Parents' Guide to

Surviving Mars

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Optimistic but realistic, challenging sci-fi city builder.

Game Linux , Mac , Windows 2018
Surviving Mars Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
age 5+

Best game for kids and helps with managing money

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

With an overwhelming learning curve and vigilant attention to detail required, this simulation is best for the most determined players who aren't easily frustrated. Surviving Mars sorely needs a tutorial or some intuitive way to guide players through its logic, as you can wind up constantly putting out fires (sometimes literally) in the process of establishing an infrastructure for survival on Mars. For instance, you can discover the cables you laid between power supplies and critical structures will fail at random, and every hiccup is an emergency because you don't want rolling blackouts in a city constructed in a place without oxygen. Through patience, research, and talking with others in the community, you'll learn to ride this bicycle -- just don't expect to do that in your first sitting or even in your first week or two of play.

It isn't all punishing research and city planning, though. Mixed in with the formal city management tasks are random "mystery" events directly inspired by famous science fiction stories, meaning you'll be visited by mysterious sentient black cubes or other surprises that are better left not spoiled. This is probably closer to the game's tone overall: Although it seems like it might be somewhat educational, this is all really one big hypothetical situation for people who want to give the nature of the problems posed by colonizing Mars a shot. It's unlikely NASA will recruit you depending on your performance, but it no doubt flexes certain mental muscles most other games will not. It's too hard to be an easy recommendation, but if you have a kid who sleeps in a space shuttle bed or wants to, he or she may have the eagerness to hang with the brutal challenge here.

Game Details

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