Terraforming Earth – Review

A puzzle, platforming roguelike game starring three types of robots. Terraforming Earth is both developed and published by Lost Robots.

Story

All life on Earth is gone. People, plants, anything capable of being picked up on a bio-scanner is suddenly gone. As much as it seems that all hope is lost though, it isn’t. Three robot saviours remain, to research, terraform and return humanity.

for Cats and Dogs

Opi, Curi and Spiri are the names of our intrepid robotic heroes. Each one has its own personality as well. Opi isn’t as smart as the others but he’s strong and does what he can. Curi is as curious one, always trying to research and learn more. Spiri is a walking terrarium, she is more concerned her situation than collecting rubbish or research. But while all three robots are different, they all work in tandem for the same goal.

Gameplay

The objective of Terraforming Earth is to use your three robots, to collect resources, research, build and terraform and ultimately to return life to Earth. In each level you will need to use all three robots, they each have their own skills and movement styles, but regardless you will need to use all three as the level cannot be completed without all three standing on the exit area.

Opi the strong robot is able to pick up objects and other robots. He is also able to perform a small rocket powered jump to gain altitude and avoid obstacles.

Curi is equipped with an anti gravity module, which allows it to float. Curi is unable to jump but when the anti-grav turns on he moves up a bit, likewise he falls back down when it is turned off. Strategically using platforms and this power, Curi is able to climb to higher locations. You can also use Opi to grab Curi and throw him giving him a little extra initial height as well.

Lastly there is Spiri, she is unable to jump at all, but has the ability to transport a short distance by turning into nano bots.

In between levels you can also build more copies of your robots. The copies are extra lives for each robot during levels. Building extra robots also has additional effects, three Opi’s increases production limits, three Curi’s increases research and three Spiri’s increase terraforming.

Levels

The levels in Terraforming Earth, are procedurally generated, so each level you run will be random. The same levels can be generated, which is indicated by the existence of leaderboards on some levels. The goal of each level is to get all three robots to the ending point. Sometimes the level does not have an ending point until you collect a required item or activate a switch. During the levels you will be able to collect various things, mostly plastic and metal used to build new robots, but also keys for opening doors and research items. Some levels are “indoors” levels, which means that your robots have to rely on their batteries rather than solar energy which adds a new difficulty to them.

Graphics

The robots are well designed, each one looks different and fits their personality and power set. The backgrounds are quite nice as well, the levels themselves are very bland, most likely so the system can auto generate the levels easily, they don’t look bad by any means, they are just bland in comparison to the robots, backgrounds and the homebase area with the rocket. The animations are smooth and the particle effects when Spiri uses her teleport ability, or the explosion when Opi jumps are satisfying.

Sound

The music is very fun and lively, it may also be somewhat randomly generated (as in the tracks that play may not be always linked to a level). It has a real sci-fi arcade feel to it. Sound effects are also good, with explosions and robotic beeping.

Conclusion

Terraforming Earth is a fun little game, the robots are interesting and fun to use. The puzzles when they are there are interesting and fun to overcome. However the level builder needs to weed out a lot of the levels.

In my time with the game I found quite a few levels that were incredibly basic, some with no obstacles at all. I also found multiple levels that were either impossible, need later stage upgrades or a skill I never learnt to use, as there were places I needed to get to that I had no way of reaching. The controls on the robots are quite slippery, multiple times I slid off the platforms I needed. In the end it became a game that I neither loved nor hated. It falls somewhere in the middle but it is still Early Access and the level builder is still weeding out the bad levels.

Rating: 6/10 – Bad levels need to be weeded out and controls need to be tightened. Potential is there for a really fun puzzle platformer.

Title: Terraforming Earth
Genre: Platformer, Puzzle.
Developer:  Lost Robots
Publisher: Lost Robots
Release Date: 15 Nov 2019

One thought on “Terraforming Earth – Review

  • September 30, 2019 at 2:54 pm
    Permalink

    Hey, I’m Andras, the Dev behind Terraforming Earth.

    Thanks so much for this insightful review! Your positive remarks let us know what to keep and your negative ones are great opportunities for improvement.

    I’d like to remark here that all levels are guaranteed to be solvable, the generator looks at your upgrades and makes sure you can solve the map with your current skills. However, there are some skills that the game doesn’t really teach you how to use. E.g. nobody told you that you can jump on top of the lawn-movers (the enemy robots) to reach high places. 🙁 So yeah, it’s still the game’s fault that you couldn’t solve some levels, not yours. I have some ideas on how to teach later skills and your review makes it clear that I should focus on this before the Early Access launch.

    We haven’t yet seen a level completely without obstacles, although yeah, the early levels are fairly basic to introduce new players to the game. I now think the early levels ramp up too slowly, so I’m going to tweak the difficulty parameters. Thanks for your input.

    The slippery controls were easy to fix, I’ve already tightened up the robots’ deceleration and the bounces also decelerate them, so it’s much easier now to land on the right spot. Also, the platforms only worked when you were standing on them with “both feet”, which was stupid, so now you can stand on the ledges which effectively doubles the width of narrow platforms.

    Thanks again for this review. I hope you’ll come back, re-try the failed levels and continue the campaign. The game has so much to offer once you give it a chance to unwrap itself.

    Reply

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