“Build a sustainable colony in space.” The premise of Surviving Mars (2018) is simple, but the challenges presented in the game are not; the Red Planet is unforgiving and full of dangers. Your colonists are only safe in glass domes; both oxygen and water have to be gathered, refined and stored in metal structures; food has to be grown indoors or flown in from Earth and building resources are finite. Keeping your colony alive requires constant expansion, exploitation, improvisation and planning.
The expansion pack Surviving Mars: Green Planet makes the hostile planet somewhat less menacing. The expansion, released in 2019, allows players to terraform the planet from a red and rusty desert to a green, Earthlike paradise. By raising the atmosphere, temperature, water and greenery-levels, you slowly change the environment of the planet to become more habitable, and eventually, your colonists are no longer confined to their glass cages and free to breathe the fresh Martian air.
Surviving Mars: Green Planet shows its players in a very basic manner how the climate works, by allowing them to develop Mars’ own ecology. The game gives a new perspective to climate change; this time around, it can be used in a positive way to terraform the entire planet and make it a green paradise. The appearance of human machines and domes on Mars seems futuristic, but in reality, the technology is not that far away. The game might solve the lack of imagination regarding the solving of our climate crisis, and might prove to be the source of inspiration for revolutionary new ways save our planet.