I had very high hopes and expectations for Mars Horizon. I wasn't disappointed. This game was one of my "One to Watch" games a short while ago, and now I've had a chance to get my hands on it!
Coming from a background of Kerbal Space Program, any game claiming to be a Space Program Simulation has some big boots to fill. This game in no way claims to fill those boots. Even so, it does a good job of scratching the itch.
Join the Space Race
In Mars Horizon you start off in the 1950s at the dawn of the space age. You pick which space agency you want to control, NASA, ESA or Russia, and the race begins. As you take the reigns you take control of research, mission planning and building construction. The aim, to beat the competition in the space race.
I've played a few games that claim to do what Mars Horizon is claiming, including Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager, and the more recent Space Company Simulator. Whilst the other do a... fairly good job of simulating a space program, Mars Horizon does it so much better.
When building a rocket, you are forced to make decisions between budget, reliability and suitability for the task. You can cheap out but risk your launch vehicle exploding on launch. Alternatively, you can build the best rocket available, but have to choose a cheaper payload and risk failing the mission anyway. All the time you are fighting for recognition and support so that your sponsors continue to send you funding. It's a juggle which could easily go wrong, and it sometimes does.
But how good is Mars Horizon?
As far as graphics are concerned, the game certainly is a better effort than some of its competitors. The developers haven't gone for hyper-realism, so there is a slightly cartoony feel to things, and it works. The same can be said of the gameplay, not hyper-realistic, but it works, and it makes you want to keep playing. I proved that by running the first play livestream for 2.5 hours!
Overall I give Mars Horizon a 8/10. A very solid effort, which also appeals to my interests.
The game is currently still in Closed Beta, but will soon be heading to Early Access. Add it to your wishlist on Steam!