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Video GameTharsis Review
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Posted: 4 months ago, last updated 3 months ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Tharsis is a 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.

It sounds complex but because of the simple dice rolling mechanics is actually easier to grasp and enjoy than you might think. Although in part luck-based, 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.

DetailsGame Details

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

Price: 88% off

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation, Strategy and Traversal

Accessibility: 20 features

Pieces: Dice

Developer: Totally Choice (@TotallyChoice)




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.

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

You can play this game in the following styles:

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 in the story of the game. You don't actually see it happen, but the implication is there.

Skill Rating

10+ 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. You need to be able to 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 £12.99. 


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.


Our Tharsis Accessibility Report documents 20 accessibility features:
At the beginning of each run, you can choose the difficulty level, and also whether you want to view the tutorial (you can view this at any time in the options menu), which is a video.

Text throughout the game is in high contrast but is often very small. Cutscenes are voiced and also have subtitles which are large and easily readable.

The game is turn-based, so there is never any need to do things quickly or against the clock.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

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Our experts have hand-picked the following board games that offer a similar experience or theme to Tharsis., or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12 or ESRB MATURE 17+ games.

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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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