So...This is a tricky one for me. There's not a lot bad about this game, and the things that are, might be on purpose. But I'm far enough removed from it that figuring out what those elements are, versus what elements are just errors, is a bit difficult. And it may simply be a game "not for me". But, okay, let's talk.

So, 39 Days to Mars. A co-op adventure puzzle game, the idea is simple. You're a couple of British gentlemen(or a gentleman and his cat), tasked with getting to Mars, while using their 1800s sensibilities and understanding of technology and science to do so. The joke, of course, being that such understanding is quite poor, both of the standards of the time and especially compared to contemporary ones.

It's a bit of a classic British humor formulation, really: Everyone's kind of idiotic and incompetent, following a rigid system to the point of absurdity. For instance, a whole hell of a lot of time is spent with an emergency coming up to rattle your ship...But it's tea time, or time for a scone, and this simply must be attended to before any such emergencies can be properly dealt with.

This is where some of my problems come in, but we'll get back to that.

The puzzles themselves, for various emergencies, tend to be a mix of logic puzzle, physics puzzle, and fight the intentionally bad design ethos of the ship puzzle. For instance, near the start of the game, I had to send a telegram out back home. This involved, first, laying out the message I wanted to send, from a series of scattered notes.

Then, since I didn't know telegraph code, I had to go to the library. Which had been destroyed by, since this was the single player mode, the cat.

So, okay, dig through the scattered pages, find all the ones from the telegraph code book. Now I've got telegraph code and can just take the pages over to the telegraph, right?

WRONG. Because the Brit forgot his library card, he is unable to remove any books or components thereof from his personal library. Thus, I must take the pages, and out here in the real world, physically jot down the sequences(in a highly simplified form of Morse code), and use those notes at the in-game telegraph to punch in my message. And if I made a mistake on any segment, that usually meant leaving the telegraph, going back to the library, fishing out the appropriate page, and checking over my work again.

It's not quite as roundabout as some adventure games I've played, certainly not. But there's layers of deliberate difficulty here to create the game experience. Everything would be that bit simpler if our protagonist was that bit more...reasonable, about how he did things.

Of course, there are some very interesting bits that feel more difficult because of trying to wrap my brain around doing two things at once. In single player, you control both the would-be astronaut and his cat, who acts as the second participant in many puzzles, with you controlling both halves, each on a stick. This isn't the first game to do things like this, of course: The most famous one I can think of is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and just like that experience, here too, having to keep both sets of inputs straight at once can do much to wreck your thought process in a good way.

But then we run into the problems.

So, first, the closer to objective problems. The core rules and mechanics are not always well explained. I'll admit on my first pass at the game I was having a bad day, but I also entirely bounced off the very first sequence in the game, unable to even properly start my journey for close to ten minutes. Because it does a very peculiar thing where tapping the action button will bring about a comment, but holding it, and only if both members are there(remember, in single player one of them is a cat who follows with a delay) will start the activation sequence.

I'm not saying this tap/hold mechanic is, in and of itself, bad. But I am saying that it didn't properly explain it until the last-ditch tutorial stuff came up, when that should have been coming up at the start. I’m not a super genius, but I’m also not an unintelligent guy. This shouldn’t have been a problem.

And, in general, I personally ran into issues with puzzles not properly explaining their rules, goals and mechanics, leading to places where I wasn't struggling to figure out how to solve the thing, but what I was even trying to accomplish.

There was also the question of whether something was intentional, or just a bug. Like, okay, making your scone. There's a pile of assorted berries on the counter, and every time you've got to make a scone, you're going to probably have a certain amount of berries. Which is fine. But the berries have a tendency to be fussy at deciding which one you're picking up, and staying with the hand when you go to move it over to the scone, adding frustration to a simple task.

So, is that on purpose...Or, to be blunt, did they just mess up the collision interaction in Unity between the hand grasp and the berries, and decided that particular frustration was now part of the game?

I simply don't know. And that's kind of the core problem I have with reviewing this game. There are just enough things where I simply don't have the information to say whether they were on purpose and simply not to my tastes, or a mistake that was supposed to be handled differently.

Thus I'm left with a simple question for you: Do you like these sort of puzzle-frustraters? Do you like that particular form of British humor where everyone's kind of incompetent and too wrapped up in the facade of the system, over what makes sense? Do you like the kind of co-op game that leads to you shouting panicked instructions at your significant other?

Well, if all of those are true, maybe you'll have a better time with this one than I did.