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Single Biome Planet / Video Games

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Single Biome Planets in video games.

  • In the Visual Novel Bionic Heart, global warming has destroyed Earth’s climate. As a result, rainclouds have blocked out the sun, and it's always raining. Because growing food is near impossible, people are forced to eat flavored foam.
  • Body Blows: Zig-Zagged. While some planets introduced in Galactic play this straight (Miasma and Gellorn-5, with the former having an in-story explanation being the result of moon sized asteroid destroying almost all life on that planet.) and a third Planet, called Eclipse, is a Tidally Locked Planet, Feminon and Titanica avert this by having diverse biomes similar to Earth's.
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  • In Bomberman Hero, this is played straight with Primus, a forest planet, and averted with the Earth-like Planet Bomber, as well as Kanatia and Mazone, which have a few distinct biomes (volcano and desert for Kanatia, jungle and ice for Mazone).
  • In Borderlands, Pandora came across as this. Of all the areas visited, 95% are either desert or trash dump, and the two can and often do overlap. The first DLC and the sequel go out of their way to avert it, though, introducing swamps, glaciers, grassy highlands, jungles and tropical zones. Still sucks to live there, though.
  • Civilization IV:
    • Some of the options and mods create a one-biome planet map.
    • The "Fantasy Realm" setting averts this trope as hard as possible.
  • Dawn of War zigzags across the series:
    • The first game takes place on Tartarus, which seems to have a lot of lush jungle and some snowy mountains, a lot of ruined cities (you land in the middle of an ork Waaagh!) and by the end of the game, a Mordor-looking hellscape due to Sindri's ascension going Just as Planned.
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    • Winter Assault takes place on Lorn V, an Ice Planet (the Imperial Guard debuted as a faction in this one, which is why Guardsmen occasionally rub themselves to keep warm or watch their breath).
    • Dark Crusade averts it completely on Kronus, which features an Earth-like climate with snowy polar regions, lush jungles, plains, cities, savannah and rocky desert.
    • Soulstorm takes place across the Kaurava system, consisting of four Single Biome Planets: Kaurava I is a City Planet, Kaurava II is all tropical jungle, Kaurava III is entirely made of ochre wasteland, and Kaurava IV has been taken over by Chaos and so looks nothing like Earth.
    • The sequel and its expansions all happen in a single subsector, which consists of Meridian (City Planet), Calderis (Desert World, but it has some verdant areas), Typhon (Jungle World, later a barren ball of lava). Aurelia returns from the Warp in Chaos Rising, where it's become an Ice World during its centuries outside of realspace.
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  • Descent II: Quartzon=water planet, Brimspark=lava planet, Limefrost Spiral=ice planet, Baloris Prime=desert planet.
  • Most worlds in the Disgaea titles manage to avert this, with each chapter taking place in a different location on the same world (barring any trips to other worlds). Disgaea 5, however, plays this incredibly straight, not only having single-biome worlds, but also distinct themes (Ex. Spirit Internment is a giant graveyard Netherworld, Scorching Flame and Icic-Hell are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Flowerful has around the clock tornadoes, etc.)
  • This is the case for the planets in Doki-Doki Universe. There's an urban planet, an ice planet, a desert planet, and more.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters 2 has this: A desert world, an ocean world, an ice world, a cloud world, and Mordor. Also, all the "optional" worlds.
  • Dune II. Arrakis/Dune is a Desert Planet as in the original novels. Also, the home planet of the Ordos is said to be "frigid and ice-covered" in Dune II and just "icy" in Dune 2000... i.e. an Ice Planet.
  • Frequently averted in Dwarf Fortress. Each of the randomly-generated planets created have dozens if not hundreds of diverse, interconnected biomes that track everything from vegetation, to temperature, to elevation, to even individual rock layers. If one messes with the default settings for long enough, it is possible to generate a water world, however.
  • Endless Space has Terran, Arid, Desert, Tundra, Arctic, Jungle, Lava, Asteroid, and three kinds of Gas Giant. It's an unusual example, because on top of that there's a system of "anomalies", planetary features not necessarily consistent with the planet type or star type. So while a Terran or Jungle planet can have the Garden of Eden anomaly... so can a Gas Giant. It adds a pleasing amount of variety to what would otherwise be just an expansive example of this trope. By far the silliest is when the Lava planet has the Polaris Factory (read: Santa on the north pole in space).
  • Many planets in Freelancer are themed. Pittsburgh, for example, seems to be a barren desert filled with mines, Cambridge is a planet full of blissfully green plains, Hokkaido is an Archipelago Planet, Manhattan is a Planet City, New Berlin seems to be a Snow Planet, Leeds is a Heavy Industry Planet capable of blowing out entire nebulae of smoke, and so on.
  • Every planet/track in the F-Zero series. Ranges from Mute City (not specifically stated to cover the entire world, but is commented on in the manual as a single city of BILLIONS of inhabitants) to Port Town to Death Wind, Sand Ocean, Fire Field, White Land, you name it. A veritable catalogue of one biome worlds.
  • Halo:
    • Averted on the eponymous Halo rings, where one encounters several different biomes, from swamps, to beaches, to snowy mountains.
    • The Ark both averts and plays the trope straight. It's shaped like a flower, with the massive ring production facility at its center. Each of the "petals" is a completely different biodome.
    • The Expanded Universe does contain a few examples of this trope, such as the homeworld of the Drones, a (rain)Forest Planet; and the Grunt homeworld, a swampy planet with a methane atmosphere.
    • The agricultural world of Harvest (featured in Halo: Contact Harvest), which is all farmland.
    • According to Eric Nylund (the man whose novels set much of the groundwork for the background lore) the reasons for certain planets to be devoted over to farming or mining or urban and industrial centers has more do to with economics than anything else. For example, some planets have more hours of daylight than is typical for Earth and happen to have huge tracts of very rich volcanic soil, leading to very large crop yields. Raising crops on such planets inevitably becomes very inexpensive, and it costs less on other planets to have the food imported from the farm worlds than it does to grow it locally. As the war rages on and many of the Outer Colonies where much of the farming goes on are lost, and the Cole Protocol restricts intersteller travel, many inner planets reluctantly take to growing their own food instead of having it imported.
    • As shown in Halo: Reach, Reach also averts this. There are mountains, urban areas, lakeside areas...etc.
    • Halo 5: Guardians: Kamchatka is all covered in ice and snow, and is implied to have been created that way by the Forerunners. Meridian is all glassy wasteland, but that's because it was glassed by the Covenant; it was originally quite Earth-like.
  • According to the supplemental material, the planet of Kharak in Homeworld is a subversion that's gradually becoming a straight example; the huge equatorial deserts have been slowly expanding to cover more and more of the surface for tens of thousand of years at least, with the remaining temperate regions screened only by mountains. Since the planet is reaching the end of its geological activity, said mountains will eventually be eroded flat and reduce Kharak to a true Desert Planet. Except that the deranged ruler of a vast interstellar Empire orders it carpet-bombed with thermobaric weapons for no particularly sensible reason and it ends up being a Black Glass Planet instead. The extreme conditions near Kharak's equator—daytime temperatures in summer can exceed a hundred degrees Celsius—and the presence of polar seas instead of polar ice caps tend to suggest that Kharak was probably always a strong candidate for this trope, even in its distant past. Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak is the first game in the series to explore the hardships involved in living in such an environment in any detail.
  • A lot of space colonization games appear to do this. Imperium Galactica 2, for instance, only has single biome planets, where the type of planet influences which races can settle there effectively. (Though the surface views of such planets do sometimes show a mix of terrain.)
  • Several planets in Jet Force Gemini are this. There's Goldwood, Tawfret, Cerulean, RithEssa, Eschebone, Water Ruin, etc.
  • Averted in Killzone. The planet Vekta contains cities, beaches, swamps, jungles, snowy mountain tops and some other stuff inbetween. Also averted in Killzone 2 and 3 where Helghan has oceans and at least two biomes- arctic and desert in gameplay- and is described in canon as having predator-filled jungles. Mostly wasteland, having a toxic atmosphere, and everyone there trying to kill you makes it a Death World.
  • Kirby Super Star and its Video Game Remake, in the "Milky Way Wishes" subgame, reveals Pop Star, which is Earth-like with its multiple biomes, to be in an entire solar system full of these — including three textbook examples in the form of Aquarius (Ocean Planet), Skyhigh (Cloud Planet), and Hotbeat (Volcano Planet). Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has you visit planets which subvert and avert this trope, except for the planet where you fight the True Final Boss.
  • Lost Planet. The setting of the first game is the Ice Planet EDN III. The planet gains more variety (jungles and deserts) in the second game.
  • Subverted in Major Stryker. The planets are referred to as "Lava Planet", "Arctic Planet" and "Desert Planet," but all three have different biomes for different levels (for example, Lava Planet has "Water Zone" and "Land Zone" in addition to the "Lava zone")
  • Mass Effect: Usually averted: most planets that aren't outright Death Worlds have multiple biomes when viewed from orbit, but the Player Character only visits a small section of the planet.
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • The game appears to be mocking the trope with the planet Yamm, which is an ocean planet with tons of beaches. Everywhere. Sound like paradise? The planet is plagued with extremely high temperatures and nightmarish hurricanes year round, which is what happens when a planet is 90% ocean.
      • Pragia, where Jack's loyalty mission takes place, is overrun by out-of-control jungles resulting from a batarian terraforming effort Gone Horribly Right. They had intended to turn the planet into a farm world to feed their empire, but their genetically engineered food crops took to the planet too well and are projected to completely exhaust the soil across the entire planet within centuries.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Justified. Every habitable planet in the game (and two that aren't) was terraformed by Benevolent Precursors whose technology is currently malfunctioning due to the Scourge, and Ryder only visits a small section anyway. Elaadan is naturally a near-lifeless desert due to tidal locking, Voeld is in an ice age due to the Scourge pulling it into a more distant orbit, and Havarl's jungles are growing out of control.
  • Most of the planets in the first two Master of Orion games appear to be this, although "Terran" planets are supposed to resemble earth. Of course, the only effect that environment has on gameplay is determining maximum population capacity, and preventing players of the first game from colonizing half the galaxy until they develop technology to cope with hostile environments. The third game averts this.
  • Meteos is chock full of these, containing most of the examples listed above and more. There's a Canyon planet, a Windy planet, a Flower planet, a Heated-iron planet, and so on.
  • Both planets in Metroid Prime: Hunters (Alinos is fiery, Arcterra is icy), and all planets in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption except Bryyo (which has at least four biomes, similar to the ones seen in Tallon IV from Metroid Prime). Averted with the other planets in the series.
  • Minecraft averts this: there are several biomes available, with varying degrees of probability. If you start in an arctic biome and don't like it, just keeping walking until you find a biome you do like (note: may take a very long walk). Before biomes were added to the game, however, the trope was in full effect.
    • The 1.13 update adds a new world generation mode known as Buffet mode, creating a world of only a single biome.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception fits this trope. Even Earthrealm is single-biome in Konquest mode. Most of the other realms fit the Mordor pattern, though Seido (Orderrealm) is a cloud world, and Edenia is marked by a lot of waterfalls. Much less so in Armageddon.
  • Both played straight and spectacularly averted in Myst IV: Revelation. Spire is revealed to be a literal Cloud World, a series of floating towers apparently orbiting a cometlike body; while Haven has seacoast, jungle, savanna, and swamp within a few minutes' walk of each other.
  • No Man's Sky has every last one of the different biomes sans city—even Cloud Worlds show up, though rarely.
  • The Algol star system in the Phantasy Star series has a few examples. Palma is a temperate Earth-like planet in Phantasy Star I, but gets blown up in Phantasy Star II. Motavia was a desert world in I, is terraformed into a farm world by II, and is in the process of reverting back into a desert world in IV due to the failing climate control systems. Dezoris remains an ice world through the entire series. Rykros is a crystal world due to having a comet-like elliptical orbit, only nearing its star once every thousand years. It turns out the entire solar system was created by a godlike entity known as the Great Light as the seal on the dimensional prison of its enemy, the Profound Darkness.
  • The Pikmin planet averts this, probably because it's heavily implied to be Earth.
  • Populous goes nuts: There are plains worlds, desert worlds, ice worlds, volcano worlds, computer worlds, alien worlds, worlds made of cake, worlds where everyone's a pig, worlds where everyone's French, worlds where everyone's Japanese...The architecture reflects this, as do the inhabitants, but on plains, desert, ice, and volcano worlds, they'll always be toga-clad humans who are promoted to medieval knights, with the religious center being either an ankh or a skull.
  • Ratchet & Clank does this with nearly all of the planets, with what you see in the small slice the level being representative of the entire world. Averted however with Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, which takes place almost entirely on one planet and features forest, polar and ruined city environments, among others.
  • Ristar is made of this trope. Every level is such a planet. It gets especially ridiculous on Planet Sonata, which is made entirely of musical instruments.
  • All of the planets in Rodina have variation on terrain, but no variation in climate. Jarilo and Perun are both desert worlds, Morena is a frozen ball of ice, and Veles is essentially the planet Venus.
  • Rogue Galaxy has several of these, from the desert planet of Rosa, to the jungle planet of Juraika. The US release added an ocean planet to the mix.
  • Sigma Star Saga had a Forest Planet, a Fire Planet, an Ice Planet, a Sand Planet, a Ghost Planet, and an Ocean Planet. the Ocean Planet is Earth
  • There are four kinds of planets in Sins of a Solar Empire: Terran Planets (like Earth), Ice Planets, Volcanic Planets, and Desert Planets. Averted impressively by the planet textures, however. Some of the desert planets feature large seas, for example, and greenery can be found on peninsulas extending into the oceans. The expansion pack for Rebellion adds another seven planet types.
  • Both played straight and averted in Skies of Arcadia, which takes place on a Cloud Planet whose various floating continents contain the standard range of climates.
  • The Space Quest series had a few of these.
  • In Speed Kills, the planets of Angkor and Void XIII are implied to be a jungle world and an ice world, respectively. This has no actual impact on the races which occur there, however.
  • All planets in Spore are either: freezing cold, scorching hot, plagued by eternal storms, constantly bombarded by space debris, some combination of the previously listed four, or are varying levels of temperate and capable of supporting life, in which case they're covered pole-to-pole in lightly forested, temperate plains with clear skies, shallow beaches where the land meets the water and the occasional bit of rain.
    • Somewhat averted in the Space Stage and Galactic Adventures, where players can use props and the tools to mimic more biome variety.
  • The indie game Starbound features these. Not only do you have your typical planetary biomes sans city, you have asteroid belts, water worlds, toxic poison worlds, dark worlds and, before they were removed in the full release, even tentacle planets (though these are explained in-universe as being worlds where a mutated monster found its way into the planet's core and ate everything). However, while every planet have a specific "primary biome", most have multiple other biomes as well; a frozen ice planet can have forests, grassy fields and mountains, while a mutated alien world can branch into jungles or twisted fields of flesh. You can also find completely different biomes a short distance below the surface, if you care to dig a little.
  • StarCraft seems to follow this trope with Aiur a lush jungle world over its whole surface, Korhal a blasted post-atomic wasteland, Mar Sara a desert planet, Shakuras as an ice planet etc. The only planet in the whole game with varying surface features seems to be Tarsonis, the Confederate capital, and even that is only discernable in the rendered cinematics, not in-game.
  • Starcraft II covers mostl of these categories with some world or other.
    • Desert: Xil. Meinhoff and Mar Sara also lean in this direction. Wherever the Umojan research station is in Heart of the Swarm.
    • Jungle: Bel'shir, Aiur. Heart of the Swarm adds Zerus.
    • Dark: Shakuras, several nameless worlds seen in the Zeratul missions.
    • Volcano: Char, Redstone
    • City: Korhal, New Fulsom seems to be a planet sized prison.
    • Farm: Agria's name suggests it is one of these, and the terrain does indeed have numerous farms.
    • Garbage: Deadma's port.
    • Ice: Kaldir in Heart of the Swarm.
    • Cloud: Skygeirr in Heart of the Swarm.
  • Frequently played straight in Star Fox:
    • The original SNES game portayed Fortuna as being very Earth-like, complete with plant-filled plains and expanses of water. It also was home to big-ass creatures. Fortuna is portrayed similarly in Star Fox: Assault. The reason it looks different in Star Fox 64 is due to a writer error: the Lylat System's resident Ice Planet is actually called "Fichina".
    • Subverted and justified with Aquas in 64. It used to be a perfectly normal planet, but after one of Andross's bio-weapons shattered the ice caps, it flooded over and became a pure ocean world.
    • Also justified with Zoness in 64. Whatever it was like originally, Andross has been using it to dump all his toxic waste. This has completely screwed up the planet, and turned it into a big waste site. The battle is over an ocean, but it in unclear whether the entire planet is supposed to be an ocean.
    • The series can't seem to decide on what exactly Solar is, in Star Fox 64 it appears to be a red dwarf star but in Star Fox Command it is referred to as "the red-hot planet".
    • Star Fox Adventures plays with the trope. The four satellital areas of Sauria (DarkIce Mines, CloudRunner Fortress, Walled City and Dragon Rock), while all single-biome, are actually parts of the planet that were separated from it when General Scales removed the Spellstones from the two Force Point Temples, and they return to their original locations during the game's ending. Sauria itself, meanwhile, has a variety of biomes so it simply averts the trope.
  • In Stellaris playable species originate on one of nine planet types arranged into three climate categories: Continental (Earth-like), Ocean, Tropical, Alpine, Arctic, Tundra, Arid, Desert, and Savanna. Species by default have a 100% habitability rating on their homeworld and 80% on other planets of the same biome, decreasing to 60% on planets within the same climate and 20% on all other "normal" planets. However there are techs that increase habitability ratings and planets can be terraformed to different biomes or Genetic Adaptation can change the preferred biome of a planet's population. There are also a number of uninhabitable planets that can't be colonized or terraformed but can be mined for resources, and Gaia worlds that are miraculously as hospitable to all species as their own homeworlds, and Tomb Worlds whose prior inhabitants nuked themselves into oblivion but on rare occasions have upliftable species that can be used to colonize other Tomb Worlds.
  • The planets visited by the Mii Force in the eponymous Streetpass Mii Plaza game veer towards this: Leisura is a beach world and Aquatis an ocean planet. Roohin and Amyuzia are far more peculiar, being a ruins planet and a carnival planet respectively.
  • In Subnautica initially plays this straight with Planet 4546B being almost entirely ocean save for at least two islands and an arctic landmass, it then completely subverts the trope by showing just how diverse an ocean planet can be! From volcanic sea floor vents to lush coral reefs and kelp forests, all in the guise of a simple ocean planet, it really goes a long way towards giving the trope the finger.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has plenty of Single Biome bodies, in single biome galaxies. You've got the Good Egg Galaxy, which has a planet of each elemental type, Melty Molten Galaxy which is all lava planets, Beach Bowl/Drip Drop/Bonefin Galaxy which is all water planets and quite a few more strange single biome ones including a haunted house galaxy (Ghostly Galaxy), Hailfire Peaks (Freezeflame Galaxy), two battlestation themed galaxies/planets (Battlerock and Dreadnought Galaxies), a Level Ate galaxy (Sweet Sweet Galaxy), and one where all the planets are autumn themed. This also applies to the levels of Super Mario Galaxy 2, of which there are even more per world.
  • Thunder Force series often has each stage a separate single biome planet. Sole exception is V where it take place on Earth.
  • Trove averts and plays it straight. The aversion comes from each of the Prime Worlds having several biomes (which are randomly generated as to their placement and location relative to one another). Two of the Elemental Worlds, Water and Wind also have some varying biomes to house their dungeons. The straight example is the Fire world, which has lava galore interspersed with a few motes of land. Then there's the Geode location, which appears to be an endless desert, and the Shadow worlds look desolate, bleak, and downright depressing. Of course, according to the backstory, the world was shattered into pieces...
  • Warframe: It's unclear how much of each planet we actually see, but several planets are explicitly single-biome. Venus is an ice world with one small spot that is slowly being terraformed (it's still very cold, but at least you don't need heat lamps to survive), and Europa and Pluto are also ice worlds. Earth was terraformed into a planet-wide forest to keep anyone from doing anything useful with it, though there are a handful of clear spots. Jupiter and Saturn, being gas giants, don't really have biomes, just cities in the clouds.
  • Xaind Sleena has this in spades: Cleemalt Soa is an airless world orbiting a Saturn-like planet, Lagto Soa is a jungle planet, Cleedos Soa a desert planet, Guwld Soa a volcanic planet, and finally Kworal Soa an ocean planet.
  • Z: The star system around which the game is set has a desert planet, a volcanic planet, an arctic planet, a jungle planet, and a city planet.


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