Beautiful imagery and stunning vistas feel flat against the lack of challenge in Mars 2030.
By Joshua Hawkins, Greenlit Content
When I think of Mars, I imagine the terror that comes from exploring a place completely unknown to man. So, when I dove into Mars 2030 for the first time, I was intrigued to see how the experience handled the thrill of the unknown. Unfortunately, pretty visuals, stunning vistas, and an excellent experience are all brought to their knees by a lack of challenge.
The idea behind Mars 2030 is to explore the possibility of life on Mars. 2030 is the year that NASA expects to get to Mars, and it’s an intriguing thing to think about. What should have been an adrenaline-inducing experience, though, is instead a walking simulator with pretty visuals.
This might be enough for many people, but I was genuinely intrigued to see the challenges that mankind would face on Mars, and how NASA thought we would handle them. In Mars 2030, however, the community is already built, and the challenge isn’t there. There’s no way to ‘die’ that I saw, and while you can explore around 15 square miles of Martian landscape, there’s not much to keep you enthralled.
That isn’t to say that they didn’t try, though. Driving the rover is especially immersive, and even exploring the landscape feels real. But without any of the challenges and struggles that would come with being on an alien planet, thousands of miles from home, Mars 2030 finds itself lacking. There’s no sense of dread, which would surely be on the minds of individuals in this environment. It feels more like we’re looking at a utopia, instead of something that mankind must overcome.
As far as immersion and sense of presence goes, though, Mars 2030 is on a whole different level. The world feels alive—albeit lacking any real sense of being on an alien world. There’s wonder and awe, but no sense of accomplishment throughout the experience. Maybe this isn’t an issue for many, but as someone who enjoys space related experiences as much as I do, that small sense of accomplishment that comes with beating the overwhelming odds is something that would have fit well within Mars 2030.
The game looks beautiful and the controls feel smooth. I just wish that there was more challenge to bring the idea of being on an alien world to life. Still, though, I applaud the developers for doing such a wonderful job creating a good looking and immersive experience that showcases a bright future for space lovers.