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Surviving Mars's Da Vinci update lets you build without gasping for breath

As well-liked as Surviving Mars is for its uncompromising look at offworld resource management (you can’t order some next-day delivery oxygen if you’re running low), it’s not unreasonable to wish that there was an option to have it ease up a little. Now players can get a feel for its many spinning plates without your doom feeling quite so inevitable. The Da Vinci update, released yesterday, introduces Creative Mode to the game, letting you pick and choose which of the game’s more challenging elements you’d like to trim back before you play.

Creative Mode consists of 8 new toggle options, available at game start. You can have buildings that never malfunction, clear and fast research, fast rockets (okay, maybe you can get expedited shipping), faster scanning or even free construction if you want to just cut loose and build a shining martian utopia. Other options are super-hardy colonists, five hundred more starting applicants for your absurd space-mission, or (probably most reasonably) an extra $100,000M, because space doesn’t come cheap.


As momentous as Da Vinci is, there’s no trailer for it, so take a look back at the patches that led us here.

This is all good and well for easing players into the swing of things, but the real challenge is yet to come. The next major update, codenamed Sagan, will be pulling hard in the opposite direction, adding 24 new major challenges to rise to, with a scoring system to match. It’s all well and good just surviving a crisis, but you won’t really be able to brag about it if you fall short of an ‘Excellent’ rating.

Both of these updates are completely free. The Da Vinci update is live now and you can see the full patch-notes here. The Sagan update still remains mysteriously cloaked in the void of space, and we’ll have to wait until September before getting a full measure of what horrible disasters are going to befall our poor space colonists.

Surviving Mars is out on Windows, Mac and Linux via SteamGOG and Humble for £35/$40/€40.

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Dominic Tarason

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