Take On Mars review
Take On Mars
In space, no one can hear you scream. Here, it is indeed quiet as a mouse when crude research vehicles dig through the sands of the Red Planet. Take on Mars is a game for lovers of science, of slow exploration - and also of the modern struggle for survival.
In the beginning, it was small probes for photos and simple analysis. The funding earned in this way is put into the construction of new probes with better cameras. At some point, movable arms were attached to larger landing platforms to take measurements in the ground. And later, complex vehicles are sent to the Earth's neighbor to explore, document, and analyze in detail. That's one side of Take on Mars: the science-driven campaign from the control center.
You control all vehicles and their equipment yourself - so the game is not realistic. After all, radio signals take several minutes to bridge the distance between Earth and Mars once. Nevertheless, developer Bohemia Interactive puts a lot of effort into making the exploration as believable as possible: you operate instruments and onboard cameras independently of each other, for example, and have to manually unfold solar cells, switch on lights, extend arms, and more.
Every movement takes time; even the locomotion of the rover is done in a rather leisurely way. Moreover, the cameras never show an absolutely clear picture and the only sound consists of the melodies of the calm soundtrack - Take on Mars captures the alienating distance in a hypnotizing way. And if you want, you can simply turn off the music or activate the sound, in case the complete silence gets on your nerves.
An important feature of the scientific campaign is the relatively large freedom in developing new vehicles. Research goals determine which tasks you have to fulfill, among them the removal of
By the way, you have the choice: Either you allow time to fast-forward or the research takes place in real-time so that you only get results after a few hours. Time then continues to run without the game being started. Of course, there are no research times for weeks or even months.
The fact that many graphical details only appear late on Mars makes orientation on the already very barren planet surface more difficult.
When constructing freely, you build large bases similar to other survival games. Unfortunately, the awkward controls make some of the necessary actions difficult.
In campaign number one, you develop new Mars vehicles with great ambition and steer them through the inhospitable environment for measurements of various kinds. Watching Martian winds pass by silently while a crude drill disappears into the sands of the Red Planet feels as distant as it is sublime. Take on Mars could have used the second campaign as well as the online game, in which you process raw materials into vital substances and make the components of entire stations in 3D printers, as in most of the popular survival adventures. The controls are also clumsy there and the physics are not always comprehensible. However, this part is also entertaining, which is why I recommend the bulky simulation in its entirety to every space enthusiast, despite its quirks.