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About the Story
The first mission to colonize Mars ended with a horrible shuttle crash, and it's a miracle you're still alive... Now you just have to wait until the second shuttle gets here. Five more months...
13th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)
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Life on Mars? is an IFComp 2015 entry that is a translation of the winner of the French IF competition of the same year. It was one of my favorites of IFComp.
This game centers around a woman stranded in a lone base after a terrible event. Her main access to the world is a computer terminal with e-mail. The game has implemented a marvelous e-mail system, with dozens of e-mails to read, with each sender having a different personality. The thoughts and replies of the woman are typed out in real time. The speed of the typing is adjustable; the default is too slow for most people, and the fastest is too fast, so make sure to play around with it before diving in.
The atmosphere of this game worked well for me. Outside of the e-mails, there are a few puzzles and a good amount of exploration. Overall, I would highly recommend this game, especially to fans of puzzle-light games such as Photopia.
I hesitated to play this because the plot was just too similar to the movie (and book) "The Martian". But actually, they're quite different. That story is about a hero (even if he IS a scientist :) ) overcoming incredible odds. This story is, ultimately, horror.
I liked how far I managed to get without consulting the walkthrough, and I liked the idea (although not the reality; I tend to play in silence) of the soundtrack.
I disliked (as always in parser games) wandering around in a repetitive way, trying to figure out where the writer wanted me to go. As a completionist, I disliked the long list of emails, because I felt overwhelmed. I also found it a boring way to get across a story, especially when sorting through junk mail and other irrelevancies (although Charlotte's thoughts were always interesting to me).
I'm not sure how else the story could have been handled, but still - a happening-right-now adventure is always more interesting than knowing your character is just sitting in a chair, reading.
She was also quite passive, which realistically I can't blame her for - but it made the story less exciting. Some of the writing was a little disjointed and some was excellent (which makes me suspect it needed more editing than it got).
The end was genuinely eerie.
If you enjoyed Life On Mars?...
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This is version 8 of this page, edited by cas on 25 November 2019 at 8:42pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item