Terraform takes the Pokémon concept back to its roots
Not a Pokéball in sight.
Terraform: Monster Taming Game is a retro-styled RPG with a GameBoy Colour-era aesthetic and more than a little twist of Pokémon vibes about it. Rather conveniently, it also runs in any browser on desktop or mobile for free with no installation whatsoever, meaning you can just jump right in. And, that’s exactly what I did with the demo they have available on their Kickstarter right now.
There’s something that I love about classically styled RPGs, especially ones that lean more towards the Pokémon style. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I love exploring these colourful worlds and finding what makes them tick. Also, the music is just amazing, as demonstrated in the trailer below. 8-bit jams are what I miss the most in modern games.
From the get-go, it’s clear to see the game is heavily influenced by the first and second generation Pokémon games. If you look a little deeper though, it’s clear to see that’s not its only inspiration. First instance, the dynamic between monster and trainer seems almost flipped on its head here. The monsters inhabited this world before humans, or ‘aliens’ as they’re referred to by the creatures. Humans came to a planet that when it already had lifeforms on it and began to colonise.
In fact, your chosen starter monster essentially tells you what to do, as you’ve been enrolled in the Companion Program – a scheme aimed at strengthing human an animal cooperation against the threat of entities referred to as the ‘Grey’. Very little is known about these mysterious creatures.
The combat also hints at some of these deeper influences especially when it comes to gathering more monsters to battle. There’s not a Pokeball in sight, as your chosen creature walks beside you, and, if you want to enlist more creatures you’ll have to talk them into joining your party. Opting to use a ‘persuade’ option in combat, similar to Undertale, allows you to non-violently gain more allies. Although, I didn’t manage this in the demo as apparently the creatures didn’t understand me, which makes sense.
There’s a much more dystopian undertone to Terraform which I like. It was present in many early RPGs but not quite as explicit as having to pass through a security checkpoint, present travel authorisation papers and be thoroughly searched to progress to new areas. It was more implied given that many of those early RPGs were somewhat aimed at a younger audience but I’m on board with the idea of exploring some deeper themes in a monster battling game.
If you’re intersted in checking it out, Terraform: Monster Taming Game currently has Kickstarter live where you can also try out the demo for yourself.