Mars has a harsh and barren landscape that is still filled with plenty of intrigue to explore. Mars: Mars is a new iOS game that gives you a jetpack, and sends you on your way to pilot from platform to platform across Mars. You simply tap and hold on the left or right side of the screen to activate thrusters in that direction, or tap both sides of the screen to activate both thrusters. The game is all about propelling into position, lining up with the platform, and slowing your descent to gracefully touch down. If you go in to fast, you will crash land on the barren landscape.
Mars: Mars offers a familiar style, akin to the Atari classic Lunar Lander, but updated with more new age charm with quicker precision sequencing. Each jump in Mars: Mars gives you a limited amount of fuel to manage to still be able to get into position, and slow your descent. It’s nice that each jump is its own unique challenge as you need to overcome hills, crevasses, bouncy objects, black holes, and more. As you get into the rhythm of moving between platforms, you come across the finer elements including a chain system activated with each successful landing without a crash. If you string together enough good landings, you can get a big coin boost.
The main highlight of Mars: Mars is all of the unlockable characters with 32 included in all. Each character doesn’t just pilot on Mars, but also includes their own themed backdrop, jetpack, and sound effects. It’s such a great change to make the game feel fresh as you tackle the next stretch of platforms. For example, you can go from Mars to underwater, Egyptian sands, graffiti filled big city, and more. The platforms keep coming, and there are 48 selfie spots as tiny incentives to keep going from platform to platform. The core gameplay does become a bit repetitive after a while, but despite that, it’s easy to find yourself continuing to jetpack from platform to platform. It’s such an accessible style with a smooth difficulty curve that just feels natural and intuitive with the touch controls.
Mars: Mars (Free, Universal) is a well-made arcade challenge that is worth picking up.