PeriAreion on PC
There’s a tough balance that needs to be maintained when it comes to survival-sim games. Pushing for realism creates a complexity that’s hard for many players to approach, while drifting too far from it will put genre fans off. PeriAreion attempts to find this balance, putting players in charge of a small team of colonists sent to Mars to establish a human presence. With a solid resource system, environmental factors, and a lot of ground to cover, TBA Games gets pretty close to this difficult sweet spot, yet seems to come up a bit short for some reason.
PeriAreion is an interesting take on the colony-builder type in that it’s also ostensibly a real-time strategy. Landing on the surface with four player-chosen colonists, the task ahead is monumental and slow to begin, since anything beyond the initial lander module will need to be constructed on-site. After choosing a landing spot, players are left to fend for themselves against radiation, dust storms, and scarce resources that can make gaining a foothold tough. Since resource gathering, research, and building all require direct colonist interaction, you’ll have to make a lot of calls on what’s more important at any given moment.
Survival in PeriAreion relies on a few simple things. Your colony will need food, water, and power, while the colonists will also need to be mindful of their health and their air supply when out on the surface. This means you’ve got a lot of basics to keep an eye on, and that’s before we get into the resources required for building, improving, or researching new modules and the like. It’s a lot to track, and there’s not much room for error if you’re hoping to keep the hope for humanity’s future on Mars alive. It only takes one ill-timed spike in solar radiation to derail your entire operation if you’re short on far-off resources needed to build your medical station, and getting everyone to the safety of the colony can lead to rapid food shortage if you’re not careful.
While the number of things needing monitored to succeed in PeriAreion may seem high, I’d consider that the game’s strongest point. Survival shouldn’t be simple, and players should certainly face difficult choices about where to focus their time. Unfortunately, time itself is a bit of a hang-up; colonists are slow-moving and trying to establish even the barest necessities drags on for quite some time. Building and mining are relatively quick, but the time it takes for your crew to get out to the resource spots or building areas seems to take an eternity. And since the environment can become extremely dangerous at the drop of a hat, it becomes a huge risk just to send someone out to get the supplies required. The whole pace of the game feels sluggish, making play feel dull and dragged out.
PeriAreion‘s biggest stumbling block aside from this slow pace is a strange lack of direction. Once you’ve got the hang of things, surviving is relatively straightforward. Thriving, though, relies on completing tasks around the map to earn experience and funding. This isn’t especially difficult, but it’s not even touched upon in the game’s tutorial or spelled out well during play. I’m still uncertain how taking a photo of an arbitrary bit of horizon advances mankind’s aspirations to conquer space, but it sure seems to come up a lot. Beyond baffling objectives, these tasks are often menial and take time — and colonists — away from things that seem rather more important, like generating food or collecting ice to convert into drinkable water.
Ultimately, PeriAreion does a number of things well enough to be playable but is lacking the polish and attention to detail that would get it to the next level. For a $14.99 price on Steam, maybe playable is enough for some, but I’d be hard-pressed to serve up a real recommendation. Still, good fundamentals and a pretty approachable take on the survival-sim genre could be an appealing mix for someone who’s curious about it but not willing to shell out top dollar or get into some of the more complex titles that dominate the field.