Per Aspera - a initial look at the game and review

Per Aspera by Raw Fury and Tlön Industries, the Mars colonization game you probably have missed. But is it any good? That is what I will try and answer in this post, which is both an initial impression, review, and light how-to of the game Per Aspera.

What is the game about

You play as an AI that is tasked with preparing Mars for a human colony. And help them to eventually terraform Mars. And I have to say playing as a newly sentient or turned-on AI was a really fresh feel for me. As I have played similar base-building games before. Games like Surviving Mars and even the board game Terraforming Mars, designed by a friend of mine. 


Source: Surviving Mars by Paradox Interactive, Terraforming Mars by Fryxgames, and Stronghold Games

Both of them keeping with the Mars theme. Even if they both focus on different aspects. These two aspects are brought together in Per Aspera to bring you a new fresh take on this type of game.

But the game also has an additional layer. A layer of exploration. Buth of Mars, its surface, and previous attempts to colonize it. But also an exploration of you as an AI. 

Gameplay and the basics

When we start the game we are asked to choose whether we want to play the Campaign or the Sandbox mode. And I have only played the Campaign, but I assume the Sandbox is pretty similar, but without most of the story elements from the campaign. We are also asked what difficulty we would like to play on.



When we wake as the AI we are already on Mars and have our first building completed. This is our nerve center if you will and our center at least initially. We are tasked with building some initial resource-producing buildings. And eventually some factory. That allows us to refine the raw materials into the different parts we need to be able to produce more complex parts.


Building placement in the game

The game interface is a standard one, and it is easy to navigate and get used to. The building menu is situated on the right side of your screen, and there the different buildings are sorted in accordance to their types.

When placing mines and resource-producing buildings. You need to place them on top of a resource deposit. Initially, these are found on the surface of Mars. But as the game progresses they can also be found deeper. Meaning you need a better facility to be able to extract the raw materials.

For these types of buildings, you have virtually no say in where they can be placed s they need the resort in order to produce anything. But they still have a white dotted circle around them. Just like all other buildings. This is the circle of influence if you will. Meaning as long as the building's circle overlaps with another building circle a road will be formed between them. 


In the picture, you can see new roads as blue dotted lines

And without any roads, the buildings will not get built. =( Keeping track of which buildings connect to which can save you a lot of headaches further down the line. As well as a short connection saves you a lot of transportation time.

Also, make sure that you keep expanding your electrical grid. Because if you run out of power things stop working. Electricity work in a similar way to how the site circles work. Only the power circles are much larger.


There is technically no need for the power circles to overlap, but a little redundancy is never bad

You pretty soon will come to the stage where you need to start exploring for more resources. So you can plan your expansions better. And then you will need to prepare for the humans. Meaning you will need to have water and food production up and running. And then you realize that you have no more room to expand, or you are hitting your building limit, or there is traffic congestion on the roads due to poor planning, or you forgot to build that maintenance facility so some of your buildings are starting to go into disrepair.

These are the problems you will be facing, among others, in the game. Some of them can be solved through planning, some through research and technology. But all need to be managed by you. 

My thoughts on the game

I do like this game. Both it's theming, probably redundant for me to say given the other games I talked about. But I also like the base-building aspects. And I do find the story of the campaign to be good and interesting. But are there any parts I do not like?

Yes, there are. I tend to get stuck in base-building mode. Meaning I basically focus only on that. And that is despite enjoying the story. If it is a fault of mine, probably. But I think many like me who enjoy these types of games can need a reminder to keep up with the objectives at hand. So I am not really sure if this is a negative or just a realization that maybe I should have played sandbox mode instead.


The size of the base grows pretty quick and is closely getting to the point where you struggle to keep up with everything

But one thing I do find that I do not like is the feeling of prince leather and repeat. Meaning after a while you are pretty much doing the same, just more of it. And you just keep growing and growing. And then it all just blends together.

And this is usually where I lose interest in a game. Not by any fault of the game. But more my own. I tend to enjoy the new experience of a game and the build-up phases. As an example, I rarely play any of the Civilization games to completion. Because I tend to find the end game boring. I much rather enjoy the building and planning phases of the game. And so I do with this game.

But I do recommend you give the game a try if you like games of a similar style. You will surely have a few hours of entertainment before you.

I hope that you have found this post to be informative and useful to you. And if you have any questions for me please post them down below in the comment section. If you would like to support me and the content I make, please consider following me, reading my other posts, or why not do both instead.


See you on the interwebs!




Picture provided by: Me and screenshots from within the game, Raw Fury and Tlön Industries

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I am a patchy reader and writer of words... I also publish on Hive under @daje10

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