Take on Mars is possibly one of the most unique concepts to hit the steam store in a while. It's a game, of sorts, but more than that, it's a tool for learning and understanding the challenges inherent in exploring a planet far removed from our own, as well as providing a toolbox to this end. A very well thought out toolbox at that, which includes a tech tree (recently added), Multiple survey sites, and even now includes Deimos.
You are placed in charge of the Mars Space Exploration Agency, provided a budget to build, launch and research landers, and rovers, and tasked with exploring and analysing scitentific points of interest. Completing these objectives nets you further funding. The game part comes from balancing the needs of developing technology and launching appropriate craft to the right sites.
Funding -is- tight here, so it's very easy to box yourself in on the first few tries whilst you get the hang of how it all works. For that reason I really, really advise that you read the tutorials, go and do a bit of research on the web, and study the tech tree. Work out what you need to build, and apply an objective based approach to proceedings. This is not a game for anyone who isn't extremely patient and willing to invest in a concept which as an open ended project, is very different from pretty much anything that's come before.
As a niche product though, it should be applauded, because Bohemia has created a genuinely unique experience, one that if you've the time, the will and the inclination, provides a richly rewarding and deep journey, digging into the historical background of the Red Planet, and mixing a subtle element of managing your technology whilst exploring and unearthing secrets as you go.
Posted: November 30th, 2013