Scars Above: A Universe Where Science Meets Science Fiction

In late February of 2023, the kitchen of Mad Head Games Studio cooked a brand new and unconventional dish – a game under the name of Scars Above. The studio, that has been known for their hidden object casual games for over a decade, has once again ventured into the world of action and adventure sci-fi games, following their previous game, Pagan: The Absent Gods. Just like its hack-and-slash action RPG predecessor, Scars Above will undoubtedly have a strong impact on players.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

scars above

Credits: Mad Head Games

At first glance, Scars Above will irresistibly remind experienced gamers of Returnal. An alien environment, a female protagonist armed with an unusual arsenal fighting with inhuman enemies; if she doesn’t survive, she resurrects and returns to the fight.  

However, the similarities with Returnal end here. In case you die in battle, you won’t go back to the beginning, but to the last checkpoint. What’s even better, especially for beginners, is that death during battle has no negative effect as you will lose almost nothing.  

But how does it all start? 

Some things should not be discovered 

A massive and mysterious object appeared in the orbit of the planet Earth, leaving Earthlings at a loss. It was named Metahedron, and the Sentient Contact Assessment and Response (SCAR) research team went on a mission to investigate it. Dr Kate Ward, the protagonist of the game Scars Above is one of the team members.  

scars above

Credits: Mad Head Games

However, things spiral out of control when the Metahedron takes the SCAR team to an unknown planet outside the Solar System. Dr. Kate Ward wakes up alone and dazed in a mysterious and hostile environment. Determined to survive and discover what actually happened, she sets out to search for the other team members. 

Improvised weapons 

Kate is neither a soldier nor a fighter, but an astronaut and scientist. It could be a considerable challenge since, as a scientist, she’s not very adept at fighting. However, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to survive. She has long-range weapons at her disposal – you can choose from four primary weapons – and different devices you can use to distract your enemy, slow down time, or make a shield. Hand-to-hand combat is also possible.  

During a fight, you need to take heed of your energy while you’re running and dodging, analyze weak spots, and find the most efficient ways to defeat your enemies. You can combine different elementary attacks to win and surmount rather insuperable obstacles. Make a range of objects and devices that will help you fight numerous threats on this exoplanet. Rely on Dr. Kate Ward’s knowledge and expertise to make all the devices you may need.  

And this is what you will find highly engaging in the gameplay. To complete the game, it will take you about 12 hours, but only if you’re an experienced gamer. Those who are new to gaming will need more time.  

scars above

Credits: Mad Head Games

Some may think 12 hours is way too little, but this is not the case. Because of the somewhat familiar theme, a longer gameplay might not be captivating. This way you will play just as long to avoid being distracted by something else. Plus, the way you’ll have fun while playing will make you replay the game for days and weeks. 

It’s worth noting that Scars Above is adapted to gamers of all skill levels – both beginners and those who have been into gaming for quite a while. At the very beginning of the game, you can choose a level that suits your gaming experience.   


The way your enemies attack you is more typical of horror games since it’s based on surprise elements. Typically, you won’t have an opportunity to see your opponent before the combat starts as they will attack you from an ambush. They may either jump from behind or emerge from the ground.  

Such a principle might seem horrifying, but if you happen to go through the same area again, you will know what is and where it is lurking. Thus, you’ll manage to defeat your foes quickly and effortlessly.  

scars above

Credits: Mad Head Games

Scars Above is a pretty linear game, so there is little to no chance that you will get lost. Even if that happens, you will be rewarded for exploration – commonly in the form of a weapon upgrade. This way, you are still ahead, even though you may have spent a little more time completing the mission. 


The design of enemies and the environment itself is stunning, however, it tends to be repetitive. Character models boast impressive graphics and great acting performance. Animations, on the other hand, may feel a bit stiff, at least at the beginning. Over time, that impression completely disappears. 

The world and the story are a bit predictable, but still convincing. Shooting is sharp and fast. Elemental interactions and overall approach to combat strategy are top-notch. Unfortunately, once you master Scars Above, each subsequent playthrough will get easier. 

While fighting, you can freeze enemies in water, melt them with fire, and then electrocute them. If they somehow manage to survive, you can blast them with poison. Although somewhat uneven, the design makes you feel as if you’re on a fun ride as the game approaches its final act. 

Audio & video 

After just a few moments, you may realize that the budget is a bit limited. However, this on no account implies that animations are poor. The textures may be modest and simple, but the graphics will impress you at some point. Though Scars Above is not a top-rated title, the design, artistic moments, and special effects are outstanding for an overall gaming experience. 

As for the music themes, they may not necessarily prompt you to explore the soundtrack and put it on replay. The audio moments blend perfectly with the visual ones and follow the course of events. 

System requirements 

Scars Above is available for PlayStation 4 i PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Microsoft Windows. We tested it on Windows.  

To play the game, your computer must meet the minimum system requirements: 

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit 
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4440 or similar 64-bit processor 
  • RAM: 8 GB 
  • Graphic card: GeForce GTX 670 / GeForce GTX 1050 / AMD Radeon HD 7870 
  • DirectX: Version 11 
  • HDD: 18 GB  
  • Sound card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card 

Recommended system requirements are pretty similar to the minimal ones:  

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit 
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770k or similar 64-bit processor 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Graphic card: GeForce GTX 1070 / GeForce RTX 2060 / AMD RX VEGA 56 
  • DirectX: Version 12 
  • HDD: 20 GB 
  • Sound card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card 

What could be better 

During the gameplay, you may notice some shortcomings in specific systems. For instance, when you die during a fight, you will respawn and recharge your energy, while all the enemies will reset. 

scars above

Credits: Mad Head Games

Upon defeating an enemy, you won’t receive a reward that will be of great value to you. However, you’ll be thrilled by certain moments, such as collecting purple data cubes. So, you have to explore and fight more monsters to find them, and then unlock add-ons. 

Due to this, you may get the impression that progression isn’t going so well. However, you will soon notice that the Metroidvania approach to level design works as a charm. You’ll unlock new abilities and backtrack through the mud to unlock doors you couldn’t before. You’ll feel like a real scientist doing it, considering you extracted it from alien secretions to achieve that. 


Without a doubt, you will feel that something might be missing while playing Scars Above. But what will leave a strong impression on you is consistency, coherence, and fun.  

Every single detail of a game is coordinated: visuals with the sound, storytelling with the story, and the story with the overall atmosphere. Fun is just a spectacular segment of the game Scars Above – the production may be partially limited, but entertainment isn’t. 

"Ever tried. Ever failed. Never mind. Try again. Fail better."