Surviving Mars

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Surviving Mars
Surviving Mars cover art.png
Developer(s)Haemimont Games
Abstraction Games
Publisher(s)Paradox Interactive
Composer(s)George Strezov
Jonatan Palmgren
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
ReleaseMarch 15, 2018
Genre(s)Simulation, city building

Surviving Mars is a city building simulation video game initially developed by the Bulgarian studio Haemimont Games, and later by Abstraction Games, and published by Paradox Interactive. It was released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, 2018. The player serves as an overseer who must build a colony on Mars and ensure the survival of the colonists.


Surviving Mars is a city-building simulation game that takes place on Mars and is modeled after real Martian data.[1] The player chooses a sponsoring nation, each conferring slightly different benefits and a unique building and vehicle, and then lands on Mars with robotic drones and rovers. These rovers and drones prepare the colony for humans on the red planet by setting up power and water infrastructure, domes, resource depots, oxygen generators, and landing pads. The player's goal is to create a thriving colony on Mars with occasional rockets from Earth, which have limited cargo or passenger space, forcing the player to balance paying to import resources from Earth and producing resources on the planet. For example, the first human colonists will bring limited food with them on their rocket, so farms are crucial to a thriving colony on Mars.

The player can bring electronics, machine parts, food, concrete, metal, prefab (pre-fabricated) buildings, rovers and drones from Earth, or research technologies to manufacture them on Mars.[2] After successfully creating and managing for basic resources on Mars, players can have the option to progress by building domes suitable for human life and advanced resources production. Players must balance expanding the colony by managing oxygen, food, water, electricity and replacement parts while progressing through unlocking technologies by researches. Through the 5 fields of research (Physics, Engineering, Social, Biotechnology, Robotics), players can unlock technologies that will eventually lead them to different wonders.[3] The game also has storylines called mysteries, which add various events to the colony,[4] including plagues, war, rival corporations, AI revolt, alien contact, and others. Rare metals can be exported back to Earth for funds. Landing sites also have various natural disasters like dust storms, meteor storms, cold waves, and dust devils to increase difficulty.[5][6]


Haemimont Games, the developer of the Tropico series, initially led the game's development.[7] The team studied the real-world challenges that scientists consider when thinking about colonizing Mars. These challenges were then translated into gameplay elements for the game. The game's aesthetics were inspired by The Jetsons and Futurama.[6] Describing the game as a "hardcore survival city-builder", publisher Paradox Interactive announced the game in May 2017.[8] The game was released for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, 2018 with mod support.[9]

About a year after release, in June 2019, Haemimont signed on with Frontier Developments for development of a new property for Frontier's publishing label.[10] In March 2021, Paradox revealed that development of Surviving Mars has moved from Haemimont Games to Abstraction Games.[11]

Downloadable content[edit]

Surviving Mars has several DLCs, available either separately or as part of the digital season pass available in the game's "First Colony Edition". Space Race, the game's first expansion, was released on November 15, 2018, and introduces rival colonies competing to achieve milestones on Mars.[12] The second, Green Planet, was released on May 16, 2019, and introduces the concept of terraforming Mars into a planet that can sustain human life.[13] Several content packs were also released, including a building pack and the "Marsvision Song Contest" radio station (with the release of Space Race)[14] and "Project Laika", which introduced ranching on Mars as well as pets in the colony (with the release of Green Planet).[15]

In March 2021, Dutch studio Abstraction Games took over the development from Haemimont, and released a free update adding space tourism features; a full paid DLC expansion was announced for later in the year.[16] On August 31, 2021, the paid expansion was announced as Below and Beyond, which includes underground facilities and the ability to build mining bases on asteroids. It was released on September 7.[17]

The city-builder game Cities: Skylines, also published by Paradox, received a free update themed around Surviving Mars.[18]


The game received generally favorable reviews according to review aggregator Metacritic,[19] scoring 80% on PC Gamer, and 78/100 on IGN.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b "Surviving Mars Review". IGN. March 15, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018 – via Youtube.
  2. ^ a b Shchelochkov, Daniel (15 March 2018). ""Surviving Mars review A city-builder with a killer streak"". PC Gamer.
  3. ^ "Surviving Mars - Dev Diary 7: For Science! By Boyan Ivanov from Haemimont Games - Steam News". 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  4. ^ Lathi, Evan (February 3, 2018). "Here's what a late-game colony looks like in Surviving Mars". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Campbell, Colin (March 15, 2018). "Surviving Mars is tough, smart and very dusty". Polygon. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Hafer, T.J. (October 31, 2017). "Surviving Mars wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Osborn, Alex (May 12, 2017). "Paradox Interactive Announces New Space Sim Surviving Mars". IGN. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  8. ^ Plunkett, Luke (May 14, 2017). "Paradox Publishing A "Hardcore" Strategy Game About Mars". Kotaku. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Kim, Matt (January 2, 2018). "Surviving Mars Launches on March 15, Features Day One Mod Support". USgamer. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Barton, Seth (June 12, 2019). "Frontier signs up Surviving Mars developer Haemimont Games as its first publishing partner". MCVUK. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  11. ^ March 2021, Vikki Blake 13 (13 March 2021). "Surviving Mars is back with a new update, DLC, and a different developer". gamesradar. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Alice (November 5, 2018). "Surviving Mars: Space Race expansion blasts off next week". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Boudreau, Ian (April 9, 2018). "Surviving Mars' next expansion introduces terraforming". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "On Your Marks! Surviving Mars: Space Race Commences Today". Paradox Interactive. November 15, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  15. ^ "Surviving Mars: Green Planet and Project Laika Now Available". Paradox Interactive. May 16, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  16. ^ McGlynn, Anthony (March 13, 2021). "Surviving Mars is back with free tourism update". PCGamesN. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  17. ^ Bailey, Dustin (August 31, 2021). "Surviving Mars: Below & Beyond takes the Martian city builder underground". PCGamesN. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  18. ^ Hood, Vic (March 8, 2018). "Cities Skylines hits five million sales, celebrates with free Surviving Mars DLC". PCGamesN. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Surviving Mars for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Surviving Mars for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "Surviving Mars for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Brown, Fraser (15 March 2018). "Surviving Mars review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  23. ^ Hafer, TJ (15 March 2018). "Surviving Mars Review". IGN. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  24. ^ Donlan, Christian (19 March 2018). "Surviving Mars review - offworld, things are just itching to go awry". Eurogamer. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  25. ^ "Surviving Mars Review (PS4) |". Push Square. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  26. ^ Tolentino, Josh (15 March 2018). "Review: Surviving Mars". Destructoid. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  27. ^ Starkey, Daniel (15 March 2018). "Surviving Mars Review: Building The Final Frontier". GameSpot. Retrieved 29 September 2021.

External links[edit]