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TerraTech Review

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Game Details

Title: TerraTech
Developer: Payload Studios
Publisher: Payload Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 29.05.19
Price: £19.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

What the Developers say

Explore, build, craft and battle across alien worlds in this physics-based construction sandbox adventure.

Design cars, tanks and planes from a huge library of blocks. Scavenge, craft and buy new parts in order to survive and become the ultimate planetary prospector.

Single player modes:

Fight enemies, complete missions & work your way up the ranks in Campaign.
Explore and build with or without the threat of enemies in Creative.
Build the fastest Tech you can and beat your previous race times in Gauntlet.


Explore an alien world like never before in TerraTech, a unique action-adventure building experience on the Nintendo Switch. You can create your very own vehicles using multiple different parts that can be bought or scavenged around the environment. Find yourself in a fight? Don’t worry because if once you’ve blown them up, you can use their unique parts to build up your defences on the fly.

Once successful, you can craft unique machines that can fly amongst the clouds or build hardened vehicles that can withstand enemy bombardments, either in adventure or creative mode. Your very own sandbox awaits where everything is at your fingertips, and if you’re up for the challenge: create your own racing vehicles within the gauntlet! The only limit here is your imagination.


TerraTech is a unique sandbox title where you control a vehicle that can explore a procedurally generated world; however, this is not your typical sandbox adventure. Here you can create and build your very own module/vehicle with parts you find scattered around the world, as well as in a variety of outposts which can be located around the map. Here, you sell materials and buy new parts.

One of the most unique features on offer is that you can instantly create and change your ride at any time by adding or moving parts around, slowly evolving the size and complexity of your vehicle. Turning your starter vehicle into a powerhouse with added tech like radars, guns or bigger wheels allows you to move over all terrains more quickly and efficiently. Many elements and features make up the TerraTech experience, of which I will share below:

Adventure mode!

In Adventure mode, you can move around the vast open-world sandbox freely – harvesting materials and minerals across the vast alien planet. When you first begin, your vehicle is a little underpowered and ill-equipped for the adventure ahead, and it’s your job to change this by building.


In the beginning, your vehicle won’t be all that powerful, and you’ll be learning the basics on how to play the game as soon as you start mining materials though you’ll earn some money which will help you buy new equipment and advance the abilities of your vehicle. You can acquire new technologies from destroyed enemies or buying new add-ons from outposts scattered around. The items you can purchase range from cannons, radar stations, drill bits and other useful equipment; all of which will allow you to start harvesting bigger rocks and crystals from the surrounding area. Adding new blocks and equipment to your vehicle is easy, thanks to the ability to build on the fly at any time during play.

With a simple press of the B button, your vehicle will be lifted into the air enabling you to edit it in real-time. You can rotate your vehicle with the left analogue stick, and by using your cursor which you activate with Y, you pick, pull and attach new blocks and accessories to multiple nodes that appear on your vehicle. Pressing the A button on a block lets you pick that block up with the cursor and attach it to different areas on your vehicle, or you can pop it into your inventory for later. It’s surprising how easy this is to do giving you the ability to be creative and therefore producing anything your imagination can come up with.

Your only limitation at the beginning is your tech level, but as you complete missions you will advance, and new stuff will be unlocked. The game uses a realistic physics engine so if you drop a block near a hill or ramp it will tumble down it, so try to keep blocks close by during editing. Thankfully, if you are near an outpost, any boxes that fall or are left near a station will automatically be sucked into the outpost and sent straight into your inventory.

The controls!

The controls can sometimes feel overwhelming, but there are prompts on the main HUD to keep you informed. The left analogue stick is for movement, while the right is for your camera movement. The ZR trigger fires your weapons, and pressing B sends you into the hover mode which grants you the ability to customise your vehicle on the fly or get out of areas you may be stuck in. You can activate a cursor at any time with the press of the Y button and move it around with the analogue stick so that you can pick up blocks with the A button and attach them to nodes with the same button. While some may find the controls difficult to use at first, I thought they were well done. As I mentioned before, there are prompts on the screen in case you forget how to do one of the many actions, which is very much needed.


Once you start completing more missions, your tech level will increase, which will let you add more blocks to your creation. You start with a small-ish vehicle that isn’t too adaptable to your surroundings, but by the time you reach the halfway point, your vehicle will be either a quick run-around or a massive war machine. However, you decide to create your vehicle will depend on how it can survive during your adventure, be it traversing the environment or in combat – something which can happen at any time. Enemies can come in a range of different sizes and will barrel towards you. If you have a smaller vehicle, you may be able to quickly zip around your target and fire at them from afar, or if you are a larger war machine you can take the enemy head on – it’s your choice.


When bullets hit your vehicle, the blocks and equipment flash red, if they are damaged too much, they with fall from your machine. You can equip a healing station orb that needs to be tethered to the ground to be used. It generates a healing shield which you can enter to heal parts that have been damaged. If the orb gets destroyed though, the station will require a new one before it can be used again. These two can be attached to your vehicle while travelling.

In a worst case scenario, if you are destroyed you either pay some cash to respawn back into the world with your unique creation, or respawn at your current tech level with a standard model. The pure heartache as I saw my vehicle blown to thousands of pieces was awful and required a hefty price if I wanted to respawn it again. There’s one saving grace though – if you start again with the standard model, the area where you died will still contain all the pieces from your previous vehicle. So you can collect things you’ve lost if you so wish.

Heavy machinery!

You can also find different machines in quests: these can be used with vehicle or at your base if you decide to build one. Some of the machines you can find are the refinery which can eat up your materials and turn them into cash; craft stations to create new blocks as well as batteries that can be equipped to your vehicle to power shields and other useful equipment, and many more. There’s a diverse set of equipment at your disposal, and I enjoyed finding it all. You can store everything within your inventory for later use, or you can attach it to your vehicle or add it to your base of operations. TerraTech gives you a lot of options for any aspiring builder.


While you are exploring your surroundings, you will come across outposts that are scattered throughout the world. You can either accept missions from these stations or buy blocks and other technologies too. You can even bring materials to this site which will be extracted from your vehicle and turned into cash, which can help you buy more stuff, helping you build a better and more advanced vehicle. This lets you take on bigger enemies and gather more materials. As you advance you even unlock wings and engines that allow you to fly; further expanding the gameplay mechanics twofold. The amount of technologies at your disposal is mind-boggling – gamers who love to create and make stuff will be in for a treat with this one.

Creation mode!

There is also a Creation Mode that will allow you to be creative. You make anything your heart desires here. There are two pre-built vehicles within this mode to give you some inspiration, but you’re free to use ALL available blocks to create your own vehicles. Again, this mode offers seemingly unlimited options to create anything and everything your imagination can come up with.


Gauntlet mode is a little extra for builders who want to push their creations down a racing route. The first option will allow you to complete a track against the clock, while the second will have you competing against rival enemies in much like a destruction derby. These modes are fun distractions, but I preferred the creation mode and main campaign.


Again, with the unlimited creativity that players can bring to TerraTech, I can see a lot of diverse creations being developed. In TerraTech, the game can be played on other systems too, and I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos that have blown me away. Someone created the Batman armoured vehicle from the Dark Knight movie and a massive starship which I couldn’t believe. Developers are continually updating and adding new blocks, and I hope the same happens here as there is a lot of potential to expand.

Audio & Visuals

Starting with the audio, the TerraTech soundtrack has a rather wild-western feel to it, which is rather relaxing to listen to and never annoying. It does change up a little once enemies appear or try and attack you – an excellent addition.

Visually, TerraTech isn’t bad either. In certain areas, the game can look rather beautiful. The sun reflects off the surface of the sand dunes realsitically. Unfortunately, the performance does dip now and again, but it was nothing that ruined my enjoyment of the title.


TerraTech has a lot of replayability as a creative sandbox that could last for weeks, months and even years for the right sort of person/player. The creative mode is where builders will spend most of their time — probably creating some large structures, vehicles or wacky creations that are only limited by their imagination.

The story mode will last for a fair while to and maybe the gauntlet mode. I see most gamer’s time invested into the world of TerraTech via its Creative Mode.

Just look at games like Minecraft, Portal Knights or any game that allows the player to be creative. Time spent within these areas can suck away the hours without you even knowing it. And I believe that TerraTech has that draw.


If you haven’t guessed yet, TerraTech is a builder’s dream come true. Create your own vehicles and flying devices, design what you want in Creation Mode or go it alone in the Main Campaign and evolve your vehicle over time. Or why not test drive your creations in the Gauntlet Mode – there are so many options here to play with.

My only negatives here are there are no multiplayer options available, or online sharing which is a huge shame. That being said, the highly addictive nature of this title will have you hooked, especially if you love building and creating.

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

You can purchase TerraTech from the Nintendo eShop at the following link,

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