The Mars Files, available for Android through the Google Play store, is a decent mix of a classic text-based adventure and a survival game, with a dash of base management thrown in for good measure.
The game asks you to survive on Mars, which is a tough task, as not only do you have to manage resources so you don’t starve or suffocate, but you also have to battle alien monsters. Managing your habitat, while also going out foraging for resources and battling are the foundations of the game, and both work really well.
The need to rescue fellow astronauts, which helps increase your income, is cleverly offset by the risk of going after them. It is something that will have to do, as you can’t survive forever on your own. The battles themselves are very old school, yet still seem refreshing when combined with the map interface and creepy setting.
Here, straight from the developer, are the app’s best features:
★Text-based survival gameplay
“The Mars Files” is a casual Mars survival game with a text-based gameplay. A whole story unfolds as the game advances and your text inputs might trigger various endings upon what you choose in different situations.
Once you have enough resources and weapons you can explore the Red Planet to find out the mystery about its lost civilizations. Discover new locations, collect loot and fight lots of aliens along the way.
★Build facilities & collect resources
You have limited resources thus you’ll need to use them wisely and build facilities that generate what you need to survive. As you explore the planet you’ll collect resources and use those to upgrade or build more.
★Craft weapons & fight aliens
Exploring the planet will put you in front of hundreds of unknown alien monsters, one deadlier than the other. Use your weapons to destroy them and refill your energy using resources.
The game is pretty tough, especially when you go hunting for elites, but I do feel that the developer has got the balance right, with a well thought out risk and reward mechanic to the exploration and enemies. One issue I do have is that the translation could do with a little more work, as it does break the immersion somewhat. What actually adds to the immersion is the generally very good GUI, with some of the overlay having an almost Elite: Dangerous orange and black look to it. It combines well with the pixelly enemies and maps.
For such a seemingly simple game, there is actually plenty to get your teeth into. A crafting system, mines that you can capture to expand your reach, base management and basic exploration elements are all here, and all for free although there are some optional in-app purchases.
Overall, if you are looking for a creepy sci-fi game that mixes text-based adventuring with survival and battles, then there really is no reason not to give the Mars Files a try.