Here are some secrets I found that will help you to have much easier start (a MUST if you are playing on a Hard difficulty or trying to reach some hardcore acheivements).
How to make a Perfect Start in Mars Horizon
1. Customize Your Agency
It is CRUCIAL for hardcore game to tweak some of the basic settings of your agency. You can find it right after clicking New Game in the main Menu:
Now you can have 4 things: Appearance, HQ location, Traits and Diplomacy.
Of course, you can choose on your own, how your Agency would look like in Appearance tab - no change on a gameplay.
Changing HQ location makes more impact, but I think it's still not really important. Some HQ starts are bigger - like China and Russia, while Japan has smaller size but also less unremovable obstacles (like lakes or canyons). US is balanced, but I still prefer to play with Japanese start.
Now TRAITS is a key to a successful start. You can dump whatever traits your agency has and consider these ones:
Key traits are:
- Operations Specialist - ridiculously overpowered trait, that gives you +1 mission spot from the start! Basically you are making 2x amount of launches, meaning more Research, Support and Funding.
- Pathfinders - extremely important trait that gives 25% discount on your mission research. I've calculated, that Mission research tree has the most amount of research and it's the most important one (as you research groundbreaking missions and payloads faster).
I like to take Space Subsidy as it gives + 2 000 K in Funding from the start. Meaning, you can start planning your base more efficiently, as you can clear the area with extra cash + it's just less stress.
But, if you take it, you will have to take some negative trait. My choice is Failure Not an Option, as it gives you bigger penalty in Support for Fails. Meh, not a problem (+ I always reload the last safe if there is a fail ;) ).
2. Autoresolve All Missions
After you are done with your Agency set up, it's time to set a Difficulty. Now, you can choose whatever difficulty you want, but you MUST leave yourself an Auto-Resolve option for All Missions.
This is just ridiculous when I played the first time it took me 8 (!!!) hours to manually go through all of missions puzzles.
With Auto-Resolve you can just auto-resolve all of this! So the next playthrough took me just 3-4 hours and I had much more fun!
In the game you will always have an option - do the puzzle yourself or handle it to a randomizer. You will also see probabilities for success in this case.
And again, if you fail - just load the last safe ;)
BTW, if I would be a dev, I would certainly put more emphasis on this option, as it's quite game-changing for me.