Mars Power Industries Deluxe – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: 7A Games
Publisher: 7A Games, Kurki.games
Platform: PC, Mac, Switch
Tested on: PC

Mars Power Industries Deluxe – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Entertaining puzzles which gradually become more difficult, Incentive to unlock bonus levels
Bad: No in-game hints
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

While many games these days focus largely on diverse gameplay and awe-striking graphics, there is very much still a market for the more casual games that you can sit back with on a stormy afternoon and lose yourself in for a few hours. Mars Power Industries is exactly that kind of game, a simple puzzler that might seem easy at first, but will gradually have you cradling your head in your hands trying to make sense of it all.

Story

Mars Power Industries does tell a story, but without words or much preamble and it doesn’t bear on the actual gameplay. As the title would imply, the game is set entirely on Mars, in an established human colony. It is up to you to provide the different houses and facilities with the resources they need, like electricity and water. Every level signifies a year in the colony, so we do gradually get to find out what happened with it thanks to the rare short cutscenes in-between levels. There are also optional bonus levels that you can unlock which seem to reveal a more sinister faith for the colony and those who inhabited it. Turns out Mars might not be the safest place to live after all.

Graphics

In a weird way, the graphics of this game could be described as cute. The pixel style is clean and does look fine, seeing as this is merely a casual puzzle game. While at first sight, the environments can seem like they’re lacking in variation, with the same Mars desert setting being repeated every time, the game does play around with color. The different resources each have their own color, just like some recurring obstacles. The bonus levels as well shift the color palette slightly, to signify how they differ from the main game.

Sound

Surprisingly, you can expect some nice old school music in this game in keeping with the more retro-looking graphics. The entire game has a satisfying synthwave soundtrack that sounds almost otherworldly, which is definitely fitting considering the game’s setting. Once again the bonus levels change the music slightly, become just a bit more ominous. The sound effects of the game are fine too.

Gameplay

Mars Power Industries is a puzzle game. The goal of each level is to provide a set of houses with the resources they need by connecting them to the sources of said resource already on the map. To do this you place tower-like structures, with each tower spreading the resource in a certain direction. This can be up or down, side to side or even diagonal. It won’t do to place your towers willy nilly though, as not all terrain is suitable for placing towers. There are also obstacles that change between moves, so timing factors in too. Later on, when working with multiple resources you also need to be mindful of them not touching each other. Sometimes houses need to be provided with power or water twice, making things more complicated. Luckily there are also items on the map like conductors, which when you activate them, will spread power much further than your towers ever could.

All of these elements come into play gradually, ramping up the difficulty of the game as you go. What remains the same though is that every level is solvable in five moves or less, so you always have a maximum of five towers at your disposal. It’s an interesting gimmick, as it technically should mean the game is easier (five towers means a limited amount of possibilities for their placement) but it’s definitely not as straightforward as it sounds. Regardless, you’ll be needing the ‘back’ button that takes you one step back. You can use it as much as you like, either to revert your most recent placement or to go all the way to the beginning of the level.

As mentioned above, there are bonus levels to unlock on top of the almost 100 regular levels. You unlock these when collecting strawberries that appear in the levels by putting a tower on top of them. There are also mysterious black stones that you need to power up by providing them resources before being able to use them. All in all, the vast combination of levels and collectible extras does make it so that the game contains a lot more content than expected. You might need to use a walkthrough to beat them all though, there is no in-game hint system so if you’re stuck on a level, you’re truly stuck forever.

Conclusion

Mars Power Industries is a must-have for anybody who enjoys challenging themselves with brain-teasing puzzles. Combined with the minimal graphics, relaxing soundtrack and even a hint of story, it makes for an enjoyable way to waste away the time especially considering the extremely low price. Just make sure to keep your frustration at the ever-growing difficulty level in check, or you might end up launching your computer into space.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Mars Power Industries Deluxe - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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