Does Mars Horizon have what it takes to give us the space sim we need? Find out in our Mars Horizon review!
Mars Horizon is a simulation game where you’re given control of a space agency. The game is developed by Auroch Digital and published by The Irregular Corporation. You will take aim at the stars and plot your journey through the cosmos as you take on missions, expand your base of operations, strike deals with other nations, and much more. Does Mars Horizon have that secret sauce that sim games need in order to keep your attention right through the whole experience?
There is… a lot to manage in Mars Horizon. Cash, budgets and budget reviews, science income, research tasks, public support, international relations. If you’ve got the mind for resource management, this could be the game for you! Mars Horizon does make managing all of this intuitive by having detailed tutorials and a system in place to make sure players don’t accidentally advance the month without completing an available task. As you move through the title’s content, you also need to start managing hiring astronauts, their salaries, and their rehab when they return from space. Everything in Mars Horizon is a micromanager’s dream, although things can get out of hand very easily!
The space race is alive and well in Mars Horizon, and my competitive nature made it very discouraging to stick with the missions at hand. Having to manage certain research to unlock future missions or scheduling launches can make it difficult to keep up with your competing space agencies. You really have to set your priorities for exploring certain planets and be willing to accept you won’t win every race, or else you’ll certainly lose every single one of them!
Gameplay in Mars Horizon does focus on micro-management of resources, and each mission you take on can earn more resources for your efforts, as well as accolades from the public and from fellow space agencies. For each mission, you’ll be responsible for deciding on the payload, rocket components, and launch date. Once you launch your ship – if it doesn’t blow up at launch, that is! – you will have to further manage resources in a puzzle mini-game.
For this, you’ll need to manage yet another set of resources, which become more and more complex as you advance in the space race. You’ll need to complete a variety of tasks where you redeem certain resource types – for example, electricity in exchange for radio transmission. You’ll have to meet specific criteria in order to succeed and only have a set number of turns to earn enough of some specified set of resources so that the mission is a success. This can be a lot of puzzle goodness, and I routinely found myself playing this mini-game even on repeat missions where it is entirely optional.
There are a lot of tutorials on Mars Horizon. You’ll need to pay attention, or else you may fall behind in the space race! With all this reading, you’d hope that the developer or the publisher would have included some sort of text-to-speech or font resize options. None of these accessibility features are present here, making this a tough sell for anyone who has trouble with their vision or with reading comprehension. The above-mentioned features would be a welcome addition to Mars Horizon since you may feel inclined to just skim over the text to get to the gameplay. Skimming here could be detrimental to the experience since so much context is provided via these in-game text tutorials.
Mars Horizon is certainly a fun time if you’re looking for an in-depth space agency simulator. Buyer beware: there is a lot (A LOT!) of text to read here, and the text is quite small with no resize options. Interesting puzzle mini-games and resource management make this one a really fun time for those with an inquisitive personality. Anyone into micro-management games will find a lot to enjoy in Mars Horizon, which is available on PS4 for $19.99.
This Mars Horizon review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by The Irregular Corporation.