TL;DR – A DLC that is full of exciting ideas but also some missed opportunities and frustrations.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for this DLC
Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond Review –
Over the years, one of the games I come back to once in a while has been Surviving Mars. This is a strategy game/ city builder about constructing the first human colony on Mars with drones, domes, and danger, oh my. While it was full of promise, it hit its stride with the Green Planet DLC, allowing you to terraform Mars into an oasis gradually. For a long time, this looked like it would be the final stop for the game, but recently there was a surprise announcement of a new DLC Below and Beyond, which we will look at today.
The essential overview of this new DLC is that while exploring the surface of Mars, you have come across these vents under the surface. Here there are large tunnels, old lava tubes, so large that you could both explore and even colonise them. The one big drawback is that they are very dangerous as cave falls can crush rovers and cut off passageways. You can use technologies found in the new Recon and Expansion tech tree to make exploring safer. Still, if you want to colonise down below, you will need sturdier materials, which is good because it just so happens that several asteroids are coming close to Mars’ orbit with Exotic Minerals just perfect for the new task.
– 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
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?