Can I get through this review of Terrorarium without mentioning Pikmin? Ah! Already blown it. Yes, this is something of an homage to Pikmin, but it is more an inspired by than anything else.
There are many aspects of the games that do cross over, yet you cannot help but be suckered in by the charm of Terrorarium within minutes of starting. You take on the role of a granny alien who is attempting to win the top prize at the ‘Intergalactic Horrorcultural Society Competition’ and win that thing she really wants.
You’ll be essentially be taking part in a series of genocides as you, as Granny, use the Moogu to complete levels and prgress to the ultimate goal. It is very dark as cutesy games come, but is also wonderfully funny and charming with it. The Moogu are essentially little mushroom style beings that will bow to you every whim.
I don’t want to spoil your sense of discovery with this, as seeing new ways you can sacrifice Moogu is part of what makes Terrorarium so much fun to play. Feeding them to a glorified Venus Fly Trap is one of the tamer deaths.
Whilst the the game grows in scale and brings new mechanics as you progress the core concept remains the same and works rather well for quick bouts on and off when you have a few spare moments. Something that can be under appreciated with many games, so when one does allow you to return weeks later and not flummox you, it is always welcome.
Progression is purely based on completing one level and moving on, discovering Moogu with new abilities and using those in new and fun ways. It isn’t a game where you’ll be praising a uniqueness as it has mechanics we’ve seen variations of many times before. However I am not a believer that every single game needs to re-invent the wheel. Sometimes a frsh take on existing formulas works just as well and that is one of the strengths of Terrorarium.
There are a few different styled worlds to play in, each feeling unique in the way they play and the way they also feel. Again, all without straying too far from a tried and tested formula. My progress was slow, but I loved being introduced to each new area.
You know how many cartoons have a fun and quirky look, but feel very dark if you scratch the surface? Well Stitch Media have nailed that with Terrorarium. Watch from the sidelines casually and you see a colourful playground to lose yourself in, but take even the tiniest of deeper looks and you will laugh at the dark comedy stlings.
Along with a pretty decent sized single player campaign, there is also a maker mode, where you can, as the title suggests, make you won levels and share them with the community. You can also get hold of new levels via the Steam Workshop, along with a curated selection of community levels directly in the game itself.
The maker tools aren’t the most user friendly initially, but after a little practice they becomes usable enough. I lack the creativity to make anything worth sharing, but having seen what is on offer, others should have a grand time plotting their own murder gardens.
Terrorarium isn’t a must have game by any stretch of the imagination and certainly;y won’t appeal to all. It is though a fun time waster that I am glad I got to experience. I just feel for all the Moogu who sacrificed their lives for our entertainment.