Xbox One gamers with a penchant for Space, Sim City and maybe even that film The Martian starring Matt Damon are in luck.
That’s because this weekend you can download and enjoy the rather excellent survival management game, Surviving Mars, for absolutely free.
It’s the latest free game giveaway as part of Microsoft’s ‘Free Play Days’ Initiative, which means whilst you can’t keep it, you can play it plenty to see if you want to maybe dip your hand into your pocket to buy it afterwards.
At the time of writing the game is free for all Xbox Live Gold members, but only until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Sunday, May 19. Which for the sake of anyone not in the know, is around 7am in the morning this coming Monday.
In short, you’ve got it free to play all weekend. Nice one.
Normally with a Free Play Days weekend, progress and achievements will carry over should you so choose to purchase the full game, however, it’s not mentioned in Microsoft’s Xbox Wire blog post about the Xbox Live offer.
That said, we’re certain this must be an oversight, because as we mention, every other ‘Free Play Days’ event has seen fit to do so.
Surviving Mars is also on offer for the next three days, with 67% off the normal £23.99 price, making it just £7.91 if you want to purchase it after enjoying the free weekend.
As mentioned, the game is set on mars and takes the form of a survival management sim, in short, its up to you to build a colony capable of supporting human life on one of the most inhospitable planets in the solar system.
And I’m sure we all remember/have seen how that turned out for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.
To give you a bit more insight though, here’s Nikhat Ali, Lead Producer from the Surviving Mars dev team.
“The mission begins the moment you land on the Red Planet. Using your drones, you’ll gather resources, discover mysteries, and build domes to house your colonists. Since humans like being able to breathe, we recommend building life support systems capable of keeping the domes filled with breathable air.
“You’ll also need to figure out how your colonists are going to eat, because no one wants hangry colonists on their hands. If building shelter and growing food were all there was to colonizing Mars, then surviving the Red Planet would be easy… right?
“Watch out for natural events, like dust storms that can knock out power generators and wreak havoc on your colony. But don’t forget to take care of your colonists’ mental states too; they each have their own personalities and mental states you’ll need to monitor.
“After all, you don’t want your chief botanist to develop alcoholism when they’re on the verge of a major discovery. But it’s not all impossible challenges, you can make scientific breakthroughs to benefit your colony and get the edge over the inhospitable forces of Mars.”
If you were putting off jumping into the game at launch, now probably couldn’t be a better time to take the game for a spin.
Especially when it’s free no less.
According to the devs, Since Surviving Mars launched on Xbox One last year in March, it’s seen 12 major updates, each one adding new features or improving mechanics based on players feedback to fine tune the game.
“One recent update was the addition of Paradox Mods, our first direct modding pipeline on Xbox One, which gave players the power to create their own custom experience in Surviving Mars,” Nikhat Ali explained in the blog.
That’s right, you’ll also be able to mod Surviving Mars on Xbox One during this free weekend too.
There are also two expansions to the game should you really, really enjoy your time with it.
The Space Race expansion sees players compete with rival colonies for the limited resources on Mars, and Green Planet, which launched earlier this week, introduces terraforming parameters and allows players to turn the Red Planet green.