Title: Surviving Mars
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: Single-player video game
Official Site: Surviving Mars
Release Date: Thursday 15 March 2018
Where To Buy It: Xbox Games Store, PlayStation Store, Steam
For a game that is set on a red planet, I was pleasantly surprised to find it so colorful. Paradox Interactive has been teasing Surviving Mars for a while with information such as the Mysteries of Mars and 80% of the planet being geographically accurate, so it was nice to see if they lived up to expectations… and they did.
Surviving Mars is not for the faint-hearted, it gets hectic quite quickly. The game goes from a casual intriguing game to a chaotic mess in 0.8 seconds. It was great. Players start off with a simple menu screen that does the job while showing off what you will have in store with a beautiful background of the gameplay. The planet is huge, however, you only pick a segment of it to play and explore per game. The space-size is not an issue, but it would have been nice knowing I can change around during the game. I soon forgot this once I started the game up.
Drones were the first thing that I got attached to while playing, mostly because of the customization tool. It is a shame I could not separately color code them (then again you cannot even do that with The Sims), but the fact that you can name them is a little detail that goes a long way. I started naming them after my pets and eventually scraped Rolando because he was a useless drone that would not do as he is told. Little things like that went a long way. I loved that the drones collected the material on their own when requested to build a structure. It helped when you have a lot going on later in the game. The fun did not end there.
The game is gorgeous and hilariously funny for a base-building simulator. At times I was laughing at the irony that I was creating and the sarcastic humor that was included in the pop-ups. Choices pop up early on in the game and it affects the gameplay throughout, so you have to choose wisely on your responses. There is no fix gameplay, even the research tree changes everytime you play so that it is more random and unique. Each time you research it gets more expensive and you do not realize until you are close to your limit of money. Players do start off with a high amount, but it does not last.
The main goal of this game is to create a sustainable planet for human life to live on, well that’s what I assumed it was as I struggled to find any real goals on the game. I felt I lost some motivation because there was not really a goal to reach apart from my own. This was the only big downfall I had for the game as I loved every other part. One of my other nitpicks was the fact that the controls were oddly chosen, so I changed this straight away. The controls were not really a big deal.
Water is an important part of human life and without it, humans would die. I realized this super quick when I finally got my humans into the dome to live. I thought that I was doing well, but all of a sudden everything was in red and my humans were dying. It was a lot of trial and error. The game has a huge domino effect and you really do have to keep an eye on everything or else you have to fix everything which takes time. It was so easy to get caught up in Surviving Mars at how quickly everything can get hectic. The cables break easily and this affects power, water, and your humans. All of this from a tiny cable was insane. The challenge was warmly welcomed and it is not as simple as I thought it would be. Even after finding a water source on Mars, trekking down to it and connecting the pipes to it with a water extract, I still somehow went down in water levels. I especially found it funny that during my water shortage I could still build a lake so my humans could be dehydrated but happy. My game was a disaster, but I weirdly loved it.
The details and all the management is really astounding, but I am not surprised since the publishers also published Cities: Skylines which is a nine out of ten on steam. Another detail that stood out was choosing who can come to live on Mars. You can pick what kind of people can live there such as having fit and healthy people and banning Vegans. The choice is really up to you and you can check how they are doing throughout the game.
There is so much to explore and I have not even touched the tip of the iceberg with this game. I recommend going to check it out yourself!
Verdict: A detailed well-executed game that keeps you busy throughout. It does need an end goal that is more clear so that players know what to do next when they have started out sustaining life on Mars. Overall, a must buy!
- Great base-building game
- Good roleplaying with customisation details
- Fun and challenging
- Controls oddly were chosen
- No set goal and guidance