Surviving Mars is a colony builder which launched on Xbox One and PC on March 15, 2018. Unlike creating sprawling cities on Earth, the game is all about colonizing Mars and surviving its challenges. It's more of a survival builder than a traditional Cities: Skylines-like experience. According to developer Haemimont Games, Surviving Mars is a "focused game about creating interconnected systems and testing them against the threats of a hostile environment."

Ever since the game launched, it has delighted consumers and received numerous accolades. However, there are still some problems which need to be addressed on consoles. Luckily, today's "Spirit" and "Opportunity" update brings new features and bug fixes to the game.

The main features in the Spirit and Opportunity update are listed below.

Spirit

  • Science Institute renamed to Hawking Institute in tribute to the late Stephen Hawking.
  • Added Birth Control Policy in domes.
  • Colonists should now pick the best workplace for their specialization correctly and much faster.
  • Colonists will no longer try to walk kilometers on foot to resettle resulting in them dying from lack of oxygen.
  • Extended the range rovers need to be in to recharge from cables.
  • Added option to rename buildings.
  • Domes no longer get constantly dusted.
  • All adult colonists now have the same walking speed.

Opportunity

  • Passages are being added to the game. Beforehand, the game's "domes" were isolated environments, but now they can be connected with short walkways. Due to their limited length, you can't just build them like highways across the surface of Mars. You have to plan carefully, much like how districts work in cities. Keep in mind that meteor strikes on passages cause fractures and might kill colonists inside.
  • Game rules are coming to Surviving Mars with Opportunity. Now you can turn on certain rules at the start of a session and they affect the entire playthrough. The developer is shipping thirteen game rules in Opportunity, most of them focused on customizing the difficulty. More will be added down the line. Players will be able to trigger modifiers like "Hunger", "Long Rides", and "Twisters".
  • Opportunity introduces new storage buildings for water as well as basic and advanced resources. Storing large quantities of processed resources was a huge problem, especially in large colonies, and new storage facilities have been created to address this issue. For example, the "Large Water Tank" holds up to 1,000 units of water. Others can hold up to 4,000 units of certain materials.
  • The final new feature Haemimont Games is introducing is a cycle of three researchable buildings called "Workshops". Workshops are completely optional end-game buildings that consume advanced resources and allow colonists to pursue higher life goals once the colony has become self-sufficient and has an excess workforce.

It's great to see that Surviving Mars is constantly getting updates and becoming a better game as a result. Hopefully this trend will continue into the future. Aven Colony and Planetbase are other colony-building games on Xbox One which focus on other planets. However, neither offer a completely immersive experience due to the unnecessary repetition. Surviving Mars is currently in a league of its own.

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