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'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

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. 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. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.