By Chris Picone, 22 June 2023
Mars First Logistics is an exceptional physics simulation combined with a Lego-esque vehicle building. I went into this game thinking I was going to love it, I just didn't realise how much!
Like probably most people, Borderlands introduced me to shader graphics and I instantly fell in love with them. They look really nice in Mars First, too - not super detailed, almost cartoony, but very nicely polished and with lovely special effects as you leave tracks in the dirt and dust clouds billow up. Gorgeous.
You control a rover on Mars. Honestly it's pretty fun just hooning around the planet going over jumps (or cliffs) and exploring but the crux of this game are the missions, which involve transporting cargo from A to B. But it's not that simple, of course. The objects that need transporting are all funky shapes - large and unwieldy, really long, an odd shape, off-centred gravity, that sort of thing. My only real complaint is that the objects are mostly mundane and Earthy (a satellite dish was nice but most are things like crates of fruit). I mean, they're fine and serve their purpose in terms of providing challenging materials to transport but I just think it's a missed opportunity. Anyway, your first challenge is to build a vehicle capable of transporting the goods, using blocks, hydraulic rams, jaws, wheels, and the like. Then you have to actually get the goods from A to B across uneven terrain, up steep hills, and then to the drop-off point, which might be in a building, on top of racking, or up an elevator, providing another series of challenges in terms of working out how to maneouvre your cargo. There's tons of variety, by the way - plenty of unlockable parts, different terrain, different objects. I was never bored.
I absolutely loved Mars First Logistics; I grew up with Lego and really loved the building component of it, and had an absolute ball both trying to beat the challenges and also just zooming around the planet in my creations. As a bonus, my young fella loved it as much as I did!