The Martian Job

by M. Darusha Wehm

Science Fiction
2018

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Solid writing in a space-themed heist game, July 25, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

I'll discuss this game on my five point scale. For an overview, you are a former safecracker who's running out of money and is looking for a new job. This one's a casino, on Mars. You have to work with a team and pull of the heist; but things go wrong.

Polish: This game is thoroughly polished. Even the stats screen looks nice, and the names of stats are a clever treat (you have three stats about your interactions with Mars, named 'Curiosity', 'Sojourner', and 'Spirit').

Descriptiveness: This is where the game shines. This feels like the kind of writing you'd expect picking up a crime or mystery novel from the bestseller table at a bookstore. It's a higher caliber than most the IF I've played, for sure.

Interactivity: This is where it differs a lot from other Choicescript games, and the area I have the most to say about. Most Choicescript games are power fantasies where you max/min or strategize and get to do all sorts of great things, but at the same time sacrificing other goals. This game felt less powerful and more by-the-skin-of-your-teeth. There are very few opportunities to raise your stats. Many choices were more about reaction than action, and I could see that be why another reviewer gave it less stars. I'm a fan of games that invite reflection (ironically, one of my favorite such games is Polish the Glass, which has a similar writing style and features the same day job as this game's protagonist). There are still power fantasy elements; you can fall in love with many people, change the whole world, become rich. I became rich, but it felt hollow. Maybe I should try again?

Emotional Impact: I felt it. The game had an intense blackjack simulation that I liked. I don't gamble in real life, but in the game it was fun (lost everything, of course). I felt tense at times, laughed at the portrait in the crime lord's office. A strong area for the game.

Would I play again? Absolutely. If I time traveled to tell my past self about which Choicescript games I should play, I'd definitely include this one, and I want to see if I can save Mars this time.

I was provided a review copy of this game.