After putting us in command of a banana dictatorship for three Tropico opus, Harmony Games decided to look to new horizons, still under the leadership of Paradox Interactive. And it is on the red planet that the gaze of the Bulgarians has landed. Through Surviving Mars, the developers propose to us to live one of the dreams of Elon Musk: to create and direct a Martian colony.
Mars is racing
It’s not joy. My predecessor, to be sure, is an incompetent dumb guy. He may have managed to build a viable colony start in a commodity-rich region, but he has forgotten a vital element, water. The first water table is hundreds of kilometers away. To build a pipeline on this distance is for the moment impossible. The few mold converters that dot my colony are struggling to meet the needs of a constantly growing population.
The population already suffering from power cuts that occur almost every night. Indeed, when the solar panels return to standby, for lack of sunshine, wind turbines fail to cover the huge energy consumption of the colony. When it is not the electric cables that drop because too often used and subjected to the extreme conditions of the surface.
As a result of the races, many domes – glass bubbles housing living, entertainment and research – are quickly running out of water and oxygen, pushing my settlers to suicide, desperate to face conditions of deplorable life in addition to the harshness of Mars. And as the boredom seems to fall on my colony like a crowd of consumers on a pot spread promotional, strange black cubes began to appear in the middle of my city.
The angry red planet
As you can see, Surviving Mars is a city-builder on the red planet. In addition to expanding your colony, you must manage the resources, energy, and well-being of your settlers. Like any self-respecting city builder, you’ll unlock new buildings as your colony grows, your resource level, and your progress in the technology tree.Thus, before you can count on superb atomic generators and other luxurious buildings to house your residents, you will have to deal with low-productivity wind turbines and cheap apartment towers.
Fortunately, if your level of research prevents you from making rapid progress in discovering new technologies and infrastructures, or if your stock of resources is miserable, you can ask the Earth to send you materials, settlers, robots, and buildings.
The environmental conditions of the Red Planet being what they are, Haemost Games has rethought how to manage the expansion of the colony. The construction and maintenance of your facilities is the responsibility of drones.
These are fully automated. Place a building plan, and they will work to erect the building. Build a cement plant, and these brave drones will take care of recovering the concrete and storing it in a warehouse A pipeline is leaking? The robots will arrive in the rescue.
You will also need to ensure the placement of your buildings because Mars is regularly swept by a meteor shower. From experience, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a freshly constructed dome sheltering brand-new research labs from dust.
But this first encounter with Surviving Mars allowed us to confirm a lesson that video games have patiently taught us over the years: city-builders on the console, it’s hell.
Indeed, our game session took place on PS4. And two major problems have emerged. The controls to start. Half of the actions and menus are hidden behind a combination of holding down the R2 or L2 buttons. As much to say to you that one is quickly made to entangle the fingers. Showing a menu turns into an obstacle course.
The other thorn in the foot is the user interface. Let’s be clear, few owners of PS4 play 60 cm from the screen. And yet, even at this distance, much of the text is written in a font that is too small. A tare that also applies to some icons.