We’re in the 19th century. On a day like any other day, Albert and Baxter enjoy their afternoon tea. When one of them, from the comfort of his chair, comes with an idea: let’s build a spaceship to explore Mars! And all of a sudden, you are ready to lift off and to start your adventure through space while heading to the red planet. But this is no easy task: as your coal powered spaceship goes toward the cold emptiness of space, you will soon discover that this travel will demand much more than just your arms and brains to keep everything working. Developed and published by It’s Anecdotal, a Canadian one-man studio. This journey is a hand drawn 2 player couch co-op that takes you on a voyage that will take 39 Days to get to Mars. Now finish your tea, bring your cat and let’s embark on this adventure! Shall we?
What is Good?
- Visuals: The art for 39 Days to Mars is something unique. Over the pastel background that exists out of a single color (If anyone could help me identify the color? As I can’t seem to find the correct name for it), all elements (your house, the tree, and your spaceship) are drawn with simple lines. There are almost no other colors in your screen, except for your white characters, your cat, puzzles and some elements from the scenery. And even with such a minimalistic style, the whole visual experience is very enjoyable.
- Audio: Any good trip starts with a good soundtrack to go along. So, imagine how important it is for a trip that’ll take you 39 days to complete. Calm down, my young grasshopper! Your voyage in this game will be accompanied by excellent voice acting and superb piano tones, making it one of the most relaxing games you will play in 2019.
- Your ship: You will spend most of your time inside your ship, running between compartments to repair any problem that shows up. The ship is very detailed and has a different layout every time you start a new game. A simple, but an interesting feature that this game offers that’ll help keep things fresh and new during your multiple game sessions that you’ll most likely be doing if you want to nail those 1000G.
- 2 player co-op adventure? Not necessarily: If you have been following our reviews during the last year, you may already know I’m a big fan of couch co-op games! Nothing is more enjoyable for me than having a friend by my side to play along. But due to some unforeseen circumstances though, I’ve become kind of a single player these past few months. If you find yourself with no second player to experience this adventure with? The developer ‘s got you covered as well! Your AI controlled cat will take the role of the second player, giving you full control during the puzzles with both of your analog sticks. It isn’t easy to handle and can become really confusing, but after some time you will get the hang of things.
- Gameplay: 39 Days to Mars gameplay consists in solving puzzles which work as minigames. The game has a good number of puzzles that are quite challenging, but not impossible to be beaten. But there’s an annoying repetition of puzzles that will discourage all players. But let’s talk about it later.
- Game length: You will take no longer than a couple of hours to finish 39 Days to Mars, which in my opinion is just a tad short. Some will disagree and will find that this is enough for a puzzle game, especially when you will need at least one more run to unlock all the achievements. But for those who don’t care about it, there’s little motivation for a second run. And thinking about these players, I can say it’s just a short game.
What is Bad?
- Repetition: Albert and Baxter’s spaceship will need constant maintenance to reach its destination. Besides this maintenance, you will need to restock fuel, food and will encounter a few more surprises along the way. Each one of these activities is a different puzzle that you will need to solve (which is pretty cool!). But every time you need to do one of these activities, you will first need to eat something or have a cup of tea. And to prepare your delicious scone or tea, you will have to play one out of two different minigames. Can you see what I’m getting at? No? Let me be clearer: before any and every activity, you will need to do one of these two minigames. And although short, they quickly become boring after the third time you repeat them.
39 Days to Mars [Score: 68/100] With a distinct art style and amazing work in the audio department, 39 Days to Mars was an amazing surprise in my opinion. A mix of puzzle and adventure that relies on its co-op gameplay structure to tell you a shallow story. The puzzles (the core of the gameplay) are well designed, original and very interesting. But the game overuses a couple of them, resulting in them becoming tiresome and repetitive. Multiple playthroughs are required to fully complete it, giving it some welcomed replay value, if you can look past some of its repetitive natures.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.