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Jan 11

Tharsis Out Tomorrow on PS4, 13 Tips for Survival

Mike Roush's Avatar Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 // Co-Founder, Choice Provisions

It feels crazy to finally be able to say this, but Tharsis is making its way to PS4 tomorrow. After two years of nonstop work on the game, we’re finally going to be able to deliver our strategic, dice-rolling, cannibalistic baby to you. We hope you love it as much as we do.


We’ve come to be pretty open about the ins and outs of Tharsis in recent months, but there are a few things we’ve tried to keep secret (to varying degrees of success). For starters, did you know that our game Laserlife takes place in the same universe as Tharsis?

Although they take place thousands of years apart, they share a pretty strong narrative connection. You know that creepy skeleton astronaut floating around in Laserlife? That’s the astronaut who dies at the start of Tharsis. Oh, and spoiler alert on this paragraph, I guess.

To celebrate the connection between these two games in the most commercial way possible, we’re going to offer Tharsis for 10% off (or 20% off for PlayStation Plus members) at launch. Additionally, Laserlife is going to be 40% off (or 50% off for Plus members). Enjoy!


With that addressed, let’s get down to the brass tacks of gameplay. Tharsis is a complex strategy game, but it doesn’t take much time to understand and master the basics of it. That said, you’ll almost surely die a lot when you first start playing, and you may even find yourself having to sacrifice crewmates just to make it to the next turn. Perils such as these are to be expected in the harsh, indifferent realm of space, but they can be mitigated with a little patience and strategizing.

While we probably can’t teach you the virtue of patience in a blog post about a video game, we can at least help you out with the strategizing part. To make your trip to Mars a little less… death-filled, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of tips from the people who brought you Tharsis. Heed their words, and you’ll become a pro astronaut in no time. Or ignore them entirely and carve your own path. The choice is yours!

Whatever the case, please feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We’ll respond to as many of them as we can!

How to Live to See the Red Planet

-Don’t be afraid to move crew members through events. Taking the health damage isn’t so bad in the long run if you’re faced with a fatal event on the other side of the ship. -Sam Cho / Lead Programer

-Try to clear out events when possible, otherwise manage which ones remain. When the Ship is low on hull, you may want to ignore an event that does damage to the crew’s health for that turn. You can’t always fix everything, so fix what is the biggest threat. -Danny Johnson / Lead Designer

-Don’t rely on cannibalism unless it’s absolutely necessary. This applies to the game and real life. -Danny Johnson / Lead Designer

-Make sure you are smart about the order in which you move your characters. (e.g. if you have three people working on an event, moving your doctor in last, and using her character ability will heal all of the characters in the module.) -Mike Roush / Director

-Keep an eye on your “Assist.” If you have a lot of “Hazard Dice” a lack of Assist could take out your crew… or worse. -Mike Roush / Director

-Your ability to do anything is contingent on the action dice you have available to you — you lose that and things will start to spiral out of control. So, events that take away action dice might not kill you immediately, but don’t ignore them entirely, either. -Mike Gonzales / Programmer


-Sometimes the crew-member with the most dice isn’t the best choice for the job. Having a lot of dice is great but it also increases the chances you’ll take damage from events with lots of hazard dice. -Zach Gage / Systems Designer

-Stasis might not seem so bad, but triggering unnecessary hazards chews through your Assists that might be better used elsewhere, so think before you re-roll that 4 for a 5. -Zach Gage / Systems Designer

-Shuffling research cards and putting dice back into research is a great way to use up your extra dice which you cannot place anywhere else. It’s important to remember that research points get spent from lowest to highest. -Chris Meyer / Art Director

-Sometimes fixing an event head-on is not the way to go. Think about how spending those dice on a module ability might benefit you more in the long run than resolving an event immediately. -Matt Hickman / Lead Producer

-Don’t get cocky. Just because you’re ahead of the curve and all your crew are healthy this turn, doesn’t mean something very bad isn’t right around the corner. -Matt Hickman / Lead Producer

-Keep an eye on your stress. It may seem like the least of your concerns, but stress is, after all, the silent killer. Or is that farts? -Alex Neuse / Executive Producer

-I know it sounds kind of dumb, but avoid being overly cautious. Sometimes doing the riskiest maneuvers pay off in the best ways. -Alex Neuse / Executive Producer

//Add Your Own

23 Comments   16 Replies


+ Dinchman on January 11th, 2016 at 7:24 am said:

Let all the children boogie.

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 1:27 pm said:

    There’s a starmaaaaan


    + Sangue_Nusoio on January 11th, 2016 at 9:24 am said:

    We never lost control


+ chubigans on January 11th, 2016 at 7:52 am said:

Never heard of this game until yesterday’s Drop. Looks really cool! Y’all have my money, can’t wait to try it.

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 1:27 pm said:

    Woo! Thanks so much and we hope you like it!


+ DeRR1ck19 on January 11th, 2016 at 8:03 am said:

From everything I’ve read this game seems BRUTAL. But I’m definitely interested as I love tabletop and dice :) This game seems like Pandemic mixed with Alien Frontier.


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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 1:32 pm said:

    Price will be $14.99 (but there will be a discount at launch).

    Tharsis is indeed brutal, but only at first. The more time you spend with it, the better you get at planning ahead and being able to strategize.

    And it’s really exciting to be compared to such great games. Thanks!


+ Bartarak on January 11th, 2016 at 8:17 am said:

EU release this week aswell?

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 1:36 pm said:



+ paulogy on January 11th, 2016 at 8:18 am said:

I just got Laserlife in the the great Holiday sale! It’s fun so far. Given they are thematically connected, is there a preferred order to experience both games?

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 1:39 pm said:

    Chronologically, Laserlife takes place *way* after Tharsis. But the order of events is not necessarily a crucial part of appreciating the connection between the games. In fact, I’d probably recommend playing some Tharsis before returning to Laserlife. You can learn more about the importance of the astronaut’s mission this way, which in turn will make learning about his life all the more rewarding!


+ Hakumen__ on January 11th, 2016 at 8:36 am said:

Any plans for bringing Laserlife and/or Tharsis to PS Vita?

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 2:12 pm said:

    Laserlife will probably not be coming to Vita, but Tharsis is possible!


    + KKilz on January 13th, 2016 at 12:17 pm said:

    Tharsis would be great for Vita / Vita TV (Especially the latter for me personally)


+ CallnMrMojoRisin on January 11th, 2016 at 8:40 am said:

How did I not hear of this game yet? Instabuy tomorrow!

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 2:12 pm said:

    Thanks so much! We hope you like it!


    + NickNacca611 on January 11th, 2016 at 10:19 am said:

    Any word on how much this will cost yet? I’m definitely intrested.


+ sfbsfb on January 11th, 2016 at 1:38 pm said:

This is an interesting departure from the games this company has previously developed/published. I have enjoyed Runner2, Woah Dave!, and Shutshimi very much. Although Tharsis is radically different than those games, I am still intrigued and am leaning towards getting it. In addition to relatively straightforward “arcade-style” games, I also like strategy games, as well as highly challenging games like Spelunky and Nuclear Throne. I am guessing that Tharsis has random or procedurally generated elements, mainly in terms of the “events” that occur as opposed the the level or ship design itself – is that correct?

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 4:34 pm said:

    You’ve done your homework!

    The events of Tharsis are random, in a sense, but they are also pulled from a large list of them that we’ve created, and the events you get are dictated by what’s currently happening in the game you’re playing!


+ Detonen on January 11th, 2016 at 2:48 pm said:

Looks very nice. Picking this up!

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    + Mike Roush on January 11th, 2016 at 4:34 pm said:

    Thank you!


+ noodleboy1972 on January 11th, 2016 at 4:35 pm said:

“Is there life on Mars”
RIP Major Tom


+ boomstickbhg on January 11th, 2016 at 7:55 pm said:

I look forward to enjoying lots of cannibalism.

And when I’m done that, I’ll probably buy this game.

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:12 pm said:

    I see what you did there.


+ Amnalehu on January 11th, 2016 at 8:36 pm said:

I had absolutely no interest in this game until I read this blog and all of the comments from the devs and fans. I will definitely be getting it tomorrow when it drops Thanks for sharing all of the info and congrats on another great PS4 game!

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:13 pm said:

    Of course! So glad our post had such a positive effect on you.

    Hope you like the game!


+ IcedDice777 on January 11th, 2016 at 9:07 pm said:

Will 100% buy it tomorrow. Need more interesting and unique games to add to my collection.

Hopefully there will an option to (Re)name your crew on this doomed voyage to mars. Lol

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:13 pm said:

    We don’t have a release date yet, but this is coming in a future patch!


+ oWEAPONo on January 11th, 2016 at 9:41 pm said:

How much in £ pounds cheers big ears


+ medenko1975 on January 12th, 2016 at 12:19 am said:

what kind of game is this?

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:16 pm said:

    Tharsis is a turn-based strategy game about humanity’s first mission to Mars! Despite rolling dice each turn, it’s far more a game of strategy than it is of luck.


+ VFarkasverV on January 12th, 2016 at 10:35 am said:

Release Date: 12. January…
It isnt in the psn store.
All other games are online since 2am german time but now…. 7pm and nothing changed..

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:17 pm said:

    The game has unfortunately been delayed to January 19 in Europe. We’re very sorry for the delay!


+ nelson_khoma on January 12th, 2016 at 6:04 pm said:

Tharsis is awesome, it just needs a way to skip the gameover screen and an option to mute the controller :P

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:17 pm said:

    We’re hard at work on patches for the game!


    + n8lieby on January 13th, 2016 at 9:35 am said:

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    Also needs a quicker way to ragequit when you know you’re already doomed.


+ KonietzkyStrain on January 13th, 2016 at 12:58 pm said:

I was soooooooooo looking forward to this game since the first screenshots and video… BUT I recently played it on a friends PC. I normally love Roguelike games, even though they are unforgiving, but this was just boring after two hours of playing. It makes FTL and other Roguelikes seem like a cakewalk compared to how brutal the dice can be. ;) Often you are doomed from the first move. LOL… was fun for about an hour. I know it is on sale for $10 but even that seems excessive since, once you DO reach Mars, there is not much to bring you back again. Would make a good tablet game I guess.

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    + Mike Roush on January 15th, 2016 at 2:23 pm said:

    Tharsis is very much like a digital board game, and its replayability comes from trying out different strategies and approaches to successfully reaching Mars.

    There are also multiple endings.


+ CornLikker on January 21st, 2016 at 8:52 pm said:

This game is fantastic! Thanks so much! I think J. Cross got off easy considering the hell the rest of my crew has gone through!

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