39 Days to Mars by It’s Anecdotal
39 Days to Mars is a puzzle adventure game set in a steampunk world. As the title implies, this is a story about a journey to Mars set in a somewhat surreal variant of the 19th century that embraces all of the naivete of that era’s perspective on space flight. Primarily geared as a cooperative game, 39 Days to Mars is a point-and-click adventure that tasks its players with overcoming a string of puzzles.
Full Steam Ahead to the Red Planet
39 Days to Mars has little work to do in providing its story; the title covers the majority of the effort, and the rest is largely entwined with the game’s puzzles. The game’s protagonist, Sir Albert Wickes, is endeavoring to journey to Mars, and the game catalogs the various unlikely dangers he encounters on his adventure.
The developers very clearly targeted their game at co-op players (with the second player taking on the role of The Right Honourable Sir Clarence Baxter), but the game is quite serviceable as a single-player undertaking. I certainly encountered no problems on my play-through.
The core experience of 39 Days is of a point-and-click adventure, but this is used almost exclusively as a navigation system, and most of the puzzles themselves occur separately. There are exceptions to this later in the game, but for the most part each puzzle operates independently from the others.
The puzzles themselves are of middling difficulty; nothing here is designed to stump players for long. All of these challenges require coordination between either two players or two hands: from rotating pieces of paper to rebuild a torn-up map to piloting a space-faring penny-farthing bicycle whilst also controlling a mechanical arm to scoop up coal from broken asteroids, everything involves two forms of control simultaneously. Thankfully, none of the puzzles require extensive speed or dexterity, so I found that playing solo didn’t particularly hamper the process.
39 Days is steeped in its thematic setting and the aesthetics of the game, while simple, are beautifully realized. The visuals are backed up by an appealing piano soundtrack that does a wonderful job of conveying the relaxed and slightly abstract tone of the game. Some whimsical voice work is the cherry on top of this charming package.
A Quick Two-Man Job
39 Days to Mars is an endearing little puzzle game that is undoubtedly at its best when played cooperatively, but I can vouch for its quality as a single-player distraction. I say “distraction,” because this game is particularly short; I completed a play-through in under an hour and a half.
Despite this drawback, and – some would argue that it’s less a drawback than concise game design – I found 39 Days to Mars to be an engaging and aesthetically joyful experience that would appeal to puzzle fans looking for a light challenge.
39 Days to Mars is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for 39 Days to Mars below: