Per Aspera (PC) Review

By Athanasios 22.11.2022

Review for Per Aspera on PC

City builders are amongst the favourites of strategy fans, and after so many years they've become quite the varied sub-genre, with all kinds of different settings explored, whether that's… well, a city like in Sim City, or a post-apocalyptic scenario such as Frostpunk. Something a bit rarer, are titles dealing with building cities away from Earth. Per Aspera is such a title, as it revolves around creating a settlement on Mars, by acting as the AI who is in charge of the operation.

AMI is the artificial intelligence tasked with preparing Mars for a future human society. This means gathering a variety of resources, and then using said resources to start building. AMI will build factories that will craft necessary components for other buildings or units; it will build roads for gatherer drones to move on; it will build colonies for distant visitors from Earth. This almost godlike entity will do more than that, though. It will also think - contemplate deeper questions, and reflect on its own existence and sentience.

Don't go in expecting a thought provoking sci-fi tale. The internal monologues of AMI are nothing more than minor diversions between all that gathering and building. Yes. AI talking to itself put aside, this is just a city-builder, just one that couples the typical resource gathering and structure building of the genre, with a sort of narrative that keeps players company while they do their tasks. And us they wait. Prepare for lots of waiting. Lots of it.

Screenshot for Per Aspera on PC

Being an AI, AMI basically gives orders, and then everything else is done on its own. You'll click on a pile of coal to create a mine. You'll click on an area to build a factory. You'll drag and drop a power plant in the correct spot in order for it to power up your Martian empire. And then you'll wait. There will be moments when you'll turn the speed dial to max, and you'll still have to wait. Now, you might think "that's part of the experience in a city builder" and you would be correct, only in such games you usually need to think while waiting. The low challenge on offer, and the fact that there aren't many options to choose from means that most of the time you'll just go through the motions, whereas in gems like Frostpunk you'll have to take advantage of each second, and think really hard before doing most things.

After a while more options will be offered, mainly in the form of a vast technology tree, but truth be told, this still struggles with being something more than a simple city builder. Sure, you can choose between "this" or "that" way of building the Mars colony, but don't expect something that will make you put your favourite strategy game aside. In the end, this is an okay-ish, "idle" kind of experience. You click on stuff to get things moving, occasionally think whether to place this "here" or "there," and just wait while your base gets prettier.

Screenshot for Per Aspera on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


While building a Mars colony is a neat theme for a city builder, how that was executed in Per Aspera is underwhelming. Lots of time is wasted on simply waiting, and when you get to issue some orders there's not much in the way of thinking very hard about them. It's… ok, but that won't suffice.


Tlon Industries


Raw Fury





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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