Surviving Mars – Xbox One Review
If you believe the naysayers planet earth is in the middle of a long and slow painful death. We’ve ravaged the planet for years and it can’t take anymore. So what choice do we have but to look to the stars at that big, beautiful red ball called Mars. That’s right folks. We’ve wrecked earth so now it’s time to plumber Mars for all its worth. So spacemen and spacewomen or should that be spacepeople? It’s time to zip up your favourite space suit because where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Haemimont the developer of Surviving Mars have a rich history of sim games most notably their Tropico franchise. Like other sims before it it’s up to you to build an infrastructure that’s capable of sustaining a thriving community but this time it’s on Mars which brings its own set of unique problems. Being a wuss I picked the easy start option and after picking a landing site I was good to go. Picking your landing site allows you to see the surrounding terrain and any resources that are available for you to farm for vital resources which you will need to build and survive but this nice simple introduction hides what is an extremely complex and unforgiving sim.
The first couple of buildings that you will need to get up and running are pointed out to you via the game’s build menu and the first half an hour or so quickly flew by as my drones went about their business gathering resources from my cement plant. My other buildings went up with ease and soon I had a mini hub bristling with activity. From here on in everything went tits up very quickly.
The hand holding that helped me through my first hour quickly disappeared and I was left completely on my own to work everything else out. I was throwing up buildings that I thought would help expand my settlement only to realise they were useless and just drained my precious resources or even worse broke down with no way for me to repair them. As you can imagine wasting your resources which are few and far between is infuriating and led me to restart over and over again. But this just made me all the more determined to succeed.
I’ve lost count of the times I had to restart but perseverance is key to surviving on Mars and I would urge anyone to stick at it. Mars has already been mapped for you a nice handy grid placed over it for reference. Each sector can be scanned which will reveal whether there are resources like water and cement among others for you to plunder. This is a great help when your deciding which way you should expand your colony as it grows in size. Uncovering anomalies is hugely beneficial and can help you to unlock new buildings, research and research points. Spending the research points on various research trees is the key to success and it’s something that you must do to be successful.
The game gives off a great feeling of isolation even more so if you turn off the soundtrack. Mars is a desolate and hostile planet when natural disasters can tear apart and obliterate those precious modules that supply you with water, oxygen and power. If that doesn’t keep you on your toes the constant maintenance of machinery which will need monitoring to stop anything breaking down as the red dust of Mars builds up on anything that stays static for to long and slowly grinds it to a halt.
Keeping everything everything running will eventually allow you to build a habitat so you can start to populate Mars. Sadly as we all know us humans are a difficult bunch and only do we bring our knowledge and wisdom to Mars but also our problems. Keeping your colonists happy is a battle in itself and it’s something I wasn’t prepared for. Making sure everyone is living the dream they thought they would.
Every colonist brings their own traits to Mars some good and some bad. Some people will work themselves to the bone and some won’t care less. Building factories, research labs, farms, shops will keep everyone busy, stress free and hopefully give them a reason to wake up in the morning. But Mars isn’t just about work. Gyms, parks, bars and casinos will do more than enough to keep everyone relaxed after work has finished. These are the keys to a happy population but getting there is a constant struggle but we’ll worth it.
As with every sim game Surviving Mars is all about the long game. I’m at least ten hours in and in still learning every time I pick up the controller. The learning curve is one of the steepest I’ve ever encountered but what do you expect when you’re trying to set up a colony on Mars. Even though it’s one tough game to get to grips with I find myself constantly going back to have one more go just so I can tweak the set up I already have or to start afresh. If you like sim games Surviving Mars is a must play and if you don’t and your prepared to put up with learning as you go I can’t recommend it enough.
Surviving Mars is available now in a variety of editions:
Surviving Mars – Standard Edition – This bundle includes the base game £31.99
Surviving Mars – Digital Deluxe Edition – This bundle includes the base game and the Surviving Mars Deluxe Upgrade Pack £39.99
Surviving Mars – First Colony Edition – This bundle includes the base game, season pass and the Surviving Mars Deluxe Upgrade Pack £52.49
Review code supplied by Paradox Interactive