This title was previously reviewed on PC but is being revisited due to an Xbox One release.
This little gem of a game has previously been explored by my colleague Chelsea when it was available solely on PC but since then has been released on the Xbox One so I’ll be strapping in on another adventure to the red planet to see if 39 Days To Mars by Its Anecdotal is still as cleverly designed and well made up. Let’s get into it then.
Wow…just…wow..when I was given this game to review I obviously went on to google to look it up to see what it was like and believe me even screenshots don’t prepare you for the marvel that is this game’s graphics! Steampunk imagery adorns your screen in a hand drawn sepia coloured style making this just an absolute glory to behold. The hand drawn style gives a level of intricacy that I wish more games would have, Steampunk is my favourite genre for games and 39 Days has delivered on those expectations. The floating text boxes that move with you to the fluid puzzle mechanics that are drawn in the same style; this game is just bursting with well designed graphics and beautifully made assets. I CANNOT find fault in how this game looks and there can’t be much comparison between the PC version and this as it doesn’t make use of any graphics engines that are PC exclusive or would require PC level processing to obtain. Simply perfect, honestly, perfect.
The solo story follows Sir Albert Wickes and his cat Percival as they travel to Mars on a whim, as when you choose the solo adventure in the menu, Albert proclaims, “I think I shall build a spaceship and travel to Mars”
Jolly good show Albert old chap, one man shall go forth and claim for the Empire the one place that Queen and country have not gone before! Oh…sorry I got a bit carried away again…it’s that British Spirit in me you see..Anyway! You must collect your top hat and map and then you set off into the unknown. First off the ship (the HMS Fearful) has a garden on board that takes over the ship, and you must wrangle it under control, but not before you make yourself a nice scone and sit down to eat it. Eating scones before dealing with your problems? My, my, my this game nails what it’s like to be British!
The gameplay is just ridiculously well crafted. Like an ice sculpture in fact, as you play solo you control both Albert and Percival during puzzles with each analogue stick controlling its own characters hand. So the left analogue stick controls Percival with the left trigger being used to grab things and the right analogue stick being used to control Albert and the right trigger you get the drift? This makes the challenges retain the feel of more than one player but adds the ability to play solo, I mean if you really wanted you could play co-op on the one controller with one person taking one side and the other using the opposite.
Anyway, all the puzzles are different in nature and require both character’s participation to complete meaning that you have to really concentrate to move the opposing sticks and triggers the right way at the right time, it reminds me of the challenge when you were younger of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time remember? Yeah that! But analogue sticks. I never played 39 Days on PC but I do imagine the analogue stick approach is a lot easier than having to use two mice or use keyboard prompts to control two characters. A big plus to the Xbox One release for including the solo mode and making the gameplay much easier using the controller. The only criticism I can give of this it isn’t more than an hour long, making your foirè Into this beautiful steampunk world far too short.
The sound too is literally music to my ears. A soft and beautiful instrumental track plays lovingly in the background setting a scene of serenity and intriguing optimism for your journey. Yet another reason I can tell that It’s Anecdotal have given this game a lot of love and attention. The voice acting is extremely well done using 19th century idioms and anecdotes to make you feel at home in the 1800’s using equal parts sincerity and humor, the voice actors have done a stand up job.
As much as big flashy triple A releases are great, there will always be room in my heart and my hard drive for Indie titles that are just filled with the heart of the developers, triple A corporate titles use flashy graphics and big budgets to win our hearts whereas using 39 Days as an example, the indie developers use things like gorgeous visuals, ingenious puzzles, beautiful music and humorous voice acting that goes perfectly with the setting of the game to win us over: and it’s something Its Anecdotal has done excellently with this title. Despite being too short I don’t believe that detracts from the experience. This game is fantastic. BUY IT. NOW.