TerraTech Review

By Megan Walton, 28 days ago
If you've ever played Minecraft and thought, 'this needs tanks,' TerraTech could be the game for you. It's an open-world simulation that gives you free rein to create vehicles, but unfortunately misses the mark in a few spots.

01/08/2018 - Carousel

When starting the game you have the choice of three different modes: campaign, creative and gauntlet. Where creative and gauntlet give you the freedom to create anything you want with anything available in the game, campaign mode is where you'll face the challenge of building your tech from the bottom up. The mode starts with you crashing onto a randomly generated planet, with little more than a cab and four wheels to get you about. Your aim from this point is to find the other pieces of tech that fell off in the crash, and this serves as a tutorial for the game.

Taking you through this tutorial is the only bit of guidance you get, as after this you are pretty much left to fend for yourself. While some players may thrive from this, many will probably feel like they are dumped in the deep end and feel overwhelmed with the possibilities the game has to offer. Once you have a radar to give you a mini-map, a battery to recharge things, a power bubble to heal your blocks and a solar panel to charge things, then it's up to you to find anything extra to improve your tech.

Your vehicles can be as fancy or as simple as you want them to be, and there is a huge range and variety of blocks and items to play around with. You begin with the more basic blocks, wheels, guns and additions to be able to put on your vehicle, and these can be found in the world somewhere in supply chests, bought from trading stations or picked up from defeated enemies. You have to make sure to keep everything on your vehicle in balance in order to keep you moving easily. Even with better blocks and wheels, your vehicle is hard to control. Getting stuck on resources, being unable to make sharp turns and struggling to climb up slopes are just some of the issues you'll be facing.

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Coupled with the awkward controls is an annoying camera, which never seems to be quite high or low enough to be ideal. You can spin it round as you please, but it seems impossible to get it in the right place. While this isn't the biggest problem, it does become more of an issue the further you go into the game, especially as you start coming up against tougher enemies that you need to be able to keep in your sight. It's too easy to get hit and destroyed when you can't aim the camera right or turn quickly enough to get the enemy before they get you.

When you aren't killing enemies and searching for blocks, the game helps drive you forward with missions picked up from trading posts. Completing these missions earns you special blocks and also earns you XP, which consequently levels you up in different licences. Doing this, and the missions which refresh every in-game day, is the only real sense of direction you have in this mode. The open world offers plenty of opportunities to explore and has hidden secrets and resources to find, so there is definite motivation to go exploring. Fans of similar experiences will feel a similar itch worth scratching here.

Chances are campaign is where you'll spend the most of your time, but the other modes each offer something different. Creative gives you chance to play around with every block available and create literally anything with complete freedom. Unfortunately, you won't be able to unlock achievements in this mode but it remains fun despite that if you're not in need of the gamerscore boost. Gauntlet offers you the same opportunity to play around with blocks but challenges you to create a vehicle and race it round one of two tracks in the quickest time possible. Neither of these extra modes is as engaging as the campaign, but they make for worthwhile secondary modes. There's also a multiplayer mode which was fairly uninhabited in the times I tried to play it, which is a shame as there is a lot of potential for fun there. Creating a vehicle and fighting off other players is the aim of this mode, but you have to be lucky enough to find some other players to play with.

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One big problem I did encounter with the game was issues with the initial loading. While it worked fine the first time, each subsequent time I tried to load the game it wouldn't do it so easily and required a number of reinstalls before it worked. This happened on numerous occasions and has happened every time I tried to open the game since, which is obviously a major issue.

In terms of achievements, there's 15 to earn in total and some of them will require quite a bit of time. A couple of the achievements can be earned fairly easily and early on, as Big Tony is the first enemy you will encounter, and defeating the trader bot in 15 minutes can be done with little effort. Earning one million bucks will require quite a big time sink, as will acquiring all the licences and building all the terminals.

Check out our Best Xbox Simulation Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

TerraTech has some good elements, with huge scope for building a whole score of different vehicles. Sadly, aside from this and a hefty environment to explore, it doesn't do much else right. With awkward controls and camera angles making navigating the world harder than it needs to be and little help when it comes to actually explaining the best way to upgrade your tech, the game just misses the mark on too many occasions. There's fun to be had, but there will be several unintentional obstacles in your way.
3 / 5
Positives
  • Huge scope to build and explore
  • Different modes offer different opportunities
Negatives
  • Issues with game crashing
  • Controls and camera both awkward
  • Multiplayer is empty
  • Minimal guidance on how to build and upgrade your vehicles
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent approximately five hours building her tank and destroying enemies while exploring, unlocking 2 of the game's 15 achievements. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.