Existing on the edge between two genres, Surviving Mars tends to attract both players that like survival games and players that like base/city building. While these two gameplay aspects usually work in harmony, sometimes they can step on each other's toes. Many players longed for some kind of more relaxed game experience with a focus on city-building and aesthetics, instead of survival. In Creative Mode the player can experience the mysteries without worrying about pesky survival threats, or select no mysteries.
Creative mode is implemented as a set of eight game rules that will be activated when starting a game in creative mode:
- Easy Maintenance - buildings never malfunction due to lack of maintenance
- Easy Research - the tech tree is revealed, and base research is greatly increased
- Fast Rockets - rockets travel ten times faster
- Fast Scanning - sector scanning is much faster
- Free Construction - buildings don't require resources to be constructed
- Iron Colonists - Health and Sanity can't be lowered below 50 and Colonists never become Earth sick. There is no Founder stage
- More Applicants - start with 500 additional applicants
- Overfunded - start with $100,000M additional funding
All game rules may be selected or deselected as desired.
Note that while many bad consequences do not happen in creative mode, the game mechanics still function "under the hood" so it can be useful for experimentation and learning. For example, when you want to check if a particular base setup is self-sufficient - if any resource stays low, this Colony will probably struggle without help from Earth in a normal game. And if you have Colonists at 50 Health or Sanity, they would probably be under the risk of dying or having a breakdown in a normal game.
Creative Mode can be a great way to explore the game mechanics and learn the ropes in a relatively safe environment. Since many achievements are trivialised by the significantly reduced threats, activating some of the game rules disables achievements for the playthrough.
The "City Mayor" Commander Profile, when selected, adds additional funding and reduces costs and maintenance as well.