Terra Nil on Steam Deck Settings and Performance

Terra Nil on Steam Deck Performance

Screenshot from Terra Nil showing a device burning the ground with a ring of fire.

Although Terra Nil comes with an “unknown” grading from Valve, it can be played on the Steam Deck with a few tweaks. 

Overall performance isn’t perfect. You can expect frame drops in the range of 30 to 60 with 40 being the average. But what’s interesting is that because Terra Nil is an isometric viewpoint, frame drops are rarely ever felt. I’d even go as far as saying you’ll likely never spot them unless you have the Steam Deck performance overlay enabled. 

Visually, everything pops and looks lovely on the Steam Deck’s 800p screen or when the Deck is docked. I’ve been running the game at 720p on my TV with FSR on and set to five and it looks just as good as it does on PC as far as I’m concerned. 

There is an issue with the default controls not working well, but that’s easily fixed by changing the controller configuration to a community layout (I’ve uploaded a RetroResolve controller layout, which is the one I’ve been using and it works great). 

Terra Nil Steam Deck Settings

Screenshot showing a barren wasteland with a hint of greenery.

There isn’t much in the way of settings. You’ve got the screen resolution, whether it’s full screen or not, and the choice to turn vsync on and off. 

Thankfully, you don’t really need to mess with anything. If you’re after even smoother performance you could switch the resolution to 1152 by 720 and then use FSR to upscale the image, but I don’t think that’s necessary. 

One setting I would recommend changing is “enable edge panning.” With this on, when the mouse cursor reaches the edge of the screen, the whole screen moves with it. By turning this off, you won’t accidentally move the entire world while trying to access the edge of the screen. 

With the controller configuration mentioned above, the left stick moves the entire screen anyway, so the edge panning feature becomes more of an annoyance than anything else. 

Terra Nil (In-game Settings)
Screen Resolution 1280×800
Full screen On
Vsync On
General (Optional)
Enable Edge Panning Off
Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)
TDP: 10 Estimated Battery Life: 2 Hours
Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×700 FSR: ON (Docked Mode)
GPU Usage: 74% Temperature: 68 degrees
Battery Drain 17.8 watts
Extra Info
Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen Yes
Valve Grading Unknown
Performance Rating: 3/5

Bugs and Issues

Screenshot showing a wasteland with devices hooked up to restart plantlife.

While there hasn’t been an onslaught of issues, I did find upon completing one of the first tasks, the survival book wouldn’t close, which meant I couldn’t progress. Closing the game down and reloading fixed this issue sharply, though. 

I checked online and this does appear to be an issue multiple users have suffered, so I’d expect it to be patched at some point in the future. 


Screenshot showing a lush landscape with a river poking through the upper right.

Terra Nil is a chill game. Imagine Sim City but instead of building a megalopolis, the goal is to bring life back to a ruined world. Soil is dying, and it’s your job to reinvigorate the land with lush greeny, plantlife, and bring animals back to help balance a precarious ecosystem. 

I’ve enjoyed my time testing out Terra Nil, and I wasn’t expecting it to run as well as it does. If you’re after something a little different that’s sure to keep you planning and optimizing, Terra Nil is well worth checking out. 

Recommended Badge

All images captured on Steam Deck. Review code provided by Epic Games.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.