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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Tharsis (2016) is a tough strategy-simulation game where you must survive a doomed mission to Mars. You roll dice whose outcome can either help repair the ship or make things worse by injuring crew mates or causing further damage. The dice foreground the constant balancing of risk and survival that must be negotiated (and mitigated) if you are to survive.

When humanity detects strange signals from Mars, they send a spaceship and crew to investigate. But as soon as you take off, disaster strikes. The ship is not all it's cracked up to be and continually malfunctions and breaks, risking death or serious injury to the crew. You move crew members around the ship and use their specific number of dice rolls to reach the required total and make the repair. You can also use dice for specific room actions (like health recovery in the Medical Bay), or research sections, which grant you special one-use abilities.

Each astronaut has unique skills suited for specific tasks within the ship, so carefully measured deployment is essential. Rolling specific numbers can result in damage to the crew member, losing that dice, or other negative effects dependent on that crew member's ability. Sometimes, the very numbers you need to repair the ship are a detriment to you, so weighing whether it's worth fixing specific issues is also important. Depending on how many crew members you keep alive, you can get multiple different endings.

Although the dice rolling mechanics make it easy to grasp, it's still becomes a really tough challenge for even players. There is the luck aspect, but it also requires careful consideration of the risks and rewards associated with every action. Finally making it to Mars with all crew members alive after countless attempts is a hugely rewarding end to the game.

Our examiner, Ben Kendall, first checked Tharsis 22 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 16 months ago.
Kids not old enough for this yet? There are lots of games similar to Tharsis. Here are some similar younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Battle, Simulation and Strategy game with Puzzle and Traversal elements. This is a single-player game.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: This game will take between 1 and a half hours and 4 hours to complete. Due to the game's random nature, the time to beat varies significantly. Due to the different endings depending on how successful you are, seeing everything requires multiple playthroughs so the total time can be longer.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 12 for Bad Language. Language is often seen in the dialogue and includes words such as ‘*!@?*’ and ‘*!@?*’.

There is an element of cannibalism as part of the play-mechanic of the story. You don't actually see it happen, but the implication is there.

Skill Level

11+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. This becomes a brutally difficult game so you need to expertly prioritise different activities and formulate deep strategies, as well as cope with losing due to random chance multiple times.


Tharsis usually costs £10.79 to £10.99. 


Switch StoreSALE Switch £10.79 £0.89 until 08/07/2024
Steam Store PC £10.99
Steam Store Mac £10.99
PlayStation Store PS4 -
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2020

Price: 91% off

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Battle, Simulation, Strategy (Puzzle and Traversal)

Accessibility: 20 features

Components: 2D Overhead, Dice and Grid

Developer: Totally Choice (@TotallyChoice)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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