'Surviving Mars' is free on the Epic Games store right now

"Surviving Mars" is a sleek strategy game that challenges players to build a city on the Red Planet and you can get it free this week from Epic Games. 

The single-player Mars construction game from Paradox Interactive and Haemimont Games is the latest free PC and Mac offering on the Epic Games Store, but the offer ends March 18. So if you're looking to put your stamp on Mars life, you'll need to act fast. 

While Epic is offering the core version of "Surviving Mars" free (it's usually $29.99), there's a wealth of expansion packs available (including a free Mysteries Resupply Pack) that you may want to consider to enhance your experience. 

Related: The latest space video game news and deals

In the survival strategy video game "Surviving Mars," players struggle to survive on the surface of the Red Planet. (Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Those expansions range in price from $3.99 for the Stellaris Dome Set to $19.99 for the Green Planet add-on, with others in between challenging players to bring animals and race other countries to the Red Planet. There's even a MarsVision Song Contest expansion to rock out on Mars. You can score them all with a Season Pass offer for $34.99, which is worth considering since the core game is free. 

But even the base game can be a challenge. 

As our own Chelsea Gohd wrote in 2018 her review: "You arrive equipped with a rocket full of raw materials, drones and a few prefabricated structures. I quickly realized after landing that this game could be more difficult than I had anticipated — and maybe, just maybe, I should have taken a look at the expansive tutorial, as Mars has seemingly endless ways to kill you."

If you do grab "Surviving Mars" for free, here's some advice (also free): Don't build your base on a plateau if your water sources are in a valley far below. At least not at first. You'll need to reach that stuff easily if you're going to survive on Mars.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.