Opinions May Vary

By: Joe

Title: Mars Power Industries
Developer: 7A Games
Released: 11/15/2019
Price: $3.99

After watching a quick trailer, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Mars Power Industries… it had a charming aesthetic (vibes of Advance Wars and tower defense games) and an engaging soundtrack. The first moments of the game, however, throw you into an immersive non-tutorial for what is definitely a puzzle game.

I love a game without an explicit tutorial. The way to learn what works and doesn’t in this game is to try, fail, and try again (I’m reminded of Baba Is You released earlier this year). Your only controls are to move a cursor and place a finite number of towers that have different functions, with the goal of providing power to the locations provided on a map. It would be easy to get quickly frustrated figuring out the rules, except the levels are built to incrementally add in details, and much like Baba, backing out is as easy as pressing the back button however many times you need. After completing the first 10 levels, you have a fairly good idea of what works, and the building blocks of what you’ll need to know to tackle the rest of the worlds. There are new pieces (that you have to place in a certain order) and new obstacles (that can either be modified or worked around depending on how you play), but the mechanics are easy to take on once you get past the first few stages, and you’ll be throwing together power plant systems before you know it.

The trial and error part of the game is part of the fun. It’s not just the tutorial that lacks words… story elements are provided with subtlety and nuance. It’s meant to be experienced rather than over explained. The actual setting of the game (you’re on Mars and you need to provide power to buildings) isn’t important, but it adds a lot of charm to the graphical representation of what is otherwise a straightforward puzzle game. This game is all about mood: a straightforward, relaxing puzzle game that provides a perfect break from Pokémon Sword.

I really enjoyed my time with Mars Power Industries… it’s challenging without being overbearing, and charming without being trite or forgettable. Each puzzle only takes a few minutes to solve, and you’ll find yourself breaking and going back frequently.

Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 10:24pm EDT

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