The last game I played by Ian MacLarty was the shifting magic eye maze Catacombs Of Solaris, so I was surprised to learn that his next game is Mars First Logistics, a physics-based, open world simulation about designing your own vehicles to ship cargo across the red planet.
Not an unwelcome surprise. Find the announcement trailer below.
I like snapping wheels onto vehicles of my own creation and then watching them topple over, helplessly, like a sad turtle, or a sad turtle covered in Lego. There are some great vehicle designs in the video above, too. I particularly like the entirely impractical ring of wheels.
But it's the map that excites me most. There's an obvious meta structure about delivering items across the planet's surface, and its Steam description includes mention of earning credits, unlock technology and overcoming a hostile landscape. But the ordinance survey height map with its warm oranges and dotted lines makes me want to go exploring. That desire is helped by the overall art style; its landscapes seem low poly, but I'm happy anytime a game looks like it's even a little inspired by Moebius.
Solaris aside, MacLarty also made the fantastic Dissembler, a puzzle game about unravelling colourful, abstract puzzles.
Mars First Logistics is aiming for a 2022 release and you can find more screenshots over on Steam.