Parents' Guide to

Per Aspera

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Terraforming mission has engaging story, logistical issues.

Game Windows 2020
Per Aspera Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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While the allure of city-building strategy games often lies in the vast array of choices, it's difficult to create a game that's challenging without coming off as overcomplicated. While a large amount of background information and structure efficiency indicators are very helpful in Per Aspera, they become rather useless once you get too many structures. For a title solely focused on logistical puzzles, the player should be figuring out where the gaps in their operation are and identifying a solution, instead of spending precious time wading through menus, or being haunted by nearly unfixable issues that seem to be either not easily resolved without a major overhaul of the game mechanics or the result of almost obvious quality-of-life features that should have been rectified during playtesting. For example, it's tiresome to keep track of building locations. A search bar, menu overlay, or another tool could've cut time searching for a structure significantly.

But if players are willing to look past these details, there's certainly fun to be had. The story of Per Aspera is intriguing, especially considering the protagonist. Seeking to solve human ethical issues through the eyes of a nonhuman character is refreshing, and many story events feel multi-layered, even though the choices offered as responses are paired What's the cause of building malfunctions, and could it be sabotage by one of the colonists? Who's the enemy already inhabiting the planet, and is there any possibility for peace? Are humans important to terraforming mission, or are they just in the way? These are some of the dilemmas posed to AMI, and players can expect to feel genuine senses of accomplishment, defeat, and panic along the way. The biggest thing about the game is whether you feel you can find similar intriguing ethical questions without the same technical flaws found in Per Aspera in another title. If you can put up with its logistical issues, you'll find an engaging story on the Red Planet.

Game Details

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