Terra Nil: How to Restore the Sunken City

After restoring three maps in three different climate zones, Terra Nil takes players to the “Continental” climate. The Flooded City map features a former urban center, and players must convert it into a healthy, green landscape.

However, there are some problems. The city has sunk beneath the waves, and only one edge of the map has a bit of solid ground that stands above the ocean. To complete this Terra Nil map, players will first need to dredge up some land they can build all their structures on.


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Stage 1

Terra Nil City Tier 1

This map is very unusual compared to previous areas. The exact shape is randomized, just like the other maps, but there’s always a strip of land along the northwest, some deeper ocean to the southeast, a set of flooded buildings that sometimes rise above the surface, several derelict skyscrapers, and a big pit in the center where a free Recycling Drone hangs out.

The starting buildings are also unusual. The climate tab features all the buildings from earlier maps: the Cloud Seeder, Combustor, Dehumidifier, and Flash Freezer. As for the tier 1 building tab, players start with the Loading Dock, Monorail Node, Toxin Scrubber, Irrigator, Seismic Detonator, and the new Undersea Dredger.

Something players should do right away is recycle the derelict skyscrapers. Each one is worth 100 leaves, and the skyscraper frames they leave behind will be useful later. Players should also note that building rooftops count as concrete tiles, and concrete works identically to rock tiles. This makes it easy to build a Monorail network across the whole map, and something else worth pointing out is that the cost of moving a building is 30 while the cost of a new Toxin Scrubber or Irrigator is 50.

The Undersea Dredger pulls up silt and rock from the seafloor below it and converts it into land. Players can place the Dredger on any 3×3 square of shallow ocean tiles, and by clicking on the Dredger they can convert a section of shallow ocean tiles to basic wasteland tiles. Each dredge costs 15 leaves, and each Dredger can dredge 3 times before it runs out of dirt. Each dredge also produces a specific number of tiles, so by choosing a spot between several buildings, the new wasteland will spread out to fill the spaces between. However, if a chosen space has fewer tiles in range than what the Dredger can deliver, it’ll fill the available tiles and no more.

A Dredger also counts as a Monorail Node, and so players can send dirt to the opposite side of the map using Nodes. However, that’s a bad idea on this map because there’s something else players need to do and one more building in the tier 1 tab that needs unlocking. By recycling a Dredger, players will unlock the Tidal Turbine, which can only sit on deep ocean tiles. Fortunately, an empty Dredger will leave behind deep ocean tiles since it pulled out all the soil.

The Tidal Turbine is the game’s third available power source. It can support 8 buildings, putting it between the Wind Turbine and Geothermal Plant, and its range is 6 tiles. Most of the map outside the central hole and ocean edge is shallow, and so building a Dredger and then recycling it is the best way for players to bring power (and thus Toxin Scrubbers) to most of the map. So while players should surround each Dredger to give Tidal Turbines a more effective range, they should also leave a path that allows the Recycling Drone to reach and recycle the Dredgers.

As for the global stats, players will see both temperature and humidity making a return, along with a new number: geological stability. This stability will go down as players dredge the ocean and fill the map with dirt, but none of the optional goals need geological stability, and players can safely ignore this number. The new list of goals includes:

  • Wildflower bloom – 25, >22% humidity
  • Fungi in forests – 30, >40% humidity
  • Moss on boulders – 50, >40% humidity, <15 °C
  • Ivy overgrowth – 75, >70% humidity, >15 °C
  • Moss on rock faces – 125, >50% humidity

This list is shorter than usual, but the reason for this will become clear during stage 2. For now, players should set aside the global stats and create as much greenery and clean ocean as possible. And if part of the map becomes too isolated from the Recycling Drone, the Seismic Detonator can carve a path to get there.

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Stage 2

Terra Nil City Tier 2

When stage 2 begins, the ground will start to shake. Then, a few minutes later, an earthquake will hit and cause three Radioactive Bunkers to appear on the map. These bunkers will always show up around the edges of the map on dredged-up land, and they produce a cloud of radiation that extends 11 squares away. Players will need to deal with these bunkers if they want to reclaim the Flooded City.

In addition, the game replaces geological stability with radioactivity, measured in CPM (counts per minute). The remaining optional goals unlock at this point, and all of them want radioactivity to drop to almost nothing.

  • Fireflies – 50, <35 CPM, >5 °C
  • Pelagic fish – 100, <25 CPM
  • Migratory birds return – 100, >15 °C, <30 CPM
  • Kelp forests – 120, <5 °C, <30 CPM
  • Vegetation boom – 150, >90% humidity, >20 °C, <30 CPM
  • Rains begin – >25 °C, >85% humidity, <30 CPM

The tier 2 building list starts with the Mineralizer, Thalassic Purifier, Bamboo Nursery, and Conservatory. Once the Radioactive Bunkers appear, players will also get access to the Radiation Cleanser, Pylon, and Heliocage.

The Thalassic Purifier is the first new biome building. Players can place it on any 3×3 ocean square, but only in an enclosed area. The Purifier will clean all the ocean tiles connected to it and fill them with the lagoon biome, but it can only clean a specific number of tiles. If there are more tiles to clean than the Purifier’s limit, players won’t be able to place this building. Rather than use the dredger at this point, players should use the Mineralizer to create a few rocks that can isolate an area. And if there aren’t enough ocean tiles left, use the Seismic Detonator to create more.

The Bamboo Nursery creates bamboo forests, the next biome type. However, players can only place them in skyscraper frames, which is why it’s so important to recycle all the derelict skyscrapers at the start of stage 1. Players should also be aware that the Nursery is the only biome building on this map that needs greenery tiles.

The Conservatory is a Toxin Scrubber upgrade that generates deciduous forests. Unlike other biomes, deciduous forests can grow on greenery, soil, ash, and concrete, which lets them fill up more of the map than any other biome.

One thing that deciduous forests can’t handle is radiation, but that’s what the last three buildings are for. The first is the Radiation Cleanser, which removes radiation clouds in a radius. Players can’t build new structures inside a radiation zone, so they’ll have to put a Cleanser just outside the cloud and work their way in. Unfortunately, Cleansers need power and either rock or concrete tiles. Tiles cleaned by this building count as soil.

To help the Cleansers move in, players can also build Pylons. Pylons connect to power sources (in this case, the Tidal Turbines) to extend their range. Each Pylon can connect to three other powered objects, including other Pylons, and it doesn’t matter how many connections the original power source has. However, Pylons also need to sit on rock or concrete tiles, and they also count as a connection for the Turbine.

Players will need to leapfrog the Pylons and Cleansers toward the Radiation Bunkers until the Bunker’s tiles are clean enough to build on. There should be enough buildings nearby to manage this, and if there aren’t, players can use the Mineralizer (and possibly the Seismic Detonator) to create a path.

The goal is to place the Heliocage on top of the Bunker, which will stop the radiation cloud and fill all the soil tiles nearby with sunflowers, the final biome. Once players cage the three bunkers, the radiation will drop to acceptable levels, and the cages should produce enough sunflowers to complete the stage.

The hardest part of this stage is reaching the right humidity and temperature to let all four biomes thrive. Bamboo’s ideal humidity is 20 to 60 percent, sunflowers like 50 percent humidity and above, lagoons like 10 to 35 °C, and deciduous forests prefer 5 to 20 °C. So to get every optional goal and every ideal biome without messing with the climate too much, players should follow these steps:

  1. After reaching stage 2, raise the humidity to between 50 and 60 percent.
  2. Raise the temperature to between 10 and 20 °C.
  3. Spread all four biomes across the map and cage the three Bunkers.
  4. After reaching stage 3, raise the humidity to above 90 percent and the temperature to above 25 °C.

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Stage 3

Terra Nil City Tier 3

The Flooded City is the last map before the credits roll, and so the game adds a few extra steps to stage 3. The new building options start with the Flying Recycling Drone, Recycling Silo, Recycling Beacon, Monorail Node (again, for some reason), and Animal Observatory.

The Flying Recycling Drone makes recycling so easy it almost feels like cheating. It’s an upgrade to the regular Recycling Drone, and with it the drone will fly directly to any Node with a Recycling Beacon and then fly back to the center of the map. This means the drone can recycle completely isolated Nodes, and players can recycle them in any order. Since the map is covered in concrete buildings, players can plant Nodes wherever they want as they clean up their buildings.

Constructing the Flying Drone will also unlock two new buildings. The most important building is the Rocket Silo, which players must place in the large pit at the center of the map. The pit counts as deep ocean, so it’s impossible to cover it in rocks or soil, but players may need to recycle any floating buildings that are sitting in the way. Even the Recycling Drone is in the way until players give it the Flying upgrade.

The second building is the Satellite Uplink. This building will automatically launch a satellite into orbit, but to make use of it players will first need to build a rocket.

Building the Rocket Silo will unlock the rocket, but players must build it piece by piece. These pieces are Rocket Thrusters, Comms Array A, Cargo Hold, Comms Array B, Cryo Pods, Comms Array C, Life Support, Comms Array D, and Seed Vault Cockpit. Each rocket stage costs 150 leaves, so players may want to trigger the rain before building it.

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The Satellite Uplink creates a new button in the upper-left corner of the screen called the Seed Vault Uplink. For each Comms Array player’s build, the uplink can look at one of the maps players have completed. This will always display the first version of the map players complete even if they play through the map more than once.

Players must use the buttons on the left to scroll across the map and focus on each of the local bimoes, then hit the target button to collect seeds. Players can collect seeds from the same spot over and over, so this isn’t a hard job. Once all the biome bars for all four climates fill up (the last area is the current Flooded City map), players can recall the satellite. This will drop it into the ocean, and players must collect it using a Recycling Beacon. Doing so will unlock the Seed Vault Cockpit, the last piece of the rocket.

Of course, players must also locate three out of six animal species as usual.

  • Turtle: Needs 20 lagoon tiles
  • Peacock: Needs 24 greenery
  • Panda: Needs 20 bamboo forest, 6 greenery
  • Eagle: Needs 6 derelict skyscraper or skyscraper frame, nearby boars (Bamboo Nurseries don’t count, so recycle them first)
  • Boar: 8 greenery, 12 deciduous forest
  • Sea Otter: 12 ocean, 12 kelp forest (kelp forests appear automatically in deep ocean tiles when players complete the optional goal)

Once players have found three animals, collected all the seeds, recycled every building, and built the rocket, they can blast off and watch the credits roll. However, the game isn’t over just yet, because beating the Flooded City unlocks four challenging new maps.

Terra Nil is available now on Android, iOS, and PC.

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