Quick Look – Terroir

I’ve selected 15 games that I’ve never played from my Steam library and committed to playing each one for at least 45 minutes this month. Terroir is the third game I played from this project.

I know absolutely nothing about wine; I’m not even a wine drinker. But I do a bit about tycoon games & other simulations, and I’ve never really struggled with those even when I know nothing about the business they’re simulating. Not so with Terroir, but I’m not sure that more wine knowledge would have helped.

My first major gripe was that all the tutorials on offer are just text. While it’s great to have written information you can refer back to, there’s a reason most games teach you by having you do things, even if sometimes they hold your hand too much. I probably spent the first 10 minutes in game reading tutorials, and I retained almost none of the information contained within.

Thirty-one is a LOT of lessons before you’ve even started the game.

Going with the default settings, the game has a very very slow start indeed. You only have one field in which you can grow grapes, and during the growing season, there is very limited interactivity. Without any in-game guidance, you might miss your first harvest completely, but even if you don’t, your grapes are likely to be terrible. You start with extremely limited processing options, so bad grapes are really difficult to salvage, and unless you’re really good (or really lucky), your vineyard is going to be running in the red for several years until you manage to get yourself established.

It took a few years, but I managed to get a five star wine shortly before I would have bankrupted myself, but even still, I couldn’t see a point where I’d be able to turn a substantial enough profit to actually be able to do anything like improve my estate or accrue additional growing land. All of the figures seemed way off from a game play perspective, and when you add to that the fact that the actual game play loop wasn’t all that engaging, I knew my time with Terroir was just about done.

Still, I had to check out the chance & circumstance I earned from making a five-star wine – imagine my disappointment when I received less from this bonus than a single month’s maintenance fees! I do enjoy a very slow-paced game on occasion, but this one wasn’t just slow, it felt like I wasn’t moving at all.

Despite the fact that I ended my play session a mere five minutes short of my stated goal, I have absolutely no desire to fire this one up again.

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