By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor) OnRPG Journalist
I’ve said it multiple times before, using a kickstarter project as an indie developer is the future of launching your game. Especially in these difficult times, indie developers are having it rough, it’s not easy getting a publisher for your game and that’s why a kickstarter is the only option for people to help you out. One of these games is Race To Mars, and I was one of the lucky few that got my hands on a very early build that’s far from being in Alpha but still gives us a general look of what the game is about.
Race To Mars is a turn-based, space company simulation game. As a player, you are the head of a company and your goal is to go to Mars. Unfortunately this is easier said than done, and in a strategy game as you can imagine, takes a lot of time and planning. When you begin, your company is still very small, and you have choices to make, you have to accept simple contracts and use the money that you earn into bigger and more promising projects until you are able to try and go to the mystical planet of Mars. And you cannot expect to go from minor company to interplanetary travel service in an hour. No it will take a while before you are ready to even attempt a trial launch. Your company has a reputation to maintain and competition to shame as you find the most efficient route. And the competition is stiff. As the game progresses you need to interact with multiple contractors and other space related organizations to build the best team and keep your competition playing catch-up.
The team behind Race To Mars ‘Intermarum’ is a small independent game development studio based in a little city called Opole, in Poland. Currently only one third of the goal is pledged and Race to Mars is in serious need of more backers before this Saturday when the pledging ends. As in any Kickstarter project they have several goals that they want to spend their pledged money on. Just like the goal of their game, they wish to push past the general economic building tactics title and reach into detailed customization options including crafting buildings, and ship concepts/models. A more expanded technology tree is written in the stars along with other general features to give players more strategic options as their game progresses. Since their goal with the title is to educate the general populace of the challenges involved with commercial space flight, they intend to keep the game true to the real world challenges as they expand your control. Together with the scientists of the Polish space industry Kosmonauta they hope to achieve a space-port management sim that’s both true to reality but approachable for the common strategy gamer. The game itself will be made on the leading multiplatform game engine Unity, ensuring plenty of cross-platform possibilities and easy flexible tools to mold Race to Mars exactly as they envision it.
The endless universe that we live in has always been an inspiring thing to think about. As a big fan of strategy and simulator games, Race To Mars sounds promising and the blueprint is in place to create a fantastic title. I must say again, what I had access to was a pre-alpha build and is badly in need of further funding and polish to have a chance of competing in today’s market. Unfortunately these are tough times as an independent developer. The rising popularity of Kickstarter has lured plenty of near finished titles to the platform to get additional funding that isn’t necessarily needed. I stress that Race to Mars is not such a title and will need a dedicated backing to become a reality. If you are a big fan of games that not only involve the managing of the company, but also going into space, then this game is definitely something to look forward to. And if you can spare a few bucks, make sure to pledge as every dollar counts.