If humanity is to reach the stars beyond our solar system, we need to learn the interstellar equivalents of crawling and walking before we can run. We’ve been there several times a month, but our ambitions must be greater in order to first establish a base on the satellite and then reach Mars and settle down with our closest neighbor. ..
It’s an almost unimaginable feat, but it’s still countless romantic in science fiction, planned through thought experiments, quarantine tests, and robot adventures (and misfortunes) on the Red Planet. Per Aspera is the latest game to add a plausible spin to how you reach that goal, but it still comes with a fascinating sci-fi twist and a fascinating story of a colony-building effort.
You don’t play as a human settler or as an intangible god-like overlord, but as a newly awakened AI, the AMI. By a manned Mars mission controller who returned to Earth to build and act as an administrator of colonization and terraforming projects, to accumulate knowledge, understand, and influence the senses over time. It was designed.
It’s a fascinating way to see all your actions through that lens. Start by placing your factories and mines where you need them, but soon you’ll start to understand how to do this more efficiently. Having played the first few hours for a preview, I’ll try my structure a second time to create a smarter road network. But when I expanded to creating a landing site with second base, I fell into another trap. When I really needed to be more conservative, I started queuing the construction of advanced mining rigs. Machine learning has been all the rage these days and my process wasn’t too disruptive, but I still learned through iteratives.
You will be welcomed by Mars and guided through the game by interacting with a variety of humans, such as Dr. Foster of ISA returning to Earth and Commander Valentine, who leads the colonial humans who help settle on the planet. You may be prompted for a conversation. This prompt allows you to make decisions and play roles while being taught about the game, but you will be asked to connect to the same location and instead follow up the word with in-game actions. Similarly, as a character grows, moments of reflection on AMI emerge, raising challenges such as its role, how humans view its contributions, the consequences of its actions, and self-determination.
It’s compelling and sometimes you can throw some curved balls to change your point of view, but the pace of these interactions doesn’t hang perfectly together. The new gameplay mechanics trigger pop-ups to explain their functionality. This is often followed by communication that introduces them, and one feels a bit verbose. AMIs are always a little tolerant of the benefits of new research techniques … the research process does not complete successfully, but randomly during the research process. Also, as the story strives to keep up with your progress, it’s very easy for the moments of communication and reflection to arrive in a confusing order.
There are some elements that are simply not well explained, despite the early duplication of guidance. Once you’ve built your first spaceport, you might think you can tackle the actions of any planet. It seems that we can work on repairing satellite arrays, spraying temperatures that catch black dust around the site, or opening up new sectors. It’s a planet to explore, but I can’t. To do that, you really need to build a second spaceport, but there are no clearly marked upgrades or investigations to do this – Tip: You need to investigate Space Tier 2.
However, there are twists and turns, and as they emerge, there is something that will open the eyes of science fiction fans. It is not enough to set up domes for some habitats and pass through the resources of the planet. You also need to manipulate the planet to be truly habitable, have an atmosphere, and have enough air pressure to expand human life. It thrives because its air becomes breathable. There are several methods you can use to achieve this. For example, nuclear attacks on the poles, importing greenhouse gases from Earth, and dragging asteroids into the thin atmosphere to deposit frozen resources.
And there is the prospect that you need to fight to survive out of nowhere, and build an army of drones to take on enemies that appear out of nowhere. You can find many known secret relics of previous expeditions and colonial attempts sent to Mars by various Earth governments. Is it another ISA rival space agency? Is it an alien? Interference with settlers?
In any case, combat is a surprising element that must be dealt with suddenly, forcing defense platforms and drone factories to be built to protect vulnerable industrial networks. A single meteor attack in the wrong place can already take a long time to recover, so the roving droid army will not be clean. Droid combat is a simple case of growing your droid army into a stack of destiny that allows you to build sufficient defenses and overcome other bases.
However, it is combat that the game presents another problem. The speed of a small drone network that collects, manufactures, and shuffles things was like setting the game almost exclusively at 8x or 16x. Fortunately, I was unaware of the first drone strike that destroyed a branch base in another sector. Because I wasn’t really warned about it. The notification is a little too small in the lower right corner. Honestly, bad conditions, meteors, hostile drones destroying buildings, or even completely dry mines should actually return to 1x. Speed up and raise your head.
Still, despite the flaws, there’s a fascinating game here. If I find out that mine is an important resource for feeding the growth of hungry industrial machinery, I will suffer at first. Focus on the construction of sectarian bases, overcome mysterious enemy forces (and go through increasingly mysterious plans) and eventually bring the planet’s atmosphere and temperature to habitability and what comes next. Push it up over the edge.