Surviving Mars – Take it Slow and Steady


Release date: March 15, 2018

Developer: Haemimont Games

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Mode: Single-player video game

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh

Genres: Simulation Video Game, Strategy video game

AButtonGames Take

This colonizing simulation game looks both difficult and rewarding. I’ve always been a fan of building things (ask my girlfriend about what I do on Fallout) and trying to survive Mars looks pretty fun. As you can see below, other critics have a pretty positive attitude, and for the lower price category of 40.00 USD it may just be worth picking up and giving it a whirl. Are you up to the task of Surviving Mars?

Game Description

“Will you be among the first colonists on the red planet?

The first humans to call Mars their new home will need to be our best, brightest, and most eager. Sign up today to be first in line for news and updates about Surviving Mars and earn special in-game rewards — and potentially name an in-game colonist!

Be resourceful

It’s going to take a lot of materials to build your new colony — and a call home for a resupply won’t exactly come with next-day shipping! To survive and thrive on Mars, you’ll need to know what local resources you have to rely on.

If you lived here, you’d be dome by now

Before your human colonists arrive, they’ll need a place to hang their helmets. Construct, customize, and control habitat domes, and give your residents a place to work and play. Oh, and a place to breathe, too; that’s important.

Mars-terious Occurrences

You may not be alone on the red planet — each playthrough has the option of adding a randomly selected “Mystery” plot event that can dramatically alter the course of your colony. Inspired by science-fiction stories from Asimov and Clarke, the Mysteries of Mars can lead to grand discoveries… or devastation!”

Metacritic  – Rating: 77

PCGAMER -By: Fraser Brown – Rating: 80

“Humans don’t start coming to Mars until they can survive there, so all the infrastructure needs to be established first. By the time the first human set foot on the planet, I had an elaborate life support network pumping oxygen and electricity to everything from domes to drones, as well as lots of ideas about what to tackle next. The list of potential objectives is daunting, but by not forcing you to worry about the needs of the colonists first, Surviving Mars has a forgiving early game.

Depending on the bonuses that you get from your chosen mission sponsor, you’ll also get some extra help. The easiest sponsor to pick for your first game is the International Mars Mission, netting you a substantial budget. Money doesn’t mean anything on Mars, but it’s used to buy cargo that can be sent over from Earth, helping out until you become self-sufficient.

Nothing else marries survival and city-building so deftly.

Ultimately you’re setting up the foundation of your production chain. Despite its survival bent, Surviving Mars still follows the same pattern as Haemimont’s Tropico, turning resources into finished products and building whole industries out of them, all while trying to keep everyone happy, or at least placated. It’s something familiar to hold onto when the curve balls start flying.

Even dust can be dangerous, and Mars is exceedingly dusty. All that dirt loves getting stuck on solar panels, causing power issues and mechanical problems. It’s a low-key but persistent threat that becomes a micromanagement nightmare as you try to make sure that every panel is looked after by drones and every building gets serviced before it inevitably breaks down.”

PCWorld  – By Hayden Dingman – Raing: 3.5 Stars

“You’ll land your first rocket, packed with drones and whatever supplies you could carry—a bit of concrete, a bit of metal. You’ll build a solar panel, some cables, maybe a concrete extractor. You’ll start hunting for underground water sources to exploit, or if you’re unlucky you’ll be forced to rely on condensing scant amounts of moisture from the air.

It’s rough. Precarious. Chances are you’ll work for at least an hour or two before humans ever step one single foot on Mars, and for good reason—once they’re there, they can die. One miscalculation in your oxygen supply, or the amount of food you have on hand, and the whole colony could be wiped out. It pays to go slowly, to build water tanks and batteries and oxygen tanks as stockpiles, to get some research under your belt.

Then you can finally build your first human settlement, a little oasis of green grass in a vast red desert. You’ll charter a rocket, bring up your first starry-eyed settlers, rejoice that you can finally extract your own metals instead of importing them from Earth. You’ll cross your fingers and hope they make it through the first ten years. If you’re lucky, the first Martian child might even be born.”

IGN – By: TJ Hafer  – Rating: 7.8

“You can certainly make your life harder on purpose by inviting alcoholics and antisocial creeps.”

The Verdict

If you can stick it out through an unforgiving and poorly explained learning phase, there’s a lot of excitement, challenge, and customization to enjoy beneath and beyond the grand, glass habitation domes of Surviving Mars. I wish I’d had more reasons to care about the people in my colony than just the balance sheets for synthetic polymers and microchips, but at the end of the Martian day, it’s like a SimCity sandbox where everyone can die at any time because you made a minor miscalculation in your electrical grid. And that’s actually pretty exciting.”



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Chris Mumpton
AButton Games Administrator

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