Review copy provided by Sonka.
Mars is a mysterious place. Close enough to be considered our neighbour, yet too far to feasibly visit as a tourist attraction. Its barren, red wastes have went on to inspire many to greatness in the literary world, even if their planet is not necessarily Mars – Dune for example. Coincidentally, Mars Power Industries feels like an incredibly laid back, stress free, puzzler inspired by Dune.
You are an aspiring electrician/plumber. You have been tasked with the lonely job of ensuring our newly found colonies have access to various resourses across the planet. These range from blue crystally thingies, to purple splooty liquid, with different colonies require different amounts of these resources to, well, not die.
Transporting vital resources to your fledgling colonies requires the use of pylons. Each pylon with expand a resource tile in a certain way. Some will shoot out vertically whilst others will convert adjacent tiles. Once a converted tile overlaps a colony, it will receive that resource. Connect all of your colonies and you live to survive another year.
The challenge comes your choice in pylon, or lack thereof in this case. You are given a specific selection, in a specific order and have to work from there. Mars Power Industries, like many puzzlers starts off fairly simple, however it slowly rolls out new elements that add to its complexity. These could he terrain morphing structures, looping level design and terrain types that interact with your pylons in various ways – or all of them at once, providing you have earned your big boy/girl pants. My only gripe with this is the slow implementation of these ideas. I often found myself playing with the same tools for a little bit longer than I would like.
Each puzzle you complete acts like a year of successful survival. Once you hit 80 years, congratulations you have won. There was one extra little thing your Earthling Overlords tasked you with – uncovering the mystery of the first colony. You see, you are the second attempt at colonising Mars. As you progress through the game, the plot will slowly unfurl. 7aGames used some very clever visual story telling that got me hooked and honestly, a little creeped out when it all started coming together.
Speaking of visuals, Mars Power Industries goes for simplistic, yet very attractive, pixel art. Resources, expansion tiles, colonies and hazards are instantly recognisable which aids in understanding the games logic. This is doubly impressive when you consider there is basically no dialogue to speak of, so its down to its visuals to teach you.
As this is a puzzle game, sound effects exist but are not integral to the experience. The music is a completely different story however. Mars Power Industries has a very ambient techno soundtrack that manages to invoke a surprising amount of emotional responses. I found myself being incredibly relaxed, bobbing to the background jams, but when things start to “happen”, it very subtly changes to a much more stressful, almost sinister, theme. It’s so gradual, over so many levels, you barely even notice it – until it’s too late. Top notch stuff.
Mars Power Industries is a great little title. The atmosphere, music, style and puzzles all help create a very memorable experience that will easily keep your attention for its 80 or so levels. I am a bit naff at puzzlers, and even I found immense enjoyment from this, so absolutely give it a go.
It takes a lot to get me invested in this genre, and this game 100% hooked me. Guess that means its canny good! Have you played Mars Power Industries? Did you find it as enjoyable as me? Let me know in the comments below!
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