Scars Above – Searching for the Meaning of Existence on a Mysterious Planet

REVIEW – Scars Above is a new game from Mad Head Games, published by Prime Matter and released in February 2023. It is a sci-fi action-adventure game in which you control a scientist woman stranded on an alien planet. The game offers challenging combat and exciting exploration, while telling a complex and twisting story.



Scars Above is not your average sci-fi game. You don’t just shoot and blow up enemies, you observe and learn from them. The game’s world is full of mysteries and wonders that science can help you solve. The game does not give itself away easily: the enemies are powerful and intelligent, the environment is dangerous and varied. The aim of the game is not just to survive, but to find a meaning to survival.



Fight for your life!


The combat system in Scars Above is complex and satisfying. The player has a variety of weapons that can be upgraded. Weapons include pistol, rifle, grenade launcher and plasma rifle. Each weapon has advantages and disadvantages against enemies. Enemies are varied: there are plant creatures, animal creatures and machine creatures. Each enemy has its own behaviour, attacks and weaknesses. The player has to pay attention to the enemy’s movements, attacks and defenses to be able to defeat them effectively.

But the fight is not all crazy shooting. In the game, you have a shield that you can use to fend off enemy attacks or to take advantage of the environment, like knocking out electricity or blowing up objects. Using the shield requires energy, which you can recharge in certain places or with objects. Movement is also important in combat: you can run, jump, crawl or take cover. Movement helps you avoid enemy attacks or find a better position to shoot.

The game also has a toolbox of different tools you can use to make or break the fight. For example, you can use decoys to distract enemies or explosives to inflict more damage. We can also upgrade our toolbox by adding new tools or improving existing ones. The use of tools also requires energy, which can also be recharged in certain places or with items.

The fight is therefore varied and exciting, and not at all easy. There is no life bar or healing item in the game. If you take too much damage, your character will suffer injuries that will affect his movement and combat. For example, if your leg is injured, you can run or jump slower. If our arms are damaged, we are less able to shoot or use our tools. We can only treat injuries in certain places with a special machine that heals our body.

So the fight is challenging, but not impossible. The game has three difficulty levels: easy, medium and hard. The difficulty level affects the enemy’s behaviour, attacks and defence. The higher the difficulty, the smarter, stronger and more resilient the enemies are. The game also has an “interesting” save system: the game saves automatically at all important points or when you leave the game. But if you die in a fight, you have to go back to the last save point and start the fight again.

So Scars Above’s combat system is complex enough, but easy enough to learn that it won’t leave you banging your head against the wall.



Discovery in the name of science


Scars Above encourages players to explore. The game world is large and varied: there are deserts, forests, caves and ruins. Each location is full of secrets and curiosities for the player to explore or collect. The game has a tool to analyse alien materials or creatures. This helps us understand how the world works or discover new things. Exploration is not only fun, but also useful: in many places we can find useful objects to improve or upgrade our equipment.

Exploration is not just a passive activity. There are puzzles and riddles to solve in order to progress or achieve something of value. The puzzles and riddles require logical thinking and creativity. For example, you need to find a code from a diary entry or open a locked door using a mechanical device. The puzzles and riddles are optional, but if you solve them you will be rewarded.

On the other hand, exploration is not just a solitary activity. There are other survivors in the game to meet or talk to. They can help us with information, advice or objects. But they are not always friendly: sometimes they can be hostile, suspicious or treacherous. The player has to decide how to behave with them: politely, friendly, threatening or lying. Our behaviour affects our relationship with them and the development of the story.



A story about the fate of humanity


We have not yet written about the story of Scars Above, which is not just a simple sci-fi adventure. In the game, you play a scientist named Kate Ward. She is the sole survivor of a space expedition stranded on an alien planet. During the game we try to find out what happened to the other members and how to get back to Earth. The game has lots of dialogue and diary entries to help you get to know the characters and the world. The story of the game is full of twists and surprises that influence the gameplay and the outcome.

The story is not just about Kate. In the game, we meet other survivors with their own pasts, motivations and goals. Some of them help us, others hinder or harm us. The player must decide with whom to develop a relationship: trust, friendship, dislike or enmity. Our relationships affect the story and the possible endings.

The story is not just about the alien planet. The game also explores the past, present and future of humanity. We’ll learn why the space expedition was launched and what dangers threaten Earth. We will also find out why the alien planet is so special and what secrets it holds. Finally, we will find out what the fate of humanity will be and what choices we will have to make.



An exciting sci-fi adventure


Scars Above is a pretty decent sci-fi action-adventure game, even if it’s not outstanding. The game’s combat system is challenging, but not hardcore insanity. The exploration is exciting and educational, and the story is engaging and thought-provoking. The game’s graphics are proportionally beautiful and quite detailed, and the music is atmospheric and fits the game world.

However, the game isn’t perfect: there are plenty of bugs and nasty glitches, the controls are sometimes clunky and muddy, or the enemy AI is dumb as a box of rocks. But these uglinesses fortunately don’t detract significantly from the overall picture. Scars Above is really a sci-fi adventure worth investing your time and money in.



+ Challenging combat system
+ Exciting discovery
+ Immersive story


– Errors and bugs
– Sometimes difficult control
– Stupid enemy AI

Publisher: Prime Matter

Developer: Mad Head Games

Style: Sci-fi action-adventure game

Release: February 28, 2023.

Scars Above

Gameplay - 7.2
Graphics - 7.5
Story - 8.2
Music/Audio - 8
Ambience - 8.5



Scars Above is an immersive sci-fi action-adventure game in which you play a scientist woman trying to survive on an alien planet and make it home. In the game, we fight alien creatures, explore a mysterious world and influence the fate of humanity. The game's strengths are its spectacular graphics, varied gameplay and deep story, while its weaknesses are its sometimes buggy functionality, less developed characters and linear endings. Despite its flaws, Scars Above is an enjoyable game that we recommend to all sci-fi fans.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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