Without appearing redundant, but being, Per Aspera it is an oasis in the middle of the desert. Produced by the Argentine studio Tlön Industries and published by Raw Fury, the game brings a new language of what can be considered management.
Voxel had the opportunity to play a preview of the Per Aspera, lasting four hours. You could get a sense of several important points, which can change the way you play management games for good. Here we go?
Its main objective is to prepare Mars for the arrival of the first settlers. To start work on the planet, you command AMI artificial intelligence. Since I understand myself by man, the man tries to conquer his space on the Red Planet, which was named after the Roman god of war.
End of loneliness
So far, nothing more. Something already done in other games, as in Surviving Mars, gives Paradox, that I barely managed to play 15 minutes. In fact, have you ever wondered what most management games have in common? I answer for you: loneliness. The intention of games to make you think, never gave a deserved space for the narrative. This is what makes Per Aspera different.
A game without a story and storyline, prevents the player from having feelings and goals inherent in an adventure in the digital world. AMI helps you to do the whole process of transforming raw material into something to be built. And despite being a machine, it has emotions. Their conscience is similar to that of humans, putting themselves in doubt in situations, until then, exclusive to those who really think.
Whether it is time to build robots, to increase the speed of the automation process, or even decide how the reception to the colonists will be. The game brings the possibility of choices, but unfortunately it was not possible to notice differences between them. I started the adventure several times to notice changes. Apparently, the questions don’t matter so much, they only serve to build the script.
Objectives and mechanics
Its initial mission is to facilitate the arrival of humans on Mars. For this it will be necessary to carry out terraforming, that is, to make the planet habitable for earthlings. The process consists of generating products using raw materials and, consequently, changing the atmosphere, temperature, topography and ecology of the region.
However slow the construction process is, the presence of AMI softens the mechanics of development. In a simple way, it means the game. The start of the automation system is simple and very intuitive, even with the presence of a tutorial. The logic is also simple.
Mars is full of raw materials, such as water, iron, aluminum, carbon, silicone and another one called “chemicals”. They all produce mechanical parts, electronic components, steel, glass and so on.
For everything to work properly it will be necessary to use energy sources and robots. Management is simple and easy, when compared to specific automation titles, such as Factorio.
It bothers the need to build many energy sources for the mechanisms to work properly. I believe that a greater balance can be implemented in the game. To give you an idea, every three, four buildings it is necessary to place a solar or wind energy collector.
Another important factor is that all buildings are interconnected. They work like a big spider web. If one of them produces poorly, it will affect the entire system. So it is essential to keep an eye on everything that is happening.
Much more than automation
In addition to production management, Per Aspera provides a research tree to develop constructions and carry out terraforming processes, such as the implementation or repair of a satellite or even the launch of a rocket in an unexplored area.
Something that I found very interesting concerns energy, which at the beginning can be generated by solar capture or winds. At certain times, energy production will be higher or lower, depending on the climate and also the direction your buildings are facing the sun. This will directly affect the production of equipment.
The version we play allows only 4 hours of gameplay, so it is impossible to know what lies ahead in the adventure. However, it was possible to notice the presence of ingredients that hinder management. Meteors can fall on your buildings and damage them. Dust storms can also appear and ruin all the work done.
Light and in the right measure
When we find games that focus on automation, we immediately remember Factor. At least for me, it’s a very complex title. Per Aspera it is just the opposite. The fonts used are light and clean, giving smoothness to the game structure. Makes management easier. Just out of curiosity, something very similar has been done in Humankind, a 4x game that should be released next year, by Amplitude Studios.
The atmosphere on Mars is beautiful, even though it looks like a real desert. It is possible to notice the winds and especially the explosions that occur when a meteor hits the planet. The vision of space is also present, because it is through it that part of the terraforming process will be done.
Per Aspera it can be a milestone in human resource management and raw material automation games. It has several details to be improved, such as making it clear that the narrative choices really matter. Knowing that there are still companies willing to venture into this area, it leaves us hopeful that we will see frequent development in this genre. The game still has no confirmed release date.