39 Days to Mars

 

Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   It's Anecdotal

Publisher:    It's Anecdotal  

Released:   April 25, 2018              

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows XP or higher 
  • Processor: 1.7 GHz dual core CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB video RAM
  • Storage: 650 MB available space
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Additional notes: Gamepad is recommended, designed for two player co-op

 

 

 

By flotsam

 

39 Days to Mars

It's Anecdotal

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 was doing.

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 an effort.

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 puzzle.

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

RAM: 32GB GDDR5

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB

 

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