Providing power to colonists on the red planet really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be in the top-down, puzzle game Mars Power Industries. It’s a light-hearted game that provides a lot of casual fun for players who aren’t looking for something too challenging, but at the same time want a puzzle experience that will keep them occupied.
Developed and published by 7A Games, Mars Power Industries isn’t just puzzles about providing power to factories and residences on Mars, but also a story about an alien mystery. The game itself tells the story without words and instead through the various projects that must be powered through player interaction.
With no text and no voiced lines, players are forced to understand the user interface which provides them with power stations that must be placed on a grid to power locations on Mars.
Placement is everything when it comes to providing power on Mars
Placement opportunities are indicated with color and icons showing where power stations can be put. The stations then extend power around themselves that will activate buildings. Some positions for power stations can affect obstacles on the grid that require careful planning and strategic thinking about placement.
Different types of power stations also provide power in different patterns. This means that understanding what’s in the pipeline for the next station placement can change how the player must create a colony layout.
As the levels progress, players will be given pipes and conduits to help deliver further electricity to the colony. It will also become possible to bypass and destroy certain obstacles – such as rocks – which itself becomes part of the puzzle due to limited resources.
Later levels even involve moving elements, alien artifacts and tiles, and new obstacles that take even more strategic thinking about laying down power stations and conduit to deal with the still-evolving Martian landscape, and the ancient alien civilization that colonists must understand to survive.
Colony management through electricity is the name of the game
With its simple gameplay and gentle mechanics, Mars Power Industries provides an easy, bite-sized puzzle experience for anyone who wants to casually jump in and solve one of its 80 puzzles. According to the developer, this makes up approximately three hours of relaxing game time if solved at a calm pace.
The music and sounds in Mars Power Industries are relaxed and gentle, a sort of inoffensive digital music that delivers a gentle sense of gravitas when placing elements. The sound of power stations, conduits, and other items being placed is also satisfying, but solving the puzzles is even better.
One potential pitfall of Mars Power Industries is the apparent lack of a colorblind mode. The game uses green and red indicators for where power stations can go and this could become a problem for some users.
Mars Power Industries launched initially for Android mobile and PC on February 2019 but has also been published by Sonka Games for Nintendo Switch as of November 2019.