It’s a mix of survival, crafting, building and combat set in a very distant future – your rocket crash-lands on one of these alien planets, and the adventure begins. You cruise the landscape searching for resource nodes to blast apart and take back to base.

You start off with a single block, four wheels, and two weapons, with no end goal to speak of. Instead, you have a base which can convert materials into rendered materials which can then be sold or used to create parts for your vehicle. If you venture far enough you’re sure to bump into an alien ship intent on sending you packing back to Earth. Should you defeat the alien tank, feel free to scavenge any parts that weren’t blown to smithereens in the fray, and use them to make your own ship bigger, faster, stronger.

It has a few different game modes, including Campaign (Complete Quests), Creative (Build what you like), Sumo (Push your opponents out of the ring), and Gauntlet (Racing your creations), with an optional Research & Development mode (Play and test with the latest blocks) if you purchase the DLC or Deluxe version. A multiplayer is also playable, where you can PVP online against other constructions in timed battles.

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The tutorial is basic, but it is exactly what it needs to be. Receiver to offload items, delivery cannon to send items to Earth in exchange for cash. There’s a refinery to refine items, fabricator to uhh… fabricate them, i think you get the picture.

Brevity is levity, even in video games and I think they nailed that much. At no point did I feel the least bit overwhelmed by the information offered to me. Even if you don’t read a single instruction, the game is laid out in a way that feels intuitive, and you’d probably be able to figure it out solo with just a few minutes of clicking around.

The graphics are a cartoony sort of sci-fi that holds together quite well to create a great aesthetic, though I will say the combat music feels somewhat out of place. A robo-battle over an outpost on an alien planet doesn’t exactly make me think of banjos and guitar, but that’s what is delivered. But it doesn’t stir you away too much from the focus of the game.

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Aside from the visuals, the gameplay is relatively good too. I enjoy the dynamic placement of the parts, although there has been a time or two that I’ve pulled the wrong block away and turned my whole vehicle into just a heap of blocks and weapons.

Manoeuvring your craft is as easy as you make it, and while I feel the combat could use some work, the prospect of it doesn’t scare me away from heading out to gather further from home. The crafting of weapons, and the thought of that next unlock kept me playing this game for hours on end. It never fails to offer that “just one more turn” feeling that all games strive to create. I am constantly in search of the next easy coal seam, and on the lookout for the next enemy looking to end my little craft’s existence. “If I could get some hoverpads I could fly over the enemy, but I can only craft two, and if one is hit and blown off… It’s over.”

Oh yea, did I mention it’s a permadeath game? Deeeelicious. The threat of needing to keep enough bio fuel on hand to keep your shield functioning is the knockout factor and leads to an enticing gem of a game that will keep me scrambling back and forth across a part-strewn wasteland of my own making for a good time to come.

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There are a few key negative points that I feel should be pointed out, the awkward battle-theme, the grind for space-dollars, the near-relentless enemy threats with terrible AI, being able to improve your craft in every way but not your base, and the fact the aiming feels almost like a chore, not to mention the repetitiveness. However, the battle theme is an artistic choice, and the grind keeps players invested. The last few points are the most troublesome. I honestly couldn’t see myself playing this game in the future, maybe if Im bored, I might have a bash with friends.

As a quick summary, it’s a defend your resources, defeat your enemy’s and steal their parts to become stronger venture. The developers, Payload Studios, seem to care a lot about its progress, and but I wouldn’t have high hopes for it. If you enjoy dipping your creative hands into a game’s framework, this is the game for you. The graphics will amaze you, the soundtrack will too. The gameplay itself is great, but the UI, AI, and a few other things require tweaking.

Terra Tech is available on Steam Early Access. 

Previewed by Jack Moody.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a preview copy of Terra Tech, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

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