Top Critic Average
Tharsis is an addictive digital board game, and one that I see as tricky to replicate in real life. It's because of this that the game really shines. One run of the game is normally fairly quick and, even if it's all going wrong you can get something from it due to crew unlocks. The speed of a run means that it slides in to that "just one more game" territory so well you'll be going back to it for a while. It's got a few issues, but for the most part it's a great way to spend some time.
Tharsis is a turn-based survival and strategy game based on dice roll. It is a complex and difficult game, where in addition to doing everything correctly, we must be very lucky not to lose the game. It is addictive as we learn to play and progress in decision making and problem solving, but our margin of error is almost non-existent, and really, because of the weight of the random variable, we will never end up having control over what it happens in the game.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Tharsis is one of those games with a different approach, interesting and with the necessary complexity to invite the player to throw in all the hours of the world.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Overall I liked Tharsis. It’s a fun, but short experience, that has you managing resources and trying to keep your crew alive. Yes there is some replay value as there are a few different endings it’s still not enough. I do think with some tweaking this would make a really good single-player board game that I would gladly play.
If you’re looking for a challenging and brutal strategy game to play at home and/or on the go, Tharsis is for you. With your entire world literally breaking down all around you, tough decisions must be made and your morality will be pushed to its limit, should you save the ship or sacrifice a crew member to prolong the life of those still alive? With its newly revamped difficulty modes, the Nintendo Switch edition makes it a little bit easier for newcomers whilst still being just as challenging as I recall on the PS4. Despite how frustrating and unforgiving the game can be, just remember; in space, nobody can hear you scream…
Jokes aside, Tharsis is an incredibly meaningful game that has picked a woefully inadequate format to express an innately intelligent idea. If this was a narrative game, in the vein of Telltale Games' work or Life is Strange, then we really would have had something special on our hands. As it is, we have a board game that goes out of its way to be unfair so it can make players make decisions that should have great emotional impact, but in practice become a quite pragmatic stepping stone towards victory.
Tharsis offers some interesting mechanics, a story with little innovation but plenty of space for the player to create his narrative, and a lot of replayability but all of that comes at a price: the difficulty level that can make players abandon the title before they see everything it has to offer.
Tharsis isn't a game for everyone. Strategy may be an important factor in determining how long you'll survive, but luck plays a much bigger role in things toward the end. The game is punishingly difficult early on, but it throws you a bone every now and then with character unlocks that can make things feel different. With the likelihood of failing more often than winning due to streaks of near-impossible situations, some may be disenchanted from the get-go. For those who love to conquer big challenges, this digital board game can be very appealing.
Tharsis is a good yet difficult strategy game that takes a lot of time to master.