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Mars Power Industries is described as a feel good resource management game. Humans are beginning to colonise on Mars and your job is to set up power plants in order to bring power and resources to thrive and survive. With calm and minimalist music to lay on top, Mars Power Industries may well be the perfect way to relax after a long day on the ol’ mine.

Gameplay

In Mars Power Industries, the player must route power to certain buildings that require gas or electricity. There are only a set amount of resource conducts that are permitted per level, and so every decision must be made with the knowledge of how it will impact the rest of the level. By connecting raw resource materials to a tile using the conduits, it spreads that resource to the tile, and allows future expansion. This premise is extremely easy to comprehend, but does not equate to easy gameplay – far from it.

There isn’t a timeframe to complete levels, nor a limited amount of moves, as the player can just press ‘b’ and reverse their decision. Personally, I enjoyed this, as I didn’t want to have to think extremely hard about the puzzles, and enjoyed trial and erroring my way through each level; but I can see how more hardcore puzzle gamers might find it to be too casual.

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In regards to the Switch version, HD rumble is expertly implemented, with each building placement giving a small shake, further engrossing the player into the game. It’s a simple touch, but effective.

Story

The story is more inferred by the background and the setting, rather than an actual plot being laid out. Levels are called ‘years’, and so the assumption can be made that this is all for the rebuilding of civilisation, or perhaps an expansion to another world. Sometimes cut scenes appear where things happen, such as ships launching or new resources being introduced, but for the most part, the gameplay is the main focus.

Graphics / Art Direction

The art direction is this game is, without a doubt, almost perfect. I cannot fault the design of the backgrounds, buildings, or resources. Everything is made clear to the player about what is possible and what isn’t, which is exactly what it needs to do for a game such as this. The colours of minerals are rich and vibrant, which contrasts nicely with the desolate, cold environment around them. As you expand the power grid, so too does the level light up with blue and pink, creating a sense of progression and wonder.

Music / Sound Design

The sound design is satisfying and cathartic, with just the right amount of background music to absorb the player into the game. Moreover, the sound effects are powerful, with each generator being placed giving a satisfying factory noise sound.

Final Score: 95%

Mars Power Industries is a simple game. It is one of the most elegantly designed, wonderful puzzle games I’ve ever played. Trial and error will allow anyone to eventually complete it, but for the craftsmanship, and the price, Mars Power Industries is almost the perfect puzzle game. It’s one you can sit down, relax, and strain your brain a little bit, whisking away the troubles of the real world and instead focussing on restoring power to civilisation.

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Posted by Michael Maunder