PAX East 2019: 39 Days to Mars – First Impressions

The Indie Minibooth is a delightful place to be at PAX events, and this year was no exception. Among the many titles we enjoyed over the course of the 4-day convention, 39 Days to Mars from It’s Anecdotal was one of the most charming co-op offerings, setting itself apart via a minimalist art style and dry British humor.

In this two player co-op adventure, your avatars are two 19th-century explorers piloting the HSM Fearful on its maiden voyage to Mars. Players need to work together to solve problems (ie puzzles) as they arise both before and during the dangerous outing.

These two Victorian chaps are more or less eccentric geniuses, and the art style—line drawings with a brown/sepia palette backdrop—helps to ground the player in the story and time period. In the demo we tried, we needed to find the keys to the rocket, retrieve a top hat (because who leaves home without their hat?) and ascend to the ship.

Sounds simple enough, yes? It would be, if these eccentric geniuses weren’t in charge. The keys needed to be retrieved via a series of pulleys and magnets, which was utterly ridiculous but also very fun to figure out. The top hat was locked inside a trunk which required a series of levers to be pulled in a precise sequence to open—but since the levers were spring loaded, one player had to pull the lever while the other needed to lock it in place. This double task meant it took longer to figure out, with plenty of good-natured arguing along the way.

If you enjoy brain teasers, this is where it’s at. It’s all very silly, but it works. 39 Days to Mars looks fantastic, is designed to be a playful adventure that makes you think, and tells a whimsical story along the way. We’re looking forward to the full release so we can find out what happens once these characters blast off!


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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