TerraTech is minecraft on wheels. I was under the impression that this game would be an amazing experience and luckily I was right on that regard! Payload Studio founded by Russ Clarke was formerly part of Ideaworks Mobile Studio which he left to pursue his indie adventure now known as TerraTech, the physics-based exploration and combat game that mixes both designing your very own “Tech” from the average ground vehicles to airborne crafts. And if you’re feeling imaginative, slap in some more blocks and make a pixel art tank! Just bear in mind that there are certain limitations on how long or how high your creations can be as well as a total block limit that would forbid you for having way too many Tech lying around in the open. Luckily the game provides a snapshot feature which lets you save your creation in the event that you need a different type of Tech to finish quests and challenges.
As a sandbox game there are a couple of modes to keep things from being too repetitive and that includes a campaign mode which in minecraft-terms would be considered as survival mode with enemies dropping by at every time of the day as well different quests from each faction present in the game. Improving your standing with each of the four factions namely GSO, GeoCorp, Venture and Hawkeye would provide you with bigger and better parts from their own specific categories. Each of the four factions also provide different requirements to go through with GeoCorp that has the color scheme and blocks that fit the construction business which makes you a harvester of all sorts that is backed up with even more harvesting quests. While Venture provides a more fast and furious feel which puts you to do jumps and races among a few others, GSO however engages you into learning the ropes in crafting quests while Hawkeye focuses more on the combat elements.
Creative mode is a bit self-explanatory but unlike minecraft which makes you untargeted by enemies in the night, this mode just lets you build to your heart’s content with all stuffs unlocked from the get-go yet still providing the block limit to keep you from going overboard. An option is also included to add or remove enemy Tech in the world depending on what you hope to achieve whether it’s building the best unmanned fortress filled with turrets or simply learning the different ways in which you can build the ultimate Tech.
Gauntlet mode is another mode and as the name implies, it’s where you fight your way to the leaderboards whether it’s achieving the best lap time on a race or achieving the best lap time while avoiding or nuking enemy turrets in your way. The latter sounds much better but as a physics-based game having more stuffs catered to weaponry also slows you down so finding that sweet spot will net you some good times.
Multiplayer however different is where it’s at though! It’s Tech Wars at its simplest form. Fight with other players online and that’s pretty much it. There’s no co-op play to do campaign mode or creative as of now but it was mentioned that it’s part of the studio’s short-term goal to add co-op creative. Then a co-op campaign mode (without promising any full implementation but some form of real-time share play because as Facebook statuses go, it’s complicated!) as well as improved AI, new biomes, mission types and events to keep things fresh every step of the way and that’s only the tip of the iceberg as the studio has bigger plans ahead it might not be this year but it’s definitely good to see more multiplayer modes and flying AI added as well as re-working the game’s core features and slapping in new content that could make this a No Man’s Sky propel to the NEXT level. Spherical planets, world deformation (so get your shovels ready!), space propulsion, interplanetary travel and dynamic economy simulations.
Like all physics-based games movement has to be fluid despite any form of complicated algorithms. And for the most part, it did its job. Other Tech archetypes however feel clunky and uncontrollable. Going through races in gauntlet mode using the base Tech is pure insanity, turning left and right is madness while boosting becomes uncontrollably rage-inducing. There’s a huge difference in control as speed goes higher and that’s a shame when there are modes that makes you go fast but not that fast! When the track itself is uneven and filled with bumps and obstacles it makes you just want to go back to your campaign or creative save file.
There’s a multitude of biomes and each one providing different conditions as well as visual appeals. Grasslands is your starting biome with average amount of resources and a lot of trees. As a starting point, this is also where many of the early GSO missions can be taken. Deserts are the barren stretches of sand which provides a bit of trees and resources. Mountains however are pretty steep making the climb harder for Techs with low ground clearance but are full of resources as well as less enemies because of the treacherous climbs. Then comes Pillars, Salt Flats and Ice Biomes.
The game itself is chaotically addictive. Controlling your own Tech, slapping parts together from fallen foes and buying new gear or crafting your own is rewarding. Hording everything for your own enjoyment is indeed a pleasure when you can mow down enemies that even dare come close with your beast of a tank. And like I said, the snapshot feature is a godsend when you can save Tech designs for later use. The level of detail work done in the game is overwhelming but at the same time rewarding as you learn the ropes on making energy or fuels and charging batteries to fuel up your gadgets be it boosters, shield or repair bubbles to keep your blocks healthy after a gunfight. There’s way too much stuffs in the game which makes even the kids can’t get enough of it! Definitely a must-buy!