You can go a whole game of Surviving Mars without triggering one of its ‘Mysteries’, though that’s as much to do with a slightly dodgy interface as it is personal choice. But when you do the flip the switch and welcome uncertainty into your citizens’ delicate lives, everything gets upended. I won’t soon forget the legion of floating orbs that sucked all the heat out of my colony, killing hundreds. They’re one giant leap into the fantastical from a game that is otherwise fairly sedate about its sci-fi, but I dig the option to wilfully remix things once your base-building turns staid – it reminds me of triggering a disaster in SimCity 2000, just to sadistically mix things up.
So I’m glad to hear that the latest round of free DLC for Haemimont’s mostly great red planet management sim introduces three more ‘Mysteries’ with which to optionally traumatise your off-world colonists. As well as meaning you won’t just run into the same few scenarios in a new playthrough, they give you new things to deal with in your current one.
A ‘Mystery’ happens in Surviving Mars when you send a rover to scan anomalies on the map, at which point you can choose whether or not head to the next clue. After a couple of playthroughs, you’ll learn to recognise early signs of which Mystery is which, and often steer clear if you already know what kind of carnage will result – or rush headlong in if you know what kind of ultimate rewards will result. Or maybe you just love the spectacle of all this 60s sci-fi novel stuff. In any case, it’s going to be hard to resist finding out what the deal is with the three new ones, even if the almost certain consequence is mass graves.
Here’s the tease for each:
- St. Elmo’s Fire – Colonists find it hard to get a good night’s sleep, especially when mysterious lights begin appearing where they have no reason to be. What is causing these unexpected apparitions and is it connected to the confusing changes in the water supply?
- The Philosopher’s Stone – Encounter beings that are a far cry from the fleshy bags we call carbon-based life when the colony stumbles upon entirely crystalline entities. Are they here to be of assistance or only out to protect the family jewels?
- Metatron – Colonists look to the sky agape as a great floating monolith has parked itself directly above your fledgling colony. Does it come in peace or is it even sentient? Either way, it is certainly blocking the views from the dome!
A lot of pages pulled from the vintage sci-fi playbook there, and I am just fine with that. I’ll have a Metatron, please, Bob.