Top Critic Average
After playing (and dying) a few rounds in a row, I started tinkering around with a few of the game's settings and literally cackled when I saw there was a hard mode—though that's probably just the space madness setting in.
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.
I'm sure the punishing difficulty and numerous unfair dice rolls will turn many gamers against Tharsis, and that's perfectly understandable. However, the reward of actually beating the game truly elevates my spirit. I can only hope that the developers will continue the story with another punishing round that occurs on the red planet itself.
Tharsis, you hate me, but I like you. Your small and meticulous craftsmanship. Your board game sensibilities. Your dancefloor rhythms thumping out the soundtrack to my cyclical death. I couldn't stop myself from voyaging (and dying on the way) to Tharsis again and again.
From its toying with morality to the pure ecstasy it provides when defying the odds and having a successful flight, there really isn't anything else like it.
There aren't many games like Tharsis and that's the main reason why you should check it out, but what it's able to do with so little will keep you playing it. It may not be for everyone and is at times unforgivingly difficult, but it's a title that has some undeniable charm.
A turn based strategy that actually employs strategy, Tharsis is a rougelike you'll want to keep coming back to.
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…
How you feel about Tharsis probably depends on how you feel about board games, soul-crushing challenges, and shorter gaming experiences. If you love tabletop games, repeatedly dying while learning, or heavily micro-managing resources, Tharsis is a worthwhile way to spend an evening.
If the thought of losing at a game over and over until you finally understand all of its nuances does not sound like a good time, then you can safely pass on Tharsis. If, however, you love tabletop games, or enjoy the challenge of micro-managing several scarce resources at a time in an almost vain effort against nearly insurmountable odds, then by all means buy Tharsis. There's a great challenge to be had, and some replayability in the form of chasing an ever-higher score by not resorting to cannibalism so easily, taking less damage, and keeping ship morale high, as well as new characters to unlock. This is not a game for everyone, but for those who know what they're getting themselves into, Tharsis is well worth the effort.