Terraformers Review – An Okay Colony Builder

While Terraformers gives the colonization trope a fair shot, it doesn't outshine the competition.

Terraformers Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Graphics


Terraformers is a decent game, but it is clearly incomplete right now and it lacks imagination.


  • Strategy Gameplay Is Rewarding.
  • Game Rewards Proper Planning.
  • Challenging Puzzles.


  • Lack Of Originality.
  • No Replay Value.
  • Art Style Leaves Much To Be Desired.

The prospect of colonizing other worlds is a dream that has captivated people for decades. It’s a vision that is motivated by our desire to explore the stars and establish new homes for the human race apart from our own beautiful Earth. And on the forefront of this quest for expansion is the Red Planet itself, one of the most daunting and impressive planets in our solar system.

Quick Information
  • Developer: Asteroid Lab
  • Publisher: Asteroid Lab
  • Release Date: April 21, 2022
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC
  • Game Length: 35 Hours
  • Time Played: 37 Hours
  • Editors Note: We thoroughly tested Terraformers on PC, putting in just over 35 hours into the completion of the main story.

Games that allow you to realize the dream of colonizing Mars are not new; in fact, the market is full of multiple titles that let you live out your colony-building fantasies. But unlike most of them, Terraformers is not a traditional base-building experience. In fact, it’s not even an RTS, to say the least. It’s actually more of a card-based puzzle game.

Story And Setting

Story (Image by eXputer)

The goal of the game is to establish colonies on Mars and the plot of Terraformers involves various challenges that allow you to do exactly this. You lead humanity in this endeavor, and your main task is to ensure that the planet becomes self-sufficient as you work towards a total of 300 Victory Points. Once you reach this mark, you essentially win the game.

The goal of the game is to establish colonies on Mars and the plot of Terraformers involves various challenges that allow you to do exactly this.

There is no actual story per se, and players looking for something akin to a campaign will be extremely disappointed if that’s what they have in mind. What we do get instead is a selection of multiple scenarios that throw increasingly difficult challenges at the players. You have to meet this head-on to once again reach the desired 300 Victory Points.

Terraformers Review
Colonize Mars (Image by eXputer)

So yes, be fully aware of what sort of game Terraformers is. It’s not a big-budget title with fancy graphics and detailed animations, it’s more akin to a strategy mobile game in its structure, and I do not mean that in a bad way.


Gameplay (Image by eXputer)

Now as far as the gameplay itself is concerned, the title revolves around a card-based system where players choose Research Projects at the beginning of every turn. These are the buildings you get to construct in your cities, and the entire sequence revolves a great deal around chance, as you accumulate an ever-increasing deck in your hands.

You choose from the types of cards that are made available to you per turn, and drag and drop them on the field if there are slots available to place them, granted you also have the available materials to construct them. These then generate food, housing, electricity, etc. for your colony, and the purpose is to always grow your cities as much as possible.

You also get to explore various nodes around Mars and unlock additional resource providers like mines. The goal once again is to reach self-sufficient status, and you have to grow your population, build outposts, and even establish new cities to accomplish this task. You manage the ever-rising demands of your population, which even includes providing them with sources of entertainment.

Expectations (Image by eXputer)

You also have to choose a new leader for your colonies every couple of years. These provide unique benefits for your cities, such as the ability to clear rubble from occupied slots, establish unique buildings and even explore the planet more efficiently. it’s a colony builder, you know what to expect at this point.

And like any good strategy game, those who don’t plan will find themselves in a tough spot. For example, if you don’t manage your food production enough, then you might find that you don’t have enough available to make new habitats for your growing population. It’s always a balancing act, and overconfident players like me will be surprised by how quickly the complexity of the demands of your cities ramps up.

Visuals And Performance

Terraformers Review
Visuals (Screenshot by eXputer)

Terraformers is not a visually demanding game, and you could probably run this game on a toaster if you wanted to. It doesn’t have a lot of 3D models apart from the rotatable planet map, and most of its other assets are 2D drawings that encompass everything from the appearance of the structures to the leaders you get to choose.

And I want to be clear that I am not bashing the game for any of this. The developers were aiming for a small-scale game with a particular style in mind, and I think they’ve nailed it here. I’ve always been a proponent of games that look simple, as long as the actual systems within them have depth and complexity, and Terraformers mostly delivers on that promise.

The game looks colorful and has a clear and concise style, with each icon and card conveying information accurately and effectively. You can’t say that any of the designs are particularly breathtaking or extremely unique, but they serve their purpose as well as they could.

The developers were aiming for a small-scale game with a particular style in mind, and I think they’ve nailed it here.

I wish the developers had opted for a more unique art style that set Terraformers apart from its contemporaries because right now I don’t think anything about its visuals is all that eye-catching. It’s easy to see people glossing over the game because it looks extremely generic. I’m sorry to say that, but I feel like that’s the truth, and I wouldn’t have looked at it twice if I encountered it on a marketplace like Steam.

Terraformers Verdict

Verdict (Screenshot by eXputer)

There is a depth to the gameplay of Terraformers that will appeal to a lot of strategy enthusiasts, especially those who appreciate a series of great challenges that keep ramping up in complexity.

But it’s also not the type of game that will appeal to a lot of casual fans of the genre either, due to its repetitive nature. It’s not a dynamic game that reacts to your decisions like a lot of other RTS games, because it’s designed to be more of a puzzle experience. It can be entertaining to be sure, but it’s also an Early Access title and it’s incomplete at this point.

The art style is serviceable, and the game does a fantastic job of making sure that every menu and icon is properly highlighted so that the player never feels lost. But the art is also incredibly boring and uninspired, and I can’t think of any redeeming qualities that might make it stand out from all the other Mars Colony-Building games on the market.

I think that Terraformers is okay. I had fun with it, and I’ll jump back into it when version 1.0 launches. But right now, I feel no urge to jump back into it after playing for a few dozen hours.

This has been my Terraformers Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re into intricate terraforming 2D games.
Dont Get This Game
If you want the bang for your buck with replayability.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Maybe, because Terraformers confidently caters to a specific niche, but new players to the genre are better off looking for stronger alternatives.
Alternative Games
  • Per Aspira
  • Terra Nil
  • Farlanders
  • Stardeus
  • Reshaping Mars
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Huzaifa is eXputer's Review Editor, who’s all about RPG games. He’s got several years of experience critically judging games and writing his unbiased thoughts on them. You can also find his content published on sites like Twinfinite & GearNuke. Huzaifa has been gaming for 23+ years, during which he managed to amass 400+ hours on Elden Ring! You can follow his gaming activity on his Xbox and Steam Profiles.

Experience: 5+ years || Previously Worked At GearNuke & Twinfinite || Mainly Covers RPG Guides & Latest Games Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Hospitality.

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