Surviving Mars (2018)

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    Steam, what’s this game about?

    Welcome Home! The time has come to stake your claim on the Red Planet and build the first functioning human colonies on Mars! All you need are supplies, oxygen, decades of training, experience with sandstorms, and a can-do attitude to discover the purpose of those weird black cubes that appeared out of nowhere. With a bit of sprucing up, this place is going to be awesome!

    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.

    There will be challenges to overcome. Execute your strategy and improve your colony’s chances of survival while unlocking the mysteries of this alien world. Are you ready? Mars is waiting for you.

    I set out to make this my inaugural “WTPDF?” video – in which I actually (gasp!) play games from this century on a modern platform – but to put it mildly, running the game while recording its audio and video (and mine) was at the outer limits of my current PC’s abilities.

    The game itself is interesting, sort of like SimCity, except that you have to make the planet your city will be on somewhat habitable first – building sustainable power infrastructure, mining/stockpiling resources, and so on. It’s a harsh environment, so don’t expect the first farm of solar panels and wind turbines you build to last the whole game; they’ll have to be replaced. There are dust storms, meteors hit the planet, and…people just really aren’t meant to be there.

    Don’t ever accept the rock band’s offer to play a concert on Mars. They’ll crack the habitat dome with high frequency sound and then people start dying for rock ‘n’ roll. There are other weird things that crop up that are utterly modern: you field offers from various entities who want to be on Mars for their own purposes. Celebrities who want to be space colonists. Software companies who want to rewrite the AI of your army of airborne drones (vital for scouting and gathering resources), sometimes to bad effect. Corporate entities who want you to devote precious real estate and time to research they want to do on Mars, which may or may not be beneficial to you trying to establish a colony. I’ve tried to play a game where I refuse all such offers, and it didn’t go well. These offers are a vital source of funding, which is incredibly frustrating. Maybe play this while binge-watching National Geographic’s “Mars” series on a nearby TV – a lot of the same territory is addressed.

    There’s a lot to keep up with, and a lot can fall between the cracks. The game pressures you to build out to a 100-person colony ASAP; my advice is to proceed at your own pace so you don’t wind up with a Mars colony dome full of corpses because something random happened to the food crops and people began starving to death.

    Thanks to Zloth for tipping me off to Epic Games’ sale on this title, which brought me this game at the very agreeable-to-my-budget price of $

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    Did you ever use that 980 video card that I sent you last year?

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

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