A Martian Odyssey

by Horatiu Romosan

2008

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A game that's flawed in interesting ways, December 6, 2012
by Felix Pleșoianu (Bucharest, Romania)

I wanted to play A Martian Odyssey ever since I noticed it was apparently written by another Romanian author. Stupid reason, but there you have it.

Unfortunately, the game suffers from misplaced priorities. The 50-megabyte download is all due to a long ambient/electronica soundtrack, which is nice, but hardly essential. Worse, it can't be turned off in-game, and it gets loud at some point. No offense, but I don't want to turn off my speakers because of a single application. Give me a sound-less version and I'll be sure to play it further. A few more verbs wouldn't hurt either. Did no-one think to try "radio Harrison" in beta?

On to the good parts: retro sci-fi is sufficiently rare that it feels fresh here, and I'd like to see that angle developed. Terse writing doesn't bother me either, and there's a cast of characters who actually feel alive and interesting, at least initially. (I didn't get far at all.) And while it was jarring to find unimplemented nouns, that at least told me what wasn't important; in more polished games, it's all too easy to waste countless turns poking and prodding at irrelevant scenery. Though on second thought that's arguably a part of the fun.

No, I can't give the game as it stands more than two stars. But I think it does have some potential, if only the aforementioned annoyances were fixed.

P.S. I'd like to know more about the author. Is he also the composer? Did the soundtrack inspire the game? It does help create mood...