Top Critic Average
Hard science, harder simulation, and narrative innovation make Per Aspera a real gem.
A compelling take on a Martian colonisation and terraforming project, Per Aspera also comes with a gripping mystery to unravel as you fight to survive and thrive. There's some muddled pacing and it's not always how you can proceed, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable sci fi planetary sim.
It lays the existentialism on pretty thick at times, and it has the potential to thoroughly overwhelm you, but Per Aspera is an oddly intoxicating expedition into the colonisation of another world.
Per Aspera has a bunch of good ideas in it. Adding a narrative element is a slam dunk, but the pacing of it hurts it in the long run, even as interesting as it is. Per Aspera also has a lot of solid gameplay elements, and evolves into a pretty complex package in the end. But a lack of explanation as to what you're doing impairs the experience, and may cause newer players to give up before the enjoyable gameplay loop kicks in.
Per Aspera reaches for lofty heights, but I could never shake the impression that the difficulties I encountered were more because of the game breaking down rather than Mars being a hostile place. But who knows, patches do wonders these days.
I will fully admit to getting stuck in a few places. On a few tries, I overextended too quickly or didn’t adapt well to the changing planet. I always mismanage my electrical grid, or my maintenance bots, and build my way into a corner. But I keep coming back. Never before has a strategy game offered me such an involved story in such a staid sandbox. I think I’ll be turning Mars green for a long time to come.
Per Aspera is a haunting sci-fi simulation in which you play as a lone AI tasked with terraforming Mars for human colonization.
A smart, sprawling city builder that explores the cost of humanity's need to conquer through the mind of an AI, blurring the line between duty and morality. It requires some patience, but its quiet chills are unique in the genre.
Per Aspera is not only the best city builder to come out in the past decade, but one of the most interesting games to grace computers in a long, long time.
Terraform Mars in this narrative driven planetary scale base builder