Video Game Review – Surviving Mars: Green Planet

TL;DR – It builds on everything that worked in the base game and then adds features that make it a must play

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Surviving Mars: Green Planet. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –

Last year I had a look at a really interesting strategy game about starting the first ever colony on Mars. Just in its name, Surviving Mars, it told you just how hard it would be to build and sustain life on a hostile planet. You could set up a colony only to sit there and watch it die because you accidentally set up a negative feedback loop. But while this can be devastating, the game is always there tempting you to try again, and when you succeed there is so much joy in that moment. While I enjoyed my time in Surviving Mars, it did feel like it had yet to reach its full potential. Well, today we are going to look at the newest expansion Green Planet to see if this helps to fill in the gaps in the base game with copious amounts of Martian concrete.

So to set the scene, you are the commander for the first colony being sent to the red planet. When you arrive Mars is a bleak, hostile, but also a deeply beautiful place. It is a planet filled with promise but also death. You need to build up resources, construct domes to protect your people, provide oxygen and water, and keep it safe from all the disasters that can strike. However, while surviving is fine, there is a next step that you could take. Because what if we can shape Mars to be friendlier, what if we could turn it into a green planet?

Surviving Mars: Green Planet. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.
This slow progression of greening Mars is a real drive. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

In Green Planet, as the name implies, there is a whole new set of mechanics built around turning the red planet green, and also quite a bit blue. There are four different components you need to manage, atmosphere, temperature, water, and vegetation. You can impact all of these by building a whole new set of buildings unlocked in the new terraforming tech tree. This starts with the Forestation Plant that uses a new resource seeds to spread lichens across the surface getting it ready for something more. Soon you can pump greenhouse gasses the bulk out the atmosphere, launch magnetic shields into the sky, and drop some nukes in the polar ice caps.

One of the things that I really liked about this new system is the way they interacted with each other and how it visually is shown. One of the things that makes this system engaging is how bumping one of the factors could impact on the others. You could be boosting the atmosphere by dumping greenhouse gasses from Earth, but then you risk acid rain that could kill all those plants you just grew. This makes everything a balancing act adding to the puzzle that is Surviving Mars. Also, I can’t stress it enough how satisfying it slowly turns the red planet green. There are these points, like when lakes unfreeze, or when the domes come down, where you just feel this sense of achievement.

Surviving Mars: Green Planet. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.
Creating a liveable world was a real challenge, but one I was here for. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

This expansion also builds upon other improvements added form the game since launch. Having other sponsors on the map makes the world feel a little bit more lived in, and makes you have to be active. This is because there are now planetary anomalies that anyone can get, so you can’t just sit back building up stockpiles because you will miss out. There are also some trading opportunities but there was rarely a trade offer that felt worth it. However, the best bonus of this is that you will be often checking back on the big Mars map and watch it slowly transform. Also is great to have a bit more ability to work about the terrain of the planet.

In the end, do we recommend Surviving Mars: Green Planet? Yes, yes we do. The expansion builds upon everything that works in the base game. However, more importantly, it brings the game to its full potential by taking what was a static map and making it malleable. I mean it is also a game set on Mars, so that will nearly always be a win for me.              

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you played  Surviving Mars?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

Credits – All images were created by the staff of Surviving Mars
Creative Director –
Gabriel Dobrev
Lead Designers –
Boyab ‘Chimera’ Ivanov & Boian ‘Blizzard’ Spaov
Lead Programming – Ivan-Assen Ivanov
Lead Artist –
Developer – Haemimont Games
Publisher – Paradox Interactive


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