written by Maximus Smith
Terra Tech, by Payload Studios is a fabrication, and combat focused open world indie game, whose stage is set on a hostile, and alien planet, taking a unique approach to survival by altering its focus in favor of gameplay centered around creations. It does an excellent job of doing so though it’s mechanics, and its inclusion of side quests all while telling the story of several corporations spanning the globe who set their sights on alien worlds in response to humanity’s struggle regarding sustainability. These corporations heavily invest in numerous prospectors, all competing with each other for the ultimate abundance of riches and glory.
The player serves as one of the prospectors thrown into a hostile environment following a crash landing. The player is incentivized to grow, mine, construct, and vanquish in order to become the greatest exoplanetary prospector.
The player must use resources within the environment to create new parts for their expanding fleet of vehicles, and produce profit to serve the aforementioned purpose, and begins the game as a cab, an extremely basic craft which the player is encouraged to conveniently upgrade during the tutorial. This cab serves as the center of operations of every vehicle in the game, and must be protected at all cost, or it’s destruction will result in the death if it’s associated vehicle.
The player is given an expanding array of parts to choose from to expand on their cab, which are unlocked by enhancing one’s license with their associated corporation. Each corporation in the game, of which there are four contains its own set of blocks which reflect their company, and possess different pros and cons in any given scenario. The four primary corporations in the game whose licenses the player obtains in chronological order are; GCO, Geocorp, Venture, and Hawkeye. GCO is a corporation with basic technology that excels at being average, and in-between in regards to speed, combat potential, and resource collection, which makes it quite versatile and adaptable to multiple scenarios.
Geocorp sets its sights on mining, with large tools being it’s forte, and neglecting “traditional” forms of weaponry; and while Geocorp lacks speed and is limited to short range melee alternatives, it excels in weight capacity, and excavation. Venture is quite superb when it comes to speed, and puts much effort into aesthetics (whether this effort is in vain depends on personal taste), however, Venture is lacking when it comes to carrying capacity, and health, while mainly bolstering small arms fire.
Hawkeye is the go to when it comes to big guns, and the utter destruction of one’s bank account, as it contains some of the strongest and most feared weapons in the game, with an equally feared price tag in addition blocks with exceptionally high health, and extraordinary flight capability.
In addition to the primary mode of gameplay, the player will most often experience the campaign mode, the player is also provided the option to dive into R&D mode, Sumo, and Gauntlet. Campaign is a game mode focused on survival, and the overall story Terra Tech seeks to introduce the player to. Sumo is a mode which puts the player in a 1v1 “bot wrestling” match, where they are to construct a bot capable of destroying, or displacing an enemy craft off of a platform. R&D serves as an expansion DLC which allows the player to build and test to their hearts content, unhampered by a tight budget. The final game mode, Gauntlet, is centered around constructing a vehicle capable of racing against the clock to obtain the highest speed record.
This game also contains a unique style of base and vehicle construction, which incorporates simple mechanics, and an appealing approach to fabrication. The game forces the player to design, plan, and engineer in order to work around environmental obstacles while generously supplying an abundance of creative freedom to the player. The entertainment value and replayability of this game is quite noteworthy due to the vast amount of potential in regards to crafting and planning, which the player must tap into in order to outsmart hostile prospectors, and maximize profits. The building aspect of the game alone is enough to supply the player with hours of entertainment, and is still being improved, as the developers continue adding new content and possibility into the game.
Despite all of its great successes, and its unique approach to this genre of gaming, it still has its blunders, such as the repetitiveness of collecting resources from the terrain and completing missions. In addition, the game has a small probability of spontaneously crashing without warning, which detracts from the overall experience from time to time, and lag spikes may occur when engaging in large-scale combat in which many projectiles are involved.
The game incorporates a degree of resource management which is not seen in other games of a similar flavor, as it gives the player an abundance of different modules and conveyors to uniquely control, and maintain their supplies in an intuitively simple fashion. This can be taken advantage of by taking advantage of the games mechanics later in the game by constructing automated miners, and recycling parts and turn them into their constituents which can be sold for a hefty profit, or remade into something entirely new.
For one who desires a well rounded, and exceptionally enjoyable game saturated in the freedom to construct and battle for hours on end, Terra Tech is quite an ideal game to invest time in. While the game does have its hindrances, they are relatively few and far between. Not only does this game already play very well for the most part, it still has not reached its full potential, as Payload Studios is attentively listening to their community, adding new and exciting content to the game which has no sign of ceasing any time soon.