Role-Playing Games, Real-Time Strategy and city-building games will always have a special place in my heart when it comes to gaming and one company that comes into mind is Paradox Gaming and all I have to say is this – how the heck did I miss this one?
The idea behind Surviving Mars is very simple with you being a person who is tasked with making a working colony on mars for your sponsor with your sponsor providing you with a couple of benefits that either makes the game easy or harder. There is also a choice where you can decide what type of leader you are such as mayor etc which give certain benefits like the sponsor.
For your colony to work you need to do a couple of things ranging from getting water, creating oxygen, generating power and growing food while keeping your colonist happy so they go around completing the work that needs doing.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? You can create oxygen by using machines or by growing big enough farms that the domes your colonist need to live in (unless you decide to do some terraforming) while water you can get from the air or harvest it from the ground and while this all sounds simple you will find everything breaks down very fast so you can keep on top of all of your supplies.
Keeping up with supplies is a simple task in practice as you have two methods in doing so. The first method is ordering everything you need from Earth such as pre-fabs buildings, cute drones and things such as metal or you can mine it from Mars itself by building extractors and creating your own supply line. Building your own supply line, while the best idea in practice, is quite hard but rewarding once you master but I have found that ordering what you need from Earth is better while focusing on making money until you get to the point where you have the spare resources to be able to do so.
The overall gameplay of Surviving Mars is fun but like most Paradox games once you learn the tricks to the game you will find it is pretty easy but half the fun is being able to simply make a large colony and like Rimworld you simply wait to see how it dies rather than make it as successful as possible.
Some events happen in-game to make it harder such as your buildings breaking down, sandstorms that stop buildings working, comets dropping and even a possible global war on Earth that threatens to wipe themselves out which means your sponsor isn’t able to help you out with ordering supplies!
Surviving Mars is a pretty game and I find many of the drones and robots really cute but overall the game does have a cartoonish feel but I feel it does work. Just look at the image below and tell me you don’t think that poor little drone doesn’t look cute.
The music sounds nice and as you would expect have a spacey feel but what I am disappointed in is the radio stations themselves. While the music works for the setting it is a shame that the presenters don’t speak about what is going on such as building a wonder or if a comet is smashing down right now but instead seems so static.
At the time of getting ready to publish this review, I was about to say there was no story but I just hit what they called a mystery and man was it hard to do. I am assuming there are quite a few of them and this one involved, with some sad irony, an infection that’s going around Earth killing people that came from Mars. I am half assuming it has different outcomes more so if you find out about it in time but I enjoyed it.
It involved having to research and I ended up having to direct everyone away from what they were doing and building farms left and right to keep up with the demand for the cure while my own people were dying off and I couldn’t replace them from Earth at all while at the same time I was not yet set up ready for births on Mars. I ended up completing it by having to build another dome and building nothing but farms and a bit to keep people happy while hoping the forty-odd people I had left stayed alive long enough to finish growing Curetato.
If you enjoy city building games and are looking for one where you are able to fail and mass murder a bunch of people you may want to give Surviving Mars a try!
Need to quote me?
Ellis, M (2021) Surviving Mars: My Review. [online] Tweaked for your Pleasure. Available at: https://snat.co.uk/reviews/video-games/surviving-mars-my-review.html [Accessed 24 Jul 2021]