the council and some token effort has been made to clear it up but there’s still loads stuck in hedges and in folks’ gardens. Polystyrene takes hundreds of years to break down and comes with its own laundry list of potential problems.

Around our village, that was one of the only fields that was untouched and wild. Almost all the others are barren monoculture crop fields (grass for feed, wheat, vegetables etc.) lined by hedges that are flayed to within an inch of their life so their ability to flower for pollinators and in turn grow berries to feed wildlife is hugely diminished. Habitat loss is a real and continuing problem. We’re very fortunate to have an ancient woodland nearby but certain places there are affected by vandalism, folk on motorbikes churning the place up, and parties that leave such a mess behind. All that stuff really upsets me and that’s just in my little corner of the world. When I look further afield the scale of the problem seems overwhelming and hopeless.

Pulling this back round to Terra Nil: I know it’s more of a clean, idyllic game-y solitaire puzzler than a deep Eco-like environmental sim, but not many games attempt to put a spotlight on our relationship with the natural world and specifically a more restorative and harmonious one. Maybe it’s eco porn, but god, if I don’t need that right now! I’m hoping to start this over the next week or so once I’ve seen Kentucky Route Zero through.

so…uh, no disrespect to knittens, how’s terra nil?

Can they be easily played on the Steamdeck?

Oh, I actually grabbed these for iOS, where they’re free. Knit for the kitties on your phone/iPad. :)

All the Netflix games are only on iOS/Android so far.

Terra Nil being on mobile is a pleasant surprise! I got to play a chunk of it on PC in the IGF judging (and it ended up with honorable mentions in a few categories!), and I played the original gamejam version too. It is like a very open-ended puzzle, which is a little unusual and sometimes anti-climactic. But it’s so tightly wound in with the premise, I think it works.

Amen! Great vid also, what a beautiful owl you had.

Yeah, time to scrap the winner-takes-it-all political system and get a proper Green Party in place. But no, it’s too “continental european” and you should never, never think about it (even if it was a good idea). So let’s just chant a new round of “God save the King” altogether, shall we? ;-)

From what I can tell based on crowd singing, the correct form at the moment is “God Save the Quing”.