Tharsis (Video Game Review)

Tharsis is a game with a very interesting premise which consists of actually going to Mars for a visit. It might seem uninteresting at first, but the main focus of this game is to see the struggle that the spaceship and its crew have to go through in order to reach the destination safely. Now let’s delve into this adventure!

You can think of Tharsis as being FTL but with a major focus on the crew and the way you manage it. I always wanted to go to space to be honest but somehow this game shows me that there are lots of dangers to be had at all times. From the lack of oxygen or having too much of it all the way to having to deal with fire and lots of unforeseen events--you can really face disaster at all corners, so you always have something new to look out for.

For me the dice based system that creates this entire experience is unique and a lot of fun, but it does have its own times of struggle as you play. You might find yourself in stasis for a long period of time without no input on your ship’s situation, or you might deal with lots of damage and drama as you go along.

Having a crew to work with can be a big help, because it allows you to obtain a much better gameplay experience with them by your side. The doctor can heal you, the engineers can repair stuff and the captain can provide inspiration and moral to all the other persons that struggle to stay alive in their mission to reach Mars safely. It’s an action packed and many times a rollercoaster ride, but one that really delivers value and an astounding insight all around.

Times can get desperate, they really can and you can actually chew on the dead crewmates if you need to, but it all comes down to survival at the end of the day. The game is really gruesome and it manages to add a gritty realism to the game. I find the overall difficulty reminiscent of the Dark Souls games due to its demanding nature, but its the single roll of the dice that can make things unbearable. You must continuously try to move through disaster areas and remain on a constant state of alert. Players will find it very hard to stay calm in this type of situation.

There are multiple game modes here, with the hard mode added in as an unlockable. This difficulty mode is very demanding and while you can strategize, there’s no real way to emphasize what will happen. This was a major strength for me when it comes to Tharsis, the fact that you never know what happens next and in the end this is what makes the experience better.

Graphically, Tharsis combines dark nuances with flames and special effects. There’s not that much to be seen outside the spaceship most off the time, but the overall experience is solid and you really feel there, with the game doing a great job when it comes to offering constant immersion!

In the end, I am very happy with my time in Tharsis, as I really felt that I was responsible for my life and the one of my crewmates. The game has really changed the way I think about survival in space and it’s just an exciting title with a lot to offer. It might not be for those persons that dislike action packed and survival themed games with a constant adrenalin run, but this game is pleasant and fun, so its definitely worth checking out for you diehard space fans!

Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed for PS4

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