Previous versions of space colonization game TerraGenesis encouraged you to explore the galaxy and settle its planets. The eagerly-awaited 5.0 update will try to smash them to bits.

Yep, with a new "world killers" setting, you can unleash extinction events on your worlds and see how they survive.

It's considered an expert challenge, for those who've been enjoying the settle-'em-up indie game since it launched a couple of years back. Can the ecosystem you've been carefully fostering survive an incoming asteroid? We were told at this year's GDC event in San Francisco that it IS possible to stop the fiery ball of death (as scientists call them) but more than likely your challenge will come in the form of a rebuilding plan once devastation strikes.

The creators of the game are fans of TV's The Expanse, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars novels and games like Alpha Centauri – and it shows. It's a sci-fi fan's dream. The cool part, though, is that TerraGenesis uses genuine NASA data, so the planets you visit are legit. We guess that makes it a science nerd's dream as well.

The 5.0 update will be the most significant so far, and is due on May 16th. It introduces a bunch of neat mechanics, such as:


Shallows have been added to the water and billowing clouds populate the sky, making those ultra-realistic worlds look way more pretty.


You can go back in time and try to terraform our own world during periods in prehistory. Fancy seeing if you manage the supercontinent Pangea better than, erm, nature did? Go for it.


Time for some soul searching. As yourself how you feel about conquering a planet that already has inhabitants. Will you make peaceful first contact, or march in and plant your flag in their settlements like some sort of massive space racist? Pre-existing populations will be procedurally generated.

Sounds like fun, and also a massive responsibility. TerraGenesis is available for free now on iOS and Android. The beautiful 5.0 update will land on May 16th.

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