If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Have You Played... Tharsis?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Tharsis spawned a miniature debate: are random number generators good or lazy design? Can they ever be fair?

That's because Tharsis is a space ship survival game in which you're in control of a crew on a mission to Mars. In the game's introduction, your ship is damaged and two of your crew are killed, and it falls to you to direct the remaining men and women around the ship to repair the damage before the next disaster strikes.

Repairing that damage is performed by rolling dice, meaning that the outcomes are fundamentally random. You can of course employ strategy in the way you use the differently numbered dice, and how you protect yourself from total failure by 'investing' in securing food, or sleep, or other resources. But ultimately the game is powered by a dice roll.

I found it unsatisfying. The dice rolls are much more satisfying than an inexplicably missed shot in XCOM, but it's a game about clearing up constant, repeated, unavoidable disaster. I found that I want the axis of my control to extend beyond putting out fires.

About the Author

Support Rock Paper Shotgun

Sign up today for access to more supporter-only articles, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and game discounts. Your support helps us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

Comments

We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More Features

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch