Surviving Mars: Green Planet Review
Haemimont Games/Paradox Interactive
Surviving Mars debuted back in March of 2018 and I quickly jumped into it since I’m partial to colony management games, especially science fiction ones. Having suffered through the thoroughly mediocre space colony sim, Aven Colony, I hungered for something more complex and challenging.
Although Surviving Mars was indeed both complex and challenging, it also contained quite a few bugs. It also had some pretty bizarre design implementations, such as when your colonists wouldn’t innately know what their occupations were and would run off to random jobs instead of the ones intended for them. Eventually, I decided to shelf Surviving Mars and wait until it got a little more love, development-wise.
Lo and behold, about a year later and the game’s developers, Haemimont Games, has been quite busy in the lab. They’ve not only patched most of the bugs that plagued Surviving Mars, they’ve also released an entire slew of new content, the most impressive of which is a DLC titled Surviving Mars: Green Planet.
The original Surviving Mars basically came in two phases. The first one was where you send a robotic away team to the surface of the Red Planet and set everything up for your colony. The second phase was sending for your brand-spanking-new colonists, having them occupy and run your new colony, and seeing how long you could survive.
Green Planet adds an additional third layer/phase. After you have everything up and running with your colony (if you make it that far), you can shift your priorities to beginning a lengthy terraforming process in order to transform Mars and turn it from a ruby into an emerald.
One of the things that has always impressed me about Surviving Mars was its feeling of progression. There’s something special about picking a random spot on Mars, laying down your first tiny little starter base and then watching it grow into a sprawling mega-colony. Green Planet furthers this sense of accomplishment as you seed pastures and watch plants grow, pour water into holes that eventually can become lakes, and watch the atmosphere develop as you heat the planet up by releasing carbon dioxide into it.
There are definitely some challenges that you will meet as you try to terraform Mars. For instance, I once tasked my scientists and engineers with pulling a few asteroids—composed of ice—out of orbit and down to the planet’s surface, in order to help develop proper water tables. The asteroids came down alright, but caused some near catastrophic Marsquakes in the process.
There are a few minor things that I don’t particularly like about Green Planet. One of them is the way some of your automated workers, such as androids, can subtly work against your colony’s aims at times. There also could have been some interesting mid-to-late game threats for players to contend with. I would have loved to have witnessed new mutations sprouting up during all of the terraforming, or perhaps the awakening of an ancient alien menace that isn’t quite happy with your colony’s presence.
But these are minor gripes. As it stands, Surviving Mars: Green Planet is a superb DLC pack that adds new life (literally) to an already fun and challenging game. Any fans of colony management sims out there may want to check this baby out for themselves.
Surviving Mars: Green Planet features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its colony management gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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