Do you enjoy puzzles, yet yearn for more death and destruction? Well, have I got an early access gem for you; Terrorarium!
Stitch media (working with the Games Institute of University of Waterloo) first developed Terrorarium over a 3-day game jam, and are in the process of building up to a full game.
Spread the terror of gardening with all your friends and enemies
On theme with the current popularity of player-controlled grandmothers (looking at you, Watch Dogs: Legion), you take the form of a Space-Granny who must hobble her way through a series of hazardous plant-based obstacle courses. To aid her endeavour, she has a variety of endlessly obedient and expendable alien “moogus” – some for throwing, some for sticking, some for setting things alight – all for exploding.
When I first picked up Terrorarium, I wondered how I was ever going to sacrifice any of the smol moogus, who innocently heed your every whistled command.
It wasn’t too long before I was relishing in the squishy explosions, moogu corpses littering my screen to the tune of maniacal cackling (mine, as it turned out).
I like the way she Moogu
In terms of single-player content, the early access version contains 24 short tutorial-esque levels to explore, with narrative and campaign elements yet to be added.
Because this is still early access, the real value of purchasing Terrorarium is the Maker Mode. Terrorarium provides all the tools to create little gardens of terror where squads of cute squishies will meet their gooey ends. So as it stands, there are over 100 different assets available to populate your own gauntlets, with four different map templates.
Although current pickings on the Steam Workshop are on the slim side, I’m looking forward to seeing further player-made creations come in. Being a personal failure in the evil genius department, I wasn’t able to personally create anything as compelling as the developer levels. However, I did have a ton of fun making pretty maps with the very flexible tools in the creator.
The ol’ early access story
As with many early access offerings on Steam, Terrorarium still has a fair way to go before I’d consider it a completed product.
While I enjoyed the bright and quirky colour palette, even on “ultra” setting Terrorarium’s environment textures are basic, and moving the camera around highlights unfinished assets on the edges of the environment. Some pathing issues also still remain, particularly with the moogus themselves, who often got themselves stuck in the environment, which led to having to restart levels on a number of occasions.
All in all, none of these issues materially affect the main enjoyment to be gained from the early access release however, being the creation of your own obstacle courses for other players.
I shall call them Squishy and they shall be mine
I got a real kick out of the dark humour of Terrorarium, which required the murder of many moogus while asking, with an accusatory gleam, at what cost my victory came. I hope to see these types of laughs continue in the eventual single-player narrative and full game, which I’ll be watching with interest.
All things considered, if you’re the type who gets a thrill out of creating challenges for others, pick up the Terrorarium early access as a fun way to kill time – and countless moogus – while you wait for the full game to release.