MY TOP 10: Things Surviving Mars Doesn’t Make Obvious

MY TOP 10: Things Surviving Mars Doesn’t Make Obvious

Surviving Mars came out a few hours ago and since time of release I’ve dug my teeth right into it, devoured it fully and swallowed it down with a second thought. Now after having fulfilled the tenuous exercise of playing this game for 10 hours and getting absolutely nowhere, I’m going to list my top ten things Surviving Mars didn’t make obvious for me.

10. Location


You can start anywhere on Mars, you can see the kind of hazards you should expect and what resources to find the most of.

What you may not know is that the area you start in (the sector explored at the start) can also make your game severely difficult no matter what.

You see that I started in the top right. With only one water resource, a very meagre one, isolated from the rest of the map which has resources in abundance. I was expecting something easy but little did I know that I was going to get absolutely shafted.

9. Machine Parts Factory

By far the most important building in the game but I only found this out after my first restart. Machine parts are required to maintain a hefty part of your buildings. If you build a tonne of wind turbines then you have to manufacture a tonne of machine parts to maintain them. You have to pay attention to how much power you need, what power you want and you also have to lower your expectation of colonists because they are pretty damn useless at being efficient.

8. Metal


Metal is on par with the machine parts except it’s universally problematic when you run out, not just on the maintenance side but on the build side of things as well. It’s a building ingredient for almost everything, it’s a maintenance part for almost everything that machine parts don’t cover and on top of that colonists as well as drones are pretty useless at collecting it unless you really enjoy micromanagement.

7. Shuttle Hubs

If you don’t start with shuttle hubs on your first playthrough then you’ve already lost. The RC transports are useful… Not really actually, they’re terrible. Shuttle Hubs do what RC transports do except automatically, efficiently and in a way that doesn’t annoy you to death. They’re expensive but well worth it and more or less essential for the situation I got myself in.

6. Research

So don’t do what I did on my first playthrough. As in don’t wait until you’re 30 minutes into the game to realise that you still haven’t researched anything. You can spend the entire game without landing humans on Mars to have the entire tech tree and it’s pretty much imperative that you research a fair amount of tech otherwise them homies are gonna get hypothermia.

5. There Aren’t Any Cheats

Usually, most games have cheats that’ll let you get out of any sticky situation, whether they’re exploits or console commands. Surviving Mars doesn’t have either. When you goof up, you’ve goofed up old chum and there’s no changing it. Rectify your problems or start a new game.

4. RC Explorer


One of the best things to be constantly using. Anomalies give you the greatest benefits in this game, whether they’re research boosts or entirely new breakthroughs. Neglecting the RC explorer definitely bites you in the arse relatively early on.

3. Oxygen

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s importance can’t be stressed enough. Whenever you think you have enough oxygen for a dome, remember that dust storms happen that halt oxygen production.

Suddenly you’re not producing any oxygen at all and your colonists are all dead. To stop this from happening you need to create a whole bunch of oxygen tanks and MOXIE generators.

2. Upgrades

Something that I realised a solid hour after researching an upgrade for moisture vaporators is that you need to apply these manually to each individual building you have. They all cost polymers as far as I know but they are certainly worth the cost. One upgrade in particular increases water production by 100%, so they’re pretty much essential for big colonies.

1. Old people


They are the bane of this game. Once your population grows old it doesn’t produce anything. You need a new batch of colonists and probably a new dome once the old one becomes a Martian palace for pensioners.

I had one playthrough in particular where everything was going just fine in my single dome colony and then several Sols later everybody died by dehydration.
Why? Because all my miners grew old and stopped producing materials to maintain the water exactors.

In summary, this game has proved to be quite the hassle for me. Not only do the starts seem to screw me over but everything else as well. When things are going good it quickly spirals out of control and I’m left with a barren colony shortly afterwards. This isn’t a SimCity-esque city builder by any stretch of the imagination, this is a resource management game with city builder elements where your population ends up becoming your downfall.