Mars: Mars is a platform jumping game. The premise is that explorers have headed to the red planet and are exploring via jet pack. The challenge comes from the fact that there is limited fuel and platforms are the only safe place to land. There are also some objects that will bounce the player’s explorer further down the path and collectible credits that can be used to purchase new explorers. When the player buys a new explorer, the background changes to match the theme of the new character. Aqualung, for example, is using his jet pack under water.
The game keeps track of various records and achievements. The player also, periodically, gets the chance to take “selfies” in the game. When this happens, a frame will appear above a platform. The player hovers in the frame and that triggers a selfie. They then get to make minor adjustments and take a picture of their character at that platform. The game saves the selfies that the player has taken.
There are in-game ads that can be used to earn credits or speed up a new character’s arrival. There are also in-game purchases available. The ESRB rated it E 10+ for infrequent or mild cartoon or fantasy violence. LW4K stands by this rating.
Mars: Mars helps kids practice and improve the following skills:
Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
Mars: Mars takes two simple elements (a limited fuel supply and a dangerous landscape) and puts them together in a way that requires the player to use a lot of focus. If they don't ignore internal and external distractions, the player will miss the platform or use up all of their fuel and crash. This can keep them from earning credits, ruin their streak, and slow down their progress on an achievement. Since the game is endless, this means they will also, to some degree, be using their long-term focus skills. If they don't stay engaged with the game, it will be difficult to earn credits to unlock new characters and environments. However, on the flip side, each platform gives the player a chance to take a break and rest their brains. This means that the game also practices the short-term focus skills as well.
Being efficient and aware of our use of time and effort.
This game asks the player to work on being efficient with their fuel. This means that they have to practice using their time management skills. If they don't, they will be unable to make it from platform to platform without crashing. The player also has to gauge just how much effort--or fuel--it takes to reach the next platform and then float down gently. If they don't hit the platform, or they hit the platform too hard, because they used their fuel in an inefficient manner, the player will crash and have to try again, as many times as it takes to do it right.
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