Code provided with many thanks to Future Friends Games
Drive and Customize
Mars First Logistics is an action puzzle game where you drive around customized vehicles in an attempt to deliver cargo to specific locations. It recently landed on Mars in Early Access, and as always, I have some impressions to share. If you’re looking for a relaxing game that will get your creative juices flowing, then keep your eye on this one.
Humanity has finally figured out how to land on Mars, but the next challenge is building various facilities to continue research on the red planet and potentially colonize it. You take on the role of the Mars rover. A robotic vehicle whose job is to carry various cargo across the surface of Mars to various locations. A Mars postman, if you will. This might sound simple and even dull in concept, but it isn’t. The rover and cargo have its own weight and physics. Sometimes you move around simple boxes, or specific building parts like a radar dish. Carrying these items is where the puzzling comes in. At the press of a button, you can enter a customization menu to attach various parts to your rover. It all clips together a bit like Lego. You can attach various hydraulics and rolling mechanisms to the rover to create hooks or, if you’re really smart, some sort of grabbing device.
Mars Post Robot
Controlling the rover is easy to pick up, with tight handling accessible for all players. Controls are clearly displayed with handy prompts at the bottom of the screen if you need a reminder. As well as some relaxing driving across the plains of Mars, you have control of the extra gizmos. With a button press, you can switch to controlling the rollers or hydraulics attached to your rover in order to lift items or grab them.
Once you have control of the cargo, the fun comes in where you need to drive to the delivery location and then somehow place it exactly in the highlighted zone. Sometimes this requires you to lift something up on a shelf or hold the item in a specific position. I was often dragging a heavy load across the plains. When my rover flipped over due to the weight, I would hold my breath, hoping the item would lift and not just flip my rover as I placed it in the correct spot. Despite my poor design choices, somehow, the item met its destination in one piece. I wasn’t very good at this game, but I sure had fun messing around, making a rover and exploring Mars.
As you complete deliveries, you unlock new parts and currency to purchase new parts for your rover. You can also unlock blueprints which give you a starting point on some of the new parts released. You won’t be able to rely on these for all deliveries, but it is a useful starting point. I guess my only niggle at this stage of the Early Access is more blueprints would have been helpful early on. Now, I genuinely struggled to get my head around the moving parts and hydraulics. Reverse engineering more superior designs were my way forward. If you’re someone that is creative and has time to burn you will likely love spending time designing your rover. You can even colour it in with various paint jobs if you want to stand out on the planet. The game doesn’t deliver a stressful experience; you can take things at your own pace. Even if you struggle on a delivery, you can just leave the cargo behind and return to it at a later point with it clearly highlighted on the map. You can pause anytime to alter your rover without restarting. Saving can also be performed anywhere. The game offers a very useful fast travel system to places you have already visited, reducing tedious backtracking.
The Sun Sets on The Red Planet
The graphics are just gorgeous. The cell-shaped 3D look really brings the red planet to life. As you drive across the surface you will leave tire tracks on the ground as well as have a prominent dust cloud trailing behind your wheels as you make your way across the surface of the planet. While certainly barren and lonely, there are signs of life at building sites with astronauts that will shoot up in their rocket packs if you drive near them. The most beautiful part for me was watching the sunset across the horizon as I attempted (usually badly) to make a delivery. This is made all the more captivating by the game’s relaxing soundtrack.
Mars First Logistics makes a very promising first impression in its entry into Early Access. A relaxing game to settle into and take your time with. I didn’t even encounter any notable bugs during my time with the game, which is impressive. Of course, there is room for improvement, but that’s the purpose of Early Access. The game features an online co-op, which looks like a great addition to the game, but I could not test this during my run. I enjoyed my time with this title, even if my creative skills could do with some work. Be sure to check it out on Early Access, and if you don’t hop on at this stage, be sure to wishlist it here.