Absolutely incredible game... but also not for everyone.
This is basically a highly realistic space simulator. The amount of detail and attention to realism is fantastic, making it really feel like you are controlling a rover on Mars. You visit actual locations on Mars, use actual scientific equipment to learn actual things about the geology of Mars. There is even an (optional) way to sync the game with the actual time on Mars, so you need to actually schedule your day around the 24.75 hour Martian day (like they do at JPL). Future versions will even include an (optional) light delay between sending and receiving commands.
No explosions, no aliens, no "story" other than building a successful Mars exploration program. There are countless games out there to provide your fix of those things. This game is different, and that is why i absolutly love it.
The gameplay IS quite repetitive, but one again so is the real deal. Drive a bit, analyse some soil. Drive some more, analyze a rock. None the less I find this very relaxing and engrossing, a nice way to unwind. Also, with Modding, there's no reason you can't break from realism and begin a long cruise around martian sand dunes in a dune-buggy while blasting "Road Trip" music from iiTunes/WinAmp/whatever.
If you are fascinated by Mars, like to keep track of what Curiosity is up to, would like to visit mars, and think it would be fun to drive a rover really slowly and drill holes into rocks (aka the real deal)... then you will like this game.
Simply Put: The closest most of us will come to visiting Mars.
P.S. The game is in Beta/Early access as of this writing, so for all i know in the future they may give you more freedom on what you can do, or include sci-fi ideas like a manned mission.
P.P.S. Regarding some negative reviews here - keep in mind it is in Beta. Some of the things being complained about here are almost certainly going to be fixed or changed in time. If those reviews scare you away from buying it, check back when it is completed.
Posted: December 23rd, 2013