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Surviving Mars is a sci-fi city builder all about colonizing Mars and surviving the process. Choose a space agency for resources and financial support before determining a location for your colony. Build domes and infrastructure, research new possibilities and utilize drones to unlock more elaborate ways to shape and expand your settlement. Cultivate your own food, mine minerals or just relax by the bar after a hard day’s work. Most important of all, though, is keeping your colonists alive. Not an easy task on a strange new planet.
In the last 25 years I have played some construction simulations. The good ones among them always had an element that made them stand out from the mass of clones. What about Surving Mars? The game can be roughly divided into four phases:
The... time of the machines: With a handful of robots it is about building a basic infrastructure and preparing the landing of the first humans. Already here you can drive the game against the wall, especially as a newcomer. The first humans: Another planet lies at people's feet and screams to be exploited. That's what this is about. The few resources available must be used wisely to ensure at least a basic supply of all necessary goods. A meteorite hit in the wrong place or a surprising sandstorm can very quickly mean the end of the entire colony.
Expansion: The bearings are filling and the technology is advancing. No reason to rest, as the first raw material sources are already running out. Only one thing helps: expansion! The colony is growing and with it the problems. Raw materials must be distributed, more people require greater reserves for emergencies. The demand for electricity and water goes through the ceiling. Anyone who expands too late has lost and can only hope for the limited help from the earth. (If that one is there fast enough.)
The time of wonders: Finally the wonders are available. Gigantic large buildings are gradually solving all raw material and energy problems. The dome is bursting at the seams. A quarter of the people lurk around unemployed and fill their stomachs. The game is more or less over. The way to the goal is fun. Disasters and bottlenecks in resources drive the player forward. The required micromanagement is limited but allows manual optimizations in many places. I liked it. In the end I found it a bit sad that after the miracles there were practically no targets left. 'More would work!
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