Mars Defender: Space RPG Review

Mars Defender: Space RPG Review

Oct 28, 2011

Mars needs help! Well, not the planet itself, but the people who are living on it in the future, some 119 years from now. Humanity is branching out, occupying new places to live in the solar system. As you can imagine, however, not everything is peaceful and easy. As tensions rise and attacks escalate, you’ll find yourself in the midst of battle, going further into space to help keep the peace. It’s a difficult job, but it all starts with blasting space rocks.

In the beginning, you’re just a fresh recruit, learning the ropes and defending Mars from the small handful of incoming asteroids. But just because the first few levels are easy doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. The game quickly increases in scope, offering you more difficult challenges, such as escorting freighter ships and fighting off enemy attackers. Even the simple task of clearing space debris becomes a challenge.

Between levels, you’re given a choice to pilot new ships, fight with better weapons and so forth. You’re even treated to the story as it unfolds, learning more about the conflict that’s going on and the role you play in it as fascinating events take place. However, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is simply getting around without smacking into things.

You pilot your ship by sliding the control stick in the direction you want to go. It’s fairly easy. Want to go left, for example? Just move the stick left. The ship automatically rotates so that the thruster is pointing away from the direction you want to go. Once you’ve got that down, your fate is in the hands of Isaac Newton’s first law of motion. You know… “An object in motion tends to stay in motion,” and all that jazz. In other words, you’ll just keep on going until you either rotate your thruster in the opposite direction or you crash into something. Obviously, you’ll prefer to take the former action if you hope to do well in this game.

Of course, being in constant motion has other challenges. For one, the ship’s weapons only fire in the direction your ship is facing. Since you also fire thrusters when you shift the stick around, this makes it much harder to keep aim without changing your direction, or making tight maneuvers while bearing down on an enemy. The option to fire thrusters independently would have made a nice addition to the options menu, even if it meant adding an extra button to the user interface.

Mars Defender: Space RPG doesn’t really seem like much of an RPG, in the traditional sense. It takes on a very linear approach in favor of telling a story and limits you in terms of ship customization and character interaction. It’s just a series of levels with some choices as to which ship you prefer to use on each mission. It’s also lacking in replay value. Without any kind of arcade mode or leader boards, you’re just playing the game to get to the end. It’s a well done game, but very limited.