Surviving Mars: Project Laika Review

Reviewed on PC

Surviving Mars: Project Laika Review

For those not in the know, Laika, namesake of Paradox Interactive's new Surviving Mars DLC, was a pioneer of sorts. Widely misremembered as the first animal in space, instead Laika was one of many unfortunate creatures to help both the US and USSR test the rigors of rocketry and the effects of space on biological functions. It's an interesting part of scientific history to say the least and one that could perhaps have inspired something a little bit more exciting than what's on offer here.

Priced relatively low at £4.79, Project Laika adds two things to Surviving Mars - ranches and pets. Ranches are sources of food for your colony and can either be built in your domes or outside in bespoke little domes of their own. There's a small selection of animal types to raise, each offering up a different balance of oxygen consumption, water requirements and food output. In practice, ranches don't do anything functionally interesting at all, simply offering an alternative food source and some minor visuals as you zoom into your ranches to see geese or cows wandering around their pastures.

Maybe it's just me, but raising flying birds under a dome seems a bit cruel.

Pets, on the other hand, are utterly devoid of impact to gameplay and will be invisible to you most of the time as you play. By zooming down to a close view of your domes, you'll see small hordes of assorted animals wandering aimlessly. From housepets like dogs and cats, through to inexplicable wild animals like deer, these digital beasts do nothing at all beyond exist and wander around your domes, or wander outside them if you've also got the far more interesting Green Planet DLC and have managed to cultivate the environmental changes needed to bring down your domes and free your populace.

It's a testament to how easy it is to completely miss the arrival of pets that I had played for hours before wondering when the content Project Laika added was supposed to show up and zooming in to find a llama staring into the camera. I'm not sure the laugh it provoked was worth £4.79, alas. As a whole, Project Laika is underwhelming and could perhaps have been made part of Green Planet given it's thematic overlap and low impact to Surviving Mars' gameplay.

  • Project Laika PC
  • Xbox One - Full Game
  • PS4 - Full Game
  • PC - Full Game


Project Laika's low price point is just about low enough to justify a DLC package with such little impact on gameplay. If you're the sort to coo over digital animals then it's going to hit the spot, but it's not likely to justify it's cost to the rest.


out of 10

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