Build nature, not cities, in free eco builder Terra Nil

(Image credit: Tom Sykes)

City builders, by their very nature, have you exploiting the landscape in order to make cities. Terra Nil—Reclaim the Wasteland, a free game created for Ludum Dare, is pretty much the exact opposite. Rather than constructing cities, you're recreating the natural world, with the aid of some advanced technology.

Terra Nil begins in a desolate wasteland, a procedurally assembled patch of land that you're attempting to convert into a lush field of green. The game is fairly relaxed in how you go about this. There's no time pressure, and—depending on what difficulty you play on—plenty of resources with which to place structures.

There's not a huge amount to it (it is a jam game after all), but I love the concept, and the aesthetic of this reverse-city-builder. It's particularly satisfying to be given a patch of ruined earth, and to rejuvenate it to an area of verdant green.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.