Hailing from just across the ditch (mine, possibly not yours), 39
Days to Mars offers a whimsical Victorian adventure a la Jules Verne,
with some rather good puzzles but a few big caveats. How big will depend
a bit on you.
What I didnít know until I started playing was that it is best
played as a co-operative venture. One of you is Albert, the other his
companion Clarence, and together you solve the various puzzles and
conundrums. Its not just pressing buttons at the same time, but dynamic
working with each other to unravel and then conquer the issues that
beset your voyage.
The game also suggests (not surprisingly given the co-op approach)
that you use game pads. Which makes my solo mouse and keyboard effort
less than optimal.
But not impossible. You can do it that way, but it wasnít easy.
Itís still a co-operative endeavour (working with a cat not
Clarence), but you control both, and contiguously. You donít get to
choose who to play, rather when the puzzles require both you and the
cat, the left hand drives the catís paw with the WASD and spacebar,
and the right manages Albertís hand with the mouse.
I can pat my head and rub my tummy, and swap hands and direction, but
I found this game to be at the edge of my dexterity capacity. I liked
that working out how the puzzles worked was part of the puzzles, as well
as needing to fail to work out how not to fail, but there were times
when the left/right hands/brain was beyond me.
It was made even more tricky by the fact that many puzzles must be
completed in a certain amount of time, or with a limited number of
mistakes. I donít generally mind those things but it did on occasion
become the bridge too far as my hands tried to focus on what each other
To get through certain puzzles, I drafted my wife to play the paw
having worked out what was required. While it got me through, these arenít
her things at all and she doesnít like me telling her what to do. I
think we are still a couple.
In all, these aspects rendered some puzzles more chore than fun which
was a shame, because there is a lot to like here. The presentation, the
voices, the music, and the puzzle constructs all deserve praise. Had I
played with an adventuring friend and with gamepads, it might have been
really rather good. It wasnít un-good this way, but it was certainly
Some puzzles are really little mini-games (e.g. gathering coal,
fighting the Kraken) and I enjoyed these, but you may feel differently.
Most puzzles (maybe all??) have a ďgive upĒ button, which I thought
might have been a skip puzzle option, but in fact just backs you out of
The interface took a little getting used to (click and hold to
activate things, donít just click) but once understood it was plain
sailing from then on. You donít save, just resume your journey when
you come back.
I have to mention the nice cup of tea, if only to say it was
overdone. Very anecdotally English perhaps, you had to repeat this
puzzle quite a few times in order to progress. All manner of things
might be happening in the ship but a cup of tea must first be had. Make
the tea to the identified ďrecipeĒ, consume and then have at the
more immediate task. It wasnít a hard puzzle, just overused.
I did eventually land on the surface of Mars (and had to make a cup
of tea!!) and while it was a mixed bag journey, I liked it a lot. Which
might sound contradictory, but the game did say to do it with two
people, and I would certainly recommend that approach.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz