I had a chance to play a new Indie game called Terrene a week before its official launch, and that was truly a blessing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this game, it is a 2D resource collecting game, that infuses inspiration from several different games such as Metroid and Terraria, but I personally would refer to it as a 2D No Man’s Sky, as I believe that is the most accurate interpretation of the game. Now it should be noted that I have not played No Man’s Sky since the initial launch, and that was not a game that I enjoyed. However, Terrene takes the few parts of that game that worked initially and made them fun and more interesting.
The goal of Terrene is to scavenge on an unknown planet and collect certain resources to upgrade your ship, your spacesuit, your weapons and your Cyberpup ally (yes, your ally is a puppy!). Once you collect the main resources from the planet, I believe you travel to another planet and do the same. Since this is “First Impressions”, I am still on the initial planet, as there is quite a bit of exploration to do. The size of the map is equivalent to a medium size world from Terraria, for those of you that are familiar with that, which is to say it covers quite a bit of ground, and you will want to explore it all.
For anyone who knows me, and those of you who do not, you will quickly learn that one of the most important things I personally look for in a game, and the first thing, is the mechanics. Since I play on mouse and keyboard primarily, I need to ensure that the key-bindings are to my liking. I have a particular taste when it comes to my key-binds, so I always enjoy when a game allows me to change my bindings as I like, and one thing that stood out in Terrene was that you could not actually view the key-binds without starting a file. I did not personally care for that, but the controls are prominently displayed at the bottom of the screen once you enter, so it was alright. I believe that Terrene has some of the smoothest controls that I have seen in a 2D game, so I did not even need to change any of the initial bindings. WASD control all the movement, including your unlimited jetpack (and any game with a jetpack gets a slight bonus, because come on, jetpacks are fantastic!), and left click and right click control your weapon and your mining tool, which makes it easy to switch between the two. I have nothing but nice things to say about the mechanics of this game.
I will cover art-style and music together, as I do not have a lot to say about either. The art-style is all charming 2D pixel sprites and environments, which adds a nostalgic flair to those like myself who enjoy that type of thing. As for the music, it is quite fitting with the type of game and environment, where it is a sci-fi/tech sounding, which absolutely adds something to the game.
There are a few more elements that make Terrene truly unique. One of these features is how seamlessly you can switch between the three phases of the game which are infantry-mode, ship-mode and hover-mode. The infantry-mode is when you are controlling your astronaut and exploring the planet and collecting resources, the ship-mode is when you are flying resources between the planet’s surface and your mothership, and the hover-mode is when you are landing on the planet itself. When you are near your ship, you can quickly change between these three phases depending on your needs, and the controls of the ship are fun and interesting as well.
Another of the truly diverse features in this game is the varying levels of animosity from the planet’s inhabitants. I have not explored this feature fully yet, but essentially, the more you harvest the minerals from the planet, the more hostile the creatures become. Even the difference between the regular level and the first hostile level is quickly noticeable, as the number of enemies at least doubles when the planet threat level increases. This feature alone adds quite a bit of spice to the game, as you choose between a large vein of rare ores and an easier experience collecting said ores. That said, you can transport back to your ship at anytime immediately, but at the price of an increased planet threat level.
Lastly, it should be noted that all the resources that you collect from the planet and return to your mothership are used to upgrade different aspects of the game such as your spacesuit and your weapons. I believe that most games benefit from having some sort of upgrade system, and Terrene is no different. Being able to select new weapons as well as increase the amount of oxygen your spacesuit can hold before you suffocate to death are essential to a long voyage deeper into the planet’s core. Do not forget to stock up on ammo for your weapons though, as only the start blaster is unlimited.
I would not say that Terrene is for everyone, but I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Indie games or resource collection games, as it has enough content to keep someone interested past the initial few hours. I will be exploring Terrene more myself, and I am excited to see what the later stages of the game have to offer. If this sounds like something you would enjoy playing, make sure to pick it up on Steam and let me know what you think!