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Terrorarium E3 2019 Hands-on Preview

When we were asked to look at the indie game Terrorarium, none of us really knew what to expect of the indie title. Developed from a 3 day game jam, Terrorarium was transformed into a much more full indie title. Considering how promising the game looked, we decided to check it out for a hands-on preview.

The concept of the game is simple. In Terrorarium, you play as an unnamed space granny simply called The Gardener in a top down perspective Pikmin style game. Utilizing the creatures known as Moogu, you are tasked with solving puzzles based around the current terrain to complete the level.

The Moogu are the main resource of the game and are limited in number on each level. Each type of Moogu has different abilities to help you get to your objective. Thick Moogu, for example, can be thrown at walls to break them down while Gassy Moogu allows The Gardener to jump over pits and lava.

When Moogu die and if they are in range, Moogu may be able to breed more for a limited amount of times. They die easily and you need a specific number left over to complete the current level you’re on.

Most of the early levels acted as an introduction to the mechanics of the game and can be completed within a couple minutes, and are somewhat easy. As I progressed through the game, a lot more timing and pathfinding manipulation was required.

While not entirely taxing to figure out, it did require some experimentation in order to figure out how to get to the end of each level. I noticed that the game only had 24 levels. When I asked the developers about its length, they noted they wanted to create a community based around it, and showed me its level editor.

When the level editor was shown off in the demo, they had almost every available asset that was in the base game all ready to be used on player created content.

Even a few of the finer details such as modifying timers and paths of enemy creatures were able to be manipulated to help create the players vision. The levels on completion are able to be uploaded and downloaded to the steam workshop for others to enjoy.

There has to be enough solid player-made content to ensure the longevity of the game. Other titles such as Super Mario Maker or Little Big Planet have shown us that for every good and enjoyable level, there are 10 or more bad ones.

Hopefully, the player made levels offer more of a challenge than what I was presented with at the start. The reliance on player made content in and of itself is a double edged sword that can solidify a solid title, or cause the game to be passable.

Visually, the art style of the game was described to me as ‘adorable gore’ and surely is emphasized by its bright colors and simple details. It’s not a huge graphical spectacle and does not try to be more than functional. There are some areas where things could be improved on, however usually these style of graphics last the test of time even if a lot of people don’t like them.

If you’re looking for a Pikmen style game then Terrorarium might be worth a shot. Hopefully as it nears closer to release, player made content will help increase the play time of the game. Terrorarium available on Steam Early Access now, for $10.

Rory Hutchings

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Niche Gamer managing partner, server admin, writer, lifelong gamer and tech enthusiast. Also an all-around programmer.