Mysteries are long, epic scripted sequences of events that tell an interactive and often fantastic story. Only one of the several available mysteries can be active during each game. Players will be prompted to choose which one at the start and can also opt to play a random one. Even though the mystery is chosen this early, it will not start until much later, usually after players are done with early-game problems and have developed their colony for several hours.
Mysteries more often than not are centered on strange phenomena and alien artifacts.
Each mystery features unique visual and gameplay elements and some of these have a dramatic impact on playthrough. Here are a few the unique elements that can be introduced by a mystery:
- Interactive objects in the world that affect colonies
- Visual changes in the environment
- Buildings with unique visuals and gameplay effects
- New disasters
- New technologies
- Colonist traits
- Changes to existing gameplay mechanics - e.g. forbidding contact with Earth or altering drone behavior
- Anomalies with unique effects
Playing through a mystery takes quite a while even on the fastest game speed. The narrative sometimes branches and mysteries often have more than one possible ending. Players will also receive a reward for their efforts, such as a permanent benefit to the colony or a breakthrough technology that would have otherwise been unavailable.