A free Per Aspera expansion lets you urbanize a green, verdant Mars

Per Aspera Home
(Image credit: Per Aspera)

Mars terraforming simulator Per Aspera has released a new, free DLC called Home about making Mars more livable. New features expand the process of terraforming Mars to include deeper, broader coverage of flora and larger, more habitable open-air cities for Earth's population to move into.

It shifts the goal of Per Aspera to include a post-game, where once terraforming would have been considered complete, you can now keep playing to more deeply develop a livable ecosystem on the red planet. There are also new mechanics like desertification if you make Mars too hot, and dynamic water levels concerning water purity.

The developers' update also includes new buildings like atmospheric humidifiers and more advanced open-air farming. It'll also have massive Metropolis cities, and open-ocean water treatment plants and pumps to feed them the volume of water that many humans need. You can even migrate in new colonists via space elevator.

Per Aspera is a combination of resource management and city-building game that has players as an artificial intelligence in charge of terraforming mars using drones, large-scale constructions, and planned human settlements. It has both a sandbox mode and a narrative mode that tells a crafted story with branching narratives about the nature of the AI itself.

On review in 2020 I quite loved Per Aspera, and I've enjoyed its expansions. "It's one of the most demanding strategy management games I've played in a long time, not just in its complexity but for the moment-to-moment action. Playing, my fingers constantly slid between WASD to pan the camera, the numbers for game speed, and the function keys to activate overlays for power, maintenance, drone traffic, and survey results. Per Aspera is a 'blink and it's 3 am' game," I said.

Home, then, is going to be a great reason for me to revisit Per Aspera. I've barely dipped into its sandbox mode, mostly because I really loved the narrative influences that the developers added to it—what I considered a bold experimental structure for a city-building or resource management game.

Home is the second free expansion for Per Aspera, following 2021's Green Mars and the 2022 paid expansion Blue Mars, which focused on the seas of your red world.

You can find Per Aspera and Per Aspera: Home on Steam. They're $30, or $15 off for about a day more.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.