Steam Library: Tharsis

The enigmatic game Tharsis

Writing about Tharsis, on one hand, is very easy. After all, the game is about a harsh space history, told party by party in a new way. The same horrifying plot about a mission to Mars, a welcoming micro-meteorite, and the captain of the ship gradually being sent into vacuum promises a guaranteed heap of troubles, but each time different troubles. There are still ten whole days left to fly to the red planet, and the ship, as well as the crew, don’t feel very well. Plus, cheerful Martian pictures suddenly start flying in from somewhere in space. But everything has its time; our task is to survive these miserable ten days.

One day – one move, for which you have to somehow cope with the next wave of breakdowns, leaks, and other malfunctions of the barely functioning spacecraft, while trying not to lose anyone from the remaining four astronauts. I must say, it’s quite a challenge. Daily tasks seem simple enough – you direct one person, or even two, three, or all four to the necessary compartment, and they solve the problem. However, how they manage to do it is a special question each time – the conditions are extreme, the survivors are not in great shape after the meteorite impact, and then some kind of cosmic stupor can strike, and by the third day, the ship will simply fall apart. Or there will simply be no one left to fix it.

A separate good joke is the difficulties with food in the conditions of the aforementioned celebration of life. There is simply no food. Well, almost. There is some ration on the station, but it also tends to detach from the other compartments, and gathering food is an additional resource-intensive task. There probably won’t be enough space cabbage for everyone. If you want to survive, you will most likely have to first gnaw on the bones of the deceased captain, who died even during the training session, and then, perhaps, the other crew members who sequentially drop out of the game.

Cannibalism in Tharsis becomes more fun the more the tasters lose their minds, and the more the game screen is smeared with blood from the bones. Hehe.

A challenging cosmic journey in Tharsis

And here we smoothly transition to why it is impossible to write anything about Tharsis. Decisively, all the dark adventures, all the turns and all the branches are resolved by rolling dice. In the sense of, playing dice. Yes, from beginning to end, Tharsis is a game of dice. Damn unlucky dice just out of the casino.

How to fix the spaceship engine? You need to roll at least 25 points on the dice. How to deal with all the other problems? Exactly the same way. But, of course, since we are in a suspenseful video game, we will not just roll the dice, but within a whole system, where half of the dice will go down the “special conditions” pipe, a third will go to side quests, and it’s good if the remaining dice show five points.

There are also various life details. For example, different astronauts have different specializations, which you can sacrifice particularly lucky rolls for. Did you roll an extra six for your engineer? Great, sacrifice the dice, and your protégé will fix the station’s hull. Well, and so on, the medic, ahem, heals, the captain boosts morale, and so on and so forth. Anyway, the crew will reach Mars in only one out of ten cases. Muahaha.

Because the random number generator in Tharsis likes to hit below the belt. Nothing conveys the cosmic hopelessness and futility of trying to cheat cruel fate like a fatal roll of six dice with a lethal outcome. On a lousy fifteen. With the healthiest astronaut. On the second day of the flight. Three times in a row.

Surviving the depths of Tharsis

Somehow, you can spend a whole five hours on this happiness, and it can’t be explained by just classic gambling. Well, for the first thirty minutes, I entertained myself by watching the nervous portraits of the crew members, the hysterical “tribal advice” between moves, the bloody red cubes of cannibals, and trying to find a winning strategy. For another two hours, I struggled with this very strategy, cursed the virtual dice, and tried to finally break through after ten days of travel. The ending of the nth game, among other things, allowed me to send a new Pokémon into space and hinted that I could unlock various survivors. How much time has already been spent on these new endless torments?

The concise gamer’s study named Tharsis turned out to be so successful that I didn’t mind spending money on fancy dice. Even considering that on trips where simple gambling mini-games with spices work best, he didn’t ride with Tharsis, but just sat at home and cursed, cursed, and cursed the incredibly unlucky dice, clumsy psychopathic astronauts, and hellish insurmountable collisions on the third day. Those one and a half successful games were worth it.

Indie, Quest, Strategy
Choice Provisions
Choice Provisions
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews