Tag Archives: simulator

Lightning Review: Surviving Mars

Howdy! This is the first in what I hope will be an interesting set of “short” game reviews. I don’t plan to spend time grabbing screenshots or talking with other people, I’m just going to write my quick (for someone’s definition of quick) impressions and opinions (with words) and move on. Mostly this will be a vaguely organized brain dump.

Surviving Mars

Formally released one week ago (Mar 15, 2018) by Haemimont Games and Paradox Interactive, Surviving Mars is precisely what it says on the tin. It is a game about keeping martian colonists alive.

Nothing witty to share about this screenshot. It’s a secondary landing area where I’m mining rare metals in an attempt to keep up with my electronics addiction.

It costs $40 for the base, non-sale version. There are more expensive editions available, the priciest of which includes a season pass for future DLC for $35 more. The season pass promises 2 full expansions and 2 content packs, and can be purchased by itself if you already have the base game (same total price).

Haemimont is a veteran Bulgarian game studio responsible for Tropico 3-5, Victor Vran, and a number of games that I have not played. I have a generally good impression of them and the fact that they’re not the ones writing Tropico 6 is my big worry for that upcoming game.

Paradox is a Swedish publisher most famous for their complex military strategy games, many of which are the product of an in-house dev studio. They’ve also published a variety of other games, but the bulk of their products are simulators and the bulk of those are military in nature with steep learning curves.

There’s no in-game tutorial this time around (as the community tends to expect for a Paradox title, but not one from Haemimont). But they did partner with strategy game YouTuber Quill18 to sponsor an instructional video series for the game. I watched his first 3 episodes before playing for myself.

The game is available via Steam or GOG. Steam keys are additionally available through all of the normal resellers, including Humble and Fanatical. It nominally runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux… but the Mac build had major rendering and crashing bugs at launch (I was personally unable to get past the game’s initial menu screen). On March 20, they released a patch for OSX builds, but I have not tried it since then.

There is meant to be strong modding support (at least via Steam Workshop), and Haemimont has published a number of sample mods.

I have played 7 hours of the game on Windows plus whatever time I wasted trying to run it on the Mac.
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