Terratech Worlds Early Access Review – A Good Base

Terratech Worlds Early Access Review - A Good Base

If Space Engineers and Astroneer all had a child together, then Terratech Worlds would be it. It’s lighter in scope and engineering degrees needed than those games (looking at you, Space Engineers) but to me that’s a huge part of the appeal. Instead of spending hours mining and refining specific materials, you can instead destroy enemies to refine their parts into what you need, or use their parts on your own vehicle. Of course, you can still mine and craft the parts but it’s these options that are enticing. I will admit that the rewards for destruction are pretty high so you end up swimming in parts to grind up, but that’s fine.

Let me back up. Terratech Worlds is an open world vehicle crafting game. You’ve got free rein to do whatever you want. You’ll be upgrading your vehicle to ensure you can push into more difficult biomes, and you’ll have the option to complete missions to earn Block Bucks to spend on unlocking new blocks for your vehicle, but it’s all optional.

You’re thrust onto a new planet with your vehicle and not much else. At time of writing there’s only one planet but more are coming, which will be more dangerous and interesting. The world is standardised not procedural, so everyone has the same environment. You get some brief explanation for building a base then you’re left on your own. The tutorials are not bad, it leaves enough out to allow people to find stuff out on their own. There’s currently 3 biomes in the game, with at least one more coming to this planet which gives a decent amount of variety. Each of these seem to almost have microbiomes in them, where the forest biome could be split into a blue forest area which has lightning trees ready to zap the hell out of you, or a rolling plains area where hematite might be a bit easier to find.

The landscapes are nice but the world itself doesn’t feel quite as big as I thought it was. It took me around 10 minutes of driving to get across the areas of the world that currently exist, but beyond that it’s all smoke and mirrors. Beyond the outskirts of the major biomes is a huge ocean and then not much. This is Early Access though, and lots more will be coming. There’s plans for a desert biome which will add more. I would’ve preferred the only planet we have to be complete, but there’s a good roadmap for development so it’s just a thing of sitting tight.

Your vehicle is your everything though. I believe the idea is that you’re piloting the vehicle remotely, so everything has to be done in it. The building system is quite interesting as it allows for parts to just be snapped on to the vehicle where snapping points exist. It gives a good amount of freedom and allows experimentation. I almost wish there was a vehicle crafting system where you could use creative mode to fiddle with a vehicle and save the blueprint for later, almost akin to Barotrauma’s sub creator, but such functionality does not exist.

The game does have Steam Workshop functionality, but it lacks some very basic functionality. You can download other people’s shared blueprints, but it doesn’t tell you what parts are used in it. This leaves you to either bug the uploader for the parts list or instead try having a bunch of components in your inventory and just hoping you get the right combination for creating it.

The automation is also quite rough. Your generators don’t stop working when you’re off base so they end up burning through your fuel with no auto shutoff, which is very annoying. Inventory overflowing is also rough. The game will only overflow into one inventory, so all the automation tools just kind of break down by filling up one storage and then stopping. This is also extremely annoying.

Fortunately, the gameplay loop is quite fun. Fiddling with your vehicle to make it stronger or give it more storage is very cool in that same way that building random LEGO stuff is cool. I think the game nails that feeling, which is good because that’s the main draw. There’s multiplayer and dedicated server support too, which I think could be quite fun and chaotic when more content is added.

There’s building limits too, so making long bridges is a no-no. I found a cool spot at a Golden Triangle between the three biomes, but even though I could easily see the other shore, I couldn’t make a bridge that could connect them. The game doesn’t say that it’s too long or anything, it just refused to place any more parts. Some feedback there could be very useful.

The exploration boils down to hunting for specific materials and fighting enemy plants or techs. Plants are stationary but many have the capability to shoot and will be more than happy to. Enemy techs will be your main source of parts for your own tech, and are the only way you unlock new parts for buying. This system is also a bit frustrating because you can’t tell at a glance which parts are new and what’s not, so you end up scanning enemy techs whilst fighting them to see if they have new stuff. Then you have to try and find out where it dropped off them during combat to pick to up. A different colour highlight could really help here. You also have no idea which parts you don’t have unlocked, so it’s a lot of trial and error.

I’ve been pretty tough on Terratech Worlds, but in reality there’s a lot of good potential here. I think it’ll take some time to unlock that potential and I’m not sure the $43 price tag will help. With some love and care though, I think this will be a bit of a sleeper hit. I hope it reaches at least Astroneer levels of adoration though, because I genuinely had some good fun here.

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